Monday, February 28, 2011

The West: Of Crocodile tears, Oil and hypocrisy.

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The West: Of Crocodile tears, Oil and hypocrisy

With dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s control over the country ebbing, the United States and its European allies are stepping up their intervention into the Libyan crisis. Their aim is to ensure that any new regime will be equally subservient to their economic and geostrategic interests.

Behind the rhetoric about democracy and humanitarian concerns, Washington and the European powers are seeking to exploit the brutality of Gaddafi to condition public opinion to accept a colonial-style intervention and the reassertion of imperialist control over the country’s oil fields.

Over the weekend, Gaddafi’s hold on power was further eroded by the defection of additional political and military figures and the capture of more key cities by the opposition. Most significant was the fall to the rebels of Zawiyah, an oil port and refinery city thirty miles to the west of the capital, Tripoli. The capture of Zawiyah signified the spread of the rebellion, heretofore centered in the east of the country, to the west.

Although Gaddafi’s army has reportedly surrounded Zawiyah, as of early Monday it had not attempted to retake the town of 200,000 people. The areas remaining under the dictator’s control have reportedly been reduced to Tripoli and Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte.

Gaddafi’s dwindling domain has only accelerated the imperialist drive to intervene, including by military means. Over the weekend, the British military carried out two raids into the Libyan desert to transport British nationals out of the country. The first, carried out Saturday by SAS special forces using Hercules planes, rescued 150 people, mostly British oil workers, and flew them to Malta. The second, on Sunday, involved three Royal Air Force planes and picked up another 150 civilians.

On Sunday, the German military carried out its own raid. Two military planes landed on a private runway belonging to the Wintershall AG company, evacuating 22 Germans and 112 others and flying them to Crete.

These raids mark the first open use of military assets in the Libyan crisis, but they are likely to be followed by more aggressive actions. There are growing calls in the US and Europe for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya, to be policed to US warplanes, and other military measures to aid the anti-Gaddafi forces.

The main concern in Washington is the prospect of either a protracted civil war, which would further inflame world oil prices and destabilize other oil-producing dictatorships in North Africa and the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, or a political vacuum over which the US would exert little influence.

The New York Times published a front-page article Sunday under the headline “The Vacuum After Qaddafi.” The article noted that the US exerts far less control over the Libyan army and other institutions than it does in Egypt and Tunisia, and ended by suggesting the possibility of a military occupation under the cover of humanitarian needs.

“Some experts,” the Times wrote, “wonder if Libya might become the first experiment in the use of the ‘responsibility to protect’—the idea that a United Nations force would be deployed to prevent civilian deaths in the event of widespread violence…

“With the country now split badly between east and west, an outside protection force would lend time for Tripoli to reassert itself as the capital and establish control.”

A raft of measures have been taken over the past several days by the US and Europe to isolate Gaddafi and pave the way for a major military intervention. After announcing Friday the closure of the US embassy in Tripoli and the imposition of unilateral US sanctions, President Obama on Saturday for the first time called for Gaddafi to resign. The White House published an account of a telephone call to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in which Obama called for Gaddafi to “leave now.”

Obama is to meet Monday in Washington with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to discuss further actions against the Libyan regime. Secretary Hillary Clinton is to speak in Geneva before the UN Human Rights Council, which over the weekend voted unanimously to suspend Libya’s membership.

The United Nations Security Council on Saturday unanimously passed a resolution imposing economic sanctions on Libya and referring Gaddafi and his key aides for prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO secretary general, held an emergency meeting of NATO ambassadors on Friday to discuss possible military assistance for evacuation efforts.

The British Guardian newspaper on Saturday cited unconfirmed reports that former Prime Minister Tony Blair had telephoned Gaddafi warning that NATO troops might be sent in. The claims were made by one of Gaddafi’s sons, Saadi, in a telephone interview from Tripoli.

The New York Times on Saturday quoted Tom Malinowski, the director of the Washington office of Human Rights Watch, as saying, “Even if people aren’t explicitly talking about no-fly zones, the fact that NATO met today suggests there is more on people’s minds than diplomacy… I sense military contingencies are on the table.” Malinowski has participated in White House meetings on the Libyan crisis.

The Financial Times on Saturday wrote that European officials have raised the possibility of armed rescues of the thousands of EU nationals still stranded in Libya. The newspaper quoted a “senior EU official” as saying: “It’s one of the possibilities we’re working on. We are in contact with EU member states to see whether their facilities, civilian and military, can be deployed for this.”

In taped interviews from Cairo broadcast on Sunday’s television talk shows, Republican Senator John McCain and Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman—who was the Democratic vice presidential candidate in 2000—attacked Obama for not going far enough in Libya. They called for a no-fly zone and military aid to the opposition.

The two noted that while the US had sent only a ferry to collect American civilians, Britain had sent a warship and Hercules aircraft.

Later on Sunday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested the administration was open to such moves, declaring that it was “reaching out” to opposition groups and was prepared to offer “any kind of assistance” to Libyans seeking to overthrow the regime.

