‘Foundations & Anthropology and the ‘NGO incursion into geopolitical affairs’
- “Elite philanthropy is not an example of capitalist altruism: so while such philanthropy is often presented as a selfless act of generosity — especially when reported in the capitalist media — it is really a thoughtful form of capitalist investment. This investment however does not necessarily generate financial gain rather it works to stabilize the ruling classes means of ideological domination. And one way by which the ruling class imposes its will upon others is by purchasing society’s knowledge producing networks. In the case of “higher education” this is no easy matter, but such capitalists have proven more than capable of meeting their own ideological requirements… this article aims to closely examine the philanthropic-academic nexus within an anthropological context to illustrate this point.” [Barker's latest via Dissident Voice]
- “The contribution of the [International Crisis Group’s] gunboat diplomacy to the generally permissive environment for Western military operations cannot be precisely gauged. Crisis Group claims that up to half of its recommendations are taken up, at least in part, within a year: doubtless over-generous, though official acclaim does imply distinguished service. Indeed, for newsrooms shorn of foreign correspondents, ill-served by the academic fashion for statistical models and game-theory abstractions, the icg’s freely available, on-the-ground reportage passes for ‘independent’ authority—to all appearances with humanitarian credentials…
Year 518: Happy Reconsider Columbus Day
“Do you really want to celebrate the legacy of a man who committed heinous crimes against the Indigenous people of the Caribbean and throughout the Americas?” [Reconsider Columbus Day; also see Zero Anthropology's 'U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM): Commemorating Columbus Day 2010']
‘Canada, a peaceable kingdom no more’
Elmer’s latest on the transformation of the Canadian military apparatus first appeared in the (sub-only) September issue of Le Monde Diplomatique. Here it is, reproduced in full by PEJ.
Attempted Coup in Ecuador
Eva Golinger writes:
“A third coup d’etat is underway against a nation member of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA), a Latin American bloc of nations that opposes US hegemony in the region and has created new mechanisms for trade and integration based on principles of solidarity and independence from imperial powers.” [More at her website. Also follow her twitter feed, as well as Dawn Paley's for frequent updates].
[Update]: President Rafael Correa’s office issued this statement:
“The president, Rafael Correa, who stands against a seditious attempt by some members of the National Police against the democratic and constitutional regime lead by the president, announced that despite attempts to attack the government and even him as a person, he would be unwavering with his principles.
“I’m not going to back down, if you want to come here and look for me, shoot me and the Republic will move forward, kill me, but as Pablo Neruda said, ‘You can cut all the flowers but you cannot stop the Spring from coming,’” he told Radio Pública.” [more...]
[Update II]: NYT reports coup attempt foiled, Correa rescued. Thanks to the following companies.
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Sorry for the slow trickle of posts. I’ve been busy winding down the summer and gearing up for the upcoming year at York U. All I’ve had time for these days – informationally-speaking, is the occasional tweet. Be sure to peruse my Twitter feed for a sampling of the more interesting stuff I’ve come across recently. I am updating some parts of the website, and promise to post a few items (including a couple of bona fide articles) before classes begin on September 13th.
- I can’t resist: the one item that got my blood flowing the most this week was the release of the film PSYWAR by Metanoia, which can be viewed in full, here.
CIA Red Cell Leak: an Admission of Imperial Hubris
Readers of the latest leaked (& confirmed to be authentic) CIA Red Cell Memo (.pdf) ‘What If Foreigners See the United States as an “Exporter of Terrorism”?’ may be surprised to see that none of the references (among over 40 uses of “terror”) appear to demonstrate a concern for the foreign perception of state terror exercised by the US.
The reason for this may found in the assumption of American Exceptionalism , which reveals itself through the statement, “if the US were seen as an ‘exporter of terrorism,’ foreign governments could request a reciprocal arrangement that would impact US sovereignty.”
Ergo, your sovereignty may be violated, but ours is sacred.
The Memo further infers the “transcendent purpose” of the US with its reference to certain “difficult legal issues” that could arise if foreign countries perceive the US as a terror exporter:
“To date, the US is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and instead, has pursued Bilateral Immunity Agreements (BIAs) with other countries to ensure immunity for US nationals from ICC prosecution. The US has threatened to terminate economic aid and withdraw military assistance with countries that do not accede to BIAs.”
