Taliban forces alter strategy + What should Obama’s policy be for Afghanistan?

Dandelion Salad

TheRealNews

June 20, 2008

More at http://therealnews.com/c.ph…
NATO forces push Taliban out of Arghandab district but for how long?

Obama and Afghanistan

More at http://therealnews.com/c.ph…
Aijaz Ahmad: There is no military solution to the war in Afghanistan (3/4)

What should Obama’s policy be for Afghanistan?

June 21, 2008

More at http://therealnews.com/c.ph…
Aijaz Ahmad: There is no military solution to the war in Afghanistan (4/4)

see

Eric Margolis: Afganistan is about an Oil Pipeline (video)

Will Pakistan fight a US war?

Does the Afghan war matter to the US? + Kandahar braces for Taliban offensive Parts 1-2

Conflating Inflation — When is a crisis not a crisis? When the BBC says it’s a “slowdown”

by William Bowles
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
williambowles.info
Friday, June 20, 2008

Commenting on the pay deal struck between Shell’s tanker drivers totalling 14% over two years, a BBC ‘reporter’ during an interview with UK government minister John Hutton (BBC World News, 18 June 2008) made the following statement (not exactly verbatim but accurate as to content): Continue reading

Does McClellan’s testimony matter? Part 3 with Bruce Fein

Dandelion Salad

TheRealNews

Bruce Fein of the American Freedom Agenda says former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committee should lead to impeachment hearings, the only way to force Karl Rove and Vice President Dick Cheney to testify.

Continue reading

The Real News Network: TALK-A-THON 2008

Dandelion Salad

The Real News Network

June 21, 2008

TALK-A-THON 2008

Join The Real News Network Team on Tuesday 24 June, 2008. Call in or just watch from The Real News Network as we broadcast live to you, answering your questions and talking to you about the issues that concern you.

Talk with our journalists, our communications team or our post-production members about how we construct our stories. Ask our producers about the stories they are working on, or suggest others they could follow. Discuss our development with CEO and Senior Editor, Paul Jay and the rest of our management team.

Join us this Tuesday 24 June, 2008
Phone lines will open 11am – 1pm EST North America

United States: 917 463-3599
Canada: 416 916-5202

We can’t wait to hear what you have to say and answer any question you may have, while streaming LIVE to the web world at The Real News Network.

This is just the beginning. We know this time is not ideal for all of our members. We will schedule a date soon for more discussions.

See you Tuesday

Paul Jay and The Real News Network Team

see

The Real News Network’s videos

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

U.S. Military Hoped for Virtually Unlimited Freedom of Action in Iraq

Dandelion Salad

06/20/08 “ICH
www.nsarchive.org

Posted – June 13, 2008
For more information contact:
Joyce Battle – (202) 994-7145

Drafting of U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement Began Nearly Five Years Ago

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 252

Washington D.C., June 13, 2008

Recently declassified documents show that the U.S. military has long sought an agreement with Baghdad that gives American forces virtually unfettered freedom of action, casting into doubt the Bush administration’s current claims that their demands are more limited in scope.  News reports have indicated that the Bush administration is exerting pressure on the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to accept a U.S.-Iraq security plan by the end of July 2008.  According to these accounts, the plan would give the U.S. more than 50 military bases in Iraq, provide complete freedom of action to conduct military operations, allow complete freedom to arrest and detain Iraqis, and grant U.S. forces and contractors total immunity from Iraqi law.  Growing awareness of the implications of the pact have fueled opposition by the Iraqi public – to the extent that Prime Minister al-Maliki announced today that discussions had deadlocked.

Documents obtained by the National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that the U.S. started drafting the agreement in November 2003.  While information available in the heavily redacted copies that were provided does not specifically address such hot-button, present-day issues as the number and location of bases, or control of airspace, these preliminary planning documents show that from the outset U.S. aspirations for conducting military operations based in Iraq were essentially without limit.

The Bush administration had initially hoped to see the security pact accepted by an interim Iraqi Governing Council that it itself had appointed.  The documents outline a number of “red lines” that the Defense Department and the Central Command considered crucial during the early planning, including unlimited authority to conduct military operations; the “absolute” prerogative to detain, interrogate and intern Iraqis; the right to establish its own rules of engagement; complete freedom of movement entering, departing, and within Iraq; full immunity for U.S. forces and contractors; immunity from international tribunals; and exemption from inspections, taxes, and duties.

“When it developed its initial plans for a security pact, the U.S. wanted virtually unlimited freedom of action for its forces – including private contractors,” said Archive analyst Joyce Battle.  “In addition to freedom to wage military operations as it saw fit – and to arrest, detain, and interrogate Iraqis at will – U.S. demands even extended to priority use of public utilities.  This was after the invasion had led to the collapse of Iraq’s already fragile infrastructure and Iraqi civilians – old and young, healthy, sick, and disabled – were getting by with a few hours of electricity a day – if they were lucky.”

Looks Like San Remo All Over Again – The U.S. Status of Force Agreement for Iraq, 2008

Recently declassified documents show that the U.S. military has long sought an agreement with Baghdad that gives American forces virtually unfettered freedom of action in – and possibly around – Iraq. This new information appears to run counter to Bush administration claims that U.S. intentions have been more limited in scope.

According to recent news accounts, the Bush administration is exerting pressure on Iraq to accede to a military agreement – before a U.N. resolution authorizing the U.S. occupation lapses, and before the end of President Bush’s tenure – on terms highly favorable to the United States.  Information reported by Patrick Cockburn of the Independent indicates that the deal under discussion calls for:

  • Indefinite perpetuation of the U.S. military occupation of Iraq, whether a Republican or a Democrat is in the White House
  • More than 50 permanent U.S. bases in Iraq
  • U.S. carte blanche to conduct military operations and to arrest Iraqis and anyone else in Iraq without consulting the Iraqi government
  • Immunity from Iraqi law for U.S. forces and private contractors
  • Control of Iraq’s airspace below 29,000 feet
  • Unlimited freedom to pursue the “war on terror” through operations in Iraq. (Note 1)

…continued

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Carte blanche to illegally spy on Americans by Tom Burghardt

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, June 21, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

Telecoms Flex Their Muscles: FISA “Compromise” Locks-in Lawless Spying

You knew it would eventually come to this: a huge victory for the Bush regime and a gigantic swindle by Democratic party sell-outs posing as an “opposition.”

Thursday, House and Senate leaders in a bipartisan Washington love-fest, stooped to new lows of dissimulation as they reached agreement on a bill that gives the nation’s spy agencies and their outsourced “partners” in the telecommunications industry carte blanche to illegally spy on Americans.

By Friday afternoon the votes were in and, surprise! the bill passed by a lopsided 293-129. The bill now moves to the Senate where easy passage is expected next week. The White House immediately endorsed the bill.

According to The Washington Post,

White House spokesman Tony Fratto called the measure “a bipartisan bill” that “will give the intelligence professionals the long-term tools they need to protect the nation, and liability protection for those who may have assisted the government after the 9/11 attacks.” (Dan Eggen and Paul Kane, “Surveillance Bill Offers Protection to Telecom Firms,” The Washington Post, Friday, June 20, 2008)

“Bipartisan” indeed! House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) described it as a “balanced bill.” True enough, if by “balanced” Ms. Pelosi means that it protects her “constituents”–the giant telecoms–while telling Americans, in the ignoble words of former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, to “watch what they say, watch what they do.”

Gloating over the Democrats’ “capitulation,” as Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) characterized the deal, Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond (R-MO) who led Republicans during negotiations, told The New York Times, “I think the White House got a better deal than even they had hoped to get.”

Despite hand-wringing by Democrats, the accord gives “Bush and his aides, including Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey and Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, much of what they sought in a new surveillance law,” Times’ reporter Eric Lichtblau avers.

Virtually guaranteeing that U.S. citizens won’t have their day in court, H.R. 6304, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, grants immunity to giant telecom companies who participated in the Bush administration’s lawless surveillance programs. Congressman Roy Blunt (R-MO) told the Times without skipping a beat, “The lawsuits will be dismissed.”

And in the best tradition of totalitarians everywhere, Bond, defending immunity provisions for lawless telecoms told Dow Jones Newswires,

“I’m not here to say that the government is always right, but when the government tells you to do something, I’m sure you would all agree that I think you all recognize that is something you need to do.”

Ponder those words and then consider the loathsome depths reached by the Democrats and their Republican partners in crime.

Under the proposal, U.S. intelligence agencies will be allowed to issue broad orders to U.S. phone companies, ISPs and other online service providers to cough-up all communications if it is “reasonably believed” to involve non-citizens outside the country. To boot, the plethora of spy agencies who make up the U.S. intelligence “community” will neither be bothered by naming their “targets” nor will they have to obtain prior approval by any court to continue their driftnet-style surveillance.

In other words, under terms of H.R. 6304 one American or the entire internet could be subject to warrantless surveillance and intrusive data-mining by state actors or private spooks. Considering that some 70% of intelligence “community” employees are mercenary contractors in the pay of private corporations that rely on U.S. Government handouts to pad their bottom line, the bill drives another nail in the coffin of privacy and individual rights while furthering the already-considerable transformation of the former American Republic into a post-Constitutional “New Order.”

The Democratic “compromise” overturns longstanding rules of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act under which the government was compelled to obtain court approval and individual warrants if an American’s communications were to be monitored.

As ACLU Washington Legislative director Caroline Fredrickson said in her denunciation of the proposed “compromise,”

“This bill allows for mass and untargeted surveillance of Americans’ communications. The court review is mere window-dressing — all the court would look at is the procedures for the year-long dragnet and not at the who, what and why of the spying. Even this superficial court review has a gaping loophole — ‘exigent’ circumstances can short cut even this perfunctory oversight since any delay in the onset of spying meets the test and by definition going to the court would cause at least a minimal pause. Worse yet, if the court denies an order for any reason, the government is allowed to continue surveillance throughout the appeals process, thereby rendering the role of the judiciary meaningless. In the end, there is no one to answer to; a court review without power is no court review at all.”

