Dec 19, 2010

Assange

Mr. Julian Assange, of WiikiLeaks, most strikingly resembles the Chinese gentleman skipping backwards in front of the advancing tank in the Tianmen Square events in China of a few years ago.

Mr. Linton Kwesi Johnson, of Brixton, UK was unquestionably correct: “There are wicked men in the seats of judgement.” We now have documentary evidence.

“The devil, that prowde spirit, can not endure to be mocked” says Martin Luther, and mocked he certainly has been. The fury of the movers and shakers, as they see themselves, is palpable, vindictive, and boundless. How dare the Irish vote seventy five per cent for independence – Send in the Black and Tans.

The demonstration that the most powerful state in the world, as they see themselves, can be, in a sense, brought to a shuddering halt, reduced to forbidding its citizens to read the daily papers, that even a single person can do it, is an unbearable humiliation. “The flame at the center of your being is more powerful than any government or king.” (Dean_Saor)

A brave man. The most ominous comment made by him was at the end of a recent interview, when asked if he expected to win his bout against the world’s super power. “That’s up to you,” he said. And so it is.

Dec 15, 2010

ForBetterForWorse

http://www.merip.org/mero/interventions/kholoussyINT.htm

Interventions: A Middle East Report Online Feature

The Fiction (and Non-Fiction) of Egypt’s Marriage Crisis Hanan Kholoussy December 2010

(Hanan Kholoussy, an assistant professor of history and Middle East studies at the American University in Cairo, is author of For Better, For Worse: The Marriage Crisis That Made Modern Egypt [Stanford, 2010].)

In August 2006, a 27-year old pharmacist started blogging anonymously about her futile hunt for a husband in Mahalla al-Kubra, an industrial city 60 miles north of Cairo in the Nile Delta. Steeped in satirical humor, the blog of this “wannabe bride” turned into a powerful critique of everything that is wrong with how middle-class Egyptians meet and marry. The author poked fun at every aspect of arranged marriage -- from the split-second decisions couples are expected to make after hour-long meetings about their lifetime compatibility to the meddling relatives and nosy neighbors who introduce them to each other. She joked about her desperation to marry in a society that stigmatizes single women over the age of 30. She ridiculed bachelors for their unrealistic expectations and inflated self-images while sympathizing with the exorbitant financial demands placed on would-be husbands. Thirty suitors and four years later, the pharmacist remains proudly single at 32, refusing to settle for just any man.

Ghada Abdel Aal has taken Egypt by storm -- its blogosphere, its literary scene, its television lineup and even its image abroad. Blogging in colloquial Egyptian Arabic and peppering her slang with the pop culture references of youth, Abdel Aal quickly attracted a large following. The hits on the witty website have surpassed a half million.[1] Her tragicomic tales of matchmaking mishaps became so popular that Egypt’s powerhouse publisher Dar al-Shorouq tracked her down to offer a book deal. A year and a half after she first posted in cyberspace, ‘Ayiza Atgawwiz (I Want to Get Married) debuted at the Cairo International Book Fair in January 2008. Less than three years later, the book was adapted into an Egyptian television series with the same name. To date, ‘Ayiza Atgawwiz has been translated into Italian, German, Dutch and, most recently, English.

Divided into 25 brief chapters that showcase her best blog entries, the book describes Abdel Aal’s encounters with ten different suitors. Each suitor gets his own chapter, with each encounter preceded and followed by a chapter or two of commentary. No subject is sacred: Abdel Aal discusses police brutality, al-Qaeda and the peccadilloes of politicians, as well as sexual harassment and dating, a phenomenon dimly acknowledged in Egypt beyond Westernized elite circles. Her parade of suitors includes a thief who cons her into loaning him money before making a fast getaway, a polygamist who proposes with his two wives looking on, a detective who checks out her family through a full-blown police investigation, and an avid soccer fan who watches a game during their first meeting and walks out because her family cheers for the opposing team. Most of these episodes are drawn from her own experiences, although Abdel Aal admits she occasionally borrowed friends’ stories or embellished her own for entertainment’s sake. And entertain she has. In a country where books are an increasingly hard sell, ‘Ayiza Atgawwiz was an instant bestseller. It has already gone through six printings. The book made such a big splash in Egypt that Western media giants like the BBC and the Washington Post reported on the sensation.

Parodies with a Point

Throughout her rapid rise to stardom, Abdel Aal has ignited controversy. Egyptian literary critics who value formal Arabic are offended that her very vernacular blog is considered a literary contribution worthy of translation. Many men are affronted by her parodies of suitors’ behavior and accuse her of being a publicity hound. Many women, too, are uncomfortable with Abdel Aal’s expressed anxiety about marrying and her derision at experiences that may be all too familiar. Elders are dismayed by her mockery of matchmaking practices that are deeply embedded in social norms. But the overwhelming majority of her readers, young and middle- to upper-class, find the book hilarious, appreciate the slang and agree with her critique of the customs and costs of Egyptian marriage. As a result, the broadcast version of ‘Ayiza Atgawwiz was one of the most anticipated shows of Ramadan -- the hottest television season in Egypt and the Arab world.

Boasting a famous cast, including Hind Sabri, Sawsan Badr and Ahmad al-Saqqa, ‘Ayiza Atgawwiz was one of the three most watched of the 40-odd new shows that aired during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which in 2010 occurred in August and September. Framed as a sitcom, the show reached a much broader audience than the book has, both outside Egypt and inside Egypt, where more than half of the population cannot read or write. Its broadcast as a Ramadan serial cemented the book’s status as a cultural watershed -- another coup for a small-town blogger from the Delta.

Although half of the sitcom’s 30 episodes came straight from the book and Abdel Aal co-wrote the screenplay, the show did not live up to the expectations of many of her readers. Some were disappointed with Hind Sabri, in her first comedic role as the professionally successful but hopelessly single main character ‘Ula, a 29-year old pharmacist. They faulted Sabri for exaggerated facial expressions, body language and intonation, and for telegraphing the jokes while failing to provide a sense of character development. Others found ‘Ula’s aggressiveness in pursuit of marriage unrealistic and the satire overly broad. In one episode that did not come from the book, for example, ‘Ula poisons her best friend and colleague to prevent her from attending a professional conference teeming with potential grooms.

A few readers were upset that the serial did not relay the book’s more serious underlying message. In the book, amidst her failures at finding a husband, Abdel Aal pauses to ponder the injustice of the social pressure on women to marry: “Society needs to stop confining women solely to the role of bride. Because when things fall apart…they feel like worthless good-for-nothings, and they sit and complain, like I’m doing to you right now…. If I don’t get married and if I don’t have children and if I can’t follow society’s grand plan, I will always have my independent nature and I will always have my own life and I will never be…a good-for-nothing.”[2] By contrast, Abdel Aal’s televised persona ‘Ula is so swept up in the race to matrimony, at the expense of friendships and dignity, that she offers no such profound reflections despite regular soliloquies to the camera.

Anxieties Underneath

These criticisms reveal the underlying discomfort that many Egyptians, regardless of age, gender or class, feel with the sensitive subject that the show shallowly addresses. Some are disquieted by Abdel Aal’s more nuanced textual narrative as well. The depiction of a single woman’s quest for a partner makes many uneasy because Abdel Aal effectively reverses the active-passive binary that has historically dictated the rules of marriage in Egypt: Men choose while women comply. The strict division of gender roles is even reflected in the verbs used to describe the act of marriage in Egyptian dialect: A man marries (yigawwiz) while a woman is married off (titgawwiz).

In the typical Egyptian marriage, it is the prospective groom who actively pursues a potential bride. If he has not already found one on his own, then it is he, often with his mother, who visits his intended and her family (traditionally in their living room, which is why arranged marriage is referred to as gawaz al-salonat, or living-room marriage, in Egyptian argot). It is he who decides if she would make a suitable wife, and he who meets with her father (or male guardian) to negotiate the fiscal provisions of the match. The groom is the one who shoulders almost all of the financial burdens (though rarely without the help of his parents or other economic assistance). His future wife may or may not be present during these negotiations, and may or may not express her opinion about the decisions. But the legal institutions and socioeconomic structures that support marriage are set up in a way that reinforces this gendered arrangement across class divisions. Though many Egyptian women, especially among the upper classes, choose their own spouses or at least have much more say in whom they marry, few do so without their fathers’ consent. Most brides’ fathers (or, in their absence, uncles or brothers) sign their marriage contracts as proxies, further reinforcing the degree to which patriarchal norms govern the practice of marriage.

Abdel Aal’s fame is due to her sharp and funny writing, to be sure, but just as much to her timing. In 2008, around the time of her book’s publication, a spate of articles bemoaning a “marriage crisis” in Egypt appeared in the local and international press. These articles identified a growing number of Egyptian men who could not afford marriage because of its extravagant costs, blaming women and their parents for their unreasonable financial expectations of would-be grooms hit hard by the worldwide economic crisis. Egypt’s high rates of inflation and unemployment, matched with unprecedented shortages of affordable housing, took on a more sinister cast: These economic worries were keeping young men from achieving the most basic of rights -- the right to marry.

There is no doubt that marriage burdens an Egyptian groom with staggering costs. The pricey wedding celebration, dower and down payments to establish the household are the foretaste of decades of spousal and child support. For many young urban men, particularly from the struggling middle and lower middle classes, these expenses can be so steep as to deter them from seeking a bride well into their thirties. But the stream of news coverage offered little insight into how the “marriage crisis” affected women. Nor did it provide convincing evidence that there was a genuine crisis, that is, a significant erosion of the ability to marry. Journalists and analysts initially cited a vague 2007 Brookings Institution statistic that nearly 50 percent of Middle Eastern men aged 25 to 29 were single.[3] A year later, however, Navtej Dhillon, who had directed the two-year research project that produced this figure, announced a “noteworthy” reversal in the trend of delayed marriage in Egypt: Men born in 1976 were marrying at the median age of 26 years.[4] Similarly, in 2009, the head of Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics retracted his own agency’s report that the 2006 census had shown the number of single Egyptian women to be 5.7 million. He revised the estimate to only a few hundred thousand amidst the media brouhaha.[5]

More significant than the accuracy of these statistics or their subsequent retraction is the perception that a marriage crisis menaces Egypt. Western analysts, Muslim Brothers, academics and laypeople have all weighed in: What are the implications of large numbers of bachelors for national and international security? Might the young men be lured by Islamist opposition groups, which provide interest-free loans and officiate mass weddings to facilitate marriage? How might they vote in elections in which Islamists and others inveigh against the dearth of legitimate unions? The engagement of these questions in the press reveals a great deal about Egyptian men and women (as well as outside observers): Marriage, it seems, is regarded as a barometer of the nation’s social progress, political wellbeing and economic health. The “marriage crisis” is about much more than matrimony. It serves as a platform for debate about materialism, privatization, social customs, unemployment, gender roles, Islamism and the performance of the government. Contrary to commentators’ beliefs, furthermore, the marriage crisis is not a phenomenon unique to twenty-first-century Egypt. In decades past, anxieties over marriage have peaked whenever Egypt finds itself in the midst of socioeconomic and political upheaval.

Taking Back Spinsterhood

What distinguishes this latest round of marriage crisis debate is its coincidence with the popularity of ‘Ayiza Atgawwiz, a voice that claims to speak on behalf of single women. In her blog profile, Abdel Aal identified herself as one of Egypt’s 15 million single women between the ages of 25 to 35. Though she does not reveal how she obtained this improbable number, she does something far more powerful and provocative than add a statistic to the hubbub. She coopts the slur “spinster” and proclaims herself a spokesperson for this constituency. In doing so, Abdel Aal exposes the implicit threat concealed within the discussion of the marriage crisis affecting men: the fate of a nation full of unwed women in a society where marriage is the only legitimate outlet for sexual activity, particularly for women. As throughout the twentieth century, the press debates on the marriage crisis have focused overwhelmingly on bachelors and their reasons for not marrying. Rather than ask women why they are not marrying, analysts have assumed that they must be the main reason for men’s abstention from marriage and thus a persistent obstacle to the course of nature. These female thirty-somethings are said to be materialistic, and too career-oriented, educated or “liberated” to make proper wives, not because they wish it so, but because men could not possibly choose them as partners. A single woman like Abdel Aal, who has made a career of explaining why she is not married, reverses the gender roles that maintain the social order. If throngs of single and not-so-young women like her are actively resisting marriage, they may be more subversive to the nation than the bachelors and their supposedly inadequate pool of potential brides.

