'Support the Resistance'?

Read an interesting piece by Walden Bello on 'Empire and Resistance' in Iraq. He believes that "that the crisis of the empire is not o­nly good for the world. It is good for the people of the United States as well, for it opens up the possibility of Americans relating to other peoples as equals and not as masters, really learning from them, and really respecting and appreciating them. Failure of the empire is, moreover, a precondition for the emergence of the truly democratic republic that the United States was intended to be before it was hijacked to be an imperial democracy." He thanks the Iraqi resistance for this.

Of course, real respect by the people of the US for the peoples of the world would be a very good thing. But there is something problematic about people outside cheering for a people who are being slaughtered en masse. I know this isn't quite what Walden or any of the people who 'support the resistance' are doing. But it does sound like that, somehow. Like the Vietnam analogy, where people say, somewhat smugly, that Iraq is like Vietnam, implying that Vietnam was primarily a defeat for the US, as opposed to a holocaust of Vietnamese.

Where I agree with Walden is here:

"What western progressives forget is that national liberation movements are not asking them mainly for ideological or political support. What they really want from the outside is international pressure for the withdrawal of an illegitimate occupying power so that internal forces can have the space to forge a truly national government based o­n their unique processes. Until they give up this dream of having an ideal liberation movement tailored to their values and discourse, US peace activists will, like the Democrats they often criticize, continue to be trapped within a paradigm of imposing terms for other people."


Israel/Palestine and IMEMC

Tanya Reinhart is indispensable on Israel/Palestine. So, too, is IMEMC. Go to it, and you'll find yourself in a different world from the mainstream media. You'll learn about the latest murders by the Israeli army in the Occupied Territories -- like the 19 year old killed in Nablus and the three more killed in Gaza today. You can read more about Greg Philo's study, 'Bad News from Israel', that shows just how misinformed the public is because of TV news on Israel/Palestine. About the use of dogs against prisoners. About the daily protests against the wall (Tanya's article is about this too). And about reports and decisions at various levels of government. It is a truly impressive source, please check it out.

Another murder against the unions in Colombia

Because the campaign against unionists and activists is so blatant and murderous in Colombia, these folks are often provided with bodyguards or allowed to have them. In the past, the Colombian government has tried to strip unionists of this protection, or replace trusted bodyguards with agents of the state or paramilitaries. A more obvious strategy is simply to use the paramilitaries to kill the trusted bodyguards, and that was the strategy taken against a SINTRAMETAL (metalworker's union) bodyguard and his wife on June 22. Details below.

Policy of the extermination of trusted bodyguards of Union Leaders continues in the Cauca Valley, Colombia.


JUNE 23rd 2004.

The Trade Union of the Pacific Iron and Steel Company SINTRAMETAL YUMBO, The Association for Social Research and Action, NOMADESC and the participating organisations in the "National and International Campaign Against Privatisation, Corruption and the Criminalisation of Social Protest: FORBIDDEN TO FORGET" denounce before the National and International community the brutal assassinations of bodyguard HUGO FERNANDO CASTILLO SANCHEZ and his wife DIANA XIMENA ZUÑIGA. We appeal to that you demand of the Colombian Government that they put a stop to the violent attacks against bodyguards of trade union leaders and defenders of human rights in the Cauca Valley, Colombia.

The Acts:

1.. At 10:30pm on Tuesday the 22nd of June 2004, HUGO FERNANDO CASTILLO SANCHEZ, his wife DIANA XIMENA ZUÑIGA, their four year old son JUAN FERNANDO CASTILLO and five year old nice NICOL CASTILLO were waiting for food in their car outside the drive-thru restaurant "YOGUI" on the Calle 27 with Kr 31ª in the Jardin neighborhood. A grey Mazda 323 X car with blacked out windows pulled up and a black male got out and firing multiple shots at the couple in the car in front of the two children.

2.. HUGO FERNANDO CASTILLO SANCHEZ was a bodyguard assigned to the Home Office Special Protection Program for trade unionists and human rights defenders. He had been working for the program for the past three years as an agent of the Security Administration Department (DAS) and was assigned to The Trade Union of the Pacific Iron and Steel Company, SINTRAMETAL YUMBO.

Sudan's crisis

Reading the Toronto Star for the Fear and Loathing Report I came across an article on Sudan, which continues to get worse., as the war leads to humanitarian crisis, as inevitably occurs. Most of the people who die in wars -- I realize this is repeated over and over -- don't die from bullets or bombs, but from starvation and disease due to the collapse of infrastructures. The pattern of war in Sudan seems to me to be one drawn from paramilitary strategies around the world: the government backs militias to massacre and displace the civilian population to try to destroy an insurgency -- or, simply, to use the insurgency as a pretext for displacing the people and promote a kind of 'development without people': sometimes the displacement is the point. That's a common thread in Colombia: the saying goes, in Colombia it isn't that there is displacement because of war. There is war so there can be displacement.



More than 100 people killed in attacks in Iraq today. In the usual pattern in these filthy colonial wars, civilians were the bulk of those killed. The war of beheadings has continued in its grotesque fashion as well. You've heard of the South Korean who was beheaded. The Taliban and the US allies are apparently beheading one another in Afghanistan.

Patrick Cockburn published an article on Iraq, I assume originally in Counterpunch, but republished on ZNet. He speculated on the nature of Iraq after June 30.