“The Hoyer/Bush surveillance deal was clearly written with the telephone companies and internet providers at the table and for their benefit. They wanted immunity, and this bill gives it to them.” (“ACLU Condemns FISA Deal, Declares Surveillance Bill Unconstitutional,” American Civil Liberties Union, Press Release, June 19, 2008)

As Fredrickson outlined above, this onerous legislative flotsam grants immunity to telecoms currently being sued for breaking federal wiretapping laws by handing over billions of Americans’ call records to state and private data-miners whilst giving agencies such as the NSA and FBI access to phone and internet infrastructure inside the United States itself. Under terms of the “compromise” the bill strips away the right of a federal district court to decide whether these multinational privateers violated federal laws prohibiting wiretapping without a court order. In terms of telecom liability, and the huge damages that may have resulted from a guilty verdict by a jury, this is huge.

As United States District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker wrote on July 20, 2006 regarding AT&T’s motion to dismiss EFF’s Hepting vs. AT&T lawsuit,

Because the alleged dragnet here encompasses the communications of “all or substantially all of the communications transmitted through [AT&T’s] key domestic telecommunications facilities,” it cannot reasonably be said that the program as alleged is limited to tracking foreign powers. Accordingly, AT&T’s alleged action here violate the constitutional rights clearly established in Keith. Moreover, because “the very action in question has previously been held unlawful,” AT&T cannot seriously contend that a reasonable entity in its position could have believed that the alleged domestic dragnet was legal.

The current congressional agreement stipulates instead, that the U.S. Attorney General need only certify that a company being sued did not participate, or that the state provided said privateer with a written request certifying that the President authorized the program and that his henchmen-attorneys determined it was “legal.” As the Electronic Frontier Foundation writes,

The new bill specifically allows the Court to see the directives that were given to the telecoms as “supplemental materials” to the AG certification (p. 90:22), but the court is still only evaluating whether they existed, not whether they were legal requests, or whether it was legal for the phone companies to comply with them. Thus, even if a court independently would have ruled the directives and the surveillance they authorized to be unlawful, the bill still requires the court to rubber stamp the retroactive immunity it provides. (“Analysis of H.R. 6304: It’s Still Immunity!”, Electronic Frontier Foundation, June 19, 2008)

In other words, even if a court rules that Bush administration directives are patently illegal, which indeed they are, the formerly independent judiciary’s role under the new FISA amendments passed by the House, diminish its role to that of a mere accessory, an afterthought and rubberstamp for decrees issued by the “unitary executive” exercising plenary (unlimited) powers. Despite the temporizing weasel-words by congressional leaders, Friday’s House vote is nothing less than a formula for permanent presidential dictatorship.

Consider this: if the White House can unrestrictedly spy on Americans based on the merest of “exigent circumstances,” will future “exigencies”–an external terrorist attack or internal provocation–spearhead a martial law regime with full suspension of civil liberties and the detention of domestic dissidents, the “other persons who may pose a threat to national security,” referred to by National Security Presidential Directive 59?

In the final analysis, whatever temporary divisions may exist amongst the twin parties of capitalist reaction, none of the leading Democrats have any interest in challenging the fundamental fraud of the so-called “war on terror.” Indeed, “terrorism” is but a convenient pretext for a bipartisan attack on democratic rights as a decaying American Empire launch “preemptive” wars in a quixotic quest to shore-up its crumbling edifice.

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK Press.

see

Dems Agree With GOP That Sheilding Telecoms More Important Than Constitution

Countdown: Unity on Immunity + McClellan Testimony + John Cusack

Kucinich & Sheila Jackson Lee Arguing Against Changes to FISA + Pelosi’s Support!

Spying on Americans: Democrats Ready to Gut the Constitution To Protect Their “Constituents” – The Telecoms

Bush pushes biometrics for national security + NSPD-59 & HSPD-24

Star Wars Or Social Progress – You Decide + Global Network Conf ’08

Bruce

by Bruce Gagnon
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

Bruce’s blog post
space4peace.blogspot.com

June 21, 2008

It’s all about two things – power and money. Star Wars technology will give the U.S. “control and domination” of space and the Earth below as the Space Command planning document Vision for 2020 has outlined. On the second point the aerospace industry acknowledges that Star Wars will be the largest industrial project in the history of the planet Earth – necessitating near total control of the federal budget by the Pentagon.

Recently Col. Robert Suminsby Jr., commander of Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico told community leaders that social spending is problematic because it is impacting the Air Force’s ability to buy new high-tech weapons systems.

“As a military officer, my big concern is fixing Social Security and Medicare,” Suminsby said. “If we don’t fix [defund] those things, there won’t be anything left for a defense budget.”

“There needs to be a national debate over what our priorities are,” Suminsby said.

On that last point Suminsby is correct – there needs to be a national debate. Except his vision of a national debate is different from ours. His vision is one where the military makes an order and the public and Congress snap to it and hand over the federal treasury to the Pentagon.

Our vision of a national debate is one that involves the grassroots citizens who talk about what real security means. Housing, food, education, energy, retirement, clean environment – these are the things that bring real security to the people. It’s like two trains heading for a collision course. One train is called Star Wars and the other is called social progress. Which do you pick?

The global day of fasting to Stop Star Wars on June 22 is one important way for the public to become involved in this debate. All over the world the U.S. is dragging the “allies” into Star Wars and active resistance to the insanity of an arms race in space is growing. But we must do more – and it must be done over and over again. [see video below]

Please don’t think for a minute that after June 22 we can pack up our protest signs and go home. This issue of space warfare will be the defining issue of our time. Will there be money for social progress all over the world or will our corporate dominated governments move our taxes into the hands of the global war machine?

We must call for the conversion of the military industrial complex. This campaign to keep space for peace also must become a campaign to end the madness of war – either on Earth or in the heavens.

June 22 Fast List – Not including the hundreds named at http://www.nonviolence.cz/

