Monday, January 31, 2011

A Look at Kosovo and Albania!

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Kosovo and Albania: Dirty Work in the Balkans: NATO’s KLA Frankenstein
By Tom Burghardt
URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23003
Global Research, January 30, 2011
Antfascist Calling - 2011-01-28
The U.S. and German-installed leadership of Kosovo finds itself under siege after the Council of Europe voted Tuesday to endorse a report charging senior members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) of controlling a brisk trade in human organs, sex slaves and narcotics.
Coming on the heels of a retrial later this year of KLA commander and former Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj, by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, an enormous can of worms is about to burst open.
Last month, Antifascist Calling reported that Hashim Thaçi, the current Prime Minister of the breakaway Serb province, and other members of the self-styled Drenica Group, were accused by Council of Europe investigators of running a virtual mafia state.
According to Swiss parliamentarian Dick Marty, the Council’s Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, Thaçi, Dr. Shaip Muja, and other leading members of the government directed–and profited from–an international criminal enterprise whose tentacles spread across Europe into Israel, Turkey and South Africa.
For his part, Thaçi has repudiated the allegations and has threatened to sue Marty for libel. Sali Berisha, Albania’s current Prime Minister and Thaçi’s close ally, dismissed the investigation as a “completely racist and defamatory report,” according to The New York Times.
That’s rather rich coming from a politician who held office during the systematic looting of Albania’s impoverished people during the “economic liberalization” of the 1990s.
At the time, Berisha’s Democratic Party government urged Albanians to invest in dodgy pyramid funds, massive Ponzi schemes that were little more than fronts for drug money laundering and arms trafficking.
More than a decade ago, Global Research analyst Michel Chossudovsky documented how the largest fund, “VEFA Holdings had been set up by the Guegue ‘families’ of Northern Albania with the support of Western banking interests,” even though the fund “was under investigation in Italy in 1997 for its ties to the Mafia which allegedly used VEFA to launder large amounts of dirty money.”
By 1997, two-thirds of the Albanian population who believed fairy tales of capitalist prosperity spun by their kleptocratic leaders and the IMF, lost some $1.2 billion to the well-connected fraudsters. When the full extent of the crisis reached critical mass, it sparked an armed revolt that was only suppressed after the UN Security Council deployed some 7,000 NATO troops that occupied the country; more than 2,000 people were killed.
Today the Berisha regime, like their junior partners in Pristina, face a new legitimacy crisis.
As the World Socialist Web Site reported, mass protests broke out in Tirana last week, with more than 20,000 demonstrators taking to the streets, after a nationally broadcast report showed a Deputy Prime Minister from Berisha’s party “in secretly taped talks, openly negotiating the level of bribes to back the construction of a new hydroelectric power station.”
As is the wont of gangster states everywhere, “police responded with extreme violence against the demonstrators; three people died and dozens were injured.”
While the charges against Thaçi and his confederates are shocking, evidence that these horrific crimes have been known for years, and suppressed, both by the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) and by top American and German officials–the political mandarins pulling Balkan strings–lend weight to suspicions that a protective wall was built around their protégés; facts borne out by subsequent NATO investigations, also suppressed.
Leaked Military Intelligence Reports
On Monday, a series of NATO reports were leaked to The Guardian. Military intelligence officials, according to investigative journalist Paul Lewis, identified Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi as one of the 'biggest fish' in organised crime in his country.”
Marked “Secret” by NATO spooks, Lewis disclosed that the 2004 reports also “indicate that the US and other western powers backing Kosovo’s government have had extensive knowledge of its criminal connections for several years.”
According to The Guardian, the files, tagged “‘USA KFOR’ ... provide detailed information about organised criminal networks in Kosovo based on reports by western intelligence agencies and informants,” and also “identify another senior ruling politician in Kosovo as having links to the Albanian mafia, stating that he exerts considerable control over Thaçi, a former guerrilla leader.”
As noted above, with the Council of Europe demanding a formal investigation into charges that Thaçi’s criminal enterprise presided over a grisly traffic in human organs and exerted “violent control” over the heroin trade, it appears that the American and German-backed narco statelet is in for a very rough ride.
In the NATO reports, The Guardian revealed that Thaçi “is identified as one of a triumvirate of ‘biggest fish’ in organised criminal circles.”
“So too,” Lewis writes, “is Xhavit Haliti, a former head of logistics for the KLA who is now a close ally of the prime minister and a senior parliamentarian in his ruling PDK party.”
The reports suggest “that behind his role as a prominent politician, Haliti is also a senior organised criminal who carries a Czech 9mm pistol and holds considerable sway over the prime minister.”
Described as “‘the power behind Hashim Thaçi’, one report states that Haliti has strong ties with the Albanian mafia and Kosovo’s secret service, known as KShiK.”
The former KLA logistics specialist, according to The Guardian, suggest that Haliti “‘more or less ran’ a fund for the Kosovo war in the late 1990s, profiting from the fund personally before the money dried up. ‘As a result, Haliti turned to organised crime on a grand scale,’ the reports state’.”
Such information was long known in Western intelligence and political circles, especially amongst secret state agencies such as the American CIA, DEA and FBI, Germany’s Bundesnachrichtendienst, or BND, Britain’s MI6 and Italy’s military-intelligence service, SISMI, as Marty disclosed last month.
In 1994 for example, The New York Times reported that the Observatoire Géopolitique des Drogues released a report documenting that “Albanian groups in Macedonia and Kosovo Province in Serbia are trading heroin for large quantities of weapons for use in a brewing conflict in Kosovo.”
According to the Times, “Albanian traffickers were supplied with heroin and weapons by mafia-like groups in Georgia and Armenia. The Albanians then pay for the supplies by reselling the heroin in the West.”
A year later, Jane’s Intelligence Review reported that “if left unchecked ... Albanian narco-terrorism could lead to a Colombian syndrome in the southern Balkans, or the emergence of a situation in which the Albanian mafia becomes powerful enough to control one or more states in the region.”
Following NATO’s 1999 bombing campaign that completed the sought-after break-up of Yugoslavia, that situation came to pass; Kosovo has since metastasized into a key link in the international narcotics supply chain.
NATO spooks averred that Haliti is “highly involved in prostitution, weapons and drugs smuggling” and that he serves as Thaçi’s chief “political and financial adviser,” and, according to the documents, he is arguably “the real boss” in the relationship.
Like Haradinaj, Haliti “is linked to the alleged intimidation of political opponents in Kosovo and two suspected murders dating back to the late 1990s, when KLA infighting is said to have resulted in numerous killings,” Lewis reports.
In 2008, Haradinaj and Idriz Balaj were acquitted by the U.S.-sponsored ICTY “victors tribunal” of charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Lahi Brahimaj, Haradinaj’s uncle, was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for the torture of two people at KLA headquarters.
A retrial was ordered last summer after evidence emerged that Haradinaj, long-suspected of running a parallel organized crime ring to Thaçi’s that also trafficked arms, drugs and sexual slaves across Europe, a fact long-known–and similarly suppressed–by the mafia state’s closest allies, Germany and the United States, may have intimidated witnesses who had agreed to testify against his faction of the KLA leadership.
A former nightclub bouncer who morphed into a “freedom fighter” during the 1990s, Haradinaj has been accused by prosecutors of crimes committed between March and September 1998 in the Dukagjin area of western Kosovo.
According to The Guardian, “Haradinaj was a commander of the KLA in Dukagjin, Balaj was the commander of the Black Eagles unit within the KLA, and Brahimaj a KLA member stationed in the force’s headquarters in the town of Jablanica.”
The appeals court ruled that “in the context of the serious witness intimidation that formed the context of the trial, it was clear that the trial chamber seriously erred in failing to take adequate measures to secure the testimony of certain witnesses.”
The indictment charges that the KLA “persecuted and abducted civilians thought to be collaborating with Serbian forces in the Dukagjin area and that Haradinaj, Balaj, and Brahimaj were responsible for abduction, murder, torture and ethnic cleansing of Serbs, Roma and fellow Albanians through a joint criminal enterprise, including the murder of 39 people whose bodies were retrieved from a lake,” The Guardian disclosed.
But in a case that demonstrates the cosy relations amongst KLA leaders and their Western puppetmasters despite, or possibly because of their links to organized crime, German Foreign Policy revealed that “high ranking UN officials helped intimidate witnesses due to testify in The Hague against Haradinaj.”
This charge was echoed by Special Rapporteur Dick Marty. He told Center for Investigative Reporting journalists Michael Montgomery and Altin Raxhimi, who broke the Kosovo organ trafficking story two years ago, that his investigation “could be hindered by witness safety and other security concerns.”
“If, as a witness, you do not have complete assurance that your statements will be kept confidential, and that as a witness you are truly protected, clearly you won’t talk to these institutions,” Marty said.
Such problems are compounded when the leading lights overseeing Kosovo’s administration, Germany and the United States, have every reason to scuttle any credible investigation into the crimes of their clients, particularly when a serious probe would reveal their own complicity.
Eyes Wide Shut
The Haradinaj cover-up is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
According to German Foreign Policy, “the structures of organized crime in Kosovo, in which Haradinaj is said to play an important role, extend all the way to Germany. It is being reported that German government authorities prevented investigations of Kosovo Albanians residing in Germany.”
Investigative journalist Boris Kanzleiter told the left-leaning online magazine that the UN administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) and its newest iteration, the European Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) “maintains very close ties to Haradinaj.”
The former head of UNMIK, Sören Jessen-Petersen, referred to him as a “close partner and friend.” Kanzleiter said that “Jessen-Petersen’s successor, the German diplomat, Joachim Ruecker, also has a close relationship to him.”
Kanzleiter told the journal, “accusations were made that high-ranking UNMIK functionaries were directly involved in the intimidation of witnesses.”
These reports should be taken seriously, especially in light of allegations that even before Haradinaj’s first trial, a witness against the former Prime Minister was killed in what was then described as “an unsolved auto accident.”
“Back in 2002,” German Foreign Policy reported, “three witnesses and two investigating officials were assassinated in the context of the trial against Haradinaj’s clan.”
Similar to the modus operandi of Thaçi’s enterprise, the newsmagazine reported that the BND had concluded that Haradinaj’s “network of [drugs and arms] smugglers were operating ‘throughout the Balkans’, extending ‘into Greece, Italy, Switzerland and all the way to Germany’.”
Not that any of this mattered to Germany or the United States. German Foreign Policy also reported that despite overwhelming evidence of KLA links to the global drugs trade, political circles in Berlin vetoed official investigations into KLA narcotics trafficking.
In 2005 “the State Offices of Criminal Investigation of Bavaria and Lower Saxony tried to convince the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation to open a centralized investigation concerning the known [Kosovo-Albanian] clans and individuals in Germany” because “many criminal culprits from the entourage of the KLA have settled in Germany.”
The author noted “this demand was refused.” Indeed, “even though the Austrian Federal Office of Investigation and the Italian police strongly insisted that their German colleagues finally initiate these investigations, the rejection ... according to a confidential source in the Austrian Federal Office of Criminal Investigation, came straight from the Interior Ministry in Berlin.”
As we have since learned, Haliti and other top KLA officials have also been linked to organized crime in Marty’s report. The human rights Rapporteur accused Haliti, like Haradinaj, of having ordered “assassinations, detentions, beatings and interrogations” of those who ran afoul of Thaçi’s underworld associates.
In 2009, German Foreign Policy reported yet another “new scandal” threatened to upset the apple cart. “A former agent of the Kosovo intelligence service explained that a close associate of Kosovo’s incumbent Prime Minister, Hashim Thaçi, had commissioned the assassinations of political opponents.”
“The newest mafia scandal involving Pristina’s secessionist regime was set in motion by the former secret agent Nazim Bllaca,” the magazine disclosed.
According to the publication, “Bllaca alleges that he had been in the employ of the secret service, SHIK, since the end of the war waged against Yugoslavia in 1999 by NATO and the troops of Kosovo’s terrorist UCK [KLA] militia.”
The former secret state agent claimed “he had personally committed 17 crimes in the course of his SHIK activities, including extortion, assassination, assaults, torture and serving as a contract killer.”
Marty told the Center for Investigative Reporting that “Bllaca’s experience did not bode well for other insiders who are considering cooperating with the authorities.” EULEX officials only placed Bllaca under protective custody a week after he went public with his allegations, in what could only be described as an open-ended invitation for an assassin’s bullet.
Despite such revelations, diplomatic cables unearthed by WikiLeaks show that the U.S. Embassy views their Frankenstein creations in an entirely favorable light.
A Cablegate file dated 02-17-10, “Kosovo Celebrates Second Anniversary with Successes and Challenges,” 10PRISTINA84, informs us that “two years have seen political stability that has allowed the country to create legitimate new institutions,” but that the narco state “must use its string of economic reforms and privatizations as a springboard to motivate private-sector growth.”
Such as auctioning-off the Trepca mining complex at fire-sale prices. As The New York Times reported back in 1998, the Trepca mines are “the most valuable piece of real estate in the Balkans, worth at least $5 billion.”
Summing up the reasons for NATO’s war, one mine director told Times’ reporter Chris Hedges: “The war in Kosovo is about the mines, nothing else. This is Serbia’s Kuwait–the heart of Kosovo. We export to France, Switzerland, Greece, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Russia and Belgium.