Abdel Aal is aware that her simultaneous determination to marry and refusal to settle for just any suitor challenges social conventions. She begins her book by acknowledging, “This whole subject of marriage, suitors and delayed marriage is a really sensitive subject. It’s hard to find anyone who talks about it honestly. Especially girls. Because girls who talk about this honestly are either seen as crass and badly raised, or as obsessed with getting married. Either that or as old maids who can’t find anyone to marry them.” Like her audience, Abdel Aal seems unaware that she is not the first in Egypt’s long history of women’s rights activism to castigate the institution of arranged marriage or advocate for a woman’s right to choose her life partner.

Since the inception of the women’s press in the 1890s, Egyptian women (and men) have reproached fathers for marrying their daughters off to men without their consent. They have also condemned the custom of arranged marriage for preventing the prospective couple from getting to know one another before marriage. Most of these critical voices framed their arguments as providing a service to the nation and its sons. According to these commentators, men were in dire need of being better acquainted with women, so that they might find suitable companions, women who could, for example, assist in giving children (especially boys) a modern education. The colonial nation, in turn, was in need of successful marriages that would serve as a strong base of unity in the anti-colonial struggle against the British and then form the foundation for independence. Few writers asserted the right of women to choose a mate for their own sakes like Abdel Aal does. Nor did they suggest that women should marry freely and without their fathers’ consent.

Nowhere in her book, however, does Abdel Aal advocate for women’s ability to marry against their fathers’ will and never does she condemn marriage itself. As the title of her books makes clear, Abdel Aal wants to get married. She is merely saying that she does not want to settle for the first caller with a furnished flat; she demands her right to get to know her suitor to make sure he is right for her. And if she never finds a partner, she is asking society to respect her nonetheless. She writes, “A thirties girl has been employed for seven or eight years, seen all sorts of people, understood all sorts of people…. It has given her experience, a certain outlook on things, and it’s made her demand things of a future husband that go beyond the dreams of a girl in her twenties…. A thirties girl has held down jobs, has made money, and she doesn’t need a man to support her financially anymore, so it’s not likely that she’ll be impressed with an apartment or jewelry or a car…. Anyone who thinks thirties girls are desperate and will settle for anything needs to read this over again and think again.” While other Egyptian women might not say these things out loud or so forcefully, many agree with her, judging by her fan mail and the comments on her blog. Abdel Aal even inspired a few, like Yumna Mukhtar and ‘Abir Sulayman, to launch Facebook groups and blogs in support of single women.

The Interpreters

Western journalists who have been reporting on Abdel Aal’s blog-turned-bestseller-turned-hit-sitcom paint her as a feminist. Although a “traditionalist who covers her hair,” Abdel Aal daringly “lifts the veil”[6] on patriarchal marital customs that oppress women who are just “beginning to find their voice”[7] in a society where many “still regard marrying for love as slightly shameful.”[8] NPR went so far as to brand Abdel Aal “Carrie Bradshaw in a headscarf,” invoking the column-writing lead character of the HBO comedy-drama Sex and the City. This linear depiction of Arab and Muslim women as oppressed second-class citizens breaking an age-old silence is not new in the Western media. It is drawn from a historically rooted discourse of the “other” that predates even the colonial era. This narrative often fails to see the complex positions of Arab and Muslim women and their forms of agency within the patriarchal societies in which they live. The same reporters who make simplistic assumptions about the uniqueness of Abdel Aal do not seem to hear her when she tells them, “In Egypt, I think the women are stronger than the men, and have bigger personalities.”[9]

Given Abdel Aal’s introduction in the Western media, it will be interesting to see how the English translation of her book will be received in the United States. Published by the University of Texas Press, I Want to Get Married! was released in October 2010. The paperback is the first installment in an “Emerging Voices from the Middle East” series that seeks to translate “daring and innovative works” by “new authors…who are at the cutting edge of Middle Eastern culture.” Introduced by series editor Tarek El-Ariss, I Want to Get Married! is translated by Nora Eltahawy, an Egyptian writer who earned her bachelor’s degree from the American University in Cairo and is pursuing her master’s degree in comparative literature at Texas. Excluding the eight pages of introduction and translator’s note, the 160-page paperback follows the same format as the original Arabic text. In her translator’s note, Eltahawy provides background on Abdel Aal and discusses the challenges she encountered in rendering Abdel Aal’s slang-filled Arabic into English.

It was no easy feat. Eltahawy used a variety of strategies to try to capture Abdel Aal’s seamless oscillation between Egyptian colloquial and formal Modern Standard Arabic, as well as the transliterated English phrases replete with American and Arab pop culture references and the tone that drips sarcasm and sincerity in equal measure. The translation, unfortunately, renders Abdel Aal’s writing as choppy, rambling and awkward. Eltahawy explains she aimed “to present the particularities of Abdel Aal’s story free of exoticizing and of a literalness of language that would have overburdened the translation with footnotes.” Yet Eltahawy provides 70-odd footnotes in the short book to parse Arab sayings and customs for the American reader, and in many places she translates Abdel Aal’s language too literally without finding the equivalent American expression. For example, when Abdel Aal observes that many Egyptian women today want to find themselves and establish their careers before they marry, Eltahawy conveys these concepts via word-for-word renditions of the Arabic phrases, “building my future” and “achieve self-realization.”

Bilingual audiences who read the original blog or book will appreciate Eltahawy’s efforts although they will not enjoy the English version as fully, since many of the nuances and local humor are lost in translation. For example, in one of her most popularly recounted tales, Abdel Aal describes how embarrassed she was when her handsome colleague and crush, the only male druggist among 14 single female counterparts in her office, smiles at her: “And I basked in the glow of that smile until I was rendered temporarily blind by its brightness…. Everyone was staring -- and suddenly my body was drowning in its own sweat. The amount of sweat that I perspired in that moment could’ve solved the drought problem in Ethiopia. And I don’t even want to tell you about my face. My face was so red that if you’d painted a 22 on it, people would’ve thought it was Abou Treika’s soccer jersey.” Hilarious in the original Arabic, the excerpt falls flat in English, even though (or perhaps partly because) it is followed by a footnote explaining who Abou Treika is. American readers unaccustomed to the dramatic flair and politically incorrect humor of Egyptian colloquial Arabic (or the mania for the soccer hero who plays for Ahli, the more widely beloved of Egypt’s two major clubs, and famously lifted his jersey during an Africa Cup match to reveal “Sympathize with Gaza” on the t-shirt underneath) probably will not find this passage funny.

Although published by a university press, the book’s jacket evokes an American chick-lit novel. Subtitled as “One Wannabe Bride’s Misadventures with Handsome Houdinis, Technicolor Grooms, Morality Police and Other Mr. Not-Quite-Rights,” the book has a blurb on the back cover claiming that it “presents a realistic picture of what it means to be a single young woman in the Arab world, where, like elsewhere, a good man can be hard to find.” The team behind the English version should be commended for its endeavor to bring Abdel Aal’s story to an American audience that does not have much direct exposure to Arab and Muslim women living in the Middle East. It is also noteworthy that the editor and translator were careful not to mystify Abdel Aal or her encounters by pointing out that women elsewhere are searching for Mr. Right and are forced to deal with the pressures to marry. In some ways, the adventures of the pharmacist from Mahalla al-Kubra are indeed akin to Carrie Bradshaw’s. “But without the sex. It’s just the city,” Abdel Aal laughingly agreed in response to the NPR interviewer making the comparison.

The cover of I Want to Get Married! announces the title in a feminine cursive font on a pistachio-colored background with a cartoon of a pretty young woman with shoulder-length brown hair sitting before her laptop, a mouse in one hand and a huge, sparkling diamond engagement ring on the other, daydreaming of a sexy white wedding dress and matching heels, a three-tiered white wedding cake and a bridal bouquet of white flowers. As one astute blogger points out, the cover screams: “This is any (Western-friendly) woman’s story! This is a fun book! This is not a foreign book! This is a book that could be about any brunette.”[10] The woman on the jacket is notably unveiled, like the woman on the Egyptian cover and ‘Ula of the Ramadan sitcom. None of these depictions come close to capturing Abdel Aal, who, like most Muslim women in contemporary Egypt, wears a headscarf. In comparison to her Egyptian representations, however, the American cover image is the least fraught. The voluptuous femme fatale on the Egyptian book cover and the dowdy TV character of ‘Ula suggest that only a sexy seductress or a desperate plain Jane would aggressively pursue marriage. A proper Egyptian woman, especially one who dons a headscarf, ostensibly would never actively seek out a man.

The various Egyptian and Western interpreters of Abdel Aal’s story seem to be intentionally disguising the unsettling reality about her: She totally upends everyone’s preconceptions about veiled middle-class Egyptian women. To many Egyptians, a woman, especially a middle-class veiled one who is a product of the public school system and a government bureaucrat from the Delta, should not be publicizing her desire to marry and condemning Egyptian customs and men for thus far preventing her from finding a true companion. While Egyptians are accustomed to feminists and women’s activists, who have been publicly and harshly rebuking customs and practices they find oppressive for more than a century, these women are easy to classify (even if incorrectly) in one of two categories -- secular Westernized radicals or conservative Islamist activists. Abdel Aal does not fit neatly into either mold. While her socioeconomic and political critiques are not new, her tactic of disguising them in tongue-in-cheek slang is original. The satirical mode not only enabled Abdel Aal to get away with her rather biting criticisms, it also afforded her fortune and fame in doing so, which she admits have made her prospects of marriage in Egypt even slimmer because men fear they will end up as characters in her next book. Her detractors -- among them a commentator on her blog who suggested someone marry her to shut her up at long last -- see marriage as an institution that disciplines women into submission. Abdel Aal’s refusal to shut up has at least temporarily and in this instance reversed the conventional hierarchy of marriage. This hierarchy is premised on women’s subordination to -- not their disruption of -- the normative order in which men seek and women comply, men provide and women consume, men speak out and women remain silent.

Is Abdel Aal a daring feminist arguing against her own society’s stigmatization of single women? Is she another chick-lit author writing about the universal search for love? Is she a veiled traditionalist who is simply desperate to be a bride? Is she a writer whose script represents the cutting edge of Arabic literature and belongs in a university press series with such ambitions? Readers should pick up a copy of I Want to Get Married!, try to overlook the redundancies and roughly translated, cheesy humor, and decide for themselves. Hopefully, they will hear Abdel Aal telling her story in her own voice rather than through the filter of one media representation or another. If they do, they will come to the conclusion that she is none of the above. Abdel Aal defies both Egyptian and Western stereotypes of Arab and Muslim women, especially how they are supposed to think and act. The thing is that she is not unique. She just happened to blog about the thoughts and experiences that many women before her and around her share. Like women everywhere who face the pressure to conform, keep quiet or behave passively, Abdel Aal employs subtlety to deliver her message. The reader (of the original Arabic text at least) is too busy laughing to realize just how powerful her socioeconomic and political critique is, even if she is not the first or last Egyptian woman to offer one. In spite of local and foreign presumptions related to Abdel Aal’s gender, headscarf, socioeconomic class and literary ability, she has effectively and brilliantly shifted the spotlight of Egypt’s fictional “marriage crisis” from its male victims to its female critics.

Endnotes

[1] The Arabic-language blog is available and occasionally still updated at: http://wanna-b-a-bride.blogspot.com/.

[2] All translations are taken from Ghada Abdel Aal, I Want to Get Married! (trans. Nora Eltahawy) (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2010).

[3] Navtej Dhillon, “The Wedding Shortage,” Newsweek, March 5, 2007.

[4] Navtej Dhillon and Ragui Assad, “Light at the End of the Tunnel in Egypt’s Marriage Crisis?” Egyptian Gazette, November 23, 2008.

[5] Ursula Lindsey, “The Marriage Crisis that Wasn’t,” Foreign Policy, March 19, 2010.

[6] Independent, October 28, 2008.

[7] Times (London), October 30, 2008.

[8] Washington Post, October 21, 2008.

[9] Independent, October 28, 2008.

[10] This post by M. Lynx Qualey of the blog Arabic Literature (in Translation) is available at: http://arablit.wordpress.com/2010/10/12/headscarves-diamond-rings-and-the-schizophrenia-of-ayza-atgowaz-in-english/ .

Dec 10, 2010

ThePureLight

Amitabha, the pure light, the Unbounded Light

Buddha said: "There are five meditations. The first meditation is the meditation of love in which thou must so adjust thy heart that thou longest for the weal and welfare of all beings, including the happiness of thine enemies.

"The second meditation is the meditation of pity, in which thou thinkest of all beings in distress, vividly representing in thine imagination their sorrows and anxieties so as to arouse a deep compassion for them in thy soul.