The crocodile tears being shed by the US and its European allies over Gaddafi’s atrocities against protesters are utterly cynical. For days Obama and his European counterparts were silent over the massacres carried out by Gaddafi in Benghazi, Tripoli and other cities. Having established the closest relations with the regime over the past decade, which had allowed them free rein to once again exploit Libya’s oil resources, they hoped that Gaddafi would be able to quickly crush the uprising and restore order.

Only when it became clear that was not about to happen and the crisis began to seriously disrupt oil production and spark a panic rise in global market prices did they shift gears and denounce their former ally. Obama, Clinton, Sarkozy and company had all feted the dictator in recent months, following Tony Blair’s 2004 “deal in the sand” with Gaddafi and the Bush administration’s restoration of full diplomatic relations in 2008.

They had conveniently dropped the issue of Gaddafi’s role in the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 innocent civilians, mainly Americans. Exposing the fraud of the “war on terror” and its function as a cover for the aggressive pursuit of US imperialist interests around the world, Washington converted the former “mad dog” and “rogue” into an ally in the anti-terror cause and force for stability in the region.

Only last November, the International Monetary Fund issued a glowing report on Libya, praising the regime for its aggressive pursuit of neoliberal, pro-market policies. The IMF praised Gaddafi’s “continued efforts to modernize and diversify the economy,” commending in particular “efforts to enhance the role of the private sector in the economy.” These very policies led to mounting economic hardship for the working class and rural poor, fueling the social anger that erupted earlier this month.

Gaddafi is a criminal who deserves to be brought to justice, but none of the imperialist leaders currently denouncing him have any standing to point the finger elsewhere. They are all complicit in wars of aggression and colonial-style occupations that have killed hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq and Afghanistan and are implicated in all of the attendant crimes, including torture, rendition and indefinite detention.

The staggering hypocrisy of the US government is summed up by the fact that it supports bringing Gaddafi before the International Criminal Court, but refuses to sign on to the court and rejects its authority over Americans. It asserts the right of US officials to commit war crimes with impunity.

In the UN Security Council resolution against Libya passed Saturday, the US insisted on a clause declaring that people from countries not signed up to the International Criminal Court could not be punished by it for crimes in the Libyan attacks. American officials insisted on the paragraph to prevent setting a precedent for prosecution by the ICC of American soldiers and officials.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

For Egypt, not yet Uhuru.

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For Egypt, not yet Uhuru

I am ecstatic for the people of Egypt but deeply troubled. Theirs was democracy in action; a revolution that has now become an inspiration for the downtrodden in society everywhere. In its aftermath, America decreed whichever government that emerged in Egypt must uphold the Peace treaty between Egypt and Israel along with other international agreements; an order given to its ruling class without due consideration for the feelings or consent of the Egyptian people on the matter. It was this treaty that got Anwar Sadat the sobriquet, the peacemaker, and the joint Noble Peace prize shared between himself and Menachem Begin. A fraud of a treaty that mapped the course which today has led to gross human rights violations and war crimes in Gaza by the Israeli Defense Force, albeit with the participatory consent of a rogue dictator.

The issue that attests to true democracy in Egypt and the ability of its leaders to listen to the people is this so-called Peace treaty and its abolition. The Egyptians say and need for the blockage and oppression of the Palestinian people to stop. They want normal relations with their neighbours restored and for the Raffah crossing to reopen. The Peace treaty is a piece of paper that does nothing but to secure the Egyptian borders and keep the Raffah crossing closed whenever Israel so desires, guaranteeing on the other hand, fat cheques that feed thirty-year-old egos and purchase materials to suppress a people.

But this treaty has become more than a piece of paper, it is today, a deep-rooted commercial enterprise spreading through all facets of the ruling elite in Egypt and cumulating in a $1.5 billion deficit for the American taxpayers every year. It is about being a good boy and taking orders. It is not about what the Egyptian people want but what Israel commands. The Egyptian people know this and understand that any meaningful change of government must be one that produces a leadership capable of rejecting such agreements and treaties entered into by a rogue dictator and his regime that were never representative of the Egyptian people in the first instance. Understanding this, one realizes that the attainment of real democracy in Egypt must affect the Palestinian question and a people’s search for freedom most positively.

The Egyptian Supreme Military Council is by content and outlook a dictatorial body, irrespective of promises made, and a military junta. By nature, it is adverse to democratic influences and pronouncements and by this is anti-people. Undoubtedly, Egypt can be said to have slipped a rung or two on its political ladder, in its climb to a meaningful democratic society, considering also, that the Supreme Military Council has come out, so soon after America ordered it, to accept it will uphold all existing international treaties and agreements. Add to this, the absence of any identifiable timeline in all its communiqué to the people of Egypt and this emerging situation becomes troubling. Ordinarily, it ought not to be up to a vacating caretaker to grant such an undertaking but for the emergent political arrangement to sort out. That they should not have indulged in such an undertaking and yet did, betrays some sinister ulterior motive and the complete disregard for the consent of the governed.