“We export to a firm in New York, but I would prefer not to name it. And in addition to all this Kosovo has 17 billion tons of coal reserves. Naturally, the Albanians want all this for themselves.”
Judging by the flood of heroin reaching European and North American “markets,” one can only conclude that if fleets of armored Mercedes and BMWs prowling Pristina streets are a growth metric then by all means, America and Germany’s “nation building” enterprise has been a real achievement!
In light of reports of widespread criminality that would make a Wall Street hedge fund manager blush, we’re told by the U.S. Embassy that the Thaçi government “must prioritize the rule of law and the fight against corruption.”
Laying it on thick, despite damning intelligence reports by their own secret services, the Embassy avers that “Kosovo’s independence has been a success story.” Indeed, “the international community and the Kosovars, themselves, can feel good about the positive steps that have occurred over the past two years.”
That is, if one closes one’s eyes when stepping over the corpses.
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World: Europe Racak killings 'crime against humanity'
BBC News
Wednesday, March 17, 1999
A final report by forensic experts into the killing of 40 Kosovo Albanians in the village of Racak has failed to rule on whether they were massacred by Serb police.
But the report does conclude the victims were unarmed civilians.
[Left: The killings prompted the latest attempts to secure a peace deal]

Dr Helena Ranta, the forensic expert who led a team carrying out post mortems on the bodies, called the Racak deaths a "crime against humanity".
The killings provoked international outrage and prompted the latest efforts to secure a peace deal between the warring Serbs and ethnic Albanians.
The Serb authorities said the Albanians died in clashes after opening fire on police. But locals said they believed that Serb forces were to blame for the deaths.
Dr Ranta said there were no signs that the victims were anything other than unarmed civilians and that they were most likely shot where they were found.
She said there was no reason to conclude that the victims were members of the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army or that they were killed accidentally.
Dr Ranta told a press conference in Pristina, Kosovo's regional capital, said: "This is a crime against humanity."
But she added apportioning blame for the killings fell outside her remit.
Dr Ranta said her report should be the start of a longer, criminal investigation which would have the power to hear from witnesses.
Dr Ranta's Finnish team examined the bodies of 40 of the 45 Racak victims to determine how they died.
Their report coincides with the third day of peace talks on Kosovo, as international mediators in Paris attempt to secure a peace settlement between the rival factions.
The ethnic Albanians have said that they are ready to sign the three-year Kosovo peace plan, but the Serbs are continuing to reject both the deal and the presence on the ground of Nato peacekeeping troops.
Jacky Rowland, a BBC correspondent in Pristina, said Dr Ranta's team were keen not to say anything inflammatory which might disrupt the peace talks.
Yugoslav denial
Controversy has surrounded the investigation into the Albanians' deaths on 15 January.
[Right: Albanians said Serb forces were responsible for the deaths]
A pathologist, who carrried out an investigation for the Yugoslav authorities, denied that those who died were victims of a massacre. Dr Sasa Dobricanin said: "Not a single body bears any sign of execution."
The Racak killings also strained relations between the Yugoslav Government and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), in charge of the Kosovo monitoring mission.
The head of the OSCE's mission in Kosovo, William Walker, said the deaths were a "massacre" by Serb police. He was ordered to leave Yugoslavia after pinning the blame on the security forces, but defied the expulsion order.
The 45 dead are among some 2,000 people who have lost their lives during a year of fighting in Kosovo.
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History of the war in Kosovo
Written by Glenn Ruga with help by Julie Mertus.
Written April, 1999
Historical Background
The NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia beginning on March 24, 1999 did not occur in a vacuum but rather followed ten years of regional conflict and aggression inspired and orchestrated by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.
Until 1991, Yugoslavia was one nation comprised of six republics: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia. Serbia was further divided into two autonomous regions; Kosovo and Vojvodina. Each republic and both autonomous provinces in Serbia had a seat on the federal presidency and had a considerable amount of autonomy in local affairs. With one notable exception--Bosnia--each of the republics roughly represents a distinct ethnic group. Today each of the republics of the former Yugoslavia use their own language, but they are all Slavic languages similar to Serbo-Croatian.
(Click to see information about each republic. http://www.balkandevelopment.org/edu_bos.html)
The Rise to Power of Slobodan Milosevic
Slobodan Milosevic came to power in 1987 with the rise of Serbian nationalism following the fall of the Berlin Wall and Soviet communism. He became a hero overnight in Serbia when in 1987 he went to Kosovo to qualm the fears of local Serbs amid a strike by Kosovar Albanian miners that was paralyzing the province. In a famous speech televised throughout Serbia, he told the waiting crowd of angry Serbs, "You will not be beaten again." Few Serbs were either beaten or oppressed in Kosovo (a few incidents were blown way out of proportion), but this did not matter to 8 million Serbs who felt deep historical grievances and welcomed a strong figure, such as Milosevic, who might restore their place in history.
By 1989, Milosevic was firmly in control of the Serbian republic and embarked on a campaign to consolidate
his power throughout Yugoslavia. On the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo where the medieval Serb kingdom was defeated by Ottoman forces Milosevic presided over a massive rally attended by more than a million Serbs at Kosovo Polje, the exact location of the historic battle fought on June 28, 1389.
One of his first acts following this historic event was to rescind the autonomy enjoyed by Kosovo and institute draconian martial law in the province. Kosovar Albanians were fired from their jobs, their schools were closed, they were denied access to state-run health care, and they lost administrative control of the province. The situation also effectively gave Milosevic additional votes in the federal legislature.
This ushered in a decade of hell for the south Balkans. Milosevic and other Serb ultra-nationalists embarked on a campaign to create a Greater Serbia, unifying under one nation all areas where Serbs lived and driving out all minorities through a genocidal process euphemistically called ethnic cleansing.”
The Disintegration of Yugoslavia
By 1991, the republics of Yugoslavia began clamoring for independence, inspired partly by watching MilosevicÃs grab for power in the federal capital of Belgrade and also by their own historic desires for independence.
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Slovenia--the republic closest to central Europe--was the first to go in the summer of 1991. With almost no Serbian minority, Belgrade put up only brief resistance before backing off after a six-day war and allowing Slovenia to secede from the federal structure.
Unfortunately, this was not the case with Croatia. While 79% of the republic was Croatian, 12% was Serb and this group was not ready to become a minority. The Croatian Serbs had legitimate concerns, especially in light of the Croatian leaders using inflammatory nationalist rhetoric. The Serbs of Croatia suffered terribly during WWII, and for every contemporary provocation by the Croat nationalists, the Serbs saw unreconstructed Ustashe (Croatian fascists allied with the Nazi occupiers during WW II).
The Serbs responded in a manner that was to become commonplace during the next eight years. Their response was completely disproportionate to the problem. In Croatia, they declared their own mini-state and began a campaign of ethnic cleansing. Most infamous was the siege of Vukovar, where more than 10,000 civilians were killed and the first major war crime of the ensuing wars was committed. Serb paramilitaries emptied the Vukovar hospital of Croatian patients and executed them in a nearby field.
With a cease-fire negotiated in the fall of 1991 by U.S. diplomat Cyrus Vance, the Serb forces partially pulled out of Croatia and began repositioning their troops and heavy weapons in neighboring Bosnia. While the Serbs refused to abide by the terms of the cease-fire in Croatia and return territory, they simultaneously embarked on the most bitter assault to gain control of Bosnia.
As noted earlier, Bosnia has a sizable (31%) Serb minority with close ties to Belgrade. Milosevic by this time was in firm control of the Yugoslav National Army (JNA), the fourth largest military in Europe. He also supported a UN-engineered arms embargo on the region, preventing the newly formed governments of Bosnia and Croatia to procure weapons, while Milosevic had complete control of the arsenals of the former Yugoslavia.
On April 6, 1992, the Bosnian Serbs launched a campaign of aggression against Bosnia with the siege of Sarajevo and the ethnic cleansing of the Drina River valley and the Bosnian Krajina (north and northwest parts of the country). The Bosnian government, headed by Alija Izetbegovic, was ill prepared to defend the country with no army and only a poorly equipped territorial defense force.
During the next three and a half years, Bosnian Serb forces, with the support of Milosevic in Belgrade, laid waste to large parts of Bosnia, killing more than 200,000 civilians and forcing half the population, two million people, to flee their homes. Tens of thousands of women were systematically raped. Concentration camps were set up in Prijedor, Omarska, Trnopolje, and other areas. Civilians were shot by snipers on a daily basis in Sarajevo, a city left without heat, electricity, or water.
Radovan Karadzic, a psychiatrist and poet originally from Montenegro, became president of the Bosnian Serb Republic, with Ratko Mladic as his military commander. Both have since been twice indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for their command role in genocide.
At the height of their power, the Bosnian Serbs controlled more than 70% of Bosnian territory. The failure of the UN to stop the killing in Bosnia seriously compromised its credibility as it neared its 50th anniversary in 1995. The UN already had UNPROFOR (United Nations Protection Force) troops in Sarajevo at the outset of the war because it was their base of operation for the UN mission in Croatia. The UN hoped that their presence would discourage the spread of the conflict to Bosnia. But when Sarajevo came under attack in 1992, the UN forces pulled out to avoid casualties, leaving behind only a small and lightly armed contingent of œpeacekeepers.” As the situation deteriorated, the UN struck a deal with the Serbs, allowing them to control the Sarajevo airport. In reality, the Serbs allowed the UN to use the airport under de facto Serb control. During the next three years the airport was the scene of hundreds of casualties. UN humanitarian flights were repeatedly fired upon and Bosnian civilians were killed by sniper fire as they attempted to escape across the tarmac.
Srebrenica
The worst act of the war occurred in the summer of 1995 when the Bosnian town of Srebrenica came under attack by forces commanded by Ratko Mladic. Srebrenica was a UN-declared safe area and guarded by a lightly armed Dutch contingent. This did not deter Mladic, who was intent on taking over the enclave. During a few days in mid-July, more than 7,000 Bosnian Muslim males were executed by MladicÃs troops. The rest of the townÃs women and children were driven out to nearby Tuzla.
Dayton
With a failed UN mission, the credibility of NATO waning, and facing a retreat of UN peacekeepers, President Clinton took the lead in August 1995 and launched a limited bombing campaign against Bosnian Serb positions. This, coupled with a Croatian offensive against the Croatian and Bosnian Serbs, forced Karadzic and Mladic to agree to peace negotiations commencing in Dayton, Ohio, in November 1995.
The outcome of Dayton gave the Bosnian Serbs 49% of Bosnian territory and established the Bosnian-Croat Federation to control the remaining 51%. The Bosnian Serbs were also obligated to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal and allow refugees to return to their homes. To this day, they have done neither. While no one criticizes the peace brought by Dayton, many recognize that it is unjust for allowing the Bosnian Serbs to control territory that they took through a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign.
In addition, many commentators criticize the structure of the constitution created by the Dayton Agreement, which cements an ethnic divide. Among other measures, what was once the sovereign state of Bosnia Herzegovina is now divided into two entities, one Serbian and the other Bosnjak (Muslim) and Croatian. A non-functioning federal umbrella is headed by a three-member presidency: Serb, Bosniak and Croatian (people must declare themselves as one of these three groups in order to run for office or vote). The way the
government is structured, any ethnic group can block the workings of another group, often simply by not showing up at the legislature. Given all of these and many other problems, it is little surprise that Bosnia Herzegovina presently does not function as a unitary country and that intragroup tensions continue to run high.
Kosovo
During the long years of war in Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia, Kosovo remained under the tight control of Milosevic. The Kosovar Albanians responded by setting up a parallel civil adminstration, schools, and healthcare facilities. They also resisted the Milosevic regime with nonviolent, Gandhian tactics under the leadership of Ibrahim Rugova.
All this time, the Kosovar Albanians hoped the international community would recognize their plight and come to their aid. Despite periodic reports by human rights investigators and international diplomats on gross and systematic human rights violations against Kosovar Albanians, the international community did nothing. The final straw for the Kosovar Albanians was Dayton, when the international community had the upper hand with Milosevic yet completely ignored the problem in Kosovo. The Kosovars even attempted to attend Dayton, but were not allowed to leave their plane and were sent back across the Atlantic. This demonstrated to the Kosovars that the international community was not going to come to their support. It also demonstrated that nonviolent tactics were not going to get the worldÃs attention. Only tremendous human rights abuses as suffered by the Bosnian Muslims would force the world to intervene.
With the situation in Kosovo only getting worse, and tit for tat retaliations by the Serb forces, finally in November 1997, at a funeral for slain Kosovars, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) stood up publicly and asked for support from the Kosovo Albanian community. The response by the crowd was overwhelming support. The familiar Serb response was disproportionate retaliation. If a Serb policeman was shot by the KLA, the Serbs would respond by torching a whole village and killing civilians. The first major massacre occurred in the Drenica region in the spring of 1998 when 51 members of an extended clan were killed by Serb forces in retaliation for a KLA provocation. Again, despite detailed reports of human rights investigators, the international community did nothing other than issue Milosevic an empty warning.