Beth Adams (Greenfield, Massachusetts)
Bittiandra Muddappa Aiyyappa (Mumbai, India)
Sven Andersen (Oviedo, Florida)
Bob Anderson (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Nancy Anderson (Las Cruces, New Mexico)
David Andersson (New York, New York)
Yolanda Andersson (New York, New York)
Dennis Apel (Guadalupe, California)
Eli Arlen (Brunswick, Maine)
Pat Arrowsmith (London, England)
Nancy Bartasavich (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Jean Basinger (Des Moines, Iowa)
John Baugher (Cape Elizabeth, Maine)
Patricia Crawford Berg (Staten Island, New York)
Joan Saks Berman (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Pat Birnie (Tucson, Arizona)
Benay Blend (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Amaury Blondet (Mayagüez, Puerto Rico)
Rev. Bill Bliss (Bath, Maine)
Grace Braley (Portland, Maine)
Ivan Braun (New York, New York)
Sally Breen (Windham, Maine)
Kelli Brew (Gainesville, Florida)
Anna Maria Caldara (Bangor, Pennsylvania)
Maxine Caron (Byron Bay, Australia)
Sue Chase (Batesville, Virginia)
Aman Chauhan (India)
David W. Chipman (Harpswell, Maine)
Kathe Chipman (Harpswell, Maine)
Sung-Hee Choi (New York, New York)
Barbara Clancy (Stow, Massachusetts)
Lorna Clark (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Michael Connelly (Rochester, New York)
William Coop (Brunswick, Maine)
Jeremy Corbyn, MP (London, England)
Frank Cordaro (Des Moines, Iowa)
Margaret Willig Crane (New York, New York)
Nacyra Leila Gómez-Cruz (Veradera, Cuba)
Paul Cunningham (South Portland, Maine)
Hugh Curran (Surry, Maine)
Dave S. Cutler (Acton, Massachusetts)
Bob Dale (Brunswick, Maine)
Gail Daneker (St. Paul, Minnesota)
Robert Daniels II (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
Larry Dansinger (Monroe, Maine)
Lynn DeFilippo (Nome, Alaska)
Katy Delau (Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada)
Galina De Roeck (Tucson, Arizona)
Christine DeTroy (Brunswick, Maine)
Tony Dickinson (Leeds, England)
Mary Donnelly (Peaks Island, Maine)
Mike Donnelly (Peaks Island, Maine)
Chris Dove (Whitby, England)
Rev. Denis J. Dunn (Porter, Maine)
Aurel Duta (Bucharest, Romania)
MacGregor Eddy (Salinas, California)
Marjorie Swann Edwin (Santa Cruz, California)
Dan Ellis (Brunswick, Maine)
Lynn Ellis (Brunswick, Maine)
Corazon Valdez-Fabros (Manila, Philippines)
Dr Mrunalini Fadnavis (Nagpur, India)
Becky Farley (Damariscotta, Maine)
Jackie Fearnley (Goathland, England)
Yoriko Freed (Fairbanks, Alaska)
Sr. Barb Freemyer, RSM (Pueblo, Colorado)
Stacey Fritz (Fairbanks, Alaska)
Bruce Gagnon (Bath, Maine)
Lee Gagnon (Walpole, Massachusetts)
Sudhir Gandotra (India)
Joseph Gerson (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
Anne Gibbons (New York, New York)
Sr. Carol Gilbert (Baltimore, Maryland)
Starr Gilmartin (Trenton, Maine)
Arlyne Goodwin (Naples, Florida)
Holly Gwinn Graham (Olympia, Washington)
Marc Grambert (New York, New York)
Matt Gregory (Lincoln, Nebraska)
Kevin Hall (Dunedin, Florida)
Maggie Hall (Dunedin, Florida)
Luke Hansen (Chicago, Illinois)
Amy Harlib (New York, New York)
Faith Harmony (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Kate Harris (Belfast, Maine)
Alanna Hartzok (Fayetteville, Pennsylvania)
Dorothy Hassfeld (Brunswick, Maine)
Tom Hastings (Portland, Oregon)
Suzanne Hedrick (Nobleboro, Maine)
Sr. Valerie Heinonen, O.S.U. (New York, New York)
Jenny Heinz (New York, New York)
Joann Henderson (Florence Oregon)
Stuart Henderson (Florence Oregon)
Dud Hendrick (Deer Isle, Maine)
Tensie Hernandez (Guadalupe, California)
Nancy Hill (Stonington, Maine) June 19-24
Amanda Hoag (Bath, Maine)
Mair Honan (Portland, Maine)
Jackie Hudson, OP (Bremerton, Washington)
Kate Hudson (London, England)
Connie Jenkins (Orono, Maine)
Molly Johnson (San Miguel, California)
Vicki Johnson (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Sally Jones (Staten Island, New York)
Carla Josephson (Rio Rancho, New Mexico)
Sr. Mary Jude Jun, OSU (St. Louis, Missouri)
Egbert Kankeleit (Darmstadt, Germany)
Nona Keel (Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada)
Ian Keith (St. Paul, Minnesota)
Natalie Kempner (Woolwich, Maine)
Bruce Kent (London, England)
Ron King (Penobscot, Maine)
Tom Kircher (Biddeford, Maine)
Eva Kratzert (Altamonte Springs, Florida)
Judy Kugler (Marietta, Georgia)
Dr. Dharmendra Kumar (India)
Dr. R. C. Kushwaha (India)
Steve Landon (Waldhof, ON, Canada)
Larry Landry (Fairbanks, Alaska)
Joanne Landy (New York, New York)
Steve Larrick (Lincoln, Nebraska)
Isolt Lea (Gainesville, Florida)
Louise Legun (Allentown, Pennsylvania)
Debbie Leighton (West Bath, Maine)
Jesse Lemisch (New York, New York)
Mary Dennis Lentsch (Oak Ridge, Tennessee)
Mark Lesseraux (New York, New York)
Dave Lewit (Boston, Massachusetts)
Bob Lezer (Freeport, Maine)
Mary Leonard, Mercy Associate (Pueblo, Colorado)
Suzanne Linton (White Bear Lake, Minnesota)
Gawain Little (Oxford, England)
Marie-Noel Lombard (Paris, France)
Matt Loosigian (Brunswick, Maine)
Tamara Lorincz (Halifax, NS, Canada)
Harry Loumeau (Tucson, Arizona)
Lew Lubka (Fargo, North Dakota)
Carla L. Rael-Luhman (Portales, New Mexico)
Eric Lynn (Walpole, Massachusetts)
Mahila Mahavidyalaya (Nagpur, India)
Deb Marshall (Little Dear Isle, Maine)
Rev. Sergio Samuel Arce-Martínez (Veradera, Cuba)
Helyne May (Windham, Maine)
Natasha Mayers (Whitefield, Maine)
Ed McCartan (Brunswick, Maine)
Geralyn McDowell (Troy, New York)
Laurie McGowan (Mochelle, NS, Canada)
Jane McKears (Birmingham, England)
Gloria McMillan (Tucson, Arizona)
Bernie Meyer (Olympia, Washington)
Karl Meyer (Nashville, Tennessee)
Carol Miller (Ojo Sarco, New Mexico)
John Miller (Blue Hill, Maine)
Peter Mitchell (Rochester, New York)
Damien Moran (Warsaw, Poland)
Ariana Mortello – 13 years old (Cape Elizabeth, Maine)
Ellen Murphy (Bellingham, Washington)
Michael Murphy (Omaha, Nebraska)
Nicole Myers (New York, New York)
Emiko Nagano (New York, New York)
Laurie Shade-Neff (Las Cruces, New Mexico)
Doctress Neutopia (Tucson, Arizona)
Agneta Norberg (Stockholm, Sweden)
Nancy O’Byrne (St. Augustine, Florida)
Nancy Oden (Jonesboro, Maine)
Rev. Gerald Oleson (Bangor, Maine)
Jon Olsen (Jefferson, Maine)
Sr. Elaine Lopez Pacheco, RSM (Pueblo, Colorado)
Jeanne Pahls (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Nana Paldi (Fairbanks, Alaska)
James Palmer (Stetson, Maine)
W. B. Park (Altamonte Springs, Florida)
Rosalie Tyler Paul (Georgetown, Maine)
Terrence E. Paupp (San Diego, California)
Vincent Pawlowski (Tucson, Arizona)
Jewel Payne (Davis, California)
Lindis Percy (Harrogate, England)
Ricardo Peres (Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Ilze Petersons (Orono, Maine)
Magda Philips (Whitby, England)
Tina Phillips (Brunswick, Maine)
Sr. Ardeth Platte (Baltimore, Maryland)
Laray Polk (Dallas, Texas)
Peter Pollard (York, England)
Bonnie Preston (Blue Hill, Maine)
Robert Rabin (Vieques, Puerto Rico)
Robert Randall (Brunswick, Georgia)
Susan Ravitz (Easton, Pennsylvania)
Phyllis Reames (Portland, Maine)
Kim Redigan (Dearborn Heights, Michigan)
Dennis Redmond (New York, New York)
Lilly Rendt (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Carla Rensenbrink (Topsham, Maine)
John Rensenbrink (Topsham, Maine)
Megan Rice (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Linda Richards (Corvallis, Oregon)
Emily Ricketts (Tucson, Arizona)
V. Bruce Rigdon (Chicago, Illinois)
Tim Rinne (Lincoln, Nebraska)
Bill Rixon (Freeport, Maine)
Judy Robbins (Sedgwick, Maine)
Peter Robbins (Sedgwick, Maine)
Chris Rooney (Vancouver, BC, Canada)
Ellen Rowan (Deer Isle, Maine)
Jane Sanford (Belfast, Maine)
Deb Sawyer (Portland, Maine)
Janae Schewe (Orono, Maine)
Jason Schewe (Orono, Maine)
Nicole Scott (Shoreline, Washington)
Barbara Calvert Seifred (Vancouver, BC, Canada)
Stan Serafin (Corrales, New Mexico)
Dr. Rajesh Sharma (India)
Robert Shetterly (Brooksville, Maine)
Ymani Simmons (Leicester, North Carolina)
Ms. Samm Simpson (Dunedin, Florida)
Father River Sims (San Francisco, California)
Robert M. Smith (Swarthmore, Pennsylvania)
Gareth Smith (Byron Bay, Australia)
Cathy Stanton (Melbourne, Florida)
Janie Stein (Salina, Kansas)
Melissa D. Stewart (Fairbanks, Alaska)
Tom Sturtevant (Winthrop, Maine)
Dr. Pawan Sudhir (India)
Mary Beth Sullivan (Bath, Maine)
Wayne Sumstine (Tucson, Arizona)
Silvia Swinden (London, England)
Arun Thankur (India)
Rev. Dr. Donald C. Thompson (Bradenton, Florida)
Don Thompson (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Sally-Alice Thompson (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Cynthia Tiedeman (Omaha, Nebraska)
John Tiedeman (Omaha, Nebraska)
Don Timmerman (Park Falls, Wisconsin)
Fran Truitt (Blue Hill, Maine)
Steve Tumolo (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Meredith Tupper (Springfield, Virginia)
Carol Urner (Portland, Oregon)
Juha Uski (Roskilde, Denmark)
Eric Verlo (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
Karen Wainberg (Bath, Maine)
William Watts (San Francisco, California)
Dave Webb (Leeds, England)
Sytske Weidema (New York, New York)
Margaret Weitzmann (Potsdam, New York)
Chris Wells (New York, New York)
Elaine Wells (Omaha, Nebraska)
Mark Welsch (Omaha, Nebraska)
Jeanne Wheeler (Oahu, Hawaii)
Pat Wheeler (Deer Isle, Maine)
Molly Willcox (Westport, Maine)
Keith K. Williams (Windham, Maine)
Lynda Williams (Santa Rosa, California)
Mariah Williams (Liberty, Maine)
Loring Wirbel (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
Michael Wisniewski (Los Angeles, California)
Peter Woodruff (Arrowsic, Maine)
Dr. Yogender Yadav (India)
Jerry Zawada, OFM (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Carolyn Ziffer (Bangor, Maine)
John Zokovitch (Gainesville, Florida)
Laurie Zolas (Bronx, New York)

Please sign the petition at www.nonviolence.cz

***

Video is no longer available.

Space4Peace

April 12, 2008

This video was presented at the Global Network Annual Space Organizing Conference & Protest held April 11-13, 2008 in Omaha, Nebraska. Author: Dave Webb.

see

Czech Republic opposes US Missile Shield in Eastern Europe

Coming war against Iran: Increasing Anglo-American pressure on Turkey

by Cem Ertür
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
21 June 2008

Covering the period of March-June 2008, this article will try to highlight the political pressure applied by the US and UK governments on Turkey in view of their war plans against Iran. It is complementary to an earlier article titled “Will Turkey be Complicit in Another War Against Another Neighbour?” [1]

“[The Middle East] is capable of a very bright future:… a place of innovation and discovery, driven by free men and women. In recent years, we’ve seen hopeful beginnings toward this vision. Turkey, a nation with a majority Muslim population, is a prosperous modern democracy. Afghanistan under the leadership of President Karzai is overcoming the Taliban and building a free society. Iraq under the leadership of Prime Minister Maliki is establishing a multi-ethnic democracy.” — US President George W. Bush (World Economic Forum, Sharm el Sheikh, 18 May 2008) [2]

Turkey was the last stop of US Vice President Dick Cheney’s tour in the Middle East in March. Coverage of the event by the Turkish press gave the impression that Mr Cheney did not make any demands from Turkey’s President, Prime Minister or Chief of General Staff, concerning the US foreign policy in the Middle East and/or Afghanistan. Given the increasingly evident Anglo-American hostility against Iran on all fronts, this wasn’t very plausible. In fact, all the evidence since then suggests otherwise.