The fact that the Supreme Military Council made these pronouncements without any form of referral, or pretensions to it, to the Egyptian people attests to its dictatorial clout. When we reason that they are the group which will be most hit by an American withdrawal of aid (both military and economic) from Egypt, it becomes clear to see that their resolve to maintain the status quo would be unshakable. So, even if the Egyptian military were to wish for a quick return to democratic society, their working manual would at best remain survivalist. Given this fact, it would not be difficult for America, with its sweet carrot stick, to persuade the military at installing a ‘democratic’ administration which would guarantee the regular delivery of ‘aid’ to it by upholding all existing international treaties and agreements.

To uphold the Peace treaty with Israel or any other agreements entered into by a rogue dictator, therefore, is to deny the Egyptian people a major springboard to their democratic aspirations. It is to ignore the political mandate and desires of a people and deny them a voice in the scheme of things which affect them. Clearly, it has been shown to be of paramount importance to the Obama administration that the voice of Egyptians be not heard on this issue; eighty three million voices that America pretends to have a working relationship with. When that administration speaks about an ‘orderly transition’ in Egypt, it would appear to mean a political process that would continue to enforce from its end, the brutality being visited on the Palestinian people today and over the years by the Israeli Defense Force. Is it not amazing and ironic, that in the twenty-first century, America, that so-called bastion of democracy, is to be found applauding a military junta as the caretaker to an emergent democratic society?

The Peace treaty and agreements pertaining to American bases in Egypt were reasons why it was important to the Obama administration that Mubarak resigns rather than get thrown out of office. It was important to the Americans for Mubarak to be seen to have handed over power to some authority, in order to create the illusion of legitimacy and continuity a la ‘orderly transition’. This coloration is crucial for America and Israel to rope the Egyptians into agreements that have now been publicly and universally disavowed by their ousting of Mubarak from power. Mubarak did not resign, he was kicked out of office by a people he called children.

Mubarak was not a servant to his people, he was ‘master’ and ‘father’ in his own perverted mind. He wore a Pharaoh complex and in his veins ran the steaming hot blood of a cut-throat tyrant. He did not only betray his people, he treated his dog better. Together and in concert with his gang of sadistic plutocrats, Mubarak raped his people with the joyful wickedness of a serial killer. How could America pay such a man top dollar for placing a blanket of emergency rule over his own people for thirty years?

The revolution in Egypt has displayed the hypocrisy that oils American foreign policy and its brand of democracy. The height of deceit to the Egyptian people is for anyone to say, like Obama claims he said to Mubarak during their telephone conversation, that the status quo is not sustainable, whereas it is being sustained right in front of the Egyptian people by America at the behest of Israel. Nothing has yet changed, fundamentally, in Egypt today. The same clique of power-huggers is still in control. Words vaguely spoken are all they have been fed. The Egyptian people must keep their eyes on that political ball and not lose sight of it unless things will remain the same. No matter what the Egyptian people are said to think about their military, it is ill-equipped by their command mentality and anti-democratic disposition to midwife any meaningful transition to real democracy. The rightful place for any military is within the barracks and not within the building blocks of an emergent democratic society.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Israeli Economy 101

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Israeli Economy 101

We learn from the press and political analysts that, against all odds and in spite of the global financial turmoil, Israel’s economy is booming. Some even suggest that Israel is one of the strongest economies around.

‘How come?’ you may ask; besides maybe avocado, oranges, and some Dead Sea beauty products, none of us has actually ever seen an Israeli product on the shelves. They don’t make cars; nor do they make electric or electronic appliances, and they hardly manufacture any consumer goods. Israel claims to be advanced in high-tech technologies but somehow, the only Israeli advanced software ever to settle within our computers have been their Sabra Trojan Horses. In the land they grabbed by force from the indigenous Palestinians, they are yet to find any lucrative minerals or oil.

So what is it? How is it that Israel is impervious to the global financial disaster? How can Israel be so rich?

Israel may be rich because, according to the Guardian, “out of the seven oligarchs who controlled 50% of Russia’s economy during the 1990s, six were Jewish.” During the last two decades, many Russian oligarchs have acquired Israeli citizenship. They also secured their dirty money by investing in the kosher financial haven; Wikileaks has revealed lately that “sources in the (Israeli) police estimate that Russian organised crime (Russian Mafia) has laundered as much as US $10 billion through Israeli holdings."[1]

Israel's economy is booming because mega swindlers such as Bernie Madoff have been channeling their money via Zionists and Israeli institutions for decades.[2]

Israel is ‘doing well’ because it is the leading trader in blood diamonds. Far from being surprising, Israel is also the fourth biggest weapon dealer on this planet. Clearly, blood diamonds and guns are proving to be a great match.

As if this is not enough, Israel is also prosperous because, every so often, it is caught engaged in organ trafficking and organ harvesting.

In short, Israel is doing better than other countries because it runs one of the dirtiest- non -ethical economies in the world. In spite of the Zionists' initial promise to bring about a civilised ethical Jew, Israel has, instead, managed to develop an outstanding level of institutional dismissal of international law and universal values. It operates as a safe haven for money made in some horrendous global criminal activities. And it employs one of the world’s strongest army to defend the wealth of just a few of the wealthiest Jews around.