The U.S. has a particularly long history of warning Milosevic over Kosovo. As early as 1992, President Bush had warned Milosevic against a crackdown in Kosovo. Clinton reaffirmed the warning upon assuming the presidency and again at periodic stages during his terms. Throughout 1998 Milosevic increased his troop strength in Kosovo and began a scorched-earth policy of destroying whole villages in his attempt to wipe out the KLA. But for each village destroyed, more KLA members would sprout up in defiance. The Srebrenica of Kosovo occurred in January 1999 when Serb forces killed 41 civilians in the Kosovo village of Racak. While international mediators called it a massacre, Milosevic claimed that the slain villagers were actually KLA terrorists in civilian clothes. International forensic experts were soon to prove this untrue.
Rambouillet
In October 1998, US special envoy Richard Holbrooke, using the threat of NATO air strikes, negotiated with Milosevic to allow 2,000 unarmed verifiers into the province under OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation In Europe) control to monitor the human rights situation and to attempt to forestall further violence. In the end, they proved no more effective than UN peacekeepers in Bosnia. The violence continued to escalate. Finally a group of nations known as the Contact Group (the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia) brought both Kosovo and Serb negotiators together in Rambouillet, France, in March 1999 to agree to a peace plan. The agreement called for the KLA to disarm, for Milosevic to drastically reduce his military presence in Kosovo, for autonomy to be restored to the province, and for a NATO peacekeeping force to be introduced. This was too little for the Kosovars, who wanted guarantees for full independence, and too much for Milosevic, who wanted to maintain complete control of the province and would not consider an outside military force on Serb soil.
While negotiations were going on in Rambouillet, Milosevic continued to pour heavy weapons and troops into Kosovo.
NATO, for its part, threatened to bomb the Serbs if they did not sign, or completely abandon the Kosovars if they did not accept the plan. In a tense standoff, the Kosovars finally said they could not immediately sign the document and needed time to present the plan back in Kosovo. Upon returning to Rambouillet, the Kosovars agreed to sign. Milosevic refused.
The international community pulled all monitors out of Kosovo in late March. This was the green light Milosevic was waiting for and he began preparations for a massive sweep of Kosovo as his forces saturated the region. Meanwhile, the U.S. still hoped that Milosevic would give in. Even as the killing had already begun in Kosovo, Richard Holbrooke made one last, unsuccessful attempt to convince Milosevic to sign, explaining in detail what NATO would do to his military infrastructure if he refused.
NATO Bombing
After years of hollow threats against Milosevic and years of Milosevic destroying much of Bosnia and part of Croatia, killing hundreds of thousands of people, and responsible for escalating human rights abuses in Kosovo, NATO was finally determined to move ahead. While always hoping that Milosevic would finally back down with the credible threat of force, NATO did not posses much credibility at that decisive moment. On March 24 NATO launched an air campaign against Serb military targets in Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo.
Milosevic forces responded by an all-out campaign to ethnically cleanse Kosovo of its Albanian population, driving hundreds of thousands across the border into Macedonia, Albania, and Montenegro. Heavily armed Serb paramilitary forces, infamous for their tactics in Croatia and Bosnia, descended on Kosovo. At gunpoint they forced thousands of people from their homes, burning their towns and villages afterward. Many civilians were summarily executed. Most had all their money taken and their documents destroyed. Without any independent journalists and human rights monitors left in the region, it is impossible to tell the full extent of the atrocities though many, including UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, have called it genocide.
As of April 20, 1999, over a half million refugees have been forced out of Kosovo. NATO is continuing to bomb Serbia while Milosevic is fighting a war against both NATO and the defenseless population of Kosovo. The only possibility to stem the killings and expulsions is the introduction of ground troops, which the U.S. and NATO oppose. Meanwhile, if NATO achieves its objectives of securing the province, Kosovar Albanians would be forced to return to a land run by Milosevic. President Clinton still maintains that Kosovar Albanians should be returned to a Kosovo that would remain part of Serbia or Yugoslavia. Kosovar Albanians want to return but not before they would feel safe. International law expressly prohibits any country from sending refugees back home when they would be in danger. Who could possibly suggest that after all that has happened, Albanians would ever feel safe in a land overseen by Milosevic?
April, 1999
Written by Glenn Ruga with help by Julie Mertus.
Postscript
The war finally ended in June with Milosevic accepting most of the earlier terms of Rambouillet including the pull out of all Serb forces from Kosovo and the entry of NATO troops. There is now no provision for a referendum on the political future of Kosovo. Much of Kosovo had been destroyed as well as important Serbina civilian infrastructure including bridges and oil refineries. Six months after the end of the war, there have been numerous retaliatory attacks and killings of Serbs and Roma by Albanians in Kosovo. Much of rural Kosovo is without adequate shelter, and the country is littered with landmines laid by both sides during the war. To find out more about the current situation, see the links page of the Friends of Bosnia web site.
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List of massacres in the Kosovo War
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Incomplete list of massacres by Serb forces in the Kosovo War, listed chronologically:
February 28, 1998, Likošane Massacre — Serb Special Police murdered 14 members of the Ahmeti family.
February 28 and March 1, 1998, Cirez Massacre — Serb Paramilitaries executed several members of the Sejdiu family.
May 25, 1998, Ljubenić Massacre — Police Officers extrajudicially executed at least eight men suspected of being KLA insurgents.
September 26, 1998, Golubovac Massacre - Serb Paramilitaries summarily killed thirteen men who were under the suspicion of being KLA insurgents. The men were detained at a compound in the village of Golubovac.
September 28, 1999, Gornje Obrinje Massacre - After 15 Serb Soldiers were killed the previous day by sniper-fire coming from the village of Gornje Obrinje, Special Forces entered the village and executed all the men of fighting age (21 in total).
January 15, 1999 Račak Massacre - A Serb Special Anti-Terrorism Unit killed 40-45 people in Račak. Three investigations carried out by Belarusian, Finnish and Yugoslavian. The Belarus and Yugoslavian investigators found that those killed were not civilians. However, the Finnish investigators representing EU found that these killings were committed on civilians. Most sources defined it as a massacre.
January 29, 1999, Rogovo Massacre — Serb police-officers executed 24 Albanians, supposedly KLA members.
March 5, 1999, Attack on Prekaz - Yugoslav soldiers raided the home of KLA leader Adem Jashari and assassinated him and his brother and killed around sixty members of his family after a gunfight that lasted 12 hours.
25 March 1999, Massacre at Velika Kruša - 90 men were executed in the village of Velika Kruša. Massacres such as this were typical throughout 1999, as the Serb Special Forces attempted to decrease the number of recruits joining the Kosovo Liberation Army.
March 25, 1999, Bela Crkva massacre — Serb Police Officers executed more than 60 ethnic Albanians in Bela Crkva, including twenty members of the Popaj family and twenty-five members of the Zhuniqi family, on the grounds that they were suspected KLA members.
26 March 1999, Suva Reka massacre - Members of the Berisha family were forced into their family-owned pizzeria, where two hand grenades were thrown. Montenegrin police officers allegedly shot anyone who displayed any signs of life. The police officers then took all of the bodies and disposed of them in a mass grave, near an anti-terrorism facility in Batajnica.
March 28, 1999, Izbica Massacre - The Yugoslav Army shelled the village of Izbica. After the shelling killed over a hundred people, Serb Special Forces entered, demanded money from the refugees and told the women, the children and the elderly to go to Albania. After they left, the Special Forces lined about fifty men up against a wall and executed them with automatic weapons.
March 31, 1999, Ljubižda Massacre — security forces reportedly shot 14 men in the village of Ljubižda, northwest of Prizren.
March 31, 1999, Pusto Selo Massacre — Serb Paramilitaries lined 106 ethnic Albanian men against a wall and executed them in Pusto Selo, near Orahovac. The men were allegedely KLA sympathizers.
April 5, 1999, Rezala Massacre — Serb Police Officers allegedly entered the Albanian village of Rezala and gunned down at least 80 villagers suspected of harbouring KLA guerillas.
April 17, 1999, Poklek Massacre — A Montenegrin Unit of the Serb Special Police forced at least 47 people into one room and opened fire. 23 children under the age of fifteen died in the operation.
April 17, 1999, Ćikatovo massacre — Serb Paramilitaries killed twenty-four men from the Morina family that were suspected of being KLA members.
April 27, 1999 Meja Massacre - Serb Police and Paramilitary forces allegedly massacred at least 300 Albanian men, from the village of Meja, in Djakovica municipality. On the same day, Montenegrin Special Forces killed approximately 13 to 50 suspected-insurgents in the nearby village of Korenica.
May 2–3, 1999, Vučitrn Massacre - Albanian refugees fleeing the fighting that was occurring between the Serb Army and the KLA were cornered by the Serb Special Forces (who suspected that some KLA members were fleeing the fighting with the refugees). The Special Forces picked out about 120 men who they suspected of being KLA deserters and sprayed them with bullets and later hid their bodies in a mass-grave near Gornja Sudimlja.
May 14, 1999, Cuska Massacre — Serb police and Paramilitary Forces gathered villagers into 3 houses, gunned them down with automatic weapons and burned down the houses, killing all 41.
May 22, 1999, Dubrava Prison Massacre — Serbian prison guards killed more than 70 Albanian prisoners.
May 26, 1999, Prizren Massacre - Serb Volunteers killed thirty-four people and burned over 100 homes in the Tusus neighborhood of the city of Prizren, in an attempt to eradicate a dozen KLA insurgents.
Incomplete list of massacres committed by Albanian Forces in the Kosovo War:
Gnjilane massacre – 80 Serbs were discovered in mass graves having been killed by a group of Albanian militants.
Serbian Orthodox Holy Trinity Church in Petrić, leveled in 1999.
Orahovac Massacre - More than 100 Serbian and Roma civilians kidnapped and placed in prison camps, 47 were executed.
Staro Gračko Massacre – 14 Serbian farmers were murdered by the KLA.
Glodjane massacre – 37 Serbs were found in mass graves having been massacred by the KLA.
Klećka massacre – 22 Serb women were raped, murdered and mutilated by the KLA.
Ugljare Massacre – 15 Serbs were murdered by KLA insurgents.
Peć massacre – 20 Serbs were murdered and their corpses thrown down wells. Ramush Hardinaj is currently on trial for this, amongst other crimes.
Panda Bar Massacre in 1998 – 6 Kosovo Serb teenagers were killed in a café in Peć, by unknown gunmen .
September 1998, Massacre at Lake Radonjić - Yugoslavian authorities found 34 bodies in a mass-grave at Lake Radonjić near Glodjane (Gllogjan). All of the victims except one were ethnic-Serbs. This massacre is seen as the main cause of the Serb Special Forces' crackdown on the KLA.
1999 - 2000, In 2008, Carla Del Ponte published a book in which she alleged that, after the end of the war in 1999, Kosovo Albanians were smuggling organs of between 100 and 300 Serbs and other minorities from the province to Albania.[88] The ICTY and the Serbian War Crimes Tribunal are currently investigating these allegations, as numerous witnesses and new materials have recently emerged.
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Friday, January 28, 2011

Obama's State of the Union Address!

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Does Obama Think We Citizens Are All IDIOTS?
We just can't afford Obama any longer
By Jerry McConnell
Friday, January 28, 2011
http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/32643
On Tuesday, January 25, 2011 our usurper president, Barack Hussein (Soetoro) Obama, son of a foreign national father and an under age American mother, gave a State of the Union (SOTU) address to the country.
It was more notable for the fact that he began to try to appear as though he was once again looking to provide some “CHANGE that you can believe in” as he did on the campaign trail in 2008. The catch this time is that the CHANGE was now projected to appear that he would be moving away from the CHANGE he that he wanted to bring in 2008.
The CHANGE this time would be that the earlier promised CHANGE didn’t CHANGE much of anything for the better; in fact, that CHANGE only CHANGED things in this country for a worse CHANGE. So this time he promises CHANGE to things that, like he said about the CHANGE in 2008, will make things better. Funny thing is though, there really is no CHANGE except for the way that he says it.
Check out this CHANGE that he promises to make: Obama says he will freeze discretionary spending for five years. That is CHANGE that remains the same; is that CHANGE? Does he think we are as stupid as he is? And yes, that includes you Obama robots that suck up his banalities in sickly supplication, unless you are one of the few who pay taxes in which case you get stung even deeper but are too numb to notice.
While it may sound encouraging to hear him say that spending will not increase, it is still disastrous if the alternative is to continue to spend just as much as has gotten this country into one hell of a mess financially.
To freeze spending merely means that you will keep it at the same level. In other words, after two years of wildly insane spending that increased our debt by TRILLIONS of dollars, Obama says he won’t increase that spending, but freeze it at that same level; and for FIVE YEARS. Can you imagine how many more TRILLIONS will be added to the national debt if he spends at the same level for five more years?
All of America has seen and-or heard that the Congressional Budget Office reported the day after the SOTU a new estimate prediction for this year of a new record of $1.5 TRILLION. No wonder the liberal Democrats want to increase the national debt ceiling; it must be terribly embarrassing to them and their president to say they will not increase spending, but there is also no mention of any reductions in spending either.