"The third meditation is the meditation of joy in which thou thinkest of the prosperity of others and rejoicest with their rejoicings.

"The fourth meditation is the meditation on impurity, in which thou considerest the evil consequences of corruption, the effects of wrongs and evils. How trivial is often the pleasure of the moment and how fatal are its consequences!

"The fifth meditation is the meditation on serenity, in which thou risest above love and hate, tyranny and thraldom, wealth and want, and regardest thine own fate with impartial calmness and perfect tranquility.”

http://wahyusamputra.blogspot.com/2008/03/amitabha-pure-light.html

Dec 7, 2010

CrowleyandtheAustralian

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/wikileaks/dont-shoot-messenger-for-revealing-uncomfortable-truths/story-fn775xjq-1225967241332

WIKILEAKS deserves protection, not threats and attacks.

IN 1958 a young Rupert Murdoch, then owner and editor of Adelaide's The News, wrote: "In the race between secrecy and truth, it seems inevitable that truth will always win."

His observation perhaps reflected his father Keith Murdoch's expose that Australian troops were being needlessly sacrificed by incompetent British commanders on the shores of Gallipoli. The British tried to shut him up but Keith Murdoch would not be silenced and his efforts led to the termination of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign.

Nearly a century later, WikiLeaks is also fearlessly publishing facts that need to be made public.

I grew up in a Queensland country town where people spoke their minds bluntly. They distrusted big government as something that could be corrupted if not watched carefully. The dark days of corruption in the Queensland government before the Fitzgerald inquiry are testimony to what happens when the politicians gag the media from reporting the truth.

These things have stayed with me. WikiLeaks was created around these core values. The idea, conceived in Australia, was to use internet technologies in new ways to report the truth.

WikiLeaks coined a new type of journalism: scientific journalism. We work with other media outlets to bring people the news, but also to prove it is true. Scientific journalism allows you to read a news story, then to click online to see the original document it is based on. That way you can judge for yourself: Is the story true? Did the journalist report it accurately?

Democratic societies need a strong media and WikiLeaks is part of that media. The media helps keep government honest. WikiLeaks has revealed some hard truths about the Iraq and Afghan wars, and broken stories about corporate corruption.

People have said I am anti-war: for the record, I am not. Sometimes nations need to go to war, and there are just wars. But there is nothing more wrong than a government lying to its people about those wars, then asking these same citizens to put their lives and their taxes on the line for those lies. If a war is justified, then tell the truth and the people will decide whether to support it.

If you have read any of the Afghan or Iraq war logs, any of the US embassy cables or any of the stories about the things WikiLeaks has reported, consider how important it is for all media to be able to report these things freely.

WikiLeaks is not the only publisher of the US embassy cables. Other media outlets, including Britain's The Guardian, The New York Times, El Pais in Spain and Der Spiegel in Germany have published the same redacted cables.

Yet it is WikiLeaks, as the co-ordinator of these other groups, that has copped the most vicious attacks and accusations from the US government and its acolytes. I have been accused of treason, even though I am an Australian, not a US, citizen. There have been dozens of serious calls in the US for me to be "taken out" by US special forces. Sarah Palin says I should be "hunted down like Osama bin Laden", a Republican bill sits before the US Senate seeking to have me declared a "transnational threat" and disposed of accordingly. An adviser to the Canadian Prime Minister's office has called on national television for me to be assassinated. An American blogger has called for my 20-year-old son, here in Australia, to be kidnapped and harmed for no other reason than to get at me.

And Australians should observe with no pride the disgraceful pandering to these sentiments by Julia Gillard and her government. The powers of the Australian government appear to be fully at the disposal of the US as to whether to cancel my Australian passport, or to spy on or harass WikiLeaks supporters. The Australian Attorney-General is doing everything he can to help a US investigation clearly directed at framing Australian citizens and shipping them to the US.

Prime Minister Gillard and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have not had a word of criticism for the other media organisations. That is because The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel are old and large, while WikiLeaks is as yet young and small.

We are the underdogs. The Gillard government is trying to shoot the messenger because it doesn't want the truth revealed, including information about its own diplomatic and political dealings.

Has there been any response from the Australian government to the numerous public threats of violence against me and other WikiLeaks personnel? One might have thought an Australian prime minister would be defending her citizens against such things, but there have only been wholly unsubstantiated claims of illegality. The Prime Minister and especially the Attorney-General are meant to carry out their duties with dignity and above the fray. Rest assured, these two mean to save their own skins. They will not.

Every time WikiLeaks publishes the truth about abuses committed by US agencies, Australian politicians chant a provably false chorus with the State Department: "You'll risk lives! National security! You'll endanger troops!" Then they say there is nothing of importance in what WikiLeaks publishes. It can't be both. Which is it?

It is neither. WikiLeaks has a four-year publishing history. During that time we have changed whole governments, but not a single person, as far as anyone is aware, has been harmed. But the US, with Australian government connivance, has killed thousands in the past few months alone.

US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates admitted in a letter to the US congress that no sensitive intelligence sources or methods had been compromised by the Afghan war logs disclosure. The Pentagon stated there was no evidence the WikiLeaks reports had led to anyone being harmed in Afghanistan. NATO in Kabul told CNN it couldn't find a single person who needed protecting. The Australian Department of Defence said the same. No Australian troops or sources have been hurt by anything we have published.

But our publications have been far from unimportant. The US diplomatic cables reveal some startling facts:

► The US asked its diplomats to steal personal human material and information from UN officials and human rights groups, including DNA, fingerprints, iris scans, credit card numbers, internet passwords and ID photos, in violation of international treaties. Presumably Australian UN diplomats may be targeted, too.

► King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia asked the US to attack Iran.

► Officials in Jordan and Bahrain want Iran's nuclear program stopped by any means available.

► Britain's Iraq inquiry was fixed to protect "US interests".

► Sweden is a covert member of NATO and US intelligence sharing is kept from parliament.

► The US is playing hardball to get other countries to take freed detainees from Guantanamo Bay. Barack Obama agreed to meet the Slovenian President only if Slovenia took a prisoner. Our Pacific neighbour Kiribati was offered millions of dollars to accept detainees.

In its landmark ruling in the Pentagon Papers case, the US Supreme Court said "only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government". The swirling storm around WikiLeaks today reinforces the need to defend the right of all media to reveal the truth.

Julian Assange is the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks.

********************************

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2010/12/152465.htm
Press Statement
Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC

December 7, 2010

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The United States is pleased to announce that it will host UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day event in 2011, from May 1 - May 3 in Washington, D.C. UNESCO is the only UN agency with the mandate to promote freedom of expression and its corollary, freedom of the press.

The theme for next year’s commemoration will be 21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers. The United States places technology and innovation at the forefront of its diplomatic and development efforts. New media has empowered citizens around the world to report on their circumstances, express opinions on world events, and exchange information in environments sometimes hostile to such exercises of individuals’ right to freedom of expression. At the same time, we are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information. We mark events such as World Press Freedom Day in the context of our enduring commitment to support and expand press freedom and the free flow of information in this digital age.

Highlighting the many events surrounding the celebration will be the awarding of the UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize at the National Press Club on May 3rd. This prize, determined by an independent jury of international journalists, honors a person, organization or institution that has notably contributed to the defense and/or promotion of press freedom, especially where risks have been undertaken.

The Newseum will host the first two days of events, which will engage a broad array of media professionals, students, and citizen reporters on themes that address the status of new media and internet freedom, and challenges and opportunities faced by media in our rapidly changing world.

The State Department looks forward to working with UNESCO and the U.S. executive committee spearheaded by the Center for International Media Assistance at the National Endowment for Democracy, IREX, and the United Nations Foundation and the many civil society organizations they have brought together in support of the organization of events unfolding in Washington.

For further information regarding World Press Freedom Day Events for program content, please visit the World Press Freedom Facebook page

http://www.connect.connect.facebook.com/WPFD2011

**********************

To recap "Obama justice": if you create an illegal worldwide torture regime, illegally spy on Americans without warrants, abduct people with no legal authority, or invade and destroy another country based on false claims, then you are fully protected. But if you expose any of the evils secretly perpetrated as part of those lawless actions -- by publishing the truth about what was done -- then you are an Evil Criminal who deserves the harshest possible prosecution.

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/12/07/wikileaks/index.html

Merry Christmas

Dec 4, 2010

Talkingclock

After closing time at the bar, a drunk was proudly showing off his new apartment to a couple of his friends. He led the way to his bedroom where there was a big brass gong and a mallet.

'What's up with the big brass gong?' one of the guests asked.

'It's not a gong. It's a talking clock,' the drunk replied.

'A talking clock? Seriously?' asked his astonished friend.

'Yup,' replied the drunk.

'How's it work?' the friend asked, squinting at it.

'Watch,' the drunk replied. He picked up the mallet, gave the gong an ear-shattering pound and stepped back. .

The three stood looking at one another for a moment.......

Suddenly, someone on the other side of the wall screamed, 'You asshole! It's three-fifteen in the morning!

Nov 29, 2010

Ultimatum

http://news.antiwar.com/2010/11/28/israeli-dm-gave-us-until-end-of-2010-to-resolve-iran-nuclear-program/

Israeli DM Gave US Until End of 2010 to ‘Resolve’ Iran Nuclear Program 2010 a "Pivotal" Year as Israel Poised to Strike by Jason Ditz, November 28, 2010
According to one State Department document, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak gave an ultimatum to US Congressmen to “resolve” Iran’s nuclear program by the end of 2010 or that a “military solution” would be sought.

At the same time, Barak conceded that an Israeli attack on Iran would result in “unacceptable collateral damage,” though this did not appear to dissuade him from the belief that such an attack must be launched within the “window of opportunity” that he believed would close at the end of 2010 or shortly thereafter.

US officials were said to have been concerned about the reliability of Israeli assessments, noting that Israel had predicted that Iran would have nuclear weapons by 1998 “at the latest” and has repeatedly updated to a new deadline every few years.

A separate cable also cited Israeli Defense Ministry official Pinchas Buchris insisting that the US wasn’t committed enough to attacking Iran and that Israel was willing to do so “no matter how undesirable the consequences.“

***********

http://news.antiwar.com/2010/11/28/us-warned-turkey-not-to-publicly-question-allegations-on-iran/


US Warned Turkey Not to Publicly Question Allegations on Iran State Dept Demanded Officials 'Rein In' PM's Criticism by Jason Ditz, November 28, 2010

In late 2009 the Obama Administration, it was revealed today, privately warned the Turkish government not to criticize unsubstantiated allegations against Iran’s civilian nuclear program, in particular warning that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comments made Turkey “vulnerable to international community criticism.

Turkish PM ErdoganThe documents, revealed today as part of the WikiLeaks Cablegate release, centered around Prime Minister Erdogan’s criticism of Obama’s allegations as “gossip,” and advised top Erdogan aides and Turkish President Gul to “rein in” the prime minister.

Another document expressed concern at Turkey’s interest in a working relationship with Iran, saying Turkey was missing an opportunity to weaken the Iranian government by not condemning the 2009 election and saying Turkey was motivated by a desire to avoid a region-wide war.

Though US officials have repeatedly accused Iran of making nuclear weapons they have never provided evidence of this assertion, and the IAEA has continually verified the non-diversion of Iran’s nuclear material.

Interestingly, the US mocked Turkey’s claims of “influence” with Iran by saying Turkey was unable to even convince Iran to sign the third party enrichment deal sought by the P5+1. Just months after the cable Turkey did succeed in getting Iran to sign the deal, sparking public US condemnation of Turkey and a refusal by the US to complete the proposed deal.

**********

http://news.antiwar.com/2010/11/28/hillary-clinton-ordered-diplomats-to-steal-un-officials-credit-card-numbers/

Hillary Clinton Ordered Diplomats to Steal UN Officials’ Credit Card Numbers 'National Humint Collection Directive' Also Called for Them to Steal Passwords, DNA by Jason Ditz, November 28, 2010

One of the first eye-opening revelations from the massive WikiLeaks diplomatic logs release is the length to which the US State Department is being treated as just another of America’s many spying apparatus.

Among the leaks was something called the “National Humint Collection Directive,” a secret document signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last year. The document orders officials at the State Department to conduct mass surveillance and in some cases outright theft against high ranking UN officials.

Incredibly, beyond the simple collection of secret information about officials including UN chief Ban Ki-moon, the directive also calls for State Department officials to try to steal credit card data from a number of top officials, as well as passwords and personal encryption keys. They also sought to collect DNA samples from UN members.