Increasingly, Israel seems to be nothing more than a humongous money laundering haven for Jewish oligarchs, swindlers, weapons dealers, organ traffickers, organised crime and blood diamond traders.

Such a realization can certainly explain why Israel is totally impervious to social equality within its borders.

Poor Israelis

Since Israel defines itself as the Jewish state, one may expect the Jewish people to be the first to benefit from their country’s booming economy. This seems to be not at all the case. In spite of the economy's strength, Israel’s record on social justice is appalling. In the Jewish state 18 families control 60% of the equity value of all companies in the land. The Jewish State is shockingly cruel to its poor. As far as the gap between rich and poor is concerned, Israel is listed right at the top of the scale.

The meaning of all of that is pretty devastating; though Israel operates as an ethno-centric racially orientated, tribal setting, it is proving to be totally careless of the members of its own tribe -- In fact, in the Jewish state, a few million Jews are serving the darkest possible interests, the fruits of which, are to be enjoyed by just a very few rich villains.

Smoke Screen

But there is a deeper and far more devastating meaning implicit within it all. If my reading of the Israeli economy is correct, and Israel is indeed a monstrous cash haven for the dirtiest money around, then the Israeli Palestinian conflict is , at least, from the Israeli-elite's perspective , nothing but a smoke screen.

I hope that my readers and friends will forgive me for saying it -- I hope that I will forgive myself for saying it -- But it seems to me that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Israel's horrendous crimes against the Palestinian people, actually serves to divert attention away from Israel's complicity in some colossal and global crimes against vast populations around the world. Instead of addressing the above relentless greed-driven attempt to grab wealth on the expense of the rest of humanity, we are all focusing on a single territorial conflict, that actually brings to light just one devastating criminal side of the Jewish national project.

It is more than likely that the vast majority of Israelis also fail to detect the deceitful role of the Israeli Palestinian conflict. The Israelis are indoctrinated to look at every possible issue from a national security perspective. They have failed to realise that along the intensive militarization of their society, their Jewish state has become a money laundering haven and a refuge for villains from all over the world.

But here is some bad news for Israel and its corrupted elite. It is just a question of time before the Russians, Americans, Africans, Europeans, all of humanity, begin to grasp it all -- We are all Palestinians and we all share one enemy.

I would even take it further, and argue that it is possible that, not before too long -- some deprived Jews and Israelis will also begin to realise how deceptive and sinister Israel and Zionism truly are.

[1] For more information about global organized crime connections with Likud or other major Israeli political parties. Please follow this link

[2] Also, it is rumoured that, prior to its collapse, Lehman Brothers transferred 400 billion dollars to Israeli banks. I am not in a position to substantiate any of these theories -- but I would strongly suggest that it is of some urgency to find out how truthful these accusations are.

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Egypt: America's beautiful bride

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Egypt: America's beautiful bride

The greatest danger to the Egyptian revolution and the prospects for a free and independent Egypt emanates not from the "baltagiyya", the mercenaries and thugs the regime sent to beat, stone, stab, shoot and kill protesters in Cairo, Alexandria and other cities last week, but from Washington.

Ever since the Egyptian uprising began on 25 January, the United States government and the Washington establishment that rationalizes its policies have been scared to death of "losing Egypt." What they fear losing is a regime that has consistently ignored the rights and well-being of its people in order to plunder the country and enrich the few who control it, and that has done America's bidding, especially supporting Israel in its oppression and wars against the Palestinians and other Arabs.

The Obama Administration quickly dissociated itself from its envoy to Egypt, Frank Wisner, after the latter candidly told the BBC on 5 February that he thought President Hosni Mubarak "must stay in office in order to steer" any transition to a post-Mubarak order.

But one suspects that Wisner was inadvertently speaking in his master's voice. US President Barack Obama and his national security establishment may be willing to give up Mubarak the person, but they are not willing to give up Mubarak's regime. It is notable that the US has never supported the Egyptian protesters' demand that Mubarak must go now. Nor has the United States suspended its $1.5 billion annual aid package to Egypt, much of which goes to the state security forces that are oppressing protesters and beating up and arresting journalists.

As The New York Times -- always a reliable barometer of official thinking -- reported, "The United States and leading European nations on Saturday threw their weight behind Egypt's vice president, Omar Suleiman, backing his attempt to defuse a popular uprising without immediately removing President Hosni Mubarak from power." Obama administration officials, the newspaper added, "said Mr. Suleiman had promised them an 'orderly transition' that would include constitutional reform and outreach to opposition groups".

Moreover, the Times reported, the United States has already managed to persuade two of its major European clients, the United Kingdom and Germany, to back continuing the existing regime with only a change of figurehead.

Suleiman, long the powerful chief of Egypt's intelligence services, has served, perhaps even more so than Mubarak, as the guarantor of Egypt's regional role in maintaining the American- and Israeli-dominated order. As author Jane Mayer has documented, Suleiman played a key role in the US "rendition" program, working closely with the CIA which kidnapped "terror suspects" from around the world and delivered them into Suleiman's hands for interrogation, and almost certainly torture.