NewsMax.com writers Jim Myers and Ashley Martella on Jan. 26, 2011 stated that “Press reports show that, during his speech, Obama mentioned far more areas where he would spend than where he would cut. Commenting on that, Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the Republican Study Committee says: “. I don’t think he understands how serious the situation is. I don’t think he understands what took place on November 2.”
“The Republican Study Committee is a caucus of 175 conservative House Republicans. Jordan and the committee on Jan. 20 unveiled the Spending Reduction Act of 2011, which would cut $2.5 trillion in spending over 10 years.”
This sort of rhetoric regarding cuts in spending are exactly the kind of CHANGE that Obama does NOT have in mind, but he is going to have to CHANGE his mind because that is the only kind of CHANGE that this country can tolerate.
Something has to be done with that man’s thinking. WE JUST CAN’T AFFORD HIM ANY LONGER.
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Monday, January 24, 2011

More about ObamaCare!

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Obama’s Spectre of Fear - Reagan’s Legacy Judge Vinson Skewers ObamaCare
So stand by America; howls and eloquent statements of bombast will fill the air over the next weeks or months
By Jerry McConnell
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
How ironic is it that the act which in all probability has struck the most fear in our thought-to-be-unflappable usurper president Barack Hussein Obama, was dealt by Judge Roger Vinson of the district court in Pensacola, Florida, a President Ronald Reagan appointee?
How many disciples of the old “Gipper” have been chortling with glee at any given moment since Vinson’s fearless decision was handed down?
The high-handed arrogance and disdain which Obama handles most matters of state has undoubtedly caught him flat-footed and without a suitable retaliation. He is most likely shocked that a mere District Court judge would rule against the almighty messiah of the ruled classes, which is nearly everyone beneath his lofty station.
You can be assured that he will handle this with as much tactlessness as he has done in other challenged situations, to wit; issue a directive over-ruling the decision and passing instructions to carry on as before.
But somehow, this time I think he will get his come-uppance. District Court judges may not be in the highest tier of legalistic mumbo-jumbo declarations as say the SCOTUS (the Supremes) but they’re just outside the chambers so to speak and they don’t flinch easily.
Judge Vinson obviously knows what a great majority of the American people know; that any written law that subverts the United States Constitution is about as good as yesterday’s plate of left over sardines, and will be disposed of just as quickly.
Even those of us who have not thoroughly read that tome, including our United States Congress, are aware that you just don’t fool with the ‘Big One’, the belly of all laws, the Constitution, unless you are already in default of it as are many of our high officials, even VERY high. Which is definitely not an enviable place to be.
As this is being written, no definitive word has been issued as yet from the White House or the lackeys in the Justice Department, but you can rest assured that the bleating and bleeding will be fast and furious and just as erroneously contentious. To defend the indefensible seems to be the order of the day for this Administration with its go along to get along Justice Department that rules with a different set of justice fiats in the name of the grand usurper for any given situation.
Bluster and grand declarations accompany any and all challenges to the messiah’s whims and wills; the people be damned is usually the thought for the day in our (lack of) Justice Department. That entity has run roughshod over the Constitution ever since the appointment of the shady character of its leader has taken control.
Justice is meted out only in the mind of the Attorney General such as granting a clean slate without trial to villainous behavior Black Panthers for example but prosecuting an entire state for trying to protect itself where the federal government has failed.
So stand by America; howls and eloquent statements of bombast will fill the air over the next weeks or months while the wounded government leadership looks for a devious and back-door deal with one of the less savory black robe-wearing, in-the-tank (un) justices is found to put the brakes on the stoppage of a disastrously expensive and harmful piece of legislation that a majority of Americans want dead.
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Obama has a Very Bad Day
Federal judge: Obama administration's health overhaul is unconstitutional
By Alan Caruba
Monday, January 31, 2011
PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — A federal judge in Florida says the Obama administration’s health overhaul is unconstitutional, siding with 26 states that had sued to block it. U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson on Monday accepted without trial the states’ argument that the new law violates people’s rights by forcing them to buy health insurance by 2014 or face penalties.
Attorneys for the administration had argued that the states did not have standing to challenge the law and that the case should be dismissed. The case is likely to go to the U.S. Supreme Court. Two other federal judges have upheld the insurance requirement, but a federal judge in Virginia also ruled the insurance requirement unconstitutional.”
See? The system works. That is to say, the one set up by the U.S. Constitution. You remember the U.S. Constitution, right?
And, well, when 26 States all say that a law passed by Congress and signed by the President is unconstitutional, the chances are it is.
When you combine that with the House of Representatives’ call for its repeal, even Democrat Senators (particularly those facing reelection in 2012) are going to think twice about voting against repeal when it gets to the Senate floor.
President Obama is just two years into his first and last term, looking more and more like Jimmy Carter every day, courtesy of the mobs in the streets of Cairo.
For two years he threw trillions of OUR dollars at “stimulus” legislation to generate jobs and failed. Now the most central piece of legislation for him, former Speaker Pelosi, and Harry Reid has been ruled unconstitutional.
Not a good day for the Democratic Party. A really awful day for Barack Hussein Obama
There is no way Obama can breath life into that horrid overhaul of Medicare that pulled trillions out of it while adding millions more Americans to it. No where in the Constitution does it say that the government can require you to buy insurance, a hamburger, or even a lottery ticket.
Moreover, as various entities examined Obamacare, it became increasingly clear that it was a monstrosity filled with mandates that would end up killing people who didn’t have months to wait around for an operation or waiting to see the increasingly fewer physicians it would force to leave the profession for lack of adequate compensation.
It is now clear to everyone that Obama was and is totally unsuited and unprepared to be President. Now watch the issue of his real place of birth move to the center of the stage.
The U.S. can survive a “President Biden”, but Obama should never have been let anywhere near the Oval Office.
Not a good day for the Democratic Party. A really awful day for Barack Hussein Obama.
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60 Percent of Americans Want ObamaCare Repealed, But Not the Anti-American Senate and President
Bribes, arm twisting, dishonesty, death panels
By Jerry McConnell
Saturday, January 22, 2011
http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/32385
In our national elections held just this past November 02, 2010 the American people spoke out loudly and clearly against the socialist liberal Democrats and the unconstitutional medical plan called ObamaCare that was forced through both houses of Congress, which they controlled at an earlier time in 2010 before the elections.
The newly elected conservatives to the Republican Party in Congress were of such magnitude that they were able to regain control of the House of Representatives by a wide margin, and just missed getting control of the Senate by a mere three members.
The people let it be known that they wanted the unconstitutional and illegal ObamaCare removed from our government and the faster the better; the Republican House listened and in less than three months from the elections in November and in less than two weeks of the seating of the freshmen House Representatives on January 5, 2011, the Republicans responded with the help a few Democrats, soundly repealing the ObamaCare medical legislation only some six months after having been signed into law in 2010.
As stated online January 21, 2011 by E.W. Jackson, Sr., Chairman, S.T.A.N.D. America PAC, “There are many things wrong with ObamaCare, but S.T.A.N.D. America PAC ‘s biggest concern is that at its very core, ObamaCare is ILLEGAL and UNCONSTITUTIONAL.”
Jackson, is a Bishop of the Exodus Faith Ministries who teaches Biblical principles and application for success and victory in every area of life. He also prays for healing and miracles in the lives of God’s people. It is an atmosphere of praise, worship and sound teaching.
Agreeing with Bishop Jackson is U. S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson in Richmond, Virginia, an appointee of President George W. Bush, who said, “This dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance - or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage - it’s about an individual’s right to choose to participate. The unchecked expansion of congressional power to the limits suggested by the mandate would invite unbridled exercise of federal powers”
As noted in an online Washington Post article titled “Federal judge in Va. strikes down part of health-care law” by Rosalind S. Helderman and Amy Goldstein, the ruling by Hudson, sets up a conflict with opinions by Democratic-appointed judges who have concluded recently that the law is constitutional. The final word is widely expected to come from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Requiring everyone to buy health insurance is the cornerstone of Obamacare
Bishop Jackson also stated that “Requiring everyone to buy health insurance is the cornerstone of Obamacare because without it, Obama cannot fund the rest of the bill. He was counting on millions of young, healthy individuals to be forced to purchase insurance and pay for older Americans, and those with chronic conditions.”
Jackson also stated “Liberals laughed when the legality of Obamacare was brought up in press conferences. When questioned about the constitutionality of the bill in one press conference, Pelosi asked, ‘Are you serious? Are you serious?’ Yes, Madam Speaker, we were serious.
“We seriously wanted to know where in the Constitution it says that the federal government can force its citizens to buy a product or service - and especially a product or service that is heavily regulated by that same federal government.”
This particular piece of legislation was ill-fated at the start; it was to have been Obama’s highlight measure, one that would carry his name to high places in our history books and announce his leadership presence on our domestic scene. But alas, it was so controversial and contentious that most of its contents were agreed to behind closed doors away from the public’s eyes.
Republicans were refused admission to any of the closed door sessions and many good ideas of theirs were denied a hearing with the drafting committee members, all of which were liberal Democrat leaning. The final product that was rushed to vote was totally unknown to all of the members of Congress, including the president’s own party members. One of whom, the arrogant and condescending Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi said for public edification, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.”
And though Pelosi was being her haughty self while saying the above, it didn’t prevent the general public from finding out that, as Bishop Jackson said, “it was full of deals and bribes that would make even the most experienced con artist blush.”
Two of the most publicized bribes were the ones for Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson exchanging his ‘Yea’ vote for an exemption for his state from ever having to pay their share of Medicaid again; and for Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu’s ‘Yea’ vote, the federal government agreed to send her state $300 million in Medicaid kickbacks.
How is that for good old dishonest ‘back room’ dealing and cheating the other taxpayers of the country to get their votes.
Those of us who opposed the legislation had to pay these bribes out of our pockets. And as Jackson further
pointed out, North Dakota’s Senator Kent Conrad got higher reimbursement rates for doctors and hospitals that serve Medicare patients for his vote. So there was a lot of typical liberal Democrat DISHONESTY and CHEATING during the twisting of arms and cajoling for votes to pass this piece of absolute dung that will raise our taxes, curtail our expected prime medical services and send senior citizens to an early grave because of death panels and deletion of nearly a half TRILLION dollars in Medicare funding for Seniors.
Obama and the lib-Dems don’t want ObamaCare repealed; the newly elected conservatives rightly disagree; if the Democrats in the Senate are smart, they will agree with the new conservatives and get this monstrosity dead and buried, so an honest plan can be enacted.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Global Dissent - Is It Possible?

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"The only thing worth globalizing is dissent."
Arundhati Roy
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Are We Witnessing the Start of a Global Revolution?
North Africa and the Global Political Awakening, Part 1
By Andrew Gavin Marshall
Global Research, January 27, 2011
For the first time in human history almost all of humanity is politically activated, politically conscious and politically interactive... The resulting global political activism is generating a surge in the quest for personal dignity, cultural respect and economic opportunity in a world painfully scarred by memories of centuries-long alien colonial or imperial domination... The worldwide yearning for human dignity is the central challenge inherent in the phenomenon of global political awakening... That awakening is socially massive and politically radicalizing... The nearly universal access to radio, television and increasingly the Internet is creating a community of shared perceptions and envy that can be galvanized and channeled by demagogic political or religious passions. These energies transcend sovereign borders and pose a challenge both to existing states as well as to the existing global hierarchy, on top of which America still perches...
The youth of the Third World are particularly restless and resentful. The demographic revolution they embody is thus a political time-bomb, as well... Their potential revolutionary spearhead is likely to emerge from among the scores of millions of students concentrated in the often intellectually dubious "tertiary level" educational institutions of developing countries. Depending on the definition of the tertiary educational level, there are currently worldwide between 80 and 130 million "college" students. Typically originating from the socially insecure lower middle class and inflamed by a sense of social outrage, these millions of students are revolutionaries-in-waiting, already semi-mobilized in large congregations, connected by the Internet and pre-positioned for a replay on a larger scale of what transpired years earlier in Mexico City or in Tiananmen Square. Their physical energy and emotional frustration is just waiting to be triggered by a cause, or a faith, or a hatred...
[The] major world powers, new and old, also face a novel reality: while the lethality of their military might is greater than ever, their capacity to impose control over the politically awakened masses of the world is at a historic low. To put it bluntly: in earlier times, it was easier to control one million people than to physically kill one million people; today, it is infinitely easier to kill one million people than to control one million people.
- Zbigniew Brzezinski
Former U.S. National Security Advisor
Co-Founder of the Trilateral Commission
Member, Board of Trustees, Center for Strategic and International Studies
An uprising in Tunisia led to the overthrow of the country’s 23-year long dictatorship of President Ben Ali. A new ‘transitional’ government was formed, but the protests continued demanding a totally new government without the relics of the previous tyranny. Protests in Algeria have continued for weeks, as rage mounts against rising food prices, corruption and state oppression. Protests in Jordan forced the King to call on the military to surround cities with tanks and set up checkpoints. Tens of thousands of protesters marched on Cairo demanding an end to the 30-year dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. Thousands of activists, opposition leaders and students rallied in the capitol of Yemen against the corrupt dictatorship of President Saleh, in power since 1978. Saleh has been, with U.S. military assistance, attempting to crush a rebel movement in the north and a massive secessionist movement growing in the south, called the “Southern Movement.” Protests in Bolivia against rising food prices forced the populist government of Evo Morales to backtrack on plans to cut subsidies. Chile erupted in protests as demonstrators railed against rising fuel prices. Anti-government demonstrations broke out in Albania, resulting in the deaths of several protesters.