The directive was sent to 33 US embassies across the world, and specified not just Ban, but his top advisers, the heads of all UN agencies, commanders of UN military missions and representatives of all the permanent members of the UN Security Council.

The State Department was chiefly responsible for this attempt, but they were also to enlist the CIA, FBI, and the US Secret Service in the collection of data if necessary. The 1946 UN Convention prohibits most if not all of the attempts at theft and surveillance detailed in the operation.

**********
The Stench of US Economic Decay Grows Stronger By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

Counterpunch/20101128/

On Thanksgiving eve the English-language China Daily and People’s Daily Online reported that Russia and China have concluded an agreement to abandon the use of the US dollar in their bilateral trade and to use their own currencies in its place. The Russians and Chinese said that they had taken this step in order to insulate their economies from the risks that have undermined their confidence in the US dollar as world reserve currency.

This is big news, especially for the news-dead Thanksgiving holiday period, but I did not see it reported on Bloomberg, CNN, New York Times or anywhere in the US print or TV media. The ostrich’s head remains in the sand.

Previously, China concluded the same agreement with Brazil.

As China has a large and growing supply of dollars from trade surpluses with which to conduct trade, China is signaling that she prefers Russian rubles and Brazilian reais to more US dollars.

The American financial press finds solace in the episodes when sovereign debt scares in the EU send the dollar up against the euro and UK pound. But these currency movements are just measures of financial players shorting troubled EU-denominated debt. They are not a measure of dollar strength.

The dollar’s role as world reserve currency is one of the main instruments of American financial hegemony. We haven’t been told how much damage Wall Street fraud has inflicted on EU financial institutions, but the EU countries no longer need the US dollar for trade between themselves as they share a common currency. Once the OPEC countries cease to hold the dollars that they are paid for oil, dollar hegemony will have faded away.

Another instrument of American financial hegemony is the IMF. Whenever a country cannot make good on its debts and pay back the American banks, in steps the IMF with an austerity package that squeezes the country’s population with higher taxes and cuts in education, medical and income support programs until the bankers get their money back.

This is now happening to Ireland and is likely to spread to Portugal, Spain, and perhaps even to France. After the American-caused financial crisis, the IMF’s role as a tool of US imperialism is less and less acceptable. The point could come when governments can no longer sell out their people for the sake of the American banks.

There are other signs that some countries are tiring of America’s irresponsible use of power. Turkey’s civilian governments have long been under the thumb of the American-influenced Turkish military. However, recently the civilian government moved against two top generals and an admiral suspected of involvement in planning a coup. The civilian government further asserted itself when the prime minister announced on Thanksgiving day that Turkey is prepared to react to any Israeli offensive against Lebanon. Here is an American NATO ally freeing itself from American suzerainty exercised through the Turkish military. Who knows, Germany could be next.

Meanwhile in America the Obama administration has managed to come up with a Deficit Commission whose members want to pay for the multi-trillion dollar wars that are enriching the military/security complex and the multi-trillion dollar bailouts of the financial system by reducing annual cost-of-living increases for Social Security, raising the retirement age to 69, ending the mortgage interest deduction, ending the tax deduction for employer-provided health insurance, imposing a 6.5 per cent federal sales tax, while cutting the top tax rate for the rich.

Even the Federal Reserve’s low interest rates are aimed at helping the banksters. The low interest rates deprive retirees and those living on their savings of interest income. The low interest rates have also deprived corporate pensions of funding. To fill the gap corporations are issuing billions of dollars in corporate bonds in order to fund their pensions. Corporate debt is increasing, but not plant and equipment that would produce earnings to service the debt. As the economy worsens, servicing the additional debt will be a problem.

In addition, America’s elderly are finding that fewer and fewer doctors will accept them as patients as a 23 per cent cut looms in the already low Medicare payments to doctors.

The American government only has resources for wars of aggression, police state intrusions, and bailouts of rich banksters. The American citizen has become a mere subject to be bled for the ruling oligarchies.

The police state attitude of the TSA toward airline travelers is a clear indication that Americans are no longer citizens with rights but subjects without rights. Perhaps the day will come when oppressed Americans will take to the streets like the French, the Greeks, the Irish, and the British.

Paul Craig Roberts was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. His latest book, HOW THE ECONOMY WAS LOST, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com

Nov 27, 2010

Signals

A couple of years ago, the Chinese shot down one of their own low orbiting satellites. Apart from bad tempered muttering about space debris, nothing could be done about it. It demonstrated, however, the ability to shoot down low orbiting satellites, such as those on which US navy ships rely to direct their smart bombs, work their radar and a thousand other things. Deprived of their low orbiting satellites, the ships become blind and deaf hunks of metal, tombs for all their inhabitants.

Signals assume an intelligent receiver. Did any military war college assess the extent of the danger? Who knows. Certainly no overt sign appeared that the military understood the signal. Signaling should not be like expecting the fireflies to be capable of reading the morse code from your lamp.

Chinese signals tend to assume an opponent intelligent enough to understand them.

Chinese submarines have a noiseless operating capacity far beyond that of western vessels, as demonstrated by the Chinese submarine penetrating unobserved to the very center of a US fleet:

“The uninvited guest: Chinese sub pops up in middle of U.S. Navy exercise; military chiefs red-faced Source: dailymail.co.uk Published: November 10, 2007 Author: MATTHEW HICKLEY
When the U.S. Navy deploys a battle fleet on exercises, it takes the security of its aircraft carriers very seriously indeed. At least a dozen warships provide a physical guard while the technical wizardry of the world's only military superpower offers an invisible shield to detect and deter any intruders.
That is the theory. Or, rather, was the theory.
Uninvited guest: A Chinese Song Class submarine, like the one that surfaced by the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk
American military chiefs have been left dumb struck by an undetected Chinese submarine popping up at the heart of a recent Pacific exercise and close to the vast U.S.S. Kitty Hawk - a 1,000ft super carrier with 4,500 personnel on board. By the time it surfaced the 160ft Song Class diesel-electric attack submarine is understood to have sailed within viable range for launching torpedoes or missiles at the carrier.
According to senior Nato officials the incident caused consternation in the U.S. Navy.
The Americans had no idea China's fast-growing submarine fleet had reached such a level of sophistication, or that it posed such a threat.
One Nato figure said the effect was "as big a shock as the Russians launching Sputnik" - a reference to the Soviet Union's first orbiting satellite in 1957 which marked the start of the space age. The incident, which took place in the ocean between southern Japan and Taiwan, is a major embarrassment for the Pentagon.
Battle stations: The Kitty Hawk carries 4,500 personnel. The lone Chinese vessel slipped past at least a dozen other American warships which were supposed to protect the carrier from hostile aircraft or submarines. And the rest of the costly defensive screen, which usually includes at least two U.S. submarines, was also apparently unable to detect it.
According to the Nato source, the encounter has forced a serious re-think of American and Nato naval strategy as commanders reconsider the level of threat from potentially hostile Chinese submarines.
It also led to tense diplomatic exchanges, with shaken American diplomats demanding to know why the submarine was "shadowing" the U.S. fleet while Beijing pleaded ignorance and dismissed the affair as coincidence.
Analysts believe Beijing was sending a message to America and the West demonstrating its rapidly-growing military capability to threaten foreign powers which try to interfere in its "backyard".
The People's Liberation Army Navy's submarine fleet includes at least two nuclear-missile launching vessels. Its 13 Song Class submarines are extremely quiet and difficult to detect when running on electric motors.
Commodore Stephen Saunders, editor of Jane's Fighting Ships, and a former Royal Navy anti-submarine specialist, said the U.S. had paid relatively little attention to this form of warfare since the end of the Cold War. He said: "It was certainly a wake-up call for the Americans.
"It would tie in with what we see the Chinese trying to do, which appears to be to deter the Americans from interfering or operating in their backyard, particularly in relation to Taiwan."


In January China carried a successful missile test, shooting down a satellite in orbit for the first time.

In November 2010, a Chinese Jin class submarine standing off the coast of Los Angeles, California, fired a missile, an ICBM or intercontinental ballistic missile, back form the coast of California to a destination somewhere in western China, demonstrating accuracy and confidence. Military expertise is not required to understand that if a missile can be fired from Los Angeles to China, it can also be fired from China to Los Angeles. And Jane’s doesn’t do hoaxes. That's Jane's Fighting Ships. See http://jfs.janes.com/public/jfs/index.shtml

Wayne Madsen Report November 10, 2010 Pentagon insists it was a jet aircraft or model rocket

China flexed its military muscle Monday evening in the skies west of Los Angeles when a Chinese Navy Jin class ballistic missile nuclear submarine, deployed secretly from its underground home base on the south coast of Hainan island, launched an intercontinental ballistic missile from international waters off the southern California coast. WMR’s intelligence sources in Asia, including Japan, say the belief by the military commands in Asia and the intelligence services is that the Chinese decided to demonstrate to the United States its capabilities on the eve of the G-20 Summit in Seoul and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Tokyo, where President Obama is scheduled to attend during his ten-day trip to Asia.

The reported Chinese missile test off Los Angeles came as a double blow to Obama. The day after the missile firing, China’s leading credit rating agency, Dagong Global Credit Rating, downgraded sovereign debt rating of the United States to A-plus from AA. The missile demonstration coupled with the downgrading of the United States financial grade represents a military and financial show of force by Beijing to Washington.

The Pentagon spin machine, backed by the media reporters who regularly cover the Defense Department, as well as officials of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), and the U.S. Northern Command, is now spinning various conspiracy theories, including describing the missile plume videotaped by KCBS news helicopter cameraman Gil Leyvas at around 5:00 pm Pacific Standard Time, during the height of evening rush hour, as the condensation trail from a jet aircraft. Other Pentagon-inspired cover stories are that the missile was actually an amateur rocket or an optical illusion.

Experts agree that this was a ballistic missile being fired off of Los Angeles.

Pentagon insists it was a jet aircraft or model rocket.

There are no records of a plane in the area having taken off from Los Angeles International Airport or from other airports in the region. The Navy and Air Force have said that they were not conducting any missile tests from submarines, ships, or Vandenberg Air Force Base. The Navy has also ruled out an accidental firing from one of its own submarines.

Missile experts, including those from Jane’s in London, say the plume was definitely from a missile, possibly launched from a submarine. WMR has learned that the missile was likely a JL-2 ICBM, which has a range of 7,000 miles, and was fired in a northwesterly direction over the Pacific and away from U.S. territory from a Jin class submarine. The Jin class can carry up to twelve such missiles.

Navy sources have revealed that the missile may have impacted on Chinese territory and that the National Security Agency (NSA) likely possesses intercepts of Chinese telemetry signals during the missile firing and subsequent testing operations.

Japanese and other Asian intelligence agencies believe that a Chinese Jin-class SSBN submarine conducted missile “show of force” in skies west of Los Angeles. Asian intelligence sources believe the submarine transited from its base on Hainan through South Pacific waters, where U.S. anti-submarine warfare detection capabilities are not as effective as they are in the northern and mid-Pacific, and then transited north to waters off of Los Angeles. The Pentagon, which has spent billions on ballistic missile defense systems, a pet project of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, is clearly embarrassed over the Chinese show of strength…

…The White House also wants to downplay the missile story before President Obama meets with his Chinese counterpart in Seoul and Tokyo. According to Japanese intelligence sources, Beijing has been angry over United States and allied naval exercises in the South China and Yellow Seas, in what China considers its sphere of influence, and the missile firing within the view of people in Southern California was a demonstration that China’s navy can also play in waters off the American coast.

For the U.S. Navy, the Chinese show of force is a huge embarassment, especially for the Navy’s Pacific Command in Pearl Harbor, where Japan’s December 7, 1941 attack on the fleet at Pearl Harbor remains a sore subject.

In 2002, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice reportedly scolded visiting Chinese General Xiong Guankai, the deputy chief of staff for intelligence of the People’s Liberation Army, for remarks he allegedly made in 1995 that China would use nuclear weapons on Los Angeles. Xiong denied he made any such comments but the “spin” on the story helped convince Congress to sink billions of additional dollars into ballistic missile defense, sometimes referred to at “Star Wars II.”

http://www.waynemadsenreport. com/articles/ 20101110

Those pesky fireflies! When’ll they learn to read morse code?

Nov 20, 2010

HappyThanksgiving

The magnificently executed, Guards on Parade style, lockstep left swing carried out by all US media, print, TV, radio, of switching nomenclatura from US troops to NATO troops has gone without comment. No one seemed impressed, but I was. Wow. And all in the space certainly of two days, probably just one day. And without audible or visible orders being given, like the dog whistle that only dogs can hear. Impressive.