High praise for Suleiman's work has also come from top Israeli military brass. "I always believed in the abilities of the Egyptian Intelligence service [GIS]," Israeli General Amos Gilad told American, Palestinian Authority and Egyptian officials during a secret April 2007 meeting whose leaked minutes were recently released by Al Jazeera as part of the Palestine Papers. "It keeps order and security among 70 millions, 20 millions in one city [a reference to the population of Egypt, actually closer to 83 million, and to Cairo], this is a great achievement, for which you deserve a medal. It is the best asset for the Middle East," Gilad said.

The notion that anyone, let alone US officials, could believe that Suleiman would lead an "orderly transition" to democracy would be laughable if it were not so sinister. Much more likely, the strategy is to try to ride out the protests and wear out and split the opposition, consolidate the regime under Suleiman's ruthless grip with the backing of the Egyptian army, and then enact cosmetic "reforms" to keep the Egyptian people politically divided and busy while business carries on as usual. Under any Suleiman "transition" political activists, journalists and anyone suspected of being part of the current uprising would be in grave danger.

From the American perspective, the strategy can be likened to what happened in the summer of 2008 when the house-of-cards international financial system started to collapse. Think of the Tunisian regime of deposed dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali as the investment bank Lehman Brothers. When a run on the bank began, the United States government refused to provide it with financial guarantees to bail it out, and it quickly went bankrupt.

But when the panic spread and even larger "too big to fail" financial firms including massive insurance company AIG began to see their positions suddenly deteriorate, the United States government stepped in to bail them out with hundreds of billions of dollars.

The Egyptian regime is the AIG of the region and what we are seeing now is an American attempt to bail it out. If Egypt goes under, the United States fears that the contagion would spread as Arab publics realize that the US-backed despots who rule them can be replaced, and that the toppling of these regimes whose only promise to their people has been "security" is not the end of the world but the start of renewal.

Of course, no analogy is exact. Whereas, allowing Lehman Brothers to collapse was a calculated decision, the United States did not see the revolution in Tunisia, or the uprising in Egypt coming. "Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton infamously declared on 25 January, the day the anti-regime protests broke out.

Clinton's cluelessness is reminiscent of her predecessor Condoleezza Rice's famous words ("didn't see it coming") in relation to Hamas' victory in Palestinian legislative council elections in 2006.

According to The New York Times, Obama himself is unhappy with US intelligence failures in the Arab world ("Obama Faults Spy Agencies' Performance in Gauging Mideast Unrest, Officials Say," 4 February 2011). For close watchers of the United States, this obliviousness is no mystery.

As Helena Cobban has observed, the Israel Lobby, "AIPAC and its attack dogs," have conducted such a thorough "witch-hunt" over the past quarter century "against anyone with real Middle East expertise that the US government now contains no-one at the higher (or even mid-career) levels of policymaking who has any in-depth understanding of the region or of the aspirations of its people".

But it is even worse than that. The US "policy" establishment seems only capable of viewing the region through Israeli eyes. This is why for so many officials and commentators the concerns of Israel to maintain a brutal hegemony trump the aspirations of 83 million Egyptians to determine their own future free from the shackles of the regime that has oppressed them for so long.

And different futures are possible. On the minds of many observers is the "Turkish model" of constitutional democracy, economic resurgence and foreign policy independence, all under the rule of a "moderate" Islamist party. Turkey, once closely in the orbit of the United States, started to break out with its refusal to allow the US to use the country's bases for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

In recent years, Turkey has developed a deliberate "360 degree" foreign policy doctrine which includes maintaining relations with Europe and the United States, while restoring close ties with all its neighbors among them Iran and Arab countries, and assuming a greater regional mediating role. Since 2009, Turkey's once close alliance with Israel has deteriorated sharply, even though ties have not been cut. These shifts, along with its ubiquitous consumer and cultural products have given Turkey enormous regional influence and appeal.

Turkey has its own specific history and is no more perfect than any other country. But the bigger point is that subservience to the United States and Israel is not Egypt's only option. The worst case scenario from the American viewpoint is to have three major regional powers, Iran, Turkey and Egypt, that are not under Washington's control.

Of course Turkey is carving out its own path and Egyptians are struggling to go their own way which may be very different. There's no reason either to believe that Egypt would become "another Iran" as ceaseless Israeli propaganda suggests. But given a free choice, Egypt is not likely serve the "interests" of the United States and Israel the way the Mubarak regime has.

One example is that Egypt might dispense with US aid and still come out ahead by simply selling its natural gas on international markets rather than to Israel at what is reported to be a deep discount. Another is that a truly independent Egypt would eschew serving as Israel's proxy in enforcing the criminal siege of Gaza and stoking intra-Palestinian divisions.

By coming to the streets in their millions, by sacrifing the lives of some of their very finest, the Egyptian people have said that they and they alone want to decide their nation's future. Mubarak as a person is already irrelevant. The confrontation is now between the Egyptian people's desire for democracy and self-determination on the one hand, and, on the other, US insistence (along with its clients in Egypt and the region) on continuing the old regime. Let us offer whatever solidarity we can from wherever we are to help the Egyptian people to win.