Shortly after Mr Cheney’s visit, the US-based RAND Corporation published a report on the US-Turkish relations:

“Given its growing equities in the Middle East, as well as the current strains in U.S.-Turkish relations, Turkey will be even more reluc-tant to allow the United States to use its bases in the future, particu-larly the [U.S.] airbase at Incirlik, to undertake combat operations in the Middle East… Turkey is unlikely to support U.S. policies aimed at isolating Iran and Syria or overthrowing the regimes in either country.” [3]

Frequent visits by senior US officials continued after Mr Cheney. In April, US Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Gregory Schulte commented on Iran’s Shahab-3 ballistic missile:

“Shahab-3 could strike most of Turkey and the Middle East, and the longer-range missiles would reach deeper into Europe.” [4]

The following month, in a conference held in Washington, Ambassador of Turkey to the US Nabi Sensoy echoed Mr Schulte:

“Iran has run ‘clandestine (nuclear) programs for more than two decades,’ and those programs are ‘a threat to Turkey as well as to the U.S.’ ” [5]

QUEEN ELIZABETH’S IMPERIAL VISIT

In a press conference with his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan in April in London, UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband said:

“Bilateral relations are deep, excellent and sincerely felt… Turkey had a pivotal role to play on regional issues, such as the conflict in Iraq and concern over Iran’s nuclear programme.” [6]

The following month, Queen Elizabeth II and Mr Miliband held a state visit to Turkey. On May 13, she gave a speech at the state banquet in Ankara:

“For us, Turkey is as important now as it has ever been… Abroad, Turkey is uniquely positioned as a bridge between East and West at a crucial time for the European Union and the world in general… [Mr President Abdullah Gul], you are playing a key role in promoting peace, political stability and economic development in some of the world’s most unsettled areas.” [7]

Both statements were eerily reminiscent of Tony Blair’s speech three months before officially launching the ultimate invasion on Iraq:

“I think this is a very important and exciting moment for the European Union and for Turkey and I believe we have an historic opportunity to send the clearest possible signal that the European Union wants Turkey inside the European family as a full partner.” [8]

Yet again, according to the Turkish and international media, this was just a friendly visit by the Queen which had no agenda other than supporting Turkey’s accession to the European Union. Listening to a Quran recital with her head covered in a mosque located in Bursa (which is the first capital of the Ottoman Empire), moved even those who are otherwise deeply anti-religious.

Equally symbolic, but more revealing was the reception she held for Turkish President Abdullah Gul [9] on board of a Royal Navy aircraft carrier in Istanbul [10]. In fact, HMS Illustrious was on its way back from the ‘Operation Orion 08’, which was a multi-national naval exercise conducted in the Persian Gulf to rehearse a possible war on Iran. [11] [12]

Back in October 2007, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his British counterpart Mr Gordon Brown had signed the ‘Turkey-UK Strategic Partnership Agreement’. The following items on this document reveal the striking similarity between the UK and US foreign policy on Turkey:

· “Enhanced co-operation on the terrorist threat posed by PKK, … Al-Qaida and other associated extremist groups.”

· “Support for the UN Security Council process on Iran, including for full implementation of any measures imposed.”

· “Further co-operation between the UK and Turkish armed forces and mutual support in NATO fora.”

· “Co-operation… to ensure that NATO can fully implement the deliverables agreed at the 2006 Riga Summit.” [13]

It is also important to remember what the UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who is widely considered as the successor to Mr Brown, said on the fifth anniversary of invasion of Iraq in March 2003:

“I think the war itself was a remarkable victory. It went better than most people expected.” [14]

The following statement a month earlier makes his stance on prospective Anglo-American wars crystal clear:

“I believe discussion about the Iraq war has clouded the debate about promoting democracy around the world. I understand the doubts about Iraq and Afghanistan, and the deep concerns at the mistakes made. But my plea is that we do not let divisions over those conflicts obscure our national interest, never mind our moral impulse, in supporting movements for democracy… In the 1990’s … the left seemed conflicted between the desirability of the goal and its qualms about the use of military means. In fact, the goal of spreading democracy should be a great progressive project; the means need to combine soft and hard power.” [15]

US PRESSURE SHIFTING INTO HIGH GEAR

In early June, ‘The U.S.-Turkey Agreement for Cooperation Concerning Peaceful Uses’ came into force:

“The Agreement provides a comprehensive framework for peaceful nuclear cooperation between the United States and Turkey under agreed non-proliferation conditions and controls.” [16]

On June 5, The White House announced the nomination of the Deputy National Security Advisor James Franklin Jeffrey as US Ambassador to Turkey. In his earlier capacity as the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, Mr Jeffrey had a prominent role on Iraq policy and was co-chairing the now defunct Iran-Syria Policy and Operations Group [17]:

“The infamous Iran-Syria Policy and Operations Group (ISOG) created in early 2006, integrated by officials from the White House, the [US] State Department, the CIA and the Treasury Department, had a mandate to destabilize Syria and Iran, and bring about ‘Regime Change’. ” [18]

The same day, during his visit to the US, which also included his participation to the Bilderberg Meeting (for the fifth time [19] ), Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan held a press conference with his US counterpart Condaleezza Rice:

“Question: Madame Secretary, what do you expect Turkey to do — increase pressure on Iran beyond the UN sanctions?

Rice: All member states have an obligation to carry out the terms of those resolutions and to use whatever offices they have with the Iranians to insist that the Iranians carry out the obligations that the UN Security Council has imposed.

Babacan: Turkey is implementing the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. As long as the international community has one unified stance, Turkey [would also be] implementing those decisions.” [20]

Again on the same day, back in Turkey, the Chief of General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces Yasar Buyukanit’s opening speech at an international symposium in Istanbul, titled “The Middle East: Its Uncertain Future and Security Problems”, was even more straightforward:

“Until mid-2003, Iran has built nuclear installations and conducted uranium enrichment work secretly from the International Atomic Agency (IAEA). It approved inspections by the IAEA, but didn’t implement this through a constitutional process. Iran needs to inspire trust that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes entirely. Iran’s adoption of sensible policies, which will prevent new problems arising in the region, is very important in terms of restoring a peaceful and stable Middle East.” [21]

However, Mr Buyukanit was not forthcoming when asked a question about a recent press report on Turkish Armed Forces’ plans to extend the scope of “Irregular Warfare Units”, which function as a “counter-guerrilla” force. The report reveals “highly secret preparations on covert struggle methods to be used in an operation which will be conducted together with our armed forces in the event of a violation of our country’s territorial integrity by an enemy force”. [22] Mr Buyukanit replied:

“This is a very old concept from the Cold War Era which is no longer valid: If, within the context of NATO-Warsaw Pact, Turkey were to be invaded by the Soviets, then there would be resistance in occupied areas. This is over, we currently don’t have such structure as there is no need for it. In fact, who would invade Turkey?” [23]

Despite the evasive language, it is clear that Mr Buyukanit is referring to Article V of the NATO Charter, [24] which states that the members of the Alliance must consider coming to the aid of an ally under attack. According to the RAND Corporation report cited earlier:

“Turkey is the only NATO member that faces the threat of outside attack (Iran, Syria). It is thus very concerned that Article 5 (collective defense) remains a core Alliance mission and that emphasis on crisis management [does] not weaken the Alliance’s commitment to collective defense.” [3]

Whether Article V will be resorted as a justification for war is yet to be seen… Another RAND Corporation report released as early as 1992 reveals how old and consistent such propaganda is:

“The [1991] Gulf war and its aftermath have simply confirmed and re-inforced emerging perceptions about the regional ambitions and ex-panding arsenals across Turkey’s borders, not least the growing threat from weapons of mass destruction… The prospect of a revived Iraq posing a conventional and unconven-tional threat to Turkey is an obvious source of concern in light of Turkey’s prominent role in the coalition against Baghdad… Above all, Turkey faces longer-term security risks from Iran, with its competing aims in Azerbaijan and active interest in nuclear and bal-listic missile technology, and Syria… The United States, both bilaterally and through its role in NATO, will remain the best guarantor of Turkish security in relation to the most dangerous risks facing Turkey over the longer term…” [25]

On June 17, Turkish daily Hurriyet reported the following exchange:

“Recently [outgoing] U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson visited the Turkish Minister of Energy [Hilmi Guler] asking him to discontinue the energy projects with Iran. The Minister of Energy rejected the request on the basis of a lack of an alternative source. When Wilson suggested buying energy from Iraq, the Turkish minister expressed his pessimistic opinion about Iraq being an alternative, indicating that Iraq had no gas reserves. He said, ‘A bird in the hand is better than two birds on a tree.’ In response, Ambassador Wilson stated ‘in a short time, the bird may burn with the branch it is sitting on’ ” [26]

Two days later, in an interview with the Turkish daily Aksam, Israel’s Ambassador to Turkey Gabby Levy claimed that Iran’s weapons is a threat to the entire Middle East. [27]

On the other hand, in another recent interview with the same newspaper, US Congressman Mark Kirk presented a different strand of disinformation which aims to comfort an ever more anxious and sceptical public in Turkey. He argued that since the rejection of the March 2003 parliamentary motion (allowing US troops to use Turkish soil to invade Iraq), Turkey’s significance has decreased by 90%. When asked what the US would expect from Turkey in the event of an attack on Iran, he said:

“The US would expect Turkey not to interfere with anything. Just like Belgium.” [28]

Meanwhile, a US-sponsored political engineering process has entered its last phase, warning the entire political spectrum in Turkey to toe the line. It is relentlessly trying to ensure that a fully compliant government is in power before launching the next Anglo-American war on Iran and possibly on Syria.