Coupla problems, tho’ apart from Katla. “Though unverified, a report by Anatoly Sagalevich, director of Deepwater Submersibles Laboratory at Russia's Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, said the Gulf seabed is fractured "beyond all repair," a potentially disastrous condition he called "beyond comprehension." Using one of the Institute's Deep Submergence Vehicles, his analysis was based on close-up seabed observation and analysis."

(This was after the amazing double somersault of the Russian administration, who, having unobtrusively been allowed WTO (World Trade Organization) membership, long a prized objective of the Russians, canceled their S-300 delivery contract with Iran, and rubbed salt in the wound by refusing them more than ten per cent of the full price they had already paid.

Barely pausing for breath, the athletic (Putin) ex-director of the KGB offered its services to the US in policing the troublesome Afghanistan situation, including not only transit rights for American supplies through Russian territory, but actual boots on the ground military partnership in an area where they had some previous experience. Neat. Their rear had been very satisfactorily buttressed by the Siberia to north eastern China oil/gas pipeline being constructed, and they could leave their partners back there to stir up some local pressures, which they have, and Hillary was very politely advised to go find a lake to jump into, when she tried to horn in on the discussion, which she did.)

Now the Russians are waiting impatiently for the ratification of the START treaty, checking on each others nuclear stockpiles, and saying “Well if you can’t sign a treaty which is the cornerstone of our whole partnership because you can’t control your own government, what’s the point of doing business with you?” Answer there was none.

Moody’s surfaced from sex and drugs orgies long enough to issue an AAA rating for Britain, so that teachers pension funds could continue to buy them, but no one was really listening, or seemed to notice. Dagong, the official Chinese rating agency got more attention for their reduction of the US AA+ rating to A+.

Many years ago, the Reader’s Digest published a story about the (future) King George the VI of England, but then a stripling princely midshipman drilling troops on an aircraft carrier. The railings had been removed, for aircraft landing. “On the command, Forward March!” The correct command was everything. The Prince of Wales, as he then was, was practicing giving these commands under the eagle eye of a sergeant visibly chafing at nurse maiding the royal idiot. George visibly had given the correct order for forward march, but couldn’t remember the correct word for the next command, and as the squad marched forward closer and closer to the edge of the deck, the sergeant could stand it no longer. “Well, aren’t you even going to say ‘Goodbye’ to them?” he yelled.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Nov 11, 2010

Arminius

Here is a readers comment: ''If Americans had half the common sense and a quarter of the balls of the German people the US would be a totally different country.''

1000 injured in nuclear protests, police at breaking point

By Jane Burgermeister – November 8, 2010

Source: http://alethonews.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/german-people-in-unprecedented-rebellion-against-government/#

Like the Roman legions vanquished in the Teutoburger Wald in Lower Saxony in 9 AD, the 17,000 police officers that marched into the woods around the nuclear storage facility in Gorleben in northern Germany on Sunday morning looked invincible. Police personnel from France, Croatia and Poland had joined in the biggest security operation ever mounted against protestors against the a train carrying nuclear waste to a depot in an isolated part of Lower Saxony’s countryside. Helicopters, water canons and police vehicles, including an armoured surveillance truck, accompanied an endless column of anti-riot police mounted on horses and also marching down the railway tracks into the dense woods. Tens of thousands of anti riot police clattered along the tracks, their helmets and visors gleaming in the morning sun, and wearing body armour, leg guards and carrying batons.

But by Sunday night, those same police officers were begging the protestors for a respite.

Trapped in black, icy woods without supplies or reinforcements able to reach them because of blockades by a mobile fleet of farmer’s tractors, the exhausted and hungry police officers requested negotiations with the protestors. A water cannon truck was blocked by tractors, and yet the police still had to clear 5000 people lying on the railway track at Harlingen in pitch darkness. The largest ever police operation had descended into chaos and confusion in the autumn woods of Lower Saxony, defeated by the courage and determination of peaceful protestors who marched for miles through woods to find places to lie down on the tracks and to scoop out gravel to delay the progress of the “the train from hell.”

The police union head Reiner Wendt gave vent to the general frustration when he issued a press statement via the DPA news agency last night saying the police had reached exhaustion point and needed a break. Behind the scenes, a battle seemed to be raging between the police chiefs, tucked up in their warm headquarters urging more action, and the exhausted officers on the ground.

The police on the ground won out. The Castor train – called a “Chernobyl on wheels” because it has been carrying 133 tonnes of highly radioactive waste to an unsafe depot – was stopped in the middle of the countryside and Nato barbed wire was placed around it. Lit by floodlights and guarded by a handful of police, the most dangerous train on the planet was forced to a halt after a 63 hour journey across France and Germany.

The defeat of the legions at Teutoburg marked the end of the attempt by the Roman empire to conquer Germania magna. And the failure of the biggest ever police operation two thousand years later in the woods of Lower Saxony to tame women, elderly people and school children protesting the government’s nuclear policy, could well also go down as a turning point.

The Berlin government can no longer rely on the discredited mainstream media to control the way people see issues. Too many people recognise it to be a tool of propaganda. The government now needs to resort to brute force to bludgeon through decisions that enrich corporations and banks and impoverish everyone else. But the police forces at its disposal are simply not sufficient given the scale of the protests now gripping Germany. Only 1,500 police reinforcements could be mustered on Morning from the entire territory to deal with road blockades by thousands of protestors aiming to delay the transport of the nuclear waste on the final leg of its journey.

The police officers were exhausted after shifts of 24 hours or more, often without any food or just a cappucino and snack bar, and they had nothing to look forward to but more of the same drudgery after a night spent four to a room in a Youth Hostel.

http://newsticker.sueddeutsche.de/list/id/1065325

A leading figure in a German police police union Bernard Witthaut today even lashed out at the government for trying to drive through unpopular policies using the police.

“Whether in Stuttgart or in Wendland today my colleagues are simply not getting out of their anti riot gear because of the wrong decisions by the government,” he said.

Many police officers also expressed sympathy with the protestors’ aims.

The question now is: how long can the use of police to bludgeon protestors continue when the protests are reaching this scale? How long can Germany be governed by a semi authoritarian regime using brute force when the force at its disposal is so small? The German army cannot be deployed on this kind of mission without sparking even more outrage. A false flag terrorist operation will hardly wash when the people are so fed up with the government lies and the media lies. EU soldiers will find it hard to deal with the Germans. The German and EU secret police cannot infiltrate all of the protestor’s organizations when there are simply so many.

The German people as a whole are on the march.

“Citizens in rebellion,” shouted a TAZ headline.

“Civil war in Wendtand,” fumed Bild.

NGO chief Kersin Rudek spoke for many when she said:

“We have lost faith in the government until they prove that their politics is for the people and not for the corporations.”

She talked about the “anger” among people at the “arrogance of the political class.”

As in the Stuttgart 21 railway protests, it was people from all walks of life, a genuine grass roots movement, that arrived in Wendland to protest the decision by the CDU/CSU/FDP government to ignore a legally binding deadline to phase out nuclear power. Against the wishes of the majority, Bilderberg Chancellor Angela Merkel announced this autumn that 17 reactors would continue for another 12 years at gigantic cost to the tax payer in subsidies.

The tax payers of Lower Saxony even have to foot the bill of 50 million euro for the police operation to protect the nuclear waste – and not the electricity companies making a fortune from the extravagant energy source [which is associated with France's WMD program] while the government keeps investments in ground-breaking new renewable energy technologies such as the third generation solar cells at a negligible amount.

As in Stutggart, the police used savage force against peaceful demonstrators reinforcing the impression of a government out of control and refusing to respect the basic democratic right of people to hold protests without being beaten to a pulp. Videos of the Castor transport on Sunday show police beating people with their truncheons, punching them and throwing them to the ground. Police also used tear gas, pepper spray and water canon.

http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/0,1518,727706,00.html

About a 1000 people were injured, it is reported. 950 people are reported to have suffered eye injuries due to pepper spray and tear gas, according to a spokesperson of “Castor schottern”. Another sixteen protestors suffered broken bones. There were 29 severe head wounds. Two people had to be taken to hospital.

http://www.ftd.de/politik/deutschland/:live-ticker-zum-atomprotest-castor-gegner-beklagen-1000-verletzte/50192073.html

One person had to be taken by helicopter after suffering multiple bone fractures after being trampled by a police horse.

But as in Stuttgart, the people did not give up in spite of the risk of savage beatings at the hands of the police. They insisted on their civic right enshrined in the constitution to hold peaceful political protests.

More than 50,000 people from all parts of the country and all walks of life attended a rally on a field close to Dannenberg. Thousands then marched through the autumn woods, splitting into small groups to descend into the valley, break through police lines to chain themselves to the rails or remove gravel from the tracks to delay the train.

According to Spiegel, 7000 people alone took part in the road and railway blockades.

An armoured police car was set on fire by masked men but it is not clear if this was an agent pravocateur acting to discredit the protestors. A video shows a man able to walk up to the armoured car and set it alight unhindered.

The overwhelming number of protestors were peaceful.

In spite of the sub zero temperatures and ground frost, up to 5000 protestors lay down on the railway tracks at Harlingen late in the evening and refused to move. Supplies of hot tea, food and blankets were brought to them by mobile kitchens. Fires were lit to help stay warm.

The police worked from midnight until 7 am to clear protestors blocking the track, dragging many to an open air “prison concentration camp” where people were forced to sleep in fields surrounded by police trucks.

This morning, the protestors have regrouped today and thousands are reported to be preparing to block the transport by road of the nculear waste from Dannenberg to Gorleben.

http://www.bild.de/BILD/politik/2010/11/08/castor-transport-nach-gorleben/behaelter-werden-umgeladen-jetzt-droht-strassen-terror.html

The organisers of the protest kept journalists and the public informed using live tickers, press releases and at Infopoints so that the whole country could follow the events outside the mainstream media. Radio Wendland is also broadcasting updates on the incredibly heroic resistance of so many people. At great personal risk, tens of thousands of people gave an example of courageous and peaceful non-violent resistance that will surely go down in history.

If this is the resistance for Castor and Stuttgart 21, just imagine what will happen when Germans finally grasp the scale of the banking scam being carried out by their “elite.”

The CDU/CSU/FDP government has already hit record lows in the polls and after Sunday’s savage police operation against peaceful protestors, support for them is sure to plummet further.

The feudal lords without a feudal army to push through their agenda of robbery are facing the end of the road now that their media propaganda apparatus based on the Springer and Bertelsmann empire is falling apart and their strategy of divide and rule through a false left/right political paradigm is no longer working.

A new freedom and power was born in the woods of Wendland. And it belonged to the people who have had enough of the arrogant authoritarian political class.

Here is another good comment:

The struggle is world wide. The Globalist-Illuminati (Cabalist) threat is the most potent force in the world acting against the principles that built western civilization. These are the forces that generated the overthrow of the English in the 1600′s (staging from Holland’s Cabalist Financiers ) and established their Bank of England, which soon ensued to the Rothschild hegemony, who proudly brought about the horrors of the 20th century: World War I, the Soviet Revolution, the Great Depression, World War II, the Atomic Bomb, its use in Japan, the subsequent Cold War, the Soviet “collapse”, and now (illegal) Derivatives. Death is too good for them, IMHO.

Nov 10, 2010

Castro

The use of nuclear weapons in a new war would mean the end of humanity. This was candidly foreseen by scientist Albert Einstein who was able to measure their destructive capability to generate millions of degrees of heat, which would vaporize everything within a wide radius of action. This brilliant researcher had promoted the development of this weapon so that it would not become available to the genocidal Nazi regime.

Each and every government in the world has the obligation to respect the right to life of each and every nation and of the totality of all the peoples on the planet.

Today there is an imminent risk of war with the use of that kind of weapon and I don’t harbour the least doubt that an attack by the United States and Israel against the Islamic Republic of Iran would inevitably evolve towards a global nuclear conflict.

The World’s peoples have an obligation to demand of their political leaders their Right to Live. When the life of humankind, of your people and your most beloved human beings run such a risk, nobody can afford to be indifferent; not one minute can be lost in demanding respect for that right; tomorrow will be too late.

Albert Einstein himself stated unmistakably: “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones”. We fully comprehend what he wanted to convey, and he was absolutely right, yet in the wake of a global nuclear war, there wouldn’t be anybody around to make use of those sticks and stones.

There would be “collateral damage”, as the American political and military leaders always affirm, to justify the deaths of innocent people.

In a nuclear war the “collateral damage” would be the life of all humanity.