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Why Africa starves

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Why Africa starves

Suppose that, one day, a foreign investor decided to buy a vast tract of fertile land in the United States. Suppose all that is grown or produced on that land, and all profits made, would be shipped directly overseas. Worse, imagine that those Americans who had been living off that land for decades, maybe centuries, would be forced to move and given little to no compensation.

Such an event would undoubtedly spark public outrage, yet this scenario is not far from reality—only the roles are reversed. American companies have recently been investing heavily in foreign land, and many involved in the worldwide struggle against hunger believe that is a cause for concern. What investors call “agricultural development” is described by critics as “land grabbing,” which they say undermines food security in developing countries.

Land grabbing is nothing new, according to Flavio Valente, secretary general of Food First Information and Action Network (FIAN) International, a nonprofit that advocates for the right to food. “But recently, the practice of land grabbing has been intensifying and affecting the most vulnerable—peasants, farmers and indigenous people,” Valente says.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates more than 75,000 square miles have been acquired by foreign interests in Africa alone. A 2010 field study conducted by FIAN in Ethiopia found that the equivalent of up to 20 percent of the country’s arable land has been bought by or made available to foreign investors.

American companies are among those making land deals in Africa. New York-based Jarch Capital, bought an area the size of Dubai from a warlord in South Sudan last year, and Dominion Farms Ltd., which bought swampland in Kenya in 2003 to turn it into a rice plantation, has reportedly intentionally flooded local farms to force the relocation of farmers.

Despite promises of creating jobs and increasing food production, foreign investment hardly ever benefits local communities because it aims to secure crops and profits for those back home, the FIAN report states.

Food security advocates say that even initiatives touted for presenting solutions to the land-grabbing problem, such as the World Bank’s Principles for Responsible Agricultural Development, fail to address the lack of concrete mechanisms to hold companies and governments accountable. “These principles, which are meant to be voluntary and self-regulated by the private sector, distract from the fact that what is needed is mandatory and strict state regulation of investors in several policy fields, such as financial markets and agriculture,” says Sofia Monsalve Suárez, land program coordinator at FIAN International.

Resolutions to regulate foreign land acquisition exist, but are ineffective and weak, Valente says. He is hopeful that the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), a United Nations body which last year became more attuned to indigenous and peasant interests, will act.

“The CFS is the only organization with a clear mandate to uphold food security, and each country gets one vote,” Valente says. “Facilitating the participation of those most affected [by land-grabbing] was the first step; now we must see if those voices will actually be heard.”

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Walk like an Egyptian

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Walk like an Egyptian

"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government..." America: The Declaration of Independence

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Sunday, February 06, 2011

Discovered or Genetically Modified?

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Discovered or Genetically Modified?

Dr Ken Vernick discovered the mosquito - nicknamed Goundry after one of the villages near where it was discovered - with colleagues at the French National Centre for Scientific Research in Paris. He said: 'They are very susceptible to the human malaria parasite, we know they belong to a species that has an exquisite preference for human blood, and we know they are abundant in the population.' Dr Vernick said his team is not yet able to quantify how much malaria transmission this new mosquito subtype is responsible for, but they feared it might be a major factor. 'What we can say is that it's unlikely they're harmless,' he said.

Malaria is an infectious disease spread by mosquitoes that threatens up to half the world's population. Most of its victims are children under five in poor countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The World Health Organisation's latest malaria report found that some progress against the disease has been made over the past decade, with deaths estimated to have dropped to 781,000 in 2009 from nearly a million in 2000.

In a study published in the journal Science, the French team said the newly-identified mosquito was unlike any that has turned up in collections before. This is probably because nearly all mosquitoes collected for research in the past have been taken from inside human dwellings, they said, where the insects are easier to catch. 'A few scattered studies over the years have suggested that the vector population was not just indoors, but that there was more to the story,' Dr Vernick said.

This was why his team decided to collect mosquitoes from outside and study them more closely. Having found the new subtype, the team grew new generations of it in the laboratory and found that it was significantly more susceptible to the malaria parasite than recorded indoor types. This suggests the Goundry may be quite young in evolutionary terms, Dr Vernick said, and may even have evolved as an outdoor subtype as a way of resisting indoor control measures such as spraying insecticides or encouraging people to sleep under insecticide-treated mosquito nets.

The WHO, which has called for faster research and development of new anti-malarial drugs, said late last year that the international community could stop malaria deaths by 2015 if it put in massive levels of investment. But Dr Vernick said discoveries such as this one added to what he called the 'never-ending battle' against the disease. 'The parasite is smarter than all the immunologists that study it... and the mosquito is smarter than all the vector biologists that study it,' he said. 'It's not a fair fight.'

Reading the story below makes it incredibly difficult to believe that this is not a lab experiment gone weird. The exiting of this species, the timing and even the parties to this discovery are all too convenient to be coincidental. That people started playing with mosquito genes for this to now out makes its so-called discovery highly suspect. It would seem more like desperate scientists trying to cover their tracks for the mayhem they have now unleashed upon us, if you ask me.