 See Noam Chomsky’s latest book Hopes and Prospects for a good discussion of American Exceptionalism. Although the theme stretches back through Chomsky’s corpus, his latest book incorporates how the double standard is being projected globally with the so-called “emerging norm,” The…
French intransigence over Haiti debt continues
Tuesday’s unsurprising tagline:
“France on Tuesday rejected a petition calling for it to pay $17 billion to help with Haiti earthquake ” [via Christian Science Monitor]
- Continuing to press the case, Jean Saint-Vil appeared on Democracy Now! yesterday with Vox Sambou to put the independence debt in historical context:
“And so, this demand that just came out is proving that the restitution demand is not something that belongs to a set of Haitians. It’s generation after generation that Haitians and people of conscience are going to rise up to demand that the billions that are required to build the infrastructure of Haiti be restored to that nation. And it’s just a matter of justice”
- So far, with the exception of the Toronto Star’s publication of Isabel MacDonald’s op-ed, a short piece in the Toronto Sun, and an article in the Financial Post, the mainstream Canadian media has all but ignored the petition, to which anyone can (and should) still sign on.
- Meanwhile, at least three Canadian dailies have re-printed an article (some might say diatribe) by the right-wing Heritage Foundation’s Ray Walser, in which he supports the exclusion of Haiti’s most popular political party, Lavalas.
Here’s what Saint-Vil had to say about the exclusion of Lavalas:
“Well, first of all, this is proof that the UN mission that is in Haiti today is not there to protect the Haitian people, any more than the UN was in the Congo in the ’60s to protect the people of the Congo, but rather to cover up a…
Pressure mounts on France to repay extorted billions to Haiti
“A group of international academics and authors has written to Nicolas Sarkozy calling on France to reimburse the crushing “independence debt” it imposed on Haiti nearly 200 years ago. The open letter to the French president says the debt, now worth more than €17bn (£14bn), would cover the rebuilding of the country after a devastating earthquake that killed more than 250,000 people seven months ago. Its signatories – including Noam Chomsky, the American linguist, Naomi Klein, the Canadian author and activist, Cornel West, the African-American author and civil rights activist, and several renowned French philosophers – say that if France repays the money it would be a solution to the shortfall in international donations promised following the earthquake.”
[More at The Guardian, original letter (to which I am a signatory) in French, published in today's Libération, and here's the English version via C.R.I.M.E.]
- No doubt much to France’s chagrin, the publication of the open letter has generated more mass media coverage: New York Times, Al Jazeera, BBC, among others.
- Isabel MacDonald, one of the drafters of the letter, has published an op-ed in today’s Toronto Star.
‘Three Cups of Tea for Imperialism’
Michael Barker critically reviews the humanitarian imperialism of Greg Mortenson (author of the bestselling Three Cups of Tea), riffing off of the more extensive analysis of Mortenson’s ‘participatory militarism’ in Nosheen Ali’s piece for Third World Quarterly, ‘Books vs Bombs? Humanitarian development and the narrative of terror in Norther Pakistan.’
‘Going Organic: the Siege on Gaza’
“In February 2006, following Hamas’ electoral victory, a top advisor to Ehud Olmert, the then Israeli prime minister, Dov Weisglass, described the essence of Israel’s Gaza policy. ”It’s like a meeting with a dietitian,” Weisglass said. “We need to make the Palestinians lose weight, but not to starve to death.”…Beyond the well-documented tunnel trade running under the Gaza-Egypt border, Hamas has taken concrete steps to mitigate the impacts of the siege and further its political administration in the coastal strip. Hamas’ agriculture minister, Muhammad al-Agha, has issued a ten-year plan designed to side-step the blockade by increasing local food production and agricultural self-sufficiency in Gaza. Entitled The Plan for 2020, the document was vetted by 150 academics and researchers, according to the agriculture ministry, and looks to respond to the challenges imposed by Israel’s blockade with local initiatives.” [Read the complete article at Al Jazeera]
”Canada Backs Colombia’s Growing Embrace of US Military’
And why might that be?
“Canadian mining, oil and gas companies are Colombia’s third biggest source of foreign investment, operating almost exclusively in remote zones of the country where armed protection is a precondition to profit.”* [Read surrounding context & full story by Arno Kopecky, who notes that he "has a Global Fellowship with the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation to investigate Canadian ties with Latin America," at The Tyee].
- In related news, “A “Justice for Colombia” delegation, including IMF general secretary Jyrki Raina, visit Colombia to maintain international pressure on newly-elected Colombian government for improved human and trade union rights.”
*This investment recently got even bigger, with Talisman’s acquisition of BP’s Colombian mining assets, in a $1.9 billion deal with Colombia’s state-run Ecopetrol. No stranger to operating in the midst of counterinsurgency wars, Talisman is also active in (still-) occupied Iraq.