It seems as if the world is entering the beginnings of a new revolutionary era: the era of the ‘Global Political Awakening.’ While this ‘awakening’ is materializing in different regions, different nations and under different circumstances, it is being largely influenced by global conditions. The global domination by the major Western powers, principally the United States, over the past 65 years, and more broadly, centuries, is reaching a turning point. The people of the world are restless, resentful, and enraged. Change, it seems, is in the air. As the above quotes from Brzezinski indicate, this development on the world scene is the most radical and potentially dangerous threat to global power structures and empire.
It is not a threat simply to the nations in which the protests arise or seek change, but perhaps to a greater degree, it is a threat to the imperial Western powers, international institutions, multinational corporations and banks that prop up, arm, support and profit from these oppressive regimes around the world. Thus, America and the West are faced with a monumental strategic challenge: what can be done to stem the Global Political Awakening? Zbigniew Brzezinski is one of the chief architects of American foreign policy, and arguably one of the intellectual pioneers of the system of globalization. Thus, his warnings about the 'Global Political Awakening' are directly in reference to its nature as a threat to the prevailing global hierarchy. As such, we must view the 'Awakening' as the greatest hope for humanity. Certainly, there will be mainy failures, problems, and regressions; but the 'Awakening' has begun, it is underway, and it cannot be so easily co-opted or controlled as many might assume.
The reflex action of the imperial powers is to further arm and support the oppressive regimes, as well as the potential to organize a destabilization through covert operations or open warfare (as is being done in Yemen). The alterantive is to undertake a strategy of "democratization" in which Western NGOs, aid agencies and civil society organizations establish strong contacts and relationships with the domestic civil society in these regions and nations. The objective of this strategy is to organize, fund and help direct the domestic civil society to produce a democratic system made in the image of the West, and thus maintain continuity in the international hierarchy. Essentially, the project of "democratization" implies creating the outward visible constructs of a democratic state (multi-party elections, active civil society, "independent" media, etc) and yet maintain continuity in subservience to the World Bank, IMF, multinational corporations and Western powers.
It appears that both of these strategies are being simultaneously imposed in the Arab world: enforcing and supporting state oppression and building ties with civil society organizations. The problem for the West, however, is that they have not had the ability to yet establish strong and dependent ties with civil society groups in much of the region, as ironically, the oppressive regimes they propped up were and are unsurprisingly resistant to such measures. In this sense, we must not cast aside these protests and uprisings as being instigated by the West, but rather that they emerged organically, and the West is subsequently attempting to co-opt and control the emerging movements.
Part 1 of this essay focuses on the emergence of these protest movements and uprisings, placing it in the context of the Global Political Awakening. Part 2 will examine the West's strategy of "democratic imperialism" as a method of co-opting the 'Awakening' and installing "friendly" governments.
The Tunisian Spark
A July 2009 diplomatic cable from America’s Embassy in Tunisia reported that, “many Tunisians are frustrated by the lack of political freedom and angered by First Family corruption, high unemployment and regional inequities. Extremism poses a continuing threat,” and that, “the risks to the regime’s long-term stability are increasing.”
On Friday, 14 January 2011, the U.S.-supported 23-year long dictatorship of Tunisian president Ben Ali ended. For several weeks prior to this, the Tunisian people had risen in protest against rising food prices, stoked on by an immense and growing dissatisfaction with the political repression, and prodded by the WikiLeaks cables confirming the popular Tunisian perception of gross corruption on the part of the ruling family. The spark, it seems, was when a 26-year old unemployed youth set himself on fire in protest on December 17.
With the wave of protests sparked by the death of the 26-year old who set himself on fire on December 17, the government of Tunisia responded by cracking down on the protesters. Estimates vary, but roughly 100 people were killed in the clashes. Half of Tunisia’s 10 million people are under the age of 25, meaning that they have never known a life in Tunisia outside of living under this one dictator. Since Independence from the French empire in 1956, Tunisia has had only two leaders: Habib Bourguiba and Ben Ali. The Tunisian people were rising up against a great many things: an oppressive dictatorship which has employed extensive information and internet censorship, rising food prices and inflation, a corrupt ruling family, lack of jobs for the educated youth, and a general sense and experience of exploitation, subjugation and disrespect for human dignity.
Following the ouster of Ben Ali, Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi assumed presidential power and declared a “transitional government.” Yet, this just spurred more protests demanding his resignation and the resignation of the entire government. Significantly, the trade union movement had a large mobilizing role in the protests, with a lawyers union being particularly active during the initial protests.
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Protests in Tunisia
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Social media and the Internet did play a large part in mobilizing people within Tunisia for the uprising, but it was ultimately the result of direct protests and action which led to the resignation of Ben Ali. Thus, referring to Tunisia as a “Twitter Revolution” is disingenuous.
Twitter, WikiLeaks, Facebook, Youtube, forums and blogs did have a part to play. They reflect the ability “to collectively transform the Arab information environment and shatter the ability of authoritarian regimes to control the flow of information, images, ideas and opinions.” [Editors Note: The US based foundation Freedom House was involved in promoting and training some Middle East North Africa Facebook and Twitter bloggers (See also Freedom House), M. C.].
We must also keep in mind that social media has not only become an important source of mobilization of activism and information at the grassroots level, but it has also become an effective means for governments and various power structures to seek to manipulate the flow of information. This was evident in the 2009 protests in Iran, where social media became an important avenue through which the Western nations were able to advance their strategy of supporting the so-called 'Green Revolution' in destabilizing the Iranian government. Thus, social media has presented a new form of power, neither black nor white, in which it can be used to either advance the process of the 'Awakening' or control its direction.
Whereas America was publicly denouncing Iran for blocking (or attempting to block) social media in the summer of 2009, during the first several weeks of Tunisian protests (which were largely being ignored by Western media), America and the West were silent about censorship. Steven Cook, writing for the elite U.S. think tank, the Council on Foreign Relations, commented on the lack of attention being paid to the Tunisian protests in the early weeks of resistance prior to the resignation of Ben Ali. He explained that while many assume that the Arab “strongmen” regimes will simply maintain power as they always have, this could be mistaken. He stated that, “it may not be the last days of Ben Ali or Mubarak or any other Middle Eastern strongman, but there is clearly something going on in the region.” However, it was the end of Ben Ali, and indeed, “there is clearly something going on in the region.”
France’s President Sarkozy has even had to admit that, “he had underestimated the anger of the Tunisian people and the protest movement that ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.” During the first few weeks of protests in Tunisia, several French government officials were publicly supporting the dictatorship, with the French Foreign Minister saying that France would lend its police “knowhow” to help Ben Ali in maintaining order.
Days before the ouster of Ben Ali, Hillary Clinton gave an interview in which she explained how America was worried “about the unrest and the instability,” and that, “we are not taking sides, but we are saying we hope that there can be a peaceful resolution. And I hope that the Tunisian Government can bring that about.” Clinton further lamented, “One of my biggest concerns in this entire region are the many young people without economic opportunities in their home countries.” Her concern, of course, does not spur from any humanitarian considerations, but rather from inherent imperial considerations: it is simply harder to control a region of the world erupting in activism, uprisings and revolution.
The Spark Lights a Flame
Tunisia has raised the bar for the people across the Arab world to demand justice, democracy, accountability, economic stability, and freedom. Just as Tunisia’s protests were in full-swing, Algeria was experiencing mass protests, rising up largely as a result of the increasing international food prices, but also in reaction to many of the concerns of the Tunisian protesters, such as democratic accountability, corruption and freedom. A former Algerian diplomat told Al-Jazeera in early January that, “It is a revolt, and probably a revolution, of an oppressed people who have, for 50 years, been waiting for housing, employment, and a proper and decent life in a very rich country.”
In mid-January, similar protests erupted in Jordan, as thousands took to the streets to protest against rising food prices and unemployment, chanting anti-government slogans. Jordan’s King Abdullah II had “set up a special task force in his palace that included military and intelligence officials to try to prevent the unrest from escalating further,” which had tanks surrounding major cities, with barriers and checkpoints established.
In Yemen, the poorest nation in the Arab world, engulfed in a U.S. sponsored war against its own people, ruled by a dictator who has been in power since 1978, thousands of people protested against the government, demanding the dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. In the capitol city of Sanaa, thousands of students, activists and opposition groups chanted slogans such as, “Get out get out, Ali. Join your friend Ben Ali.” Yemen has been experiencing much turmoil in recent years, with a rebel movement in the North fighting against the government, formed in 2004; as well as a massive secessionist movement in the south, called the “Southern Movement,” fighting for liberation since 2007. As the Financial Times explained:
Many Yemen observers consider the anger and secessionist sentiment now erupting in the south to be a greater threat to the country’s stability than its better publicised struggle with al-Qaeda, and the deteriorating economy is making the tension worse.
Unemployment, particularly among the young, is soaring. Even the government statistics office in Aden puts it at nearly 40 per cent among men aged 20 to 24.
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Protest of the Southern Movement in Yemen
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On January 21, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Albania, mobilized by the socialist opposition, ending with violent clashes between the police and protesters, leading to the deaths of three demonstrators. The protests have been sporadic in Albania since the widely contested 2009 elections, but took on new levels inspired by Tunisia.
Israeli Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom stressed concern over the revolutionary sentiments within the Arab world, saying that, “I fear that we now stand before a new and very critical phase in the Arab world.” He fears Tunisia would “set a precedent that could be repeated in other countries, possibly affecting directly the stability of our system.” Israel’s leadership fears democracy in the Arab world, as they have a security alliance with the major Arab nations, who, along with Israel itself, are American proxy states in the region. Israel maintains civil – if not quiet – relationships with the Arab monarchs and dictators. While the Arab states publicly criticize Israel, behind closed doors they are forced to quietly accept Israel’s militarism and war-mongering, lest they stand up against the superpower, America. Yet, public opinion in the Arab world is extremely anti-Israel, anti-American and pro-Iran.
In July of 2010, the results of a major international poll were released regarding public opinion in the Arab world, polling from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. Among some of the notable findings: while Obama was well received upon entering the Presidency, with 51% expressing optimism about U.S. policy in the region in the Spring of 2009, by Summer 2010, 16% were expressing optimism. In 2009, 29% of those polled said a nuclear-armed Iran would be positive for the region; in 2010, that spiked to 57%, reflecting a very different stance from that of their governments.
While America, Israel and the leaders of the Arab nations claim that Iran is the greatest threat to peace and stability in the Middle East, the Arab people do not agree. In an open question asking which two countries pose the greatest threat to the region, 88% responded with Israel, 77% with America, and 10% with Iran.
At the Arab economic summit shortly following the ousting of Ben Ali in Tunisia, who was for the first time absent from the meetings, the Tunisian uprising hung heavy in the air. Arab League leader Amr Moussa said in his opening remarks at the summit, “The Tunisian revolution is not far from us,” and that, “the Arab citizen entered an unprecedented state of anger and frustration,” noting that "the Arab soul is broken by poverty, unemployment and general recession.” The significance of this ‘threat’ to the Arab leaders cannot be understated. Out of roughly 352 million Arabs, 190 million are under the age of 24, with nearly three-quarters of them unemployed. Often, “the education these young people receive doesn't do them any good because there are no jobs in the fields they trained for.”
There was even an article in the Israeli intellectual newspaper, Ha’aretz, which posited that, “Israel may be on the eve of revolution.” Explaining, the author wrote that:
Israeli civil society organizations have amassed considerable power over the years; not only the so-called leftist organizations, but ones dealing with issues like poverty, workers' rights and violence against women and children. All of them were created in order to fill the gaps left by the state, which for its part was all too happy to continue walking away from problems that someone else was there to take on. The neglect is so great that Israel's third sector - NGOs, charities and volunteer organizations - is among the biggest in the world. As such, it has quite a bit of power.
Now the Israeli Knesset and cabinet want that power back; yet, posits the author, they “have chosen to ignore the reasons these groups became powerful,” namely:
The source of their power is the vacuum, the criminal policies of Israel's governments over the last 40 years. The source of their power is a government that is evading its duties to care for all of its citizens and to end the occupation, and a Knesset that supports the government instead of putting it in its place.
The Israeli Knesset opened investigations into the funding of Israeli human rights organizations in a political maneuver against them. However, as one article in Ha’aretz by an Israeli professor explained, these groups actually – inadvertently – play a role in “entrenching the occupation.” As the author explained:
Even if the leftist groups' intention is to ensure upholding Palestinian rights, though, the unintentional result of their activity is preserving the occupation. Moderating and restraining the army's activity gives it a more human and legal facade. Reducing the pressure of international organizations, alongside moderating the Palestinian population's resistance potential, enable the army to continue to maintain this control model over a prolonged period of time.