NOTES

[1] Will Turkey be complicit in another war against another neighbour?

by Cem Ertür, CASMII, 24 February 2008

Will Turkey be Complicit in Another War Against Another Neighbour?

[2] President Bush Attends World Economic Forum

by George W. Bush, Whitehouse.gov, 18 May 2008

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/05/20080518-6.html

[3] Turkey as a US Security Partner

by F. Stephen Larrabee, RAND Corporation, April 2008

http://rand.org/pubs/monographs/2008/RAND_MG694.pdf

[4] United States and Turkey: Strategic Allies for Global Challenges

by Gregory L. Schulte, U.S. Department of State web site, April 29, 2008

http://vienna.usmission.gov/080428_turkey.html

[5] Turkish Ambassador to U.S. Calls Iran “a threat to Turkey as well as to the US”

by Andrew Cochran, Counterterrorism Blog, 19 May 2008

http://counterterrorismblog.org/2008/05/turkish_ambassador_to_us_calls.php

[6] Britain praises “excellent” ties with Turkey in London talks

Monsters and Critics, 14 April 2008

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/uk/news/article_1399838.php/Britain_praises_&quotexcellent”_ties_with_Turkey_in_London_talks

[7] Text of The Queen’s speech at the State Banquet in Turkey, 13 May 2008

British Monarchy web site, 13 May 2008

http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page6254.asp

[8] Blair presses for Turkey’s EU membership

BBC News, 12 December 2002

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2567451.stm

[9] International Visitor Leadership Program Alumni.

U.S. Department of State web site

http://exchanges.state.gov/education/ivp/alumni.htm

[10] Illustrious welcomes The Queen for Istanbul Royal Reception

UK Ministry of Defence web site, 16 May 2008

http://www.mod.uk/defenceinternet/defencenews/historyandhonour
/illustriouswelcomesthequeenforistanbulroyalreception.htm

[11] 5th Fleet Focus: Order of Battle

Information Dissemination, 10 May 2008

http://informationdissemination.blogspot.com/2008/05/5th-fleet-focus-order-of-battle_10.html

[12] Carrier deployment adds to Iran war fears

PSCA International, 2 November 2007

http://www.pscainternational.org/news_story.asp?id=4281

[13] Turkey UK Strategic Partnership 2007/08

British Embassy web site, 25 October 2007

http://www.britishembassy.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket
/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1107296213134&a=KArticle&aid=1188506830446

[14] Building peace in Iraq harder than expected, says Miliband

by Richard Norton-Taylor, Guardian, 21 March 2008

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/21/iraq.iraq

[15] ‘The democratic imperative’ Aung San Suu Kyi lecture by Rt Hon David Miliband

by David Miliband, British Embassy web site, 12 February 2008

http://www.britishembassy.gov.uk/Files/kfile/Miliband,0.htm

[16] Statement on U.S.-Turkey Agreement for Nuclear Cooperation (123 Agreement)

by Sean McCormack, US Mission to Italy web site, 2 June 2008

http://italy.usembassy.gov/viewer/article.asp?article=/file2008_06/alia/a8060302.htm

[17] US unit works quietly to counter Iran’s sway

by Farah Stockman, Boston Globe, 2 February 2007

http://www.boston.com/news/world/articles/2007/01/02/us_unit_works_quietly_to_counter_irans_sway/

[18] “Islamic Terrorists” supported by Uncle Sam: Bush Administration “Black Ops” directed against Iran, Lebanon and Syria

by Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 31 May 2007

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?aid=5837&context=va

[19] Bilderberg 2008 Attendee List

American Free Press

http://www.americanfreepress.net/html/bilderberg_list_2008.html

[20] Remarks With Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan After Their Meeting

U.S. Department of State web site, 5 June 2008

http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2008/06/105690.htm

[21] Buyukanit’tan onemli tespitler

Ihlas Haber Ajansi, 5 June 2008

http://www.iha.com.tr/Haber/detay.aspx?nid=24215&cid=8&haber=Buyukanittan-onemli-tespitler

[22] Genelkurmay’in yeni kontrgerilla plani

by Mehmet Baransu, Taraf, 2 June 2008

http://www.taraf.com.tr/haberv.asp?HaberNo=9362

[23] Buyukanit’tan Ilimli Islam aciklamasi

Hurriyet, 5 June 2008

http://arama.hurriyet.com.tr/arsivnews.aspx?id=9105243

[24] The North Atlantic Treaty

NATO web site, 4 April 1949

http://www.nato.int/docu/basictxt/treaty.htm

[25] Bridge or Barrier? Turkey and the West After the Cold War

by Ian O. Lesser, The RAND Corporation, 1992

http://www.rand.org/pubs/reports/2006/R4204.pdf

[26] ABD’de konusulan Turkiye-1

by Nagehan Alci, Aksam, 9 June 2008

http://www.aksam.com.tr/haber.asp?a=120570,11

[27] ‘Turkiye’de sistem cok guclu, bu krizi de kolaylikla cözer’

by Nagehan Alci, Aksam, 19 June 2008

http://www.aksam.com.tr/yazar.asp?a=121357,10,5

[28] The Black Sea oil fields may make Turkey energy independent

by Emrullah Uslu, Jamestown Foundation, 17 June 2008

http://jamestown.org/edm/article.php?article_id=2373153

see

Will Turkey be complicit in another war against another neighbour? by Cem Ertür

Turkey as a US Security Partner: RAND Corporation report

Dems Agree With GOP That Sheilding Telecoms More Important Than Constitution

Satire

Robert

by R J Shulman
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Robert’s blog post
June 21, 2008

WASHINGTON – Today, the House passed a bill that would shield the telecom companies who illegally spied on Americans. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said, “We felt that protecting the telecom companies who followed the President’s request to illegally spy on Americans was as important as protecting us in Congress from unfortunate, embarrassing and shameful calls we made that the telecoms were kind enough to tell us could accidentally be made public by them in the next few weeks.”

“This bill also protects a very important American natural resource,” said Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, “and that resource is the contributions that those of us in Congress get from the giant telecoms.”

Representative Peter Hoekster, Republican of Michigan said, “when we had to weigh the interests of the civil liberties and rights guaranteed by the Constitution versus the rights of the telecoms to make a profit, it’s a no-brainer – the Constitution has got to go.”

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said that the President is pleased with this new version of the wiretapping bill, which secures the right of the President to indiscriminately spy on anyone for any reason. “This new bill allows the President to personally reprimand in a manner of his choosing those that were opposed to his wide-scale eavesdropping or were opposed to him for any reason” said Fratto, “and the good news is, he already knows who they are and exactly where they receive their phone service.”

see

Countdown: Unity on Immunity + McClellan Testimony + John Cusack

Kucinich & Sheila Jackson Lee Arguing Against Changes to FISA + Pelosi’s Support!

Spying on Americans: Democrats Ready to Gut the Constitution To Protect Their “Constituents” – The Telecoms

From Marx to Morales: Indigenous Socialism & the Latin Americanization of Marxism

Dandelion Salad

By John Riddell
http://www.socialistvoice.ca
June 16, 2008

John Riddell is co-editor of Socialist Voice and editor of The Communist International in Lenin’s Time, a six-volume anthology of documents, speeches, manifestos and commentary. This article is based on his talk at the Historical Materialism conference at York University in Toronto on April 26, 2008.

Over the past decade, a new rise of mass struggles in Latin America has sparked an encounter between revolutionists of that region and many of those based in the imperialist countries. In many of these struggles, as in Bolivia under the presidency of Evo Morales, Indigenous peoples are in the lead.

Latin American revolutionists are enriching Marxism in the field of theory as well as of action. This article offers some introductory comments indicating ways in which their ideas are linking up with and drawing attention to important but little-known aspects of Marxist thought.

Eurocentrism

A good starting point is provided by the comment often heard from Latin American revolutionists that much of Marxist theory is marked by a “Eurocentric” bias. They understand Eurocentrism as the belief that Latin American nations must replicate the evolution of Western European societies, through to the highest possible level of capitalist development, before a socialist revolution is possible. Eurocentrism is also understood to imply a stress on the primacy of industrialization for social progress and on the need to raise physical production in a fashion that appears to exclude peasant and Indigenous realities and to point toward the dissolution of Indigenous culture.[1]

Marx’s celebrated statement that “no social order ever perishes before all the productive forces for which there is room in it have developed”[2] is sometimes cited as evidence of a Eurocentric bias in Marxism. Karl Kautsky and Georgi Plekhanov, Marxist theorists of the pre-1914 period, are viewed as classic exponents of this view. Latin American writer Gustavo Pérez Hinojosa quotes Kautsky’s view that “workers can rule only where the capitalist system has achieved a high level of development”[3] — that is, not yet in Latin America.