Is France still trying to make CRIME pay?
Last week I posted the full-text of the latest press release from the pranksters who had the world (if but for a moment) believing that France intended to repay the billions of dollars they extorted from Haiti in the 19th century, where C.R.I.M.E. stated that an alleged official from the French foreign ministry, believed to be one Olivier Poudade, placed a threatening phone call to the hoaxsters spokesperson, ‘Laurence Fabre.’
Save for our colleagues over at Pacific Free Press, the allegations have been all but ignored by the English-speaking Western media. A member of the French media, however, questioned the foreign ministry about the allegations this week. My google-translation of the original exchange has the questioner stating Poudade “reportedly threatened those responsible for the false report, including the spokesman CRIME Laurence Fabre, having to personally pay for dissemination thereof and risking arrest. [Have] there been such calls? Have they been punished? What is your comment?”
The response from the Ministry:
“I am not aware of any official intervention of one of our colleagues from the authors of this hoax. To hide nothing from you, fake websites fake Twitter messages, plagiarism in hoaxes, I do not know where is the reality in this case. I work to check the foundations. In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European studies all the devices and legal remedies available to it in response to the misuse and fraud of its image and identity theft have…
‘Crime-linked Colombian President to Investigate Israeli attack’
Here is an open letter (.pdf) by Heike Hänsel and other members of the German Bundestag, on the ‘Appointment of the former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe as cochairman of Gaza flotilla investigation commission.’ [H/T: encamino,] who write:
“Alvaro Uribe Vélez, the outgoing Colombian Presidency whose Government is under investigation for multiples crimes against humanity, including massacres, illegal persecution and spying of democratic opposition, human rights organizations, and leaders of social processes as well as many acts of corruptions, links to drug trade, death squads and many other horrendous acts, has been appointed by the UN Secretary General as Vice President of the Commission to investigate the Israeli attack on a humanitarian flotilla in support for Gaza. The “merit” of this unacceptable appointment is that it exposes in fact, the ongoing hidden links between transnational interests at whose service are Governments and multilateral organizations such as the U.N.. The attached letter was sent by Euro Parliamentarians to the U.N. Secretary General. Beyond denouncing this travesty of justice, which explains why Israel has accepted the “investigation” and calling on all organizations and individuals to denounce this action and write to the U.N. Secretary General, we underscore the fact that while the corporate transnational regime coordinates efforts and controls governments and resources for their interests, the required resistance to this architecture of power…
Afghanistan and Canada’s Access to Information Act
With Access to Information requests (and, of course, the related questions of government secrecy & significant recent information leaks) on the brain, I came across an interesting paper by Concordia MA student Matthew Brett, “The Information War: Rebuilding Canada’s Access to Information Act After Afghanistan.”
The abstract reads:
“This paper offers a preliminary analysis of the Canadian Access to Information Act (ATIA) in a post-September 11 security environment. The author argues that the ATIA has eroded due to specific legislative reform and due to a culture of increased sensitivity to the release of information within the public service. This lack of information has caused frustration within Parliament and among the Canadian public. Moreover, information has allegedly been concealed in order to protect public officials. Partisan officials also engage in deliberate tactics to avoid the Act. This study concludes with a series of recommendations: senior ranking officials must take a leading role in reviving the Act; the Office of the Information Commissioner must be more assertive; and the Auditor General should conduct a system-wide review of the ATIA. This preliminary study offers direction for further analysis of information regimes in an evolving security environment.” [Download the .pdf over at Open Government: a journal on freedom of information]
Haiti Gears Up for Polls – Again, Sans Lavalas
by Wadner Pierre, courtesy of IPS:
“After weeks of delays, Haitian President René Préval confirmed this month that presidential and legislative elections will take place on Nov. 28. The U.N. and Western donor nations are pledging millions of dollars in support of the polls, but with at least 1.5 million people still homeless from the January earthquake, questions loom over how to ensure voter participation…”We come here today to question the behaviour of the U.S. government. We’re asking if they will continue to finance the exclusion of Lavalas by the CEP with Préval. ”
French Foreign Ministry Attaché: activists will “pay” for Haiti prank
I received this press release via e-mail; since I can’t find it online, I will post it in full for the time being:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
French Foreign Ministry Attaché: activists will “pay” for Haiti prank
CRIME responds to new threats
Following the Committee for the Repayment of the Indemnity Money Extorted from Haiti (CRIME)’s first press conference on July 22, a man who identified himself only as “Olivier” from the French foreign ministry launched a campaign of intimidating late night phone calls and text messages to CRIME spokesperson Laurence Fabre’s personal, unlisted, cell phone.