Thus, if the Israeli Knesset succeeds in getting rid of these powerful NGOs, they sow the seeds for the pressure valve in the occupied territories to be removed. The potential for massive internal protests within Israel from the left, as well as the possibility of another Intifada – uprising – in the occupied territories themselves would seem dramatically increased. Israel and the West have expressed how much distaste they hold for democracy in the region. When Gaza held a democratic election in 2006 and elected Hamas, which was viewed as the ‘wrong’ choice by Israel and America, Israel imposed a ruthless blockade of Gaza. Richard Falk, the former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Inquiry Commission for the Palestinian territories, wrote an article for Al Jazeera in which he explained that the blockade:
unlawfully restricted to subsistence levels, or below, the flow of food, medicine, and fuel. This blockade continues to this day, leaving the entire Gazan population locked within the world's largest open-air prison, and victimized by one of the cruelest forms of belligerent occupation in the history of warfare.
The situation in the occupied territories is made increasingly tense with the recent leaking of the “Palestinian Papers,” which consist of two decades of secret Israeli-Palestinian accords, revealing the weak negotiating position of the Palestinian Authority. The documents consist largely of major concessions the Palestinian Authority was willing to make “on the issues of the right of return of Palestinian refugees, territorial concessions, and the recognition of Israel.” Among the leaks, Palestinian negotiators secretly agreed to concede nearly all of East Jerusalem to Israel. Further, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (favoured by Israel and America over Hamas), was personally informed by a senior Israeli official the night before Operation Cast Lead, the December 2008 and January 2009 Israeli assault on Gaza, resulting in the deaths of over 1,000 Palestinians: “Israeli and Palestinian officials reportedly discussed targeted assassinations of Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists in Gaza.”
Hamas has subsequently called on Palestinian refugees to protest over the concessions regarding the ‘right of return’ for refugees, of which the negotiators conceded to allowing only 100,000 of 5 million to return to Israel. A former U.S. Ambassador to Israel and Egypt lamented that, “The concern will be that this might cause further problems in moving forward.” However, while being blamed for possibly preventing the “peace process” from moving forward, what the papers reveal is that the “peace process” itself is a joke. The Palestinian Authority’s power is derivative of the power Israel allows it to have, and was propped up as a method of dealing with an internal Palestinian elite, thus doing what all colonial powers have done. The papers, then, reveal how the so-called Palestinian ‘Authority’ does not truly speak or work for the interests of the Palestinian people. And while this certainly will divide the PA from Hamas, they were already deeply divided as it was. Certainly, this will pose problems for the “peace process,” but that’s assuming it is a ‘peaceful’ process in the first part.
Is Egypt on the Edge of Revolution?
Unrest is even spreading to Egypt, personal playground of U.S.-supported and armed dictator, Hosni Mubarak, in power since 1981. Egypt is the main U.S. ally in North Africa, and has for centuries been one of the most important imperial jewels first for the Ottomans, then the British, and later for the Americans. With a population of 80 million, 60% of which are under the age of 30, who make up 90% of Egypt’s unemployed, the conditions are ripe for a repeat in Egypt of what happened in Tunisia.
On January 25, 2011, Egypt experienced its “day of wrath,” in which tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets to protest against rising food prices, corruption, and the oppression of living under a 30-year dictatorship. The demonstrations were organized through the use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook. When the protests emerged, the government closed access to these social media sites, just as the Tunisian government did in the early days of the protests that led to the collapse of the dictatorship. As one commentator wrote in the Guardian:
Egypt is not Tunisia. It’s much bigger. Eighty million people, compared with 10 million. Geographically, politically, strategically, it's in a different league – the Arab world's natural leader and its most populous nation. But many of the grievances on the street are the same. Tunis and Cairo differ only in size. If Egypt explodes, the explosion will be much bigger, too.
In Egypt, “an ad hoc coalition of students, unemployed youths, industrial workers, intellectuals, football fans and women, connected by social media such as Twitter and Facebook, instigated a series of fast-moving, rapidly shifting demos across half a dozen or more Egyptian cities.” The police responded with violence, and three protesters were killed. With tens of thousands of protesters taking to the streets, Egypt saw the largest protests in decades, if not under the entire 30-year reign of President Mubarak. Is Egypt on the verge of revolution? It seems too soon to tell. Egypt, it must be remembered, is the second major recipient of U.S. military assistance in the world (following Israel), and thus, its police state and military apparatus are far more advanced and secure than Tunisia’s. Clearly, however, something is stirring. As Hilary Clinton said on the night of the protests, “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.” In other words: “We continue to support tyranny and dictatorship over democracy and liberation.” So what else is new?
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Egyptian Protest, 25 January 2011
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According to some estimates, as many as 50,000 protesters turned out in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and other Egyptian cities. The protests were met with the usual brutality: beating protesters, firing tear gas and using water cannons to attempt to disperse the protesters. As images and videos started emerging out of Egypt, “television footage showed demonstrators chasing police down side streets. One protester climbed into a fire engine and drove it away.” Late on the night of the protests, rumours and unconfirmed reports were spreading that the first lady of Egypt, Suzanne Mubarak, may have fled Egypt to London, following on the heels of rumours that Mubarak’s son, and presumed successor, had also fled to London.
Are We Headed for a Global Revolution?
During the first phase of the global economic crisis in December of 2008, the IMF warned governments of the prospect of “violent unrest on the streets.” The head of the IMF warned that, “violent protests could break out in countries worldwide if the financial system was not restructured to benefit everyone rather than a small elite.”
In January of 2009, Obama’s then-Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the greatest threat to the National Security of the U.S. was not terrorism, but the global economic crisis:
I’d like to begin with the global economic crisis, because it already looms as the most serious one in decades, if not in centuries ... Economic crises increase the risk of regime-threatening instability if they are prolonged for a one- or two-year period... And instability can loosen the fragile hold that many developing countries have on law and order, which can spill out in dangerous ways into the international community.
In 2007, a British Defence Ministry report was released assessing global trends in the world over the next 30 years. In assessing “Global Inequality”, the report stated that over the next 30 years:
[T]he gap between rich and poor will probably increase and absolute poverty will remain a global challenge... Disparities in wealth and advantage will therefore become more obvious, with their associated grievances and resentments, even among the growing numbers of people who are likely to be materially more prosperous than their parents and grandparents. Absolute poverty and comparative disadvantage will fuel perceptions of injustice among those whose expectations are not met, increasing tension and instability, both within and between societies and resulting in expressions of violence such as disorder, criminality, terrorism and insurgency. They may also lead to the resurgence of not only anti-capitalist ideologies, possibly linked to religious, anarchist or nihilist movements, but also to populism and the revival of Marxism.
Further, the report warned of the dangers to the established powers of a revolution emerging from the disgruntled middle classes:
The middle classes could become a revolutionary class, taking the role envisaged for the proletariat by Marx. The globalization of labour markets and reducing levels of national welfare provision and employment could reduce peoples’ attachment to particular states. The growing gap between themselves and a small number of highly visible super-rich individuals might fuel disillusion with meritocracy, while the growing urban under-classes are likely to pose an increasing threat to social order and stability, as the burden of acquired debt and the failure of pension provision begins to bite. Faced by these twin challenges, the world’s middle-classes might unite, using access to knowledge, resources and skills to shape transnational processes in their own class interest.
We have now reached the point where the global economic crisis has continued beyond the two-year mark. The social repercussions are starting to be felt – globally – as a result of the crisis and the coordinated responses to it. Since the global economic crisis hit the ‘Third World’ the hardest, the social and political ramifications will be felt there first. In the context of the current record-breaking hikes in the cost of food, food riots will spread around the world as they did in 2007 and 2008, just prior to the outbreak of the economic crisis. This time, however, things are much worse economically, much more desperate socially, and much more oppressive politically.
This rising discontent will spread from the developing world to the comfort of our own homes in the West. Once the harsh realization sets in that the economy is not in ‘recovery,’ but rather in a Depression, and once our governments in the West continue on their path of closing down the democratic façade and continue dismantling rights and freedoms, increasing surveillance and ‘control,’ while pushing increasingly militaristic and war-mongering foreign policies around the world (mostly in an effort to quell or crush the global awakening being experienced around the world), we in the West will come to realize that ‘We are all Tunisians.’
In 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr., said in his famous speech “Beyond Vietnam”:
I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
This was Part 1 of "North Africa and the Global Political Awakening," focusing on the emergence of the protest movements primarily in North Africa and the Arab world, but placing it in the context of a wider 'Global Awakening.'
Part 2 will focus on the West's reaction to the 'Awakening' in this region; namely, the two-pronged strategy of supporting oppressive regimes while promoting "democratization" in a grand new project of "democratic imperialism."
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Criminalizing Dissent in America under the Anti-Terrorism Legislation: Going After Political Organizers
Justice Department Prepares for Expansion of Law Prohibiting ‘Material Support’ for Terrorism
By Michael Deutsch
Global Research, November 15, 2010
In late September the FBI carried out a series of raids of homes and anti-war offices of public activists in Minneapolis and Chicago. Following the raids the Obama Justice Department subpoenaed 14 activists to a grand jury in Chicago and also subpoenaed the files of several anti-war and community organizations. In carrying out these repressive actions, the Justice department was taking its lead from the Supreme Court’s 6-3 opinion last June in Holder v. the Humanitarian Law Project which decided that non-violent First Amendment speech and advocacy “coordinated with” or “under the direction of” a foreign group listed by the Secretary of State as “terrorist” was a crime.
The search warrants and grand jury subpoenas make it quite clear that the federal prosecutors are intent on accusing public non-violent political organizers, many affiliated with Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), of providing “material support,” through their public advocacy, for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The
Secretary of State has determined that both the PLFP and the FARC “threaten US national security, foreign policy or economic interests,” a finding not reviewable by the Courts, and listed both groups as foreign terrorist organizations (FTO).
In 1996, Congress made it a crime then punishable by 10 years, later increased to 15 years, to anyone in the U.S. who provides “material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization or attempts or conspires to do so.” The present statute defines “material support or resources” as:
any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial services, lodging training, expert advice or assistance, safe houses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel and transportation except medicine or religious materials.
In the Humanitarian Law Project case, human rights workers wanted to teach members of the Kurdistan PKK, which seeks an independent Kurdish state, and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which sought an independent state in Sri Lanka, how to use humanitarian and international law to peacefully resolve disputes, and to obtain relief from the United Nations and other international bodies for human rights abuses by the governments of Turkey and Sri Lanka. Both organizations were designated as FTOs by the Secretary of State in a closed hearing, in which the evidence is heard secretly.
Despite the non-violent, peacemaking goal of this speech and training, the majority of the Supreme Court nonetheless interpreted the law to make such conduct a crime. Finding a whole new exception to the First Amendment, the Court decided that any support, even if it involves non-violent efforts towards peace, is illegal under the law since it “frees up other resources within the organization that may be put to violent ends,” and also helps lend “legitimacy” to foreign terrorist groups. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Roberts, despite the lack of any evidence, further opined that the FTO, could use the human rights law to “intimidate, harass or destruct” its adversaries, and that even peace talks themselves could be used as a cover to re-arm for further attacks. Thus, the Court’s opinion criminalizes efforts by independent groups to work for peace if they in anyway cooperate or coordinate with designated FTOs.
The Court distinguishes what it refers to “independent advocacy” which it finds is not prohibited by the statute, from “advocacy performed in coordination with, or at the direction of, a foreign terrorist organization, which is for the first time found to be a crime under the statute. The exact line as to where independent advocacy becomes impermissible coordination is left open and vague.
Seizing on this overbroad definition of “material support,” the U.S. government is now moving on political groups and activists who are clearly exercising fundamental First Amendment rights in vocally opposing the government’s branding of foreign liberation movements as terrorist and support their struggles against U.S.
backed repressive regimes and illegal occupations.
Under the new definition of “material support,” the efforts of President Jimmy Carter to monitor the elections in Lebanon and coordinate with the political parties there including the designated FTO, Hezbollah, could well be prosecuted as a crime. Similarly, the publication of op-ed articles by FTO spokesmen from Hamas or other designated groups by the New York Times or Washington Post, or the filing by human rights attorneys of amicus briefs arguing against a group’s terrorist designation or the statute itself could also now be prosecuted. Of course, the first targets of this draconian expansion of the material support law will not be a former president or the establishment media, but members of a Marxist organization and vocal opponents of the governments of Israel and Colombia and the U.S. policies supporting these repressive governments.
President Obama in his foreword to the recent autobiography of Nelson Mandela, Conversations with Myself, wrote that “Mandela’s sacrifice was so great that it called upon people everywhere to do what they could on behalf of human progress. [and] . . . [t]he the first time I became politically active was during my college years, when I joined a campaign on behalf of divestment, and the effort to end apartheid in South Africa.” At the time of Mr. Obama’s First Amendment advocacy, Mr. Mandela and his organization the African National Congress (ANC) were denounced as terrorist by the U.S. government. The “material support” law, if in effect back then, would have opened Mr. Obama up to potential criminal prosecution. It is ironic, and the height of hypocrisy, that this same man who speaks with such reverence for Mr. Mandela and recalls his own support for the struggle against apartheid, now allows the Justice Department under his command to criminalize similar First Amendment advocacy against Israeli apartheid and repressive foreign governments.
To provide financial support for the legal expenses those under attack contact: tax deductible checks can be sent to the National Lawyers Guild Foundation. c/o National Lawyers Guild, 132 Nassau St. Room 922, New York, N.Y. 10038
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All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.