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That Bill Gates Genetically Modified Mosquito

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That Bill Gates Genetically Modified Mosquito

There has been much debate about the pending FDA approval of genetically modified salmon that grows to maturity twice as fast as a natural salmon. Its many detractors have labeled it "Frankenfish" and say it will spoil the natural marine environment, as well as being potentially harmful for human consumption. While that debate continues, it looks like another genetically modified live organism may be approved for release into the ecosystem: GM mosquitoes.

The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs announced plans to combat Dengue fever and other mosquito-borne illnesses with genetically modified mosquitoes designed to make them sterile or simply kill them off, as reported on the U.N news service IRIN:

Scientists fighting mosquito-borne diseases are racing to obtain approval to release genetically modified insects designed to stop the spread of dengue, a potentially fatal virus.

However, such moves have made environmentalists nervous as a science long used in agriculture is applied to public health.

These mosquitoes are engineered with an extra gene or inserted bacterium or have had a gene altered so that either their offspring are sterile and unable to spread dengue, or simply die.

"People generally do not like the unknown and are alarmist. Because there has never been a [field] release of GM [genetically modified] mosquitoes, critics are free to imagine what can possibly go wrong," said UK-based entomologist and professor at Imperial College London, John Mumford.

He is also the principal investigator for the World Health Organization (WHO)-funded regulatory group, Mosqguide, founded to develop best practices for deploying genetically modified mosquitoes to fight mosquito-borne diseases, primarily dengue and malaria.

For half a century, scientists have released billions of engineered insects - for example, fruit flies - to save plants, but to date there has not been a field release of insects engineered to save humans.

The Malaysia-headquartered NGO Pesticide Action Network-Asia and the Pacific opposed a since-granted request to release modified mosquitoes on the grounds that "it may have environmental or health consequences as well as carry risks arising from horizontal gene transfer", wrote executive director, Sarojeni V. Rengam, who stressed the "possibility of new health risks to humans and animals....the insect may become more virulent, aggressive, or its bite might have different effects on the host."

The most shocking section of this release is that for the last 50 years scientists have released billions of engineered insects into the ecosystem. There has been very little public debate about whether we should be meddling with nature by introducing billions of new organisms. It's understandable in regards to mosquitoes, as most people find them to be a nuisance if not a health menace; therefore, despite a lack of knowledge, most people will read this and say "good, get rid of them."

It seems that if scientists have been able to successfully modify insects genetically for the past half-decade, then at least some of those species were originally designed to be a disease-carrying weapon. In fact, many have reported that recent dengue outbreaks can be directly traced to U.S. Army experiments coordinated by the CIA. In most cases of government funding for scientific research, there is usually a military origin. The technology is even being used as another manufactured terrorist threat.

The U.N. proudly reports:

Australian researchers from the University of Queensland, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, have received regulatory approval to begin in December to release mosquitoes infected with a bacterium that prevents the dengue virus from multiplying, as has the Malaysian Ministry of Health.

Given the absolute certainty that global organizations such as the World Health Organization are utterly corrupt with their phony pandemics indicating elite alliances and lack of true concern for human health, it is time that we all become skeptics regarding their efforts. And when proven eugenicists like Bill Gates are involved in the funding of such technology, it should be clear by now to oppose such meddling with nature in order to help "save" humans.

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Saturday, February 05, 2011

Obama's Crocodile Tears

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Obama's Crocodile Tears

"We pray that the violence in Egypt will end, and that the rights and aspirations of the Egyptian people will be realized, and that a better day will dawn over Egypt," President Barack Obama solemnly intoned at the beginning of his remarks to the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning.

This annual celebration of official righteousness is, appropriately enough, convened by the Fellowship Foundation, a shadowy, politically connected group with a long record of organizing "prayer circles" that bring together foreign dictators, American politicians and military contractors. Defending the practice, the group’s organizer noted, "the Bible is full of mass murderers."

Obama’s prayer follows a series of White House and State Department statements "deploring" the violence in Egypt and expressing moral indignation over the attacks by the regime of President Hosni Mubarak on peaceful protesters and the media.

Who do they think they are kidding? For 30 years, US administrations, Democratic and Republican alike, including that of Obama, have backed Mubarak precisely because of his ability to impose policies supported by Washington against the overwhelming opposition of the Egyptian people. That this required systematic and relentless violence was well understood.

If Obama is crying crocodile tears now over the violence that has left hundreds dead and thousands wounded in the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and across Egypt, it is only because this violence has stopped working, and the Egyptian people continue to resist and struggle.

He wasn’t crying when he delivered his speech in Cairo in June 2009, which included not a word of criticism of the Mubarak regime. Instead, he praised the Egyptian dictator as a "stalwart ally" and a "force for stability and good in the region."

Like his predecessors at the White House, Obama has sent an estimated $2 billion annually—second only to US aid to Israel—to prop up Mubarak’s dictatorship. The vast bulk of this money has gone to the army and police forces for the purpose of repressing the people of Egypt and the entire region.

That the president and other top US officials were hardly unaware of the violence carried out daily by the regime has been substantiated by documentary proof thanks to the secret diplomatic cables from the Cairo embassy released by WikiLeaks. A cable sent to Washington by the US ambassador in Cairo just months before Obama’s speech noted matter-of-factly that police brutality in Egypt is "routine and pervasive", with "literally hundreds of torture incidents every day in Cairo police stations alone."