The pioneer Marxists in Latin American before 1917 shared that perspective. But after the Russian Revolution a new current emerged, now often called “Latin American Marxism.” Argentine theorist Néstor Kohan identifies the pioneer Peruvian Communist José Carlos Mariátegui as its founder. Mariátegui, Kohen says, “opposed Eurocentric schemas and populist efforts to rally workers behind different factions of the bourgeoisie” and “set about recapturing ‘Inca communism’ as a precursor of socialist struggles.”[4]

National subjugation

Pérez Hinojosa and Kohen both take for granted that Latin American struggles today, as in Mariátegui’s time, combine both anti-imperialist and socialist components. This viewpoint links back to the analysis advanced by the Communist International in Lenin’s time of a world divided between imperialist nations and subjugated peoples.[5] Is this framework still relevant at a time when most poor countries have formal independence? The central role of anti-imperialism in recent Latin American struggles would seem to confirm the early Communist International’s analysis.

Pérez Hinojosa tells us that Mariátegui recognized the impossibility of national capitalist development in semi-colonial countries like Peru. The revolution would be “socialist from its beginnings but would go through two stages” in realizing the tasks first of bourgeois democratic and then of socialist revolution. Moreover, the Peruvian theorist held that “this socialist revolution would be marked by a junction with the historic basis of socialization: the Indigenous communities, the survivals of primitive agrarian communism.”[6]

Subsequently, says Kohen, the “brilliant team of the 1920s,” which included Julio Antonio Mella in Cuba, Farabundo Martí in El Salvador, and Augusto Sandino in Nicaragua, “was replaced … by the echo of Stalin’s mediocre schemas in the USSR,” which marked a return to a mechanical “Eurocentrist” outlook.[7]

Writing from the vantage point of Bolivia’s tradition of Indigenous insurgency, Alvaro García Linera attributes Eurocentric views in his country to Marxism as a whole, as expressed by both Stalinist and Trotskyist currents. He states that Marxism’s “ideology of industrial modernisation” and “consolidation of the national state” implied the “‘inferiority’ of the country’s predominantly peasant societies.”[8]

Cuban revolution

In Kohen’s view, the grip of “bureaucratism and dogmatism” was broken “with the rise of the Cuban revolution and the leadership of Castro and Guevara.”[9] Guevara’s views are often linked to those of Mariátegui with regard to the nature of Latin American revolution — in Guevara’s words, either “a socialist revolution or a caricature of a revolution.”[10] That claim was based on convictions regarding the primacy of consciousness and leadership in revolutionary transitions that were also held by Mariátegui.

Guevara also applied this view to his analysis of the Cuban state and of Stalinized Soviet reality. Guevara inveighed against the claim of Soviet leaders of his time that rising material production would bring socialism, despite the political exclusion, suffering, and oppression imposed on the working population.[11] (See “Che Guevara’s Final Verdict on Soviet Economy,” in Socialist Voice, June 9, 2008.)

Marx’s views

In Kohen’s opinion, the Cuban revolution’s leading role continued in the 1970s, when it “revived the revolutionary Marxism of the 1920s (simultaneously anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist) as well as Marx’s more unfamiliar works—above all his later works that study colonialism and peripheral and dependent societies. In these writings Marx overcomes the Eurocentric views of his youth.”[12]

Kohen identifies the insights of the “Late Marx” as follows:

  • History does not follow an unvarying evolutionary path.
  • Western Europe does not constitute a single evolutionary centre through which stages of historical development are radiated outwards to the rest of the world.
  • “Subjugated peoples do not experience ‘progress’ so long as they remain under the boot of imperialism.”[13]

Latin American thought here rests on the mature Marx’s views on capitalism’s impact on colonial societies, such as Ireland. It also intersects with Marx’s late writings and research known to us primarily through Teodor Shanin’s Late Marx and the Russian Road.[14] Shanin’s book can now be usefully reread as a commentary on today’s Latin American struggles.

Marx devoted much of his last decade to study of Russia and of Indigenous societies in North America. His limited writings on these questions focused on the Russian peasant commune, the mir, which then constituted the social foundation of agriculture in that country.

Russia’s peasant communes

The Russian Marxist circle led by Plekhanov, ancestor of the Bolshevik party, believed that the mir was doomed to disappear as Russia was transformed by capitalist development. We now know that Marx did not agree. In a letter to Vera Zasulich, written in 1881 but not published until 1924, he wrote that “the commune is the fulcrum for social regeneration in Russia.” The “historical inevitability” of the evolutionary course mapped out in Capital, he stated, is “expressly restricted to the countries of Western Europe.”[15]

The preliminary drafts of Marx’s letter, included in Shanin’s book, display essential agreement with the view of the revolutionary populist current in Russia, the “People’s Will,” that the commune could coexist harmoniously with a developing socialist economy.[16]

Ethnological Notebooks

These drafts drew on Marx’s extensive studies of Indigenous societies during that period, a record of which is available in his little-known Ethnological Notebooks.[17] We find his conclusions summarized in a draft of his letter to Zasulich: “The vitality of primitive communities was incomparably greater than that of Semitic, Greek, Roman, etc. societies, and, a fortiori, that of modern capitalist societies.”[18]

In her study of these notebooks, Christine Ward Gaily states that where such archaic forms persist, Marx depicts them fundamentally “as evidence of resistance to the penetration of state-associated institutions,” which he views as intrinsically oppressive.[19] The clear implication is that such archaic survivals should be defended and developed.

The Marxists of Lenin’s time were not aware of this evolution in Marx’s thinking. Thus Antonio Gramsci could write, a few weeks after the Russian October uprising, “This is the revolution against Karl Marx’s Capital. In Russia, Marx’s Capital was more the book of the bourgeoisie than of the proletariat.”[20] Yet despite their limited knowledge of Marx’s views, the revolutionary generation of Lenin, Luxemburg, Trotsky, Bukharin, Gramsci, and Lukács reasserted Marx’s revolutionary stance in combat with the “Eurocentrist” view associated with Karl Kautsky and the pre-war Socialist International that socialist revolution must await capitalism’s fullest maturity and collapse.

Shanin generalizes from Marx’s approach to Russia in 1881 in a way that links to a second characteristic of Latin American revolution. “The purest forms of ‘scientific socialism’ … invariably proved politically impotent,” he argues. “It has been the integration of Marxism with the indigenous [i.e. home-grown] political traditions which has underlain all known cases of internally generated and politically effective revolutionary transformation of society by socialists.”[21]

Here we have a second field of correlation with the Latin American revolutionary experience, with its strong emphasis on associating the movement for socialism with the tradition of anti-colonial struggle associated with the figures of the great aboriginal leaders and of Bolívar, Martí, and Sandino. This fusion of traditions emerges as a unique strength of Latin American Marxism.

Mariátegui captured this thought in a well-known passage:

“We certainly do not wish socialism in America to be a copy and imitation. It must be a heroic creation. We must give life to an Indo-American socialism reflecting our own reality and in our own language.”[22]

Following the October revolution of 1917, Marx’s vision of the mir’s potential was realized in practice. The mir had been in decline for decades, and by 1917 half the peasants’ land was privately owned. But in the great agrarian reform of 1917-18, the peasants revived the mir and adopted it as the basic unit of peasant agriculture. During the next decade, peasant communes co-existed constructively with the beginnings of a socialist economy. By 1927, before the onset of Stalinist forced collectivization, 95% of peasant land was already communally owned.[23]

There is a double parallel here with present Latin American experience. First, the Bolsheviks’ alliance with the peasantry is relevant in Latin American countries where the working class, in the strict sense of those who sell their labour power to employers, is often a minority in broad coalitions of exploited producers. Second, survivals of primitive communism, including communal landholding, are a significant factor in Indigenous struggles across this region.

National emancipation

A third correspondence can be found in the Bolsheviks’ practice toward minority peoples of the East victimized and dispossessed by Tsarist Russian settler colonialism. Too often, discussions of the Bolsheviks’ policy on the national question stop short with Stalin and Lenin’s writings of 1913-1916, ignoring the evolution of Bolshevik policy during and after the 1917 revolution. Specifically:

  • The later Bolsheviks did not limit themselves to the criteria of nationhood set out by Stalin in 1913.[24] They advocated and implemented self-determination for oppressed peoples who were not, at the time of the 1917 revolution, crystallized nations or nationalities.
  • They went beyond the concept that self-determination could be expressed only through separation. Instead, they accepted the realization of self-determination through various forms of federation.
  • They implemented self-determination in a fashion that was not always territorial.
  • Their attitude toward the national cultures of minority peoples was not neutral. Instead, they committed substantial political and state resources to planning and encouraging the development of these cultures.[25]

On all these points, the Bolshevik experience closely matches the revolutionary policies toward Indigenous peoples now being implemented in Bolivia and other Latin American countries.

Ecology and materialism

Finally, a word on ecology. The boldest governmental statements on the world’s ecological crisis are coming from Cuba, Bolivia, and other anti-imperialist governments in Latin America.[26] The influence of Indigenous struggles is felt here. Bolivian President Evo Morales points to the leading role of Indigenous peoples, “called upon by history to convert ourselves into the vanguard of the struggle to defend nature and life.”[27]

This claim rests on an approach by many Indigenous movements to ecology that is inherently revolutionary. Most First-World ecological discussion focuses on technical and market devices, such as carbon trading, taxation, and offsets, that aim to preserve as much as possible of a capitalist economic system that is inherently destructive to the natural world. Indigenous movements, by contrast, begin with the demand for a new relationship of humankind to our natural environment, sometimes expressed in the slogan, “Liberate Mother Earth.”[28]

These movements often express their demand using an unfamiliar terminology of ancestral spiritual wisdom — but behind those words lies a worldview that can be viewed as a form of materialism.