Noam Chomsky
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"Manufacturing Dissent": the Anti-globalization Movement is Funded by the Corporate Elites
The People's Movement has been Hijacked
by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, September 20, 2010
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21110
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"Everything the [Ford] Foundation did could be regarded as "making the World safe for capitalism", reducing social tensions by helping to comfort the afflicted, provide safety valves for the angry, and improve the functioning of government (McGeorge Bundy, National Security Advisor to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson (1961-1966), President of the Ford Foundation, (1966-1979))
"By providing the funding and the policy framework to many concerned and dedicated people working within the non-profit sector, the ruling class is able to co-opt leadership from grassroots communities, ... and is able to make the funding, accounting, and evaluation components of the work so time consuming and onerous that social justice work is virtually impossible under these conditions" (Paul Kivel, You Call this Democracy, Who Benefits, Who Pays and Who Really Decides, 2004, p. 122 )
"Under the New World Order, the ritual of inviting "civil society" leaders into the inner circles of power --while simultaneously repressing the rank and file-- serves several important functions. First, it says to the World that the critics of globalization "must make concessions" to earn the right to mingle. Second, it conveys the illusion that while the global elites should --under what is euphemistically called democracy-- be subject to criticism, they nonetheless rule legitimately. And third, it says "there is no alternative" to globalization: fundamental change is not possible and the most we can hope is to engage with these rulers in an ineffective "give and take".
While the "Globalizers" may adopt a few progressive phrases to demonstrate they have good intentions, their fundamental goals are not challenged. And what this "civil society mingling" does is to reinforce the clutch of the corporate establishment while weakening and dividing the protest movement. An understanding of this process of co-optation is important, because tens of thousands of the most principled young people in Seattle, Prague and Quebec City [1999-2001] are involved in the anti-globalization protests because they reject the notion that money is everything, because they reject the impoverishment of millions and the destruction of fragile Earth so that a few may get richer.
This rank and file and some of their leaders as well, are to be applauded. But we need to go further. We need to challenge the right of the "Globalizers" to rule. This requires that we rethink the strategy of protest. Can we move to a higher plane, by launching mass movements in our respective countries, movements that bring the message of what globalization is doing, to ordinary people? For they are the force that must be mobilized to challenge those who plunder the Globe." (Michel Chossudovsky, The Quebec Wall, April 2001)
The term "manufacturing consent" was initially coined by Edward S Herman and Noam Chomsky.
"Manufacturing consent" describes a propaganda model used by the corporate media to sway public opinion and "inculcate individuals with values and beliefs...":
The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfill this role requires systematic propaganda. (Manufacturing Consent by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky)
"Manufacturing consent" implies manipulating and shaping public opinion. It establishes conformity and acceptance to authority and social hierarchy. It seeks compliance to an established social order. "Manufacturing consent" describes the submission of public opinion to the mainstream media narrative, to its lies and fabrications.
"Manufacturing dissent"
In this article, we focus on a related concept, namely the subtle process of "manufacturing dissent" (rather than "consent"), which plays a decisive role in serving the interests of the ruling class.
Under contemporary capitalism, the illusion of democracy must prevail. It is in the interest of the corporate elites to accept dissent and protest as a feature of the system inasmuch as they do not threaten the established social order. The purpose is not to repress dissent, but, on the contrary, to shape and mould the protest movement, to set the outer limits of dissent.
To maintain their legitimacy, the economic elites favor limited and controlled forms of opposition, with a view to preventing the development of radical forms of protest, which might shake the very foundations and institutions of global capitalism. In other words, "manufacturing dissent" acts as a "safety valve", which protects and sustains the New World Order.
To be effective, however, the process of "manufacturing dissent" must be carefully regulated and monitored by those who are the object of the protest movement.
"Funding Dissent"
How is the process of manufacturing dissent achieved?
Essentially by "funding dissent", namely by channelling financial resources from those who are the object of the protest movement to those who are involved in organizing the protest movement.
Co-optation is not limited to buying the favors of politicians. The economic elites --which control major foundations-- also oversee the funding of numerous NGOs and civil society organizations, which historically have been involved in the protest movement against the established economic and social order. The programs of many NGOs and people's movements rely heavily on funding from both public as well as private foundations including the Ford, Rockefeller, McCarthy foundations, among others.
The anti-globalization movement is opposed to Wall Street and the Texas oil giants controlled by Rockefeller, et al. Yet the foundations and charities of Rockefeller et al will generously fund progressive anti-capitalist networks as well as environmentalists (opposed to Big Oil) with a view to ultimately overseeing and shaping their various activities.
The mechanisms of "manufacturing dissent" require a manipulative environment, a process of arm-twisting and subtle cooptation of individuals within progressive organizations, including anti-war coalitions, environmentalists and the anti-globalization movement.
Whereas the mainstream media "manufactures consent", the complex network of NGOs (including segments of the alternative media) are used by the corporate elites to mould and manipulate the protest movement.
Following the deregulation of the global financial system in the 1990s and the rapid enrichment of the financial establishment, funding through foundations and charities has skyrocketed.
In a bitter irony, part of the fraudulent financial gains on Wall Street in recent years have been recycled to the elites' tax exempt foundations and charities. These windfall financial gains have not only been used to buy out politicians, they have also been channelled to NGOs, research institutes, community centres, church groups, environmentalists, alternative media, human rights groups, etc. "Manufactured dissent" also applies to the "corporate left" and "progressive" media, funded by NGOs or directly by the foundations.
The inner objective is to "manufacture dissent" and establish the boundaries of a "politically correct" opposition. In turn, many NGOs are infiltrated by informants often acting on behalf of western intelligence agencies. Moreover, an increasingly large segment of the progressive alternative news media on the internet has become dependent on funding from corporate foundations and charities.
Piecemeal Activism
The objective of the corporate elites has been to fragment the people's movement into a vast "do it yourself" mosaic. War and globalization are no longer in the forefront of civil society activism. Activism tends to be piecemeal. There is no integrated anti-globalization anti-war movement. The economic crisis is not seen as having a relationship to the US led war.
Dissent has been compartmentalized. Separate "issue oriented" protest movements (e.g. environment, anti-globalization, peace, women's rights, climate change) are encouraged and generously funded as opposed to a cohesive mass movement. This mosaic was already prevalent in the counter G7 summits and People's Summits of the 1990s.
The Anti-Globalization Movement
The Seattle 1999 counter-summit is invariably upheld as a triumph for the anti-globalization movement: "a historic coalition of activists shut down the World Trade Organization summit in Seattle, the spark that ignited a global anti-corporate movement." (See Naomi Klein, Copenhagen: Seattle Grows Up, The Nation, November 13, 2009).
Seattle was an indeed an important crossroads in the history of the mass movement. Over 50,000 people from diverse backgrounds, civil society organizations, human rights, labor unions, environmentalists had come together in a common pursuit. Their goal was to forecefully dismantle the neoliberal agenda including its institutional base.
But Seattle also marked a major reversal. With mounting dissent from all sectors of society, the official WTO Summit desperately needed the token participation of civil society leaders "on the inside", to give the appearance of being "democratic" "on the outside".
While thousands of people had converged on Seattle, what occurred behind the scenes was a de facto victory for neoliberalism. A handful of civil society organizations, formally opposed the WTO had contributed to legitimizing the WTO's global trading architecture. Instead of challenging the WTO as an an illegal intergovernmental body, they agreed to a pre-summit dialogue with the WTO and Western governments. "Accredited NGO participants were invited to mingle in a friendly environment with ambassadors, trade ministers and Wall Street tycoons at several of the official events including the numerous cocktail parties and receptions." (Michel Chossudovsky, Seattle and Beyond: Disarming the New World Order , Covert Action Quarterly, November 1999, See Ten Years Ago: "Manufacturing Dissent" in Seattle).
The hidden agenda was to weaken and divide the protest movement and orient the anti-globalization movement into areas that would not directly threaten the interests of the business establishment.
Funded by private foundations (including Ford, Rockefeller, Rockefeller Brothers, Charles Stewart Mott, The Foundation for Deep Ecology), these "accredited" civil society organizations had positioned themselves as lobby groups, acting formally on behalf of the people's movement. Led by prominent and committed activists, their hands were tied. They ultimately contributed (unwittingly) to weakening the anti-globalization movement by accepting the legitimacy of what was essentially an illegal organization. (The 1994 Marrakech Summit agreement which led to the creation of the WTO on January 1, 1995). (Ibid)
The NGO leaders were fully aware as to where the money was coming from. Yet within the US and European NGO community, the foundations and charities are considered to be independent philanthropic bodies, separate from the corporations; namely the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, for instance, is considered to be separate and distinct from the Rockefeller family empire of banks and oil companies.
With salaries and operating expenses depending on private foundations, it became an accepted routine: In a twisted logic, the battle against corporate capitalism was to be fought using the funds from the tax exempt foundations owned by corporate capitalism.
The NGOs were caught in a straightjacket; their very existence depended on the foundations. Their activities were closely monitored. In a twisted logic, the very nature of anti-capitalist activism was indirectly controlled by the capitalists through their independent foundations.
"Progressive Watchdogs"
In this evolving saga, the corporate elites --whose interests are duly served by the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO-- will readily fund (through their various foundations and charities) organizations which are at the forefront of the protest movement against the WTO and the Washington based international financial institutions.
Supported by foundation money, various "watchdogs" were set up by the NGOs to monitor the implementation of neoliberal policies, without however raising the broader issue of how the Bretton Woods twins and the WTO, through their policies, had contributed to the impoverishment of millions of people.
The Structural Adjustment Participatory Review Network (SAPRIN) was established by Development Gap, a USAID and World Bank funded NGO based in Washington DC.
Amply documented, the imposition of the IMF-World Bank Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) on developing countries constitutes a blatant form of interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states on behalf of creditor institutions.
Instead of challenging the legitimacy of the IMF-World Bank's "deadly economic medicine", SAPRIN's core organization sought to establish a participatory role for the NGOs, working hand in glove with USAID and the World Bank. The objective was to give a "human face" to the neoliberal policy agenda, rather than reject the IMF-World Bank policy framework outright:
"SAPRIN is the global civil-society network that took its name from the Structural Adjustment Participatory Review Initiative (SAPRI), which it launched with the World Bank and its president, Jim Wolfensohn, in 1997.
SAPRI is designed as a tripartite exercise to bring together organizations of civil society, their governments and the World Bank in a joint review of structural adjustment programs (SAPs) and an exploration of new policy options. It is legitimizing an active role for civil society in economic decision-making, as it is designed to indicate areas in which changes in economic policies and in the economic-policymaking process are required. ( http://www.saprin.org/overview.htm SAPRIN website, emphasis added)
Similarly, The Trade Observatory (formerly WTO Watch), operating out of Geneva, is a project of the Minneapolis based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), which is generously funded by Ford, Rockefeller, Charles Stewart Mott among others. (see Table 1 below).
The Trade Observatory has a mandate to monitor the World Trade Organization (WTO), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA and the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). (IATP, About Trade Observatory, accessed September 2010).
The Trade Observatory is also to develop data and information as well as foster "governance" and "accountability". Accountability to the victims of WTO policies or accountability to the protagonists of neoliberal reforms?
The Trade Observatory watchdog functions does not in any way threaten the WTO. Quite the opposite: the legitimacy of the trade organizations and agreements are never questioned. 
Table 1: Minneapolis Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) largest donors
Ford Foundation $2,612,500.00 1994 – 2006
Rockefeller Brothers Fund $2,320,000.00 1995 – 2005
Charles Stewart Mott Foundation $1,391,000.00 1994 – 2005
McKnight Foundation $1,056,600.00 1995 – 2005
Joyce Foundation $748,000.00 1996 – 2004
Bush Foundation $610,000.00 2001 – 2006
Bauman Family Foundation $600,000.00 1994 – 2006
Great Lakes Protection Fund $580,000.00 1995 – 2000
John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation $554,100.00 1991 – 2003
John Merck Fund $490,000.00 1992 – 2003
Harold K. Hochschild Foundation $486,600.00 1997 – 2005
Foundation for Deep Ecology $417,500.00 1991 – 2001
Jennifer Altman Foundation $366,500.00 1992 – 2001
Rockefeller Foundation $344,134.00 2000 – 2004
Source: http://activistcash.com/organization_financials.cfm/o/16-institute-for-agriculture-and-trade-policy
The World Economic Forum. "All Roads Lead to Davos"
The people's movement has been hijacked. Selected intellectuals, trade union executives, and the leaders of civil society organizations (including Oxfam, Amnesty International, Greenpeace) are routinely invited to the Davos World Economic Forum, where they mingle with the World's most powerful economic and political actors. This mingling of the World's corporate elites with hand-picked "progressives" is part of the ritual underlying the process of "manufacturing dissent".