Discussing Iyed Allawi, Iraq's new PM's strategy to restore order, Cockburn says Allawi "wants to rebuild an Iraqi army and security force by persuading senior officers from Saddam Hussein's army to reconstitute their units. He says he will centralise control of the armed forces so they are no longer auxiliaries for the US army, and direct them against the insurgents. "

But I had always assumed, without much to confirm it, that much of the insurgency, particularly in the early days, was precisely reconstituted units of the army. Directing these against themselves is likely to be a difficult proposition indeed. I could be wrong on this.

Rahul blogged about today's violence arguing that it is very dangerous for Iraq right now. Not sure if I agree, but worth reading. Also very much worth reading is Dilip Hiro's analysis of the June 30th business.


Fear, Loathing, and some hilarious news from Canada

First, on the election. Sorry I missed a few days. It is a combination of several things. First, boredom. Despite being a 'nail biting', 'tight race', when the candidates and the media agree on so much it is hard to keep motivated for daily commentary. Second, my own fear and loathing have been getting the better of me and making me want to just forget about it all. But, here we are and I owe you a report. So, here goes.

Paul Martin said that he won't try to form a coalition with the NDP if he gets less seats than the Conservatives, ruling out that great hope that many left-liberals held, and bringing things that much closer to my own projected scenario, a Conservative-Liberal coalition government. It is actually going to happen folks, and it is going to be ugly.

I suspect that the husband of Canada's governor-general Adrienne Clarkson, John Ralston Saul, would find this to be an example of the genius of the Canadian people. When the Quebec referendum of 1995 happened, and the Quebec population voted 51%-49% to stay in Canada, most federalists were really scared by how close it came. Ralston Saul said no, it should have been even closer -- the electorate did the exact thing needed to humiliate both sides. Maybe an optimistic gloss on the high apathy plus the statistical tie between the Liberals and Conservatives is a similar message. Now if only we had a way of humiliating them without punishing ourselves...

So here's the hilarious news. The Canadian government has finally disclosed a report on the Maher Arar case (Arar, a Canadian citizen of Syrian origin, was deported to Syria by the US thanks to Canadian intelligence, tortured for ten months before managing to return to Canada). The report consists of 89 fully blacked out pages. Thanks a lot, Canada!


Shocking news: Haitians to be excluded from Haiti's economic development!

Some of the details of the plan for Haiti are starting to emerge, as a meeting of various global bureaucrats and the government have made some decisions. The World Bank was front and centre.

Grassroots International, whose Haitian counterparts effectively endorsed the coup as well, has published a communique from those Haitian organizations denouncing the new economic plans as disguised colonialism. Below is an article from the Inter-Press service quoting some of the civil society groups whose voices were broadcasted loud and clear when they were attacking Aristide during and after the coup, but who now have been discarded because they don't endorse the intensification of the economic plunder of Haiti that the coup has brought.

Since the exclusion of Haitians, their lives, their democratic will, and their aspirations, was the whole point of the coup in the first place, this economic plan and the dumping of anyone with progressive ideas from governance is just a continuation and consolidation of the coup.

By Jane Regan
1,310 words
22 June 2004
Inter Press Service
(c) 2004 Global Information Network

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Jun. 21, 2004 (IPS/GIN) -- Haiti has a new development plan aimed at pulling the country out of its age-old economic, social and political morass with new roads and schools, policy changes and millions upon millions of donor dollars.

The only problem, critics say, is that it was written behind closed doors, follows a neo-liberal economic recipe and is little more than "disguised colonialism" because of the large role played by international institutions like the World Bank.

The Cadre de Cooperation International (CCI) or Interim Cooperation Framework, a draft summary of which was released earlier this month, has a generally neo-liberal economic orientation that calls for more free trade zones (FTZs), stresses tourism and export agriculture, and hints at the eventual privatisation of the country's state enterprises.

McNamara: Another war criminal who will not go to jail

I am often several months behind the curve. For example, I watched "The Fog of War" on video just last night, despite its release half a year ago. I watched it because several friends who I respect told me it was very revealing (I will be skeptical of their judgement from now on). It is Robert McNamara, US Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War, talking to the camera, interspersed with a little footage here and there.

McNamara looks into the camera and lies. Or maybe he didn't know: most are lies of omission. But he lies about the Tonkin Gulf resolution; he lies about the US terrorism against Cuba. He presents false dichotomies: did 'we' have to firebomb Japanese cities and kill hundreds of thousands? He says, the alternative was having our troops invade Japan and die in the hundreds of thousands. Oh really? Did anyone look into the possibility of not invading Japan? He says, I can't remember if I ordered the use of Agent Orange. Certainly it was used when I was secretary of defense. We don't have any laws against the uses of particular chemicals. I certainly wouldn't have ordered the use of anything illegal.

Basically, the movie was filthy lies and apologetics for the genocidal campaign against the Vietnamese. He actually went to Vietnam and berated the Vietnamese, asking them: "Was it worth it, making us kill 3.4 million of you?" As if it was the Vietnamese who chose to be slaughtered. He presents Castro as if he was insane because of his behaviour during the Cuban missile crisis, as if McNamara himself and Kennedy were not the aggressors. He forgets the missiles in Turkey pointed at the USSR that made the USSR want to answer with missiles in Cuba.

If the Nazis had won world war II, if one of the Nazis in the bureaucracy at the time had sat down 40 years later with a sympathetic director and talked about all the close shaves that he had lived through in his life, you would have something like this film. I wouldn't recommend it. Neither do the various leftists who reviewed it at the time, like Alex Cockburn.

The media needs the readers to finish the story

The NewStandard is trying a novel approach to trying to get the US Army to provide some details on a torture case their paper is following. They want readers to contact the US Army directly and pressure them to provide the information they are refusing to provide. You can find out how to help them here.