In pre-conquest Andean society, says Peruvian Indigenous leader Rosalía Paiva, “Each was a part of all, and all were of the soil. The soil could never belong to us because we are its sons and daughters, and we belong to the soil.”[29]

Bolivian Indigenous writer Marcelo Saavedra Vargas holds that “It is capitalist society that rejects materialism. It makes war on the material world and destroys it. We, on the other hand, embrace the material world, consider ourselves part of it, and care for it.”[30]

This approach is reminiscent of Marx’s thinking, as presented by John Bellamy Foster in Marx’s Ecology. It is entirely appropriate to interpret “Liberate Mother Earth” as equivalent to “close the metabolic rift.”[31]

Hugo Chávez says that in Venezuela, 21st Century Socialism will be based not only on Marxism but also on Bolivarianism, Indigenous socialism, and Christian revolutionary traditions.[32] Latin American Marxism’s capacity to link up in this way with what Shanin calls vernacular revolutionary traditions is a sign of its vitality and promise.

I will conclude with a story told by the Peruvian Marxist and Indigenous leader Hugo Blanco. A member of his community, he tells us, conducted some Swedish tourists to a Quechua village near Cuzco. Impressed by the collectivist spirit of the Indigenous community, one of the tourists commented, “This is like communism.”

“No,” responded their guide, “Communism is like this.”[33]


Related Reading


Footnotes

[1] “Alvaro García Linera, “Indianismo and Marxism” (translated by Richard Fidler), in Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal.
David Bedford, “Marxism and the Aboriginal Question: The Tragedy of Progress,” in Canadian Journal of Native Studies, vol. 14, no. 1 (1994), 102-103.
Hugo Blanco Galdos, letter to the author, December 17, 2007.

[2] Karl Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, in Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, Selected Works, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1969, vol. 1, p. 504.

[3] Gustavo Pérez Hinojosa, “La heterodoxia marxista de Mariátegui.” Rebelión, October 30, 2007..

[4] Néstor Kohan, “El marxismo latinoamericano y la crítica del eurocentrismo,” in Con sangre en las venas, Mexico: Ocean Sur, 2007, pp. 10, 11.

[5] See, for example, V.I. Lenin’s report on the National and Colonial Questions to the Communist International’s second congress, in Collected Works, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1969, vol. 31, pp. 240-41; and the subsequent congress discussion and resolution, in John Riddell, ed., Workers of the World and Oppressed Peoples, Unite!, New York: Pathfinder Press, 1991, vol. 1, pp. 216-290.

[6] Hinojosa, “Mariátegui.”

[7] Kohen, “Eurocentrismo,” p. 10.

[8] García Linera, “Indianismo.”

[9] Kohen, “Eurocentrismo,” p. 10.

[10] Ernesto Che Guevara, “Message to the Tricontinental,” in Che Guevara Reader, Melbourne: Ocean Press, 2003, p. 354.

[11] See, for example, “Algunas reflexiones sobre la transición socialista,” in Ernesto Che Guevara, Apuntes críticos a la Economía Política, Melbourne: Ocean Press, 2006, pp. 9-20.

[12] Kohan, “Eurocentrismo,” pp. 10-11.

[13] Ibid., p. 11

[14] Teodor Shanin, ed., Late Marx and the Russian Road: Marx and the “Peripheries of Capitalism,” New York: Monthly Review Press, 1983.

[15] Shanin, Late Marx, p. 124.

[16] Ibid., p. 12, 102-103.

[17] Lawrence Krader, ed., The Ethnological Notebooks of Karl Marx, Assen, NE: Van Gorcum, 1972.

[18] Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, Collected Works, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1989, vol. 24, pp. 358-59.

[19] Christine Ward Gailey, “Community, State and Questions of Social Evolution in Marx’s Ethnological Notebooks,” in Anthropologica, vol. 45 (2003), pp. 47-48.

[20] Antonio Gramsci, “The Revolution against Das Kapital

[21] Shanin, Late Marx, p. 255.

[22] Marc Becker, “Mariátegui, the Comintern, and the Indigenous Question in Latin America,” in Science & Society, vol. 70 (2006), no. 4, p. 469, quoting from José Carlos Mariátegui, “Anniversario y Balance” (1928).

[23] Moshe Lewin, Russian Peasants and Soviet Power, New York: W.W. Norton, 1968, p. 85.

[24] J.V. Stalin, “Marxism and the National Question,” in Works, Moscow: FLPH, 1954, vol. 2, p. 307.

[25] See Jeremy Smith, The Bolsheviks and the National Question, 1917-23, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999;
John Riddell, “The Russian Revolution and National Freedom.” Socialist Voice, November 1, 2006.

[26] See, for example, Evo Morales, Felipe Perez Roque, “Bolivia and Cuba Address the UN: Radical Action Needed Now to Stop Global Warming.” Socialist Voice, September 26, 2007.

[27] Ibid.

[28] From a presentation by Vilma Amendra of the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca (Colombia) at York University, Friday, January 11, 2008.

[29] Address to Bolivia Rising meeting in Toronto, April 5, 2008.

[30] Interview with Marcelo Saavedra Vargas, April 21, 2008.

[31] John Bellamy Foster, Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature, New York: Monthly Review Press, 2000.

[32] See, for example, speech by Chávez on December 15, 2006, summarized in “Chávez Calls for United Socialist Party of Venezuela.” Socialist Voice, January 11, 2007.

[33] Blanco’s remarks to an informal gathering in Toronto, September 16, 2008.

Socialist Voice is a forum for discussion of today’s struggles of the workers and oppressed from the standpoint of revolutionary Marxism. Readers are encouraged to distribute Socialist Voice as widely as possible.

Fighting Resistance To Voting for Ralph Nader by Joel S. Hirschhorn

Note: although Joel is a featured writer here on Dandelion Salad he wrote this piece for another website as an exclusive, so you’ll have to read the rest of the article there.  Thanks, Lo

by Joel S. Hirschhorn
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
www.foavc.org
June 16, 2008

(Swans – June 16, 2008) In so many ways Ralph Nader deserves to be president of the U.S. more than any Republican or Democratic candidate. For anyone that understands the need to overturn the two-party plutocracy and the corporate money that supports both major parties, Nader is the only credible candidate. He is also the most honest one and the only one that has the best interests of ordinary Americans as his highest priority. Yet most of the millions of independents and progressives that are disillusioned with the two major parties will probably not vote for him in November. Here is the case why the two most prevalent reasons they will use are without merit.

…continued

Continue reading

Czech Republic opposes US Missile Shield in Eastern Europe

Dandelion Salad

Global Research
June 19, 2008

WARSAW, June 19 (RIA Novosti) – The Czech opposition has gathered over 100,000 signatures in support of a proposal to hold a national referendum on the placement of a U.S. early-warning radar in the Czech Republic, an opposition spokesperson said on Thursday.

The agreement between Prague and Washington, which was officially approved by the Czech government on May 21, is expected be ratified by the end of 2008.

The document will be put forward for ratification to parliament together with a second agreement on deployment terms and conditions for U.S. service personal, which should be ready by early July when U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is due to visit Prague to sign the documents.

Spokeswoman Ivona Novomestskà also said the opposition was preparing a protest rally in the center of Prague upon Rice’s arrival on July 9-10.

Around two-thirds of the Czech population are against the radar plans, according to an April opinion poll.

There is also considerable opposition to the deployment plan in the Czech parliament, with the leading opposition force, the Social Democratic Party, demanding a public discussion on the issue.

Russia sees the proposed Central European shield as a potential threat to national security, and believes it would destroy the strategic balance of forces in Europe.

© Copyright, Global Research, 2008, RIA Novosti

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9394

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Things Heating Up In Europe Around U.S. Radar Base by Bruce Gagnon

Step By Step Into The Swamp by Michael Faulkner

Dandelion Salad

by Michael Faulkner
TPJ
June 20, 2008

Following last month’s disastrous by-election result, the dwindling band of New Labour supporters must have ardently wished that the summer would bring some relief from their troubles. But just as the weather, in the south of England at least, has remained dismal for the time of year, so there has been no let-up in the slings and arrows of misfortune that have rained upon the government. When George W. Bush pays his final official visit to this country tomorrow, the most unpopular president in US history will be greeted by the most unpopular prime minister of modern times. They should have much to commiserate with each other about.

The events of the past three days (11th – 14th June) have remorselessly exposed the government’s plight. On Wednesday Gordon Brown won a pyrrhic victory over the opposition in a parliamentary vote to allow the police to hold terrorist suspects for 42 days without charge. The outcome was extraordinary. The government won the vote by a majority of 9. This was achieved only because the Democratic Unionist Party (the Ulster Protestants – the most reactionary party in parliament), one maverick Tory and one member of the Xenophobic UK Independence Party, voted with the government. All other parties voted against. Until just before the division (in which members of parliament file into the “yes” or “no” lobbies), the outcome was uncertain. Had the DUP voted against, the government would have been defeated and Brown would possibly have been forced to resign. The enticements and arm-twisting that went into achieving this pitiful outcome were shabby even by the standards of this shop-worn administration. The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, described the behind-the-scenes manoeuvring as “a victory for pork barrel politics and nothing to do with principle.” Diane Abbott, one of the 36 Labour MPs who voted against the government, depriving it of its natural majority, accused the prime minister of “trading ancient civil liberties in a grubby bazaar.” She said that Gordon Brown, in an attempt to win her vote, had spoken to her for the first time in twenty years. The DUP’s vote was apparently bought by the promise of an extra £1.2bn for Northern Ireland.

An obvious question is, why was it considered necessary to introduce such legislation anyway. The police in Britain can already hold suspects for 28 days without charging them. This is far longer than the law allows in any other country claiming to be a democracy. Some comparisons are instructive. In Australia the limit is 12 days; Turkey: 7.5.days; Ireland: 7 days; France: 6 days; Spain: 5 days; Germany: 2 days; USA: 2 days.