The ploy is to selectively handpick civil society leaders "whom we can trust" and integrate them into a "dialogue", cut them off from their rank and file, make them feel that they are "global citizens" acting on behalf of their fellow workers but make them act in a way which serves the interests of the corporate establishment:
"The participation of NGOs in the Annual Meeting in Davos is evidence of the fact that [we] purposely seek to integrate a broad spectrum of the major stakeholders in society in ... defining and advancing the global agenda ... We believe the [Davos] World Economic Forum provides the business community with the ideal framework for engaging in collaborative efforts with the other principal stakeholders [NGOs] of the global economy to "improve the state of the world," which is the Forum's mission. (World Economic Forum, Press Release 5 January 2001)
The WEF does not represent the broader business community. It is an elitist gathering: Its members are giant global corporations (with a minimum $5 billion annual turnover). The selected non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are viewed as partner "stakeholders" as well as a convenient "mouthpiece for the voiceless who are often left out of decision-making processes." (World Economic Forum - Non-Governmental Organizations, 2010)
"They [the NGOs] play a variety of roles in partnering with the Forum to improve the state of the world, including serving as a bridge between business, government and civil society, connecting the policy makers to the grassroots, bringing practical solutions to the table..." (Ibid)
Civil society "partnering" with global corporations on behalf of "the voiceless", who are "left out"?
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Trade union executives are also co-opted to the detriment of workers' rights. The leaders of the International Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU), the AFL-CIO, the European Trade Union Confederation, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), among others, are routinely invited to attend both the annual WEF meetings in Davos, Switzerland as well as to the regional summits. They also participate in the WEF's Labour Leaders Community which focuses on mutually acceptable patterns of behavior for the labor movement. The WEF "believes that the voice of Labour is important to dynamic dialogue on issues of globalisation, economic justice, transparency and accountability, and ensuring a healthy global financial system."
"Ensuring a healthy global financial system" wrought by fraud and corruption? The issue of workers' rights is not mentioned. (World Economic Forum - Labour Leaders, 2010).
The World Social Forum: "Another World Is Possible"
The 1999 Seattle counter-summit in many regards laid the foundations for the development of the World Social Forum.
The first gathering of the World Social Forum took place in January 2001, in Porto Alegre, Brazil. This international gathering involved the participation of tens of thousands of activists from grass-roots organizations and NGOs.
The WSF gathering of NGOs and progressive organizations is held simultaneously with the Davos World Economic Forum (WEF). It was intended to voice opposition and dissent to the World Economic Forum of corporate leaders and finance ministers.
The WSF at the outset was an initiative of France's ATTAC and several Brazilian NGOs':
"... In February 2000, Bernard Cassen, the head of a French NGO platform ATTAC, Oded Grajew, head of a Brazilian employers' organisation, and Francisco Whitaker, head of an association of Brazilian NGOs, met to discuss a proposal for a "world civil society event"; by March 2000, they formally secured the support of the municipal government of Porto Alegre and the state government of Rio Grande do Sul, both controlled at the time by the Brazilian Workers' Party (PT).... A group of French NGOs, including ATTAC, Friends of L'Humanité, and Friends of Le Monde Diplomatique, sponsored an Alternative Social Forum in Paris titled "One Year after Seattle", in order to prepare an agenda for the protests to be staged at the upcoming European Union summit at Nice. The speakers called for "reorienting certain international institutions such as the IMF, World Bank, WTO... so as to create a globalization from below" and "building an international citizens' movement, not to destroy the IMF but to reorient its missions." (Research Unit For Political Economy, The Economics and Politics of the World Social Forum, Global Research, January 20, 2004)
From the outset in 2001, the WSF was supported by core funding from the Ford Foundation, which is known to have ties to the CIA going back to the 1950s: "The CIA uses philanthropic foundations as the most effective conduit to channel large sums of money to Agency projects without alerting the recipients to their source." (James Petras, The Ford Foundation and the CIA, Global Research, September 18, 2002)
The same procedure of donor funded counter-summits or people's summits which characterized the 1990s People's Summits was embodied in the World Social Forum (WSF):
"... other WSF funders (or `partners', as they are referred to in WSF terminology) included the Ford Foundation, -- suffice it to say here that it has always operated in the closest collaboration with the US Central Intelligence Agency and US overall strategic interests; the Heinrich Boll Foundation, which is controlled by the German Greens party, a partner in the present [2003] German government and a supporter of the wars on Yugoslavia and Afghanistan (its leader Joschka Fischer is the [former] German foreign minister); and major funding agencies such as Oxfam (UK), Novib (Netherlands), ActionAid (UK), and so on.
Remarkably, an International Council member of the WSF reports that the "considerable funds" received from these agencies have "not hitherto awakened any significant debates [in the WSF bodies] on the possible relations of dependence it could generate." Yet he admits that "in order to get funding from the Ford Foundation, the organisers had to convince the foundation that the Workers Party was not involved in the process." Two points are worth noting here. First, this establishes that the funders were able to twist arms and determine the role of different forces in the WSF -- they needed to be `convinced' of the credentials of those who would be involved. Secondly, if the funders objected to the participation of the thoroughly domesticated Workers Party, they would all the more strenuously object to prominence being given to genuinely anti-imperialist forces. That they did so object will be become clear as we describe who was included and who excluded from the second and third meets of the WSF....
... The question of funding [of the WSF] does not even figure in the charter of principles of the WSF, adopted in June 2001. Marxists, being materialists, would point out that one should look at the material base of the forum to grasp its nature. (One indeed does not have to be a Marxist to understand that "he who pays the piper calls the tune".) But the WSF does not agree. It can draw funds from imperialist institutions like Ford Foundation while fighting "domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism" (Research Unit For Political Economy, The Economics and Politics of the World Social Forum, Global Research, January 20, 2004)
The Ford Foundation provided core support to the WSF, with indirect contributions to participating "partner organizations" from the McArthur Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the W. Alton Jones Foundation, the European Commission, several European governments (including the Labour government of Tony Blair), the Canadian government, as well as a number of UN bodies (including UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP, ILO and the FAO) .(Ibid).
In addition to initial core support from the Ford Foundation, many of the participating civil society organizations receive funding from major foundations and charities. In turn, the US and European based NGOs often operate as secondary funding agencies channelling Ford and Rockefeller money towards partner organizations in developing countries, including grassroots peasant and human rights movements.
The International Council (IC) of the WSF is made up of representatives from NGOs, trade unions, alternative media organizations, research institutes, many of which are heavily funded by foundations as well as governments. (See Fórum Social Mundial). The same trade unions, which are routinely invited to mingle with Wall Street CEOs at the Davos World Economic Forum (WSF) including the AFL-CIO, the European Trade Union Confederation and the Canadian Labor Congress (CLC) also sit on the WSF's International Council (IC). Among NGOs funded by major foundations sitting on the WSF's IC is the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) (see our analysis above) which oversees the Geneva based Trade Observatory.
The Funders Network on Trade and Globalization (FTNG), which has observer status on the WSF International Council plays a key role. While channelling financial support to the WSF, it acts as a clearing house for major foundations. The FTNG describes itself as "an alliance of grant makers committed to building just and sustainable communities around the world". Members of this alliance are Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers, Heinrich Boell, C. S. Mott, Merck Family Foundation, Open Society Institute, Tides, among others. (For a complete list of FTNG funding agencies see FNTG: Funders). FTNG acts as a fund raising entity on behalf of the WSF.
Western Governments Fund the Counter-Summits and Repress the Protest Movement
In a bitter irony, governments including the European Union grant money to fund progressive groups (including the WSF) involved in organizing protests against the very same governments which finance their activities:
"Governments, too, have been significant financiers of protest groups. The European Commission, for example, funded two groups who mobilised large numbers of people to protest at EU summits at Gothenburg and Nice. Britain's national lottery, which is overseen by the government, helped fund a group at the heart of the British contingent at both protests." (James Harding, Counter-capitalism, FT.com, October 15 2001)
We are dealing with a diabolical process: The host government finances the official summit as well as the NGOs actively involved in the Counter-Summit. It also funds the multimillion dollar anti-riot police operation which has a mandate to repress the grassroots participants of the Counter-Summit, including members of NGOs direcly funded by the government. .
The purpose of these combined operations, including violent actions of vandalism committed by undercover cops (Toronto G20, 2010) dressed up as activists, is to discredit the protest movement and intimidate its participants. The broader objective is to transform the counter-summit into a ritual of dissent, which serves to uphold the interests of the official summit and the host government. This logic has prevailed in numerous counter summits since the 1990s.
At the 2001 Summit of the Americas in Quebec City, funding from the Canadian federal government to mainstream NGOs and trade unions was granted under certain conditions. A large segment of the protest movement was de facto excluded from the People's Summit. This in itself led to the formation of a second parallel People's venue, which some observers described as a "a counter-People's Summit. In turn, in an agreement with both the provincial and federal authorities, the organizers directed the protest march towards a remote location some 10 km out of town, rather than towards the historical downtown area were the official FTAA summit was being held behind a heavily guarded "security perimeter".
"Rather than marching toward the perimeter fence and the Summit of the Americas meetings, march organizers chose a route that marched from the People's Summit away from the fence, through largely empty residential areas to the parking lot of a stadium in a vacant area several miles away. Henri Masse, the president of the Federation des travailleurs et travailleuses du Quebec (FTQ), explained, "I deplore that we are so far from the center-city.... But it was a question of security." One thousand marshals from the FTQ kept very tight control over the march. When the march came to the point where some activists planned to split off and go up the hill to the fence, FTQ marshals signalled the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) contingent walking behind CUPE to sit down and stop the march so that FTQ marshals could lock arms and prevent others from leaving the official march route." (Katherine Dwyer, Lessons of Quebec City, International Socialist Review, June/July 2001)
Security Perimeter, Quebec City 2001
The Summit of the Americas was held inside a four kilometer "bunker" made of concrete and galvanized steel fencing. The 10 feet high "Quebec Wall" encircled part of the historic city center including the parliamentary compound of the National Assembly, hotels and shopping areas.
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Quebec City, April 2001
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Quebec City 2001, Building the Security fence

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Toronto G20 Security Fence $5.5 million, June 2010
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NGO Leaders versus their Grassroots
The establishment of the World Social Forum (WSF) in 2001 was unquestionably a historical landmark, bringing together tens of thousands of committed activists. It was an important venue which allowed for the exchange of ideas and the establishment of ties of solidarity.
What is at stake is the ambivalent role of the leaders of progressive organizations. Their cozy and polite relationship to the inner circles of power, to corporate and government funding, aid agencies, the World Bank, etc, undermines their relationship and responsibilities to their rank and file. The objective of manufactured dissent is precisely that: to distance the leaders from their rank and file as a means to effectively silencing and weakening grassroots actions.
Funding dissent is also a means of infiltrating the NGOs as well as acquiring inside information on strategies of protest and resistance of grass-roots movements.
Most of the grassroots participating organizations in the World Social Forum including peasant, workers' and student organizations, firmly committed to combating neoliberalism were unaware of the WSF International Council's relationship to corporate funding, negotiated behind their backs by a handful of NGO leaders with ties to both official and private funding agencies.
Funding to progressive organizations is not unconditional. Its purpose is to "pacify" and manipulate the protest movement. Precise conditionalities are set by the funding agencies. If they are not met, the disbursements are discontinued and the recipient NGO is driven into de facto bankruptcy due to lack of funds.
The WSF defines itself as "an open meeting place for reflective thinking, democratic debate of ideas, formulation of proposals, free exchange of experiences and inter-linking for effective action, by groups and movements of civil society that are opposed to neo-liberalism and to domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism, and are committed to building a society centred on the human person". (See Fórum Social Mundial, accessed 2010).
The WSF is a mosaic of individual initiatives which does not directly threaten or challenge the legitimacy of global capitalism and its institutions. It meets annually. It is characterised by a multitude of sessions and workshops. In this regard, one of the features of the WSF was to retain the "do-it-yourself" framework, characteristic of the donor funded counter G7 People's Summits of the 1990s.
This apparent disorganized structure is deliberate. While favoring debate on a number of individual topics, the WSF framework is not conducive to the articulation of a cohesive common platform and plan of action directed against global capitalism. Moreover, the US led war in the Middle East and Central Asia, which broke out a few months after the inaugural WSF venue in Porto Alegre in January 2001, has not been a central issue in forum discussions.
What prevails is a vast and intricate network of organizations. The recipient grassroots organizations in developing countries are invariably unaware that their partner NGOs in the United States or the European Union, which are providing them with financial support, are themselves funded by major foundations. The money trickles down, setting constraints on grassroots actions. Many of these NGO leaders are committed and well meaning individuals acting within a framework which sets the boundaries of dissent. The leaders of these movements are often co-opted, without even realizing that as a result of corporate funding their hands are tied.
Global capitalism finances anti-capitalism: an absurd and contradictory relationship.
"Another World is Possible", but it cannot be meaningfully achieved under the present arrangement.
A shake-up of the World Social Forum, of its organizational structure, its funding arrangements and leadership is required.
There can be no meaningful mass movement when dissent is generously funded by those same corporate interests which are the target of the protest movement. In the words of McGeorge Bundy, president of the Ford Foundation (1966-1979),"Everything the [Ford] Foundation did could be regarded as 'making the World safe for capitalism'".
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Also See:
Protesters - Not Going to Take It Anymore!
10 December 2010
http://arcticcompass.blogspot.com/2010/12/protesters-not-going-to-take-it-anymore.html
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