Last Saturday night, in a telephone call with Fabre, he stated that the French government was already moving forward with the prosecution of those behind the July 14 hoax announcement. “You don’t know what the hell is going to happen to you,” he told Fabre. Claiming to be “in contact with the people who will actually arrest you,” he warned Fabre that “they” will “make you pay.” (See below for audio.)
The telephone directory reveals the number from which the calls to Fabre were made to be the phone number of none other than the French foreign ministry’s attaché for information systems and communications, Olivier Poudade.
Today, Fabre responded publicly to these threats:
“From the warships Charles X sent to extort financial compensation from Haiti for the slaves who had liberated themselves in the Haitian revolution, to the overthrow of a Haitian president who had the temerity to…
Al Jazeera’s Empire: Superclass
Al Jazeera looks at the global ruling class.
FBI releases Zinn files
“On July 30, 2010, the FBI released one file with three sections totaling 423 pages on Howard Zinn, a best selling radical historian, teacher, playwright, and political activist.” [Commentary here]
Garner’s still drilling with Canadian partners in Iraq
More than a year and a half after yours truly broke the story for Mother Jones, earlier this month the New York Times finally saw (Ret.) General Jay Garner’s Iraqi oil profiteering ‘fit to print.’ Garner is mentioned along with Zalmay Khalilzad and Peter Galbraith as “among a growing list of former American diplomats and military officials now chasing business opportunities in the oil-rich Kurdish region or acting as advisers to its government.”
Garner “sits on the advisory board of Vast Exploration, a Calgary-based company prospecting for oil in an area of the region known as Qara Dagh, where drilling started in May. On the seventh anniversary of Mr. Hussein’s fall, in April, General Garner flew to the Kurdish region on a chartered plane accompanied by oil analysts and executives. The visit included meetings with Kurdish leaders and a camping trip to Qara Dagh.”
The Times didn’t mention that Garner is also an advisor to Forbes & Manhattan, the Toronto-based merchant bank headed by Stan Bharti that manages Vast Exploration. Thanks to Garner’s Iraqi ties, another member of the F&M group of companies that won an oil block in the Kurdistan Region is Longford Energy. Both Bharti and Canada’s former Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew, who sits on both the Vast and Longford boards of directors, accompanied Garner to the Kurdish region last April.
It’s worth mentioning that Vast shares the Qara Dagh block with the KRG and two other Canadian companies, Niko Resources and Groundstar…
‘Mohawk sovereignty and the Canadian state’
From the latest issue of Briarpatch:
“There is a strong sense in Mohawk communities that the lands of the Confederacy, a vast territory extending from Lake Erie to Montreal and covering parts of Ontario, Quebec and New York state, cannot be ceded by treaty, nor can their sovereignty as a people be revoked. Mohawk activist Jessica Yee argued in an article written days into the border dispute, “we belong to Mother Earth in whom no one has claim over – and where there aren’t any borders.”
Canadian Mining Crimes in…
- Mexico: Mexican activists are poised for an International Day of Action against Open Pit Mining on Thursday, July 22. A major focus will be New Gold’s mine in Cerro de San Pedro, in San Luis Potosi. The Canadian company, New Gold Inc. continues to operate, despite autumn rulings by the Ninth Circuit Administrative Court, and the Federal Tribunal of Fiscal and Administrative Justice, that the mine is operating illegally. [via Upside Down World]
- ..and Guatemala: ‘Appeal to Investigate Hudbay Minerals Role in Human Rights Violations’ [Rights Action via Intercontinental Cry]
- In related news, “During the International Day of Action against Open Pit Mining, Toronto activists, dressed as corporate zombies, took to the streets of the financial centre of the city to protest Goldcorp and “other unethical Canadian mining companies.” [via, The Examiner; also see the press release from the Committee for Human Rights in Latin America].
The Hoax of C.R.I.M.E
An inadequate R2P update
Recall that a year ago (happy anniversary!) I kicked off the Web of Democracy with a few posts about the humanitarian imperialist doctrine that Canada helped create, the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). A year later, R2P’s well- (and predominantly Western-) funded advocates continue to try and ‘operationalize’ the doctrine (ie. make it hegemonic). In May, the Obama administration encouraged such efforts by endorsing R2P in its National Security Strategy (.pdf, p. 48)
I’ve just finished reading one of the best critiques of R2P to date, Edward S. Herman & David Peterson’s The Politics of Genocide (reviewed favorably here and here, & not so favorably but rebutted, here), and encourage you to do the same some weekend. I’ll do my best to review it before the end of the summer.