Let us have the courage to proclaim that all nuclear or conventional weapons, everything that is used to make war, must disappear!

Fidel Castro Ruz

Nov 7, 2010

LegalTender

http://www.24hgold.com/english/contributor.aspx?article=2420391322G10020&redirect=false&contributor=Antal+E.+Fekete

Forgotten Anniversary: One Hundred Years of Legal Tender An Address by Antal E. Fekete Professor of Money and Banking San Francisco School of Economics at a Fund-Raising Dinner for the benefit of the Ficino School Auckland, New Zealand ~ October 28, 2009

The year 2009 will most likely expire without commemorating the centenary of a most momentous event in history that figures prominently as the main cause of the Great Financial Crisis of the century. This event was the so-called legal tender legislation in 1909. The bank notes of both the Banque de France and the Reichsbank of Germany were made legal tender by law, first in France and then, a very short time later, also in Imperial Germany. The rest of the world followed suit. In this way all roadblocks were removed in the way of financing the coming world war through credits and monetizing the resulting debt through the issuance of bank notes.

One unintended effect was that all efforts to avert the war and the concomitant great bloodshed and destruction of property through better diplomacy were short-circuited. The war parties in both countries had won a great victory. The cause of peace suffered a decisive defeat.

Please note that I have said “so-called legal tender legislation” because ‘legal tender’ in this context was a vicious distortion of the meaning of the phrase. There was nothing coercive about legal tender before 1909. Bank notes circulated as money, but their acceptance was entirely voluntary. People had an unconditional right to exchange them for the coin of the realm, that is, for gold coins. If the bank did not comply, then it was in technical default and had to face the consequences.

The original meaning of legal tender simply referred to a tolerance standard applicable to the wear and tear of gold coins. Coins meeting the tolerance standard circulated by tale, that is, their value was established by counting them out ― a great convenience. Others circulated by weight: each and every coin had to be weighed ― a great inconvenience. There was absolutely no coercion involved in this discrimination. The Mint exchanged gold coins within the tolerance standard by freshly struck full-bodied gold coins at no charge to bearer. The government absorbed the loss and covered it out of the general revenue fund. The cost was treated the same way as the cost of maintaining the nation’s highway system in good repair. Not only was there no coercion involved in legal tender laws; in effect a public service was provided by the government without charging user-fees. That was the meaning of the phrase “legal tender” prior to 1909.

Notice the underhanded change in the meaning as a result of the legal tender laws of 1909. A public convenience was replaced by public coercion. Two governments with the greatest war-making power in the world introduced coercion forcing their subjects to accept and use debt as money. This was a ‘first’ in history. In particular, the governments were forcing the military, as well as civil servants, to take paper promises as ultimate payment for services rendered.

Of course, the use of the phrase ‘legal tender’ in this way is an oxymoron. A promise to pay that is at the same time an ultimate payment is not a promise. It is an ukase. This was a reactionary step, designed to facilitate the unlimited augmentation of monetary circulation regardless of the gold reserve. It allowed the financing of the coming war with government credits, much of it interest free and with no maturity date. The burden was thrown on the shoulders of the people without their concurrence.

The measure was represented as an innocent house-keeping change. There was no public debate on its wisdom. Nobody at the time could see the ominous consequences. Nobody suspected bad faith on the part of the government. As a proof of good faith gold coins were allowed to remain in circulation for another five years. Banks paid them out routinely as before, without fuss. There was no noticeable increase in the hoarding of gold coins by the people, a sign that they implicitly trusted their government. When the war finally broke out in 1914, the “guns of August” heralded the delayed effect of the legal tender laws. All gold coins went into hiding at once. Banks refused to meet any request for payment in gold. Members of the legislation, including all the socialist deputies, voted all the war-credits the government had asked for without demur.

The first author to unmask the connection between the Legal Tender Laws of 1909 and the outbreak of the war five years later, in 1914, was the German economist Heinrich Rittershausen (1898-1984). He also predicted the Great Depression, and linked the coming unprecedented wave of unemployment to legal tender, as I am going to discuss it in more details in a minute.

We are left to second-guess history. Would the senseless killing and destruction of property have come to an early end in the absence of legal tender laws, just as soon as the belligerent governments had run out of gold to finance it? Most contemporary observers had predicted that it would have. There was no way to finance a conflict of this magnitude out of taxes. People did not understand that legal tender was an invisible form of tax to pay for the greatest war up to that point in history. They did not understand the power of credit that would enable governments to expend blood and treasure freely, without any restraint. People did not see the Moloch behind the fa├žade of legal tender ― the god that was preparing to devour his own children.

* * *

But there was also another, most sinister consequence of the legal tender laws that was not recognized at the time. Before 1909 world trade had been financed through real bills drawn on London. A real bill was a short-term commercial paper payable in gold coin upon maturity. It represented self-liquidating credit to finance the emergence of new merchandise in the markets demanded most urgently by the consumers. As its issue was limited by the amount of new merchandise on its way to the market, it was non-inflationary. The credit was liquidated by the gold coin released by the ultimate consumer of the underlying merchandise. You can look at a real bill as credit in the process of presently “maturing into gold coins”. As a medium of exchange, a real bill is “the next best thing” to the gold coin. It is virtually risk free to hold, as the underlying merchandise has a ready market waiting for its arrival.

Clearly, real bills are incompatible with legal tender laws. It makes no sense to suggest that you can make real bills “mature in legal tender bank notes”. The fact is that the bank note is inferior to a real bill in almost every way. For one thing, real bills are an earning asset. This is due to the existence of discount applied to face value as the real bill is bought and sold before maturity. Real bills are most liquid: only the gold coin has greater liquidity. They are the best earning asset a commercial bank can have.

But what makes real bill paramount in the economy is the fact that, in the aggregate, they constitute the wage fund of society. They alone make it possible to produce and distribute goods now that the consumer will only pay for later. Up to three months later, to be precise. However, in the meantime workers employed in their production will have to be paid their due wages every week. Indeed, these workers must eat and satisfy other wants to be able to continue their production efforts. The payment of wages is definitely not financed through savings of the capitalists. It is financed through clearing, that is, through the spontaneous granting of temporary monetary privileges to real bills, thus enabling them to circulate before maturity.

An unintended consequence of the legal tender legislation was the destruction of this wage fund out of which workers could be paid before the goods were sold. Legal tender laws bore direct responsibility for the horrible unemployment during the Great Depression ― as pointed out by Rittershausen. As long as the wage fund is intact, there can be no unemployment. Everybody who is anxious to earn wages can go into the production or distribution of some goods demanded by the consumers urgently, and get compensation from the wage fund immediately, even before his product is sold. The destruction of the wage fund changed all that. Workers could no longer be compensated for their labor expended in the production of merchandise unless it is ready for sale right away.

The destruction of the wage fund was not immediately obvious in 1909. Military training and production of war materiel absorbed the available manpower. During the war labor was in short supply because of the vast expansion of the production of munitions. Unemployment hit society only after the cessation of hostilities.

Had the victorious powers repealed legal tender laws after the war, thereby rehabilitating the market in real bills and replenishing the wage fund, the great Depression would have never occurred. But the victors were not interested in multilateral world trade. They wanted to punish the vanquished even more by making trade bilateral, to the exclusion of real bill circulation. In this way they wanted to retain control of the trade of their former adversaries. As a result the wage fund was never resurrected and workers could not be paid. The result was the greatest unemployment ever in history. Governments were forced to assume responsibility for the unemployed through the dole system. This system, an affront to people eager to work for wages, is still with us but its root cause, the absence of real bill circulation, remains unrecognized.

* * *

Legal tender laws, representing the unholy alliance (not to say conspiracy) between the government and banks, have never been repealed. Governments have come to love the extra powers they acquired through false pretenses. The banks were happy to take the bribe. They shifted their loyalty from their customers to the government. In exchange for the privilege to create bank deposits without the restraint of a gold reserve, as was the case prior to 1909, the banks were prepared to buy all the government bonds that have found no willing buyers in the bond market. “You scratch my back, I scratch yours.” This conspiracy still goes on under a new ‘social contract’ in which bribe and blackmail has replaced voluntary cooperation.

The connivance of academia and media, in particular, the loyalty of the economists’ profession and that of financial journalists, has been bought by the central banks’ eagerness to sponsor research. “Whoever pays the piper shall call the tunes.” Authors who were prepared to sing the praise of irredeemable currency were handsomely rewarded. Authors critical of fiat money need not apply. Most of the economists and financial journalists today are scribes for hire, selling their pen to the government and the central bank. Propaganda is passed on as research.

Mathematics has been prostituted as never before in the history of the Queen of Sciences. Research papers on economics and monetary theory studded with formidable-looking but otherwise vacuous differential equations are presented as Holy Grail. The studied gestures and hocus-pocus of latter-day economists is similar to those of the priesthood in ancient Egypt. By virtue of their knowledge of astronomy ― knowledge denied to the general public ― Egyptian priests could predict eclipses of the Sun and other celestial events. They keep their audience in awe and in fear of their supernatural powers. The difference is this: while Egyptian priests were professionals representing state-of-art scientific knowledge, mainstream economists are charlatans and quacks who, while basking in their own glory, are totally incapable of predicting financial collapse even when it is staring at them in the face, as their miserable performance in 2007 showed. Worse still, they are totally incapable to admit their own mistakes. They are a curse on the body politic and a wart on the body academic. They are leading the world into an unprecedented monetary and economic disaster right now as I speak here.

* * *

Our present financial crisis is the epitome of a tragedy brought upon us by coercion in the monetary field. The way out of the crisis, and the way to prevent another great Depression, is through the restoration of freedom in the realm of money: through an adroit repeal of legal tender laws. The gold standard must be rehabilitated together with its clearing system, the bill market. The monopolistic nature of government debt in the bond market must be eliminated through bringing back the competition of the gold coin to the promises of the government. Bondholders dissatisfied with the rate of interest offered by the coupons arbitrarily attached to government bonds must have their rights restored to them: the right to park their savings in gold coins, as they did before 1909. In this way they could force the government to pay competitive rates of interest on private savings, All coercion in the monetary field must be stopped. The dignity of the individual must be respected. The present collectivistic frame of mind of the government must be discarded in favor of one favoring the individual, restoring freedom and the free initiative of man.

A century is just a fleeting moment in history. The past one hundred years must be looked upon as a reactionary episode in our civilization, a mindless experiment with irredeemable currency. The experiment has failed miserably, as have all similar experiments in the past. Unless stopped forthwith, it will plunge the human race in unprecedented economic misery. It literally threatens the survival of our civilization and the entire system of our values.

Freedom in the field of money will bring us peace
http://www.24hgold.com/english/contributor.aspx?article=2420391322G10020&redirect=false&contributor=Antal+E.+Fekete

Nov 1, 2010

#3Teatandwaragainsthumanity

First comes Hallowe’en, Walpurgisnacht, storms and horrors, headless horsemen and ghosts and demons, the powers of evil allowed control for one evening only. This is the eve, or day before, All Saints Day on November 1, which breaks into the draft of clean morning air of All Saints Day, and another chance at the biggest teat in history.

I say the biggest but my numbers are shaky. They are in dollars. If the US dollar loses five per cent more of its 1911 value as a dollar, then it will be completely worthless, and so we must be careful when we say so many dollars. This outcome is the main (possibly vain) hope of the three stooges (aka Bernanke, Paulson, Geithner) who look forward to writing hundred trillion dollar checks with gay abandon and a general air of “See, paysano, that’s how it’s done.”

The inner edges of the heart of the teat have been sketched in well enough by Mr. Ackerman, and there’s no reason to doubt his description and much to support it. With Steny Hoyer, (the apparatchik Pelosi was forced to accept when she wanted Murtha as her deputy, as the Israeli point man, - congressmen glance at Steny Hoyer to check, yes, it’s OK with Israel, no, it’s not OK with Israel,) the rising Dem manager to back up the Obama/Lieberman administration, the inner ring, funds paid to Israel, funds Israel contributes to congressman candidate support, congressional vote to increase loans and gifts to Israel. (Even foreign dignitaries may be admitted to this inside ring, like Mr. Tony Blair, previously UK PM, awarded a milllion dollar prize in 2010 by the Israelis, for services previously rendered.) And congressmen vote to keep weapons industries operating in their own state, to provide the weaponry, to sell to friends and foes alike. Works like a charm, and no one can get into the central ring who is not already in.

Holding up the wings of the enterprise are well funded groups, mercifully released from any need to reveal sources, mostly the Koch brothers and their groups, and all the official organs of the state, of course.