All informed opinion is opposed to such draconian powers, which are rightly seen as further eroding Britain’s already battered civil liberties. In accordance with parliamentary procedure, the legislation will have to be debated by the second chamber (the House of Lords), where it is certain to be rejected, leading to a prolonged battle between the government and the Lords. There can be only one explanation for Brown’s stubborn determination to push for the 42 days. He desperately needed something to help him recover some credibility with the electorate. According to some polls, up to 69% of the public supports detention of terrorist suspects without charge for 42 days. Needless to say, opinions are very different if the question is posed in terms of depriving people of their civil liberties. Brown could claim that he had the public on his side on this issue. He hoped thereby to wrong-foot the Tories, and claw back some much needed support: in other words, a cynical, opportunistic ploy which says a great deal about his much vaunted high moral principles.

The majority of Labour MPs who voted for the 42 day detention emerge from this without honour. Most of them, one may be sure, did so against their consciences. This makes their action all the more reprehensible. They have forfeited any right ever again to be taken seriously on any issue of importance. One of the more bizarre ironies in the bartering that preceded the vote, concerned the EU sanctions against Cuba. The government apparently agreed to help lift the sanctions, which, until now it has supported. How many Labour MPs opposed to the sanctions were induced to vote for the 42 days, is not clear.

In another bizarre spin-off from the 42 day detention vote, David Davis, Tory “shadow”* home secretary, resigned his seat in the House of Commons on Friday. His decision has been greeted with amazement, not least in his own party. He has announced his intention to fight a by-election on the question of erosion of civil liberties in Britain. At the time of writing it is still not clear whether there may be other less obvious motives behind his decision. But whatever the case may be, his action is unprecedented. His colleagues in the Tory Party, especially his leader, David Cameron, are less than enamoured. He intends to stand for election again in his own constituency in the expectation that the Labour Party will be obliged to stand against him with a candidate supportive of the 42 day detention period.

Initially, Brown’s reaction to Davis’s eccentric decision was one of barely disguised glee at what was perceived to be a colossal blunder that would back-fire on the Tories. It was announced that Labour would not field a candidate against Davis. Obviously, the intention was to reduce the whole enterprise to a farce. This assessment seemed to be confirmed when Kelvin Mackenzie, former editor of Rupert Murdoch’s the Sun (most scurrilous and reactionary of the tabloid newspapers) announced, after being persuaded by Murdoch, that he would stand against Davis in support of government policy. He said that Sun readers were happy with locking people up for 42 days – and would probably support 442 days, or more. Whatever may be the sentiments of Sun readers, it seems that Davis has a great deal of public support. He may have succeeded in bringing the question of civil liberties to public attention in a way that has not so far been done.

Labour may have to reconsider their decision not to field candidate against him, but, should they do so, it may be difficult to find anyone from their ranks prepared to defend government policy. Indeed, one rebel Labour MP, Bob Marshall-Andrews has just announced his intention to campaign for Davis in the by-election. Should others join him it would face Gordon Brown with a serious dilemma. Members of the Labour Party who campaign for opponents of Labour, face expulsion from the party. But, if Labour is not fielding a candidate, Marshall-Andrews could claim that he is campaigning in defence of civil liberties. If, in such circumstances, he (and possibly others) challenges Brown to expel him, it is likely to precipitate an even greater crisis in Labour ranks. In my view, this is a prospect to be relished.

The Lisbon Treaty

To add to Brown’s woes during the past three days, Ireland has rejected the Lisbon Treaty, which was intended to usher in new constitutional arrangements for the European Union. This is a severe blow to the aspirations of EU governments for greater integration and centralisation. Twenty six of the twenty seven members have already endorsed the Treaty, which, in all but name is a revamped constitution. The Irish rejection, in a referendum held last Friday, has thrown the whole European enterprise into disarray. The margin of defeat was substantial  – No:53.6. Yes:46.4. Quite apart from the wider European implications of this referendum, which are extremely serious, it has a direct bearing on British politics. Ireland is the only member of the EU whose constitution required the treaty to be put to a referendum. There is no such constitutional requirement in the UK, but, prior to the 2005 election; the Labour Party promised in its manifesto that any proposed new EU constitution would be put to a referendum here. The government’s failure to hold a referendum last year prior to Brown’s signature of the treaty in Lisbon, was widely criticised. The government’s claim that the Lisbon Treaty was not a constitution convinced no-one. It is widely believed that had there been a referendum in Britain, the treaty would have been decisively rejected. It seems very likely that this would have been the outcome in many other member states.

It has been suggested that the Irish electorate have voted frivolously in rejecting the treaty, because they did not know what they were voting for. But this argument cuts two ways. It is true that the treaty is little understood due to its labyrinthine clauses and complexity. This seems a very good reason for rejecting it. The real problem for EU governments, who had confidently expected to celebrate the adoption of the treaty next week, is that it has to be endorsed unanimously. It cannot now be adopted and they do not know what to do. The treaty is now in the final stages of its ratification process in the House of Lords. Brown is under great pressure from Merkel and Sarkozy to proceed with ratification. Apparently he has reassured them that he will.

Where does this leave the small matter of democracy? There should be no room for doubt on the matter. The Lisbon Treaty should be dead in the water as it has not received the unanimous endorsement of all member states. Furthermore, the Irish referendum has, arguably, exposed the undemocratic nature of the process by which the treaty has been endorsed elsewhere. Now, it can only be adopted by ignoring the rules by which the game was supposed to be played. The fact that this does not seem to trouble many of those who advocate pressing ahead regardless, tells us a lot about their commitment to democratic principles. But perhaps we should not be surprised.

Footnotes

*Shadow Home Secretary. In the British political system, the largest opposition party in parliament establishes a shadow cabinet. Its members constitute a ‘government in waiting.’

‘Shadow’ ministers are appointed by the leader of the opposition. The ‘shadow home secretary’ opposes the government’s home secretary in parliamentary debates.

Bush in London. Bush is in London. He chose to have breakfast with Tony Blair prior to his meeting with Gordon Brown later today. Two lame ducks will confer. A foretaste of the profundity of the President’s thoughts and the eloquence of his words was provided in an interview he gave yesterday to the Observer in Rome where he was conferring with his other good friend, Berlusconi. He was proud, he said, to have freed 50 million from barbarism, and he had no regrets for anything he had done. This is a thought he shares with Blair. On Saddam Hussein he said ‘We didn’t realise, nor did anyone else, that Saddam Hussein felt like he needed to play like he had weapons of mass destruction. It may have been, however, that in his mind all this was just a bluff…that the world wasn’t serious.’

TPJ is not subject to copyright. Anyone is welcome to freely quote and use material from TPJ. In reproducing or using material from the TPJ proper attribution is appreciated.

see

The Irish People have spoken. Lisbon Is Dead

The Real Face of the EU + End of Nations – EU Takeover & the Lisbon Treaty (videos)

Bush says goodbye to Britain

Bush Says Farewell To Europe, Continent Prepares For The End

Iran: Stop nukes by bombing oil wells, neocons suggest

Dandelion Salad

By Raed Rafei in Beirut
ICH
06/20/08 “LA Times

Why attack Iran’s nuclear facilities when striking their oil infrastructure would be much more effective in the scope of a US-led preventive war? Sure, oil prices might skyrocket and the world economy might collapse. But, hey, that’s the price you pay for security.

Such a scenario is not a nightmare or an outtake from a remake of Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove,” but part of a serious recommendation made by two neoconservatives in case sanctions fail to persuade Iran to abandon its enrichment of uranium, a process that can be used to make nuclear weapons or fuel for peaceful energy production.

…continued

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Bomb Iran? What’s to Stop Us? By Ray McGovern

Iran

Bill Moyers Journal: Traces of the Trade + Neo-slavery + Race in America

Dandelion Salad

Bill Moyers Journal
June 20, 2008

Traces of the Trade Preview

BILL MOYERS JOURNAL presents a special preview of the documentary which opens the 21st season of P.O.V. TRACES OF THE TRADE: A STORY OF THE DEEP NORTH tells the story journey of discovery into the history and consequences of slavery. In this bicentennial year of the U.S. abolition of the slave trade, one might think the tragedy of African slavery in the Americas has been exhaustively told. Katrina Browne thought the same, until she discovered that her slave-trading ancestors from Rhode Island were not an aberration. Rather, they were just the most prominent actors in the North’s vast complicity in slavery, buried in myths of Northern innocence.

…continued plus video and transcript

Douglas Blackmon on Neo-slavery

Many Americans are not familiar with Juneteenth — but now 29 states recognize the 19th of June as a state holiday. Juneteenth commemorates the 1865 day that General Gordon Granger of the Union Army sailed into Galveston, Texas and read General Order #3, announcing that “all slaves are free.” It was a full two and a half years after slaves in rebel territories had been freed by The Emancipation Proclamation.

…continued plus video and transcript

Patterson and Loury on Race in America

As many Americans celebrate “Juneteenth,” a special day of recognition commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, BILL MOYERS JOURNAL examines racial inequality in America through the prisms of the legacy of slavery and the current socio-economic landscape. Historical and cultural sociologist Orlando Patterson and Glenn C. Loury, an economist and expert on race and social division offer their perspectives in this ground breaking electoral year.

…continued plus video and transcript

Moyers on Juneteenth

Finally, some historical footnotes as we close the JOURNAL. Two weekends from now, we’ll celebrate the Fourth of July and America’s Declaration of Independence from Britain in 1776. Thirty years later, Britain and the United States each abolished the slave trade. But despite the official ban on importation, slavery continued in America another 60 years — only to be followed after the Civil War, as you just heard, by another hundred years of oppression.

…continued plus video and transcript

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Modern Day Slavery in the Rainforest by Malcolm

“When they say it’s not about the money…”

‘Guest workers’ or modern slavery? by Peter Boyle

Prisons – a new form of slavery (video)

Challenging Authority: The Role of Social Movements