This was hardly news. The Egyptian government has ruled through a virtually uninterrupted state of emergency over the course of Mubarak’s entire presidency. This allowed administrative detention without trial, the criminalization of strikes and the outlawing of any non-sanctioned gathering of five or more people.

In practice, this has meant that workers who have dared to strike have been met with riot police and troops, subjected to mass arrests and beaten with clubs and rifle butts. Leaders of workers’ protests have been hunted down, jailed and tortured. Those who the regime has bothered bringing to trial have frequently been hauled before special state security courts supposedly meant to deal with cases of armed terrorism.

Neither Obama’s nor any other US administration has found these actions troubling. They have helped create the most profitable conditions for the Egyptian bourgeoisie and transnational banks and corporations. Certainly no US official suggested withholding a single cent of US aid over the brutal repression of the Egyptian workers.

While Washington is now expressing its indignation over the arrests and intimidation of US and other foreign journalists covering the events in Egypt, it took no action against its client Mubarak as his regime arrested, tortured and "disappeared" journalists over the years, including for such offenses as "misquoting" his ministers, raising questions about his own health or writing derogatory reports about his son and chosen successor, Gamal.

The US viewed with approval the rounding up and detention without charges of thousands of members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups.

Washington likewise made no issue over the barbaric forms of torture meted out against thousands upon thousands of political prisoners, which ranged from burning people on their chest and legs to attaching electrodes to their tongues, nipples and genitals, to hanging them upside down to beatings and rapes.

On the contrary, the US government and its intelligence agencies viewed Mubarak’s torturers as a resource. It is likely that CIA officials watching the televised coverage of the goon squads attacking the protesters in Tahrir Square would have recognized some of their ringleaders, having rubbed shoulders with them in the torture chambers of Cairo’s Lazoughli Street secret police headquarters or Maulhaq al-Mazra prison.

Under an "extraordinary rendition program" begun under the Clinton administration in the 1990s, alleged terror suspects abducted by the CIA elsewhere in the world were flown in hoods and shackles to Egypt for the express purpose of being interrogated under torture. This grisly arrangement, which established a seamless unity between the Egyptian torture regime and US imperialism’s intervention in the Middle East, was worked out between US intelligence and the head of Mubarak’s secret police, Omar Suleiman. Recently named as vice president, Suleiman has been in regular telephone discussions with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden and other US officials.

Moreover, the role of the Egyptian regime as the "stalwart ally" of both the US and Israel has facilitated massive violence, from the US invasion of Iraq to the Israeli wars in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

This is the objective and historical context in which Obama’s prayer for an end to violence and his crocodile tears over the repression in Egypt must be evaluated.

Behind its pseudo-democratic posturing, the US administration is playing for time. Within ruling circles and the US military-intelligence apparatus, there no doubt exist divisions and conflicting assessments over whether Mubarak can succeed in suppressing the masses or whether immediate steps must be taken to refurbish the regime.

What concerns every section of the US ruling elite, however, is what Senator John McCain referred to recently as the "Lenin scenario", i.e., that the mass demonstrations against Mubarak will develop into a direct revolutionary challenge to imperialist domination and capitalist rule in Egypt.

All the talk from Washington about a "transition to a democratic regime" is aimed at forestalling this threat. Such a US-backed "transition" has no credibility whatsoever. It sole purpose would be to re-stabilize the existing military dictatorship so that it can continue enforcing policies that benefit US imperialism and a narrow and corrupt Egyptian financial elite, while subjecting the masses of workers and oppressed to unemployment, poverty and repression.

Egyptian workers and youth should reject both Obama’s hypocritical expressions of concern and US promises of a "democratic transition" with the contempt they deserve. The burning need is for the development of an independent revolutionary movement of the working class to effect the transfer of power to the workers and the oppressed and organize the socialist transformation of Egyptian society. A genuine democratic transformation of Egypt, an end to oppression and social inequality, can be achieved only by means of socialist revolution.

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Role Reversal

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Role Reversal

GAZA Feb 4 (Reuters) - Egyptian soldiers isolated on the Gaza border by 10 days of internal upheaval are getting bread, canned goods and other food supplies from the enclave, which is usually on the receiving end of food aid.

A source in the border town of Rafah said security forces of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which rules Gaza, had been providing the troops with supplies for the past three days.

Israel has blockaded Gaza for over three years with the assistance of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's government, and half the population depends on handouts of staples from the United Nations. With mass protests demanding Mubarak should quit, sources in Rafah said north Sinai was tense. Angry Bedouins were in control of many roads following armed clashes with Egyptian police.

The sources said Palestinian merchants in Gaza have also been smuggling vegetables, eggs and other staples into Egypt, where store owners have run out of stock because normal supplies are cut off by the unrest -- reversing the usual flow of goods.

Hamas security forces had beefed up their presence along the border and in the area of Gaza's honeycomb of smuggling tunnels to prevent any breach of the border line. No photography or television images were allowed.

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