The teat has more vital roots than might be supposed, a country still producing more than twice the food it needs to feed its population, one of the basic meanings of the word rich when used of countries.

And the ten per cent that the population pays for it s food bill is number one lowest in the world, i.e., the USA is still the world’s main producer of cheap food, Numero Uno.

And still usefully between two oceans as natural barriers. Could be a lot worse.

OK, that’s on the plus side.

Here is Globalization and Militarization by Vishnu Bhagwat for some of the other:

The Root Causes of the Worldwide War against Humanity Global Research, October 23, 2010

Source: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21543

The following text was first presented to the International Physicians for prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) Conference, Delhi, March 10, 2008

“There will be no peace. At any given moment for the rest of our lives ; there will be multiple conflicts in mutating forms around the globe…violent conflicts will dominate the headlines……” A ‘perpetual war for perpetual peace’ …’ Wolfowitz and Perle in the preamble of the draft of the ‘Project for the New American Century’ in the heady days in 1992,when the Soviet Union had been subverted at its very top. The ‘ New World Order’ demands the control and seizure of oil and mineral resources and markets of every country by military force or through proxy governments and comprador elites, camouflaged as ‘ Globalisation’; preceded by subversion of targeted countries. Hence the new colonial project is unprecedented on a historical scale within countries and societies,and overseas.

The leader of one of the earliest movements to understand this militarized ‘New World Order’, Subcomandante Marcos the leader of the Zaptista movement in Mexico, declared in relation to NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement that neoliberal globalisation was a “ world war waged by financial power (oligarchies) against humanity” and the expression of the worldwide crisis of capitalism and not its success.

On 19 October 2001, US Vice President Cheney, stated that the “New war may never end. At least not in our life time. The way I think of it, it’s a new normalcy”.

The NSSD of 1 March 2005 says “America is a Nation at war’. In September 2005 Cheney again asserted that the War (on terror) could go on for several decades, just as periodical assertions come regarding the war and occupation for decades in Iraq and Afghanistan, the planning for the ‘long war’, the new Middle-East to be balkanized into state-lets, just as the USSR was, South Asia to fall in line or be divided into financial principalities to serve the ‘metropolitan core or center’ and so on for Globalisation or global finance capital, to integrate all markets (nation states may continue to exist as enfeebled entities to preserve local law and order of their populace and to transfer their budgetary surpluses to the ‘core’. The Washington Consensus is about this. It had claimed to lead global freedom, prosperity and economic growth through ‘deregulation, liberalization and privatization’). “ Is there an alternative to plundering the earth ? Is there an alternative to making war ? Is there an alternative to destroying the planet ?’ (Wehrlof)

In the meanwhile, militarisation of Space, weaponisation of the sea-bed, unfettered use of low radiation nuclear warfare with Depleted Uranium, not just killing and infecting with cancer and leukaemia but poisoning the air, water, flora, fauna and every speck of dust for ever, readiness to use chemical, germ and gene warfare agents, destruction of water and sanitary systems, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Gaza are being demonstrated before our eyes. The soldier in uniform now constitutes only a very small proportion of the casualties which are overwhelmingly civilian--- women, children, men-- schools, hospitals, homes and work places. In percentage terms collateral damage, as people are termed, is ninety percent of the casualties.

Statistics do not always convey the sufferings of humanity. However, if the first world war caused about 17 million maimed and dead, the second great war around 50 million dead, followed by millions murdered in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Congo, Angola, Rwanda, and now in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Lebanon, the continuing civil war raging in Congo (5 million), the mass murders in Indonesia, Chile, Argentina, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and the myriad civil wars ignited by the corporations in different corners of the world, are still taking their toll.

Incidentally, when Madeline Albright then US Secretary of State was asked her response to the sanctions on Iraq, in the wake of the 1991 Gulf war, which had caused the loss of half a million children’s lives and "was it worth it", she blandly replied “I think so”. This sums up the ruthless psychology and policy dictating this period of contemporary history, its economic policy with militarization as its adjunct.

Briefly, Globalisation is a multi-pronged drive for capture and control of resources, by finance capital and the dominant Transnational Corporations leading to wars for resources, not of territory which is incidental, to the extent that control of territory is necessary to enslave a society for its resources. How does it proceed apace ? What are the driving forces ? How is it organized ? Who are the key players ? Why has it taken such an all pervasive, brutal form ?

How has it evoled historically? Why is it unending? What political and economic ideologies dominate it? Where is it leading humanity and the world to?

Neoliberal globalisation is a type of totalitarian neo-mercantilism in which all resources, markets, all money and financial institutions, all profits, all means of production, all investment opportunities and all power belongs to the corporations. In the new world order, democracy appears outdated for it hinders business (Hardt /Negri / Chomsky and Werlhof). The notion of people as a sovereign body has practically been abolished and real democracy is largely non-existent, except the manipulated form, suitably greased by corporate funding without the substance of democratic policy making, with people at its core.

This system is supported by the corporate media, its monopoly ownership and alliance with what has been aptly described as the ‘War Corporations’ and the latter’s incestuous relationships with the power elites and the ruling establishments to permit them unbridled profiteering and predatory operations. International law, the UN Charter, the Geneva and Hague conventions, the rule of law have all been cast aside. In addition the military is virtually placed at the disposal of the financial elites' corporate boardrooms to maximize destruction in the quickest time period with no thought of the loss of civilian life, property and infrastructure, camouflaged in certain cases by so called ‘ humanitarian intervention’ under the auspices of the United Nations .

To give only one example, NBC, America's network TV, is an arm of General Electric, the manufacturer of F-16, B-2, Apache, Abrams tank, A-10 aircraft engines and so on. Murdoch, the media baron’s empire is always in the forefront to beat the war drums through the Corporate media an adjunct of war and the inciting of sectarian strife.

The age of colonization is replete with the horrors of loot, genocide, man made famines, plunder, pillage, deceit, fraud and the intimate partnership between the trading companies and the colonial armies. In more recent times in the last century, oil became the reason for the great colonial enterprises of the European, Anglo-US, German and Japanese wars of aggression and the precursor of Oil politics in the New World Order (with the smoke screen to make the world safe for freedom and democracy).

Contemporary wars have devastated whole societies where one sees not democracies but corpses of the victims of some of the most technologically advanced weapons known to mankind. These weapons increase the scale and magnitude of this process of "collective killing".

As recently as the second World War, while soldiers were the cannon fodder for the Allies and the Axis powers, their big banks, corporations were in covert partnerships. In Germany, Italy and Spain, Ford, GM. Standard Oil, Dupont, Union Carbide, Dow Chemicals, Westinghouse, GE, IBM, the Bank of New York and the famous Bank of International Settlements had close financial and business dealings with Germany's Thyssen, Krupps, IG Farben conglomerates along with German banks who in fact bank-rolled the Nazi Party. That is why as the allied forces marched into Germany in 1945 they were told to bypass several industries and businesses which had links to Anglo-US interests.

German Fortune 500 companies, Krupps and IG Farben amongst others were charged in 1948 following the main Nuremburg Trials with “ the preparation, initiation and waging wars of aggression and invasions of other countries “ and “the plunder of public and private property …conspiracies to commit crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the use of slave labour”. Due to the influence of powerful political interests, as US interest in Europe became one of countering Soviet influence and protecting the common political and economic systems of the allies and the Axis, (except the USSR), the Directors and executives were given minor sentences for the lesser charges of pillage and use of slave labour, rendering incomplete the task of the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials. (see Niloufer Bhagwat, Privatizing War)

In Africa, Angola and Congo in the 1960s and 70s are prime examples of "civil wars" and genocide fostered by the oil and mining MNCs. Hungry, unclothed men, women and children have been living and sleeping in the wet and cold, atop mounds and jungles below which lie diamonds, precious stones and strategic raw materials which make for the arsenals that kill mankind across the globe.

Can there be co-existence between humanity and this culture of military seizure?

Neo-liberal globalisation is tantamount to subordination of policy and decision making to corporate rule. “Freedom of the economy means the freedom of the corporations”.

There is the underlying insistence that all nations must abide by the diktats of the world "free markets" which means the diktat of the major financial, oil, weapons corporations, and there is the threat of military action should any country be judged to have deviated from the path.

It is the corporations –not the ‘market’, that determines today’s rules of trade, prices and legal regulations.

The recent shift from consumer goods to armaments is a particularly troubling development (Chossudovsky 2003) with new forms of “enclosures” emerging with privatization of public industries and “commons” what was free and accessible to mankind as a whole, like water, rain forests, regions of bio-diversity or geographical interest like pipeline routes, oceans etc. are now a part of the new enclosures of privatization with the threat of military control of the heritage of mankind as a whole.

It is the corporations that dictate policy and as far as they are concerned there is no place for democratic convention: ’res public turns into a res privata.’ The ones who get in their way or challenge their “rights” are vilified and to an increasing degree defined as ‘terrorists’.

The US President has declared the possibility of “pre-emptive nuclear strikes” should the US so decide. Current US Doctrine for nuclear weapons 2007, authorizes Theatre Commanders their use on “targets that can withstand non –nuclear attacks (tunnels, underground strikes etc). Also in retaliation for military, biological, chemical weapons …or IN THE EVENT OF SURPRISING MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS (against US forces) of an unspecified nature. Mini-nukes (up to six times the size of the Hiroshima atom bomb) are described as conventional ordnance.

Neoliberalism and war are two sides of the same coin. War is not only good for the economy but is indeed its driving force: ” Continuation of the economy by other means. “War and economy have become almost indistinguishable (Werlhof 2005)”…The Gulf wars and the conflicts in Africa starting with Congo, Angola, Chad, Rwanda and the threats to Sudan, Somalia and Iran are obvious examples. Militarism once again appears as the “executor of capital accumulation.”(Luxemburg 1970)--- potentially everywhere and enduringly.

A few examples of what globalisation in its different manifestations has led to in the erstwhile USSR, Yugoslavia and now Iraq.

In the Soviet Union, the General Secretary of the CPSU sold out, despite an overwhelming Referendum vote in favour of the Union, a letter signed by Marshal SF Akhromeyev, Chief of the General Staff and 200 Generals and Admirals, all deputies of the Duma, the Soviet Parliament, opposing the move by Gorbachev and comparing his act to worse than the Nazi invasion which failed to annihilate the Soviet Union. In a putsch backed by the West and its propaganda machine, unprecedented in history, the USSR politically capitulated and Yeltsin began to dismantle institutions, plants, factories to the oligarchs who simply usurped state property, sold it for a song and laundered a trillion dollars to US Banks, advised by the likes of Jeffrey Sachs, Strobe Talbot ; and the rest is history. A people and a nation brought to their knees by their own sold out leadership.

Yugoslavia was balkanized thereafter by several well planned, neo-liberal devices and measures. Alienation of the federal constituents by stopping federal grants, recognition of Croatia by Germany, privatisation of industry leading to 50 % unemployment, privatization of the Central Bank and the nomination of a non-citizen as its Governor, insistence of first charge on revenues to the World Bank –IMF, lifting of controls of food prices and other essentials causing raging profiteering and inflation ….breaking up the once happy, peaceful and generally prosperous Yugoslavia that fascist forces could not overcome in the Great War. The story for the rest of Eastern Europe and the Balkans is similar. Their reconstruction is now solely in the hands of Western corporations.

By now, despite the best attempts by the corporate media, the lies used as pretexts for the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, are common knowledge. The propaganda to demonise Iran lies in shambles after the 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate was made public by the Intelligence community, even though analysts still insist that Iran has a nuclear weapons program which could serve as a pretext for military intervention, should the financial meltdown of certain power centers require the take over of another country’s resources and national budget as happened in Iraq.

All reasons advanced in the UNSC and in the International community by the US at every level have been demonstrated to be manufactured, as confirmed by the leaked Downing Street Memorandum, the Niger Uranium hoax, the aluminium tubes, the non-existence of WMD mobile storages and so on.

The oil majors through their representatives in the highest levels of Government in Washington DC desire to control the oil spigots, in order not only to control and dominate the major oil consumers –Japan, China, India, Europe, a very sensitive geo-political region, but also to usurp petro-dollars (Iraq had switched to euros in October 2002), of the OPEC countries in return for useless arms imports and security protection for the rather unpopular regimes.

Zionist influence on US foreign policy through Big Business, Banks, Investment firms, financial oligarchies and the media, in Wall street and in the City –London, is documented in detail. The reality is that the practice of the ‘Revolving Door’ between the executives in the corporations and banks on the Wall Street, the White House, the Pentagon, Treasury, FED, the State department make it so much easier to ensure planning, coordination and continuity of policies as deliberated upon by the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, the CFR, the conglomerates and generally endorsed at Davos in the WEF, by definition an alliance of Big Business and political establishments.

It is not the Pentagon but the Wall Street boardrooms which select targeted entities. President Eisenhower called it the Military-Industrial Complex. One can add the energy-oil majors to this.

It is on record that the nuclear weapons targeting plan was jointly prepared by the business executives and the military at the Offut air base in Nebraska in 2002. Halliburton and its subsidiary KBR has won hundreds of billions of single vendor contracts in Iraq and siphoned off non-metered Iraqi oil. Some little noises may be made by the GAO, that’s all ! The “reconstruction” plan for targeted countries is usually made prior to the ‘destruction’ plan in the Board Rooms ! The Central Bank of Baghdad (Iraq) is run by Morgan Stanley as a natural sequence to the great usurpation of Iraqi assets in totality, starting with the Oil Ministry and oil reserves and fields, by Bremmer’s 100 orders unprecedented in history, in open defiance of the Hague conventions, all for ‘globalisation’, the code word for the 21st century colonial project.

Lockheed Martin, Halliburton, Bechtel, Aegis, BKSH associates, Bearing Pony, Custer Battles, Loral satellite, Qualcom, CACI and Titan and others are the beneficiaries in the Iraq war and occupation just as they have been its orchestrators with CNN, Fox, NBC (GE), Murdoch, BBC in the first place. Their stock prices have tripled, in every phase of the war. Even the Iraqi Media network is run by a former Director of the Voice of America.

Architecture & Characteristics of Globalisation

1. Implementation of the Neo-liberal Agenda is through shock therapy, structural adjustment programs, Washington Consensus. Speculative finance capital which lies at the heart of the current phase of ‘Financialisation’ of capitalism requires seemingly endless infusion of cash which necessitates more exploitation and thus more inequality. Violence is often considered a solution to all problems to control society even as economic policies impact a wider groups of citizens.

2. Subversion of key personnel in the institutions of the state.

3. Sanctions or threat of sanctions where necessary, to weaken the country targeted when a military attack is intended some months or years hence.

4. Deregulating the economy and dismantling the public sector as part of the Reforms or ‘Deform’ package.

5. Influence, control and takeover of financial institutions and later Banks, Insurance and Real estate (FIRE).

6. Takeover of the Media via the FDI route.

7. The Myth of Free Trade.

8. Control of food, seeds, land, contract farming, Futures Exchanges, pharmaceuticals via new Patents Act, IPR, robbery of genetic and bio-diversity assets.

9. Extension of pro-corporate and commercial contract laws under the pretext of modernising laws and the legal framework.

10. Steady destruction of the Environment and ecology.

11. Unsustainable consumption, provoking internal conflict and external competition or leading to wars.

12. Resort to state terrorism while crying wolf by contrived individual acts of terrorism, using a spectrum of instruments, from special forces to bombardment of civilian habitats, torture, rendition, using the ‘war on terror’ propaganda as a cover for military intervention to invade, occupy and foreign control of national resources. Corporate commitment to weapons in a war economy is total where 85% of the production is funded by the military as JK Galbraith says in his book ‘The Economy of Innocent Fraud: Truth of our Times’.

13. Enforcing WTO rules, also referred to as the ‘Economic Constitution’ of the world, whose objective is to gradually annihilate the legitimate and democratically endorsed State’s and people’s rights and prerogatives. Davos Project 2020 shapes the road map for the ‘global future’ staffed as it is by executives nominated by the proliferating Transnationals whose ideology is influenced by the ‘end of history’ credo. IMF, WB and WTO constitute a “separate supranational state”. The rules of these institutions are applied asymmetrically---least of all where such rules interfere with global finance capital and most of all where they further the exploitation of the already impoverished. Aimed at military control of the planet, through a multi-dimensional and permanent war of the North against the South.

14. Contemporary ethos of establishing hegemony is characterized by Military Keynesianism --ie the "long war" and occupation of Afghanistan, Iraq and the looming wars in the Middle–East to boost annual aggregate military expenditure to over $ 1 trillion in the US, expansion of global military bases to over 700 and increase in production of hugely expensive armaments and munitions, their relentless exports while paying ‘lip service ‘ to developmental aid at G-8 and other UN convened conferences, and in practice disregarding ‘peace and security’ the founding purpose of the UN Charter.

15. “The more fundamental concern is the need to protect the West’s pre-emptive claim to the financial surpluses of the Arab and oil world. This is essential for underwriting their political stability which today is irretrievable and in distinct decline.” (Sukumar Muralidharan in EPW, March 1991).

16. “Globalisation is privatization of the world” as William Blum writes The Pre-emptive ‘First strike option’ is complementary to the idea and is being discussed at the NATO* summit in Bucharest in April (2008).

The Commander of the space shuttle that circled the earth in 2005, called and said ‘the centre of Africa was burning “. She meant the Congo, in which the great rain forest of the continent was located. It needed to disappear for corporations to gain free access to the Congo’s natural resources that are the reason for the wars that plague the region today. After all one needs diamonds, precious and strategic raw materials for the exotic weapons of today and tomorrow. Brazil has followed the same policy with respect to the great Amazon river basin.

Henry CK Liu, a New York based Investment banker who writes prolifically for the Asia Times notes “ For the trade deficit developing economies, neo-liberal global trade makes old fashion 19th Century Imperialism look benign ...”(and its predatory wars, fraud and loot look like a teddy bear’s picnic) Economic power when sufficiently vast, as in the contemporary globalised system generating unprecedented and accelerating inequalities, becomes by its very nature political power. The political power of Big Business has diminished democracy and led to the establishment of rule by an oligarchy.

Militarisation of the State and society is a natural consequence of rule by an oligarchy, focused on ‘market fundamentalism’ whose affects are all too visible across the globe and even within the ‘core’ or the metropolitan center.

Thomas Friedman of the New York Times one of the propagandists of this anti-humanity policies has summed it up graphically with nothing left to the imagination , “ The hidden hand of the market will never work without the hidden fist …. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas (Manufacturers of F-15s).

Globalisation Politics in Action

The nihilism of neoliberal globalisation is evident. The whole ‘ Real’ world is sought to be transformed into money and speculative transactions with mounds of paper money created,destructive to human welfare and development (Werlhof). The material limits of such politics becomes clearer by the day: global, ecological, economic, monetary, social and political collapse (Diamond 2005). How else can we understand the fact that in times when civilization has reached its alleged zenith, a human being starves (to death) every second (Ziegler) ? The original riches of ‘mother earth’ is now giving way to a barren wasteland.

Since the 1980s, it is mainly the Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) of the World Bank, the IMF that act as the enforcers of neoliberalism. When the WTO was founded in 1995 in place of GATT, several agreements which operationalise it followed :The Multilateral Agreement on Investments, the General Agreement on Trade in Services(GATS), the agreement on Trade-Related aspects on Intellectual Property Rights (leading to India giving up on its Patent Rights Act), and the Agreement on Agriculture, which has now been supplemented by the Agreement on Non-Agricultural Market Access(NAMA).

All these agreements facilitate corporate rule, and total liberation of all corporate activities. Never before, not even in colonial times, have those in power been so completely been “freed” from all responsibility for their actions (no wonder that the MAI negotiations were kept secret for years, though the EU Trade Unions knew since they were part of the TUAC and took part in the OECD conferences in Paris). Negotiations of the GATS have also been kept secret since the late 1990s. That sensitive areas like education, health or water services are excluded is a lie. Even the elements –air, water, earth, fire(energy) are increasingly turned into commodities. Financial Services, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) are the tools for opening up the womb. The genes of plants, animals, even human-beings are sometimes pirated and made one’s own legal “property”(Thaler 2004). Vandana Shiva calls this process “trading in our lives” and in Korea “WTO kills farmers” is a popular slogan.

The transnational agribusiness corporations now even discuss a general prohibition of “traditional” farming methods. Iraqi farmers have been forced to burn their seeds and use “terminator seeds “ instead –this in Mesopotamia, the “cradle of agriculture”….or “Wheat becomes a Weapon”(Krieg1980). In India too the Iraq model is being repeated, only with a slower rate of strangulation to death of our farmers. A new infertility enters the world instead of a new creation ….consequence is an artificially created death –a death with no life to follow. No one seems to know how to prevent this (Werlhof 2006)….Amongst the most ludicrous examples is the idea to distribute contraceptive GM corn developed by the Swiss company Syngenta, in regions that suffer from so called overpopulation”(Reiter 2005). Fed on it German cows died of different forms of circulatory collapse. The AoA in dumping subsidized GM food into markets of the South is threatening the survival of three billion small farmers, half the world’s population!

Today the rights of corporations are better protected by the court systems in all countries …we may even say that “human rights ‘ only apply to corporations. Neoliberal globalisation is a conscious betrayal of the interests of 99% of the people on this planet. In both its intention and effect, a true “weapon of mass destruction”—even when no immediate wars are fought (Werlhof 2006). How many lives are sacrificed to this globalisation ? Some estimate that the numbers already go into hundreds of millions (Widerspruch 2004).

In the EU’s first draft Constitution Treaty, rejected by the referendum, there was the engagement in armament and military operations (Oberansmayer 2004).The draft of the EU constitution promised to be part of an effort to secure peace and refers to acts of war as –“humanitarian intervention”, alternatively as “acts of defense”, like the NATO* war against Yugoslavia and Afghanistan and now in Africa (wherever there is oil or strategic raw materials), alongside the US Africa Military command.. Once again neoliberal globalisation and militarism appear as Siamese twins ….All this against the backdrop of deployable nuclear weapons in Europe (Galtung 1993, Oberansmayer 2004). The EU is aware of the impending problems of shortage of water and energy in Southern Europe. At the European Security conference (Munich) 2005 it already discussed scenarios of poor people’s revolts.

Harold Pinter, in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech vividly articulated as only a writer can - “ It means you infect the heart of the country, that you establish a malignant growth and watch the gangrene blow….When the populace has been subdued or beaten to death …the Military and the great Corporations sit comfortably in power –you go before the cameras and say Democracy has prevailed.”

Will the Tide Turn?

The series of people’s movements, whether against the WTO trade talks at Seattle, Cancun, Hong Kong, GM foods, privatization of public sector enterprises, SEZs, Water privatization (Vandana Shiva says “ Denying people their human right to water is not development.It is genocide”), unemployment, forest rights and displacement from mineral rich regions, against the War in Iraq and the indigenous people -- largely spontaneous, has been termed as the emergence of the ‘second super power’.

The current revolt emerging against neo-liberalism throughout the periphery, led by the Iraqi, Palestinian, Afghan and Lebanese national resistance will be met by increased interventions from the imperial center of the System – an evil and destructive system which maims, oppresses and dishonors those who live under it and which threatens and executes devastation and death to millions around the globe, shaming the age of enlightenment, in the name of freedom and democracy. However the choice, not to resist is no choice and peoples resistance have won throughout history.

“What is really needed of course is nothing less than a different civilization. A different economy alone, or a different society or culture will not suffice…We need a civilization that is the exact opposite … We would still be left with the damage that the earth has suffered ….and all this happened within what comes to a nanosecond of the earth’s history” (Werlhof).

To conclude military power no matter how strong, can never conquer the people’s desire to be free and their love of peace, as post world war II history has shown in our times, though it has imposed so much suffering and will continue to do for some more time.

When neoliberal Globalisation is on a self destruct mode and its financial system heading for an abyss what holds back its demise ? The answer is the ‘Ruling’ elites of many nations, amongst them the petro-dollar oligarchies in collusion with military alliances, who have and continue to betray their people’s interests. Since it is arraigned against entire humanity it has to be defeated by a united humanity with diverse strategies.

It is necessary to remember in times such as these, when the words “freedom and democracy” are voiced by those who have enslaved even their own societies, the wise words of Mahatma Gandhi - “Liberty and democracy become unholy when their hands are dyed Red with innocent blood.”

Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat is former Chief of the Naval Staff, India. He can be reached admiralvb@hathway.com

Note

* NATO—Started with a membership of 15, now has an additional 26 members and also 23 “partnership countries” -- ‘Partnership for Peace.’ It has affiliates like the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, the Mediterranean Dialogue and the GCC, all facilitating intervention, outside the UNSC, to protect human lives.

With acknowledgements to Prof Claudia von Werlhof ‘s paper on ‘The Consequences of Globalization and Neoliberal Policies. What are the Alternatives ?’ November 21, 2005, Prof Michel Chossudovsky’s books –Globalization of Poverty & America’s War of Terror, published by Global Research.