Now, to the reason for today’s post. Although the ‘R2P lobby’ has been undeterred by legitimate critiques (which they also refuse to engage), those critiques continue to be voiced. Most recently, during yesterday’s UN Security Council ‘debate on civilian protection,’ here’s what Venezuelan ambassador to the UN, Jorge Valero, voicing the concerns of many, had to say:
“emphasizing the primary responsibility of protecting civilians during armed conflict, [Valero] said human right violation[s] should be condemned in all circumstances. The principles of consent of the parties concerned, impartiality, and non-use of force except in self-defence…
‘Why are they doing this?’: Your daily dose of outrage
Niagara at Large is reportingthat during the G20 Summit, a “Thorold, Ontario amputee [had] his artificial leg ripped off by police and [was] slammed in [a] makeshift cell”:
“As [his daughter] Sarah began pleading with them to give her father a little time and space to get up because he is an amputee, they began kicking and hitting him. One of the police officers used his knee to press Pruyn’s head down so hard on the ground, said Pruyne…that his head was still hurting a week later. Accusing him of resisting arrest, they pulled his walking sticks away from him, tied his hands behind his back and ripped off his prosthetic leg. Then they told him to get up and hop, and when he said he couldn’t, they dragged him across the pavement, tearing skin off his elbows , with his hands still tied behind his back. His glasses were knocked off as they continued to accuse him of resisting arrest and of being a “spitter,” something he said he did not do. They took him to a warehouse and locked him in a steel-mesh cage where his nightmare continued for another 27 hours.”
At some point prior to this alleged incident, I captured some footage of what appears to be the victim, Mr. John Pruyn, questioning the police presence, saying, “We’re supposed to be able to stay here [in Queen's Park]. Why are they doing this?” Mr. Pruyn had caught my attention because here was this elderly(ish) man being told to move by police, and he had the courage to stand up to them…
‘A Protectorate is Now Installed in Haiti’
While a de facto foreign-imposed protectorate was installed following the 2004 coup, this recent editorial from Haiti Liberte editor, Berthony Dupont captures the changing character of it (Protectorate 2.0).
Editorial: A Protectorate is now Installed in Haiti
By Berthony Dupont (Editor, Haiti Liberte)
* THIS WEEK IN HAITI * June 30 – July 6, 2010 Vol. 3, No. 50 (French original published in Vol. 3 No. 49) http://haiti-liberte.com (Web subscription, U.S.$20 per year; web and print subscription in Canada, U.S.$125 per year)
How humiliating! What a shame! The Haitian people will now be ruled by a foreigner, and not just any foreigner. It is none other than former U.S. president Bill Clinton, who recently, to placate the naive, made his now famous mea culpa: “it’s my fault, my most grievous fault, to have destroyed Haitian agriculture.” But the immediate objective of this new colonial master was more psychological, like waving a knife at an unhealed wound. Clinton thought that shedding crocodile tears would bring forgiveness. But how can the peasantry and the nation’s progressive forces ever forget the deliberate wrong done to our agriculture by the full-spectrum neoliberal policies carried out under his administration and those after him?
In fact, the statements made by U.S. officials always have ulterior motives, so we must question the real motives of Clinton’s contrition. We know from experience that their words and their deeds don’t match. Deception is a political weapon as…
‘Endorse the Vancouver G8 G20 Solidarity Statement’
Given what went down, especially with respect to the attacks on fellow journalists, independent and otherwise, I happily signed on to this ‘Statement of Support for Toronto G8/G20 Arrestees.‘
A few related resources to check out:
- ‘The fourteen essential G20 videos’ (via The Torontoist)
- My article for IPS, ‘As Canada’s Democracy Trembles, a New Global Architecture Emerges.‘
- Jon Elmer’s piece for Al Jazeera, ‘Canada’s Brewing ‘Insurgency” (timed to coincide with the G8/G20, but with much broader implications).
- The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is calling for an independent inquiry into the actions of the cops, among other things, and has a petition for the outraged to sign.
- Follow updates on 2010.mediacoop.ca
(Moments before the Black bloc descended upon his van shouting ‘F**k CBC,’…:
…this CBC reporter held up a gas mask, informing viewers that the police had told him to keep it handy because they anticipated using tear gas soon. If anyone happens to have the video feed, please send it my way).
Think tanks & Petraeus’ ‘surge of ideas’
For those interested in think tank culture and the 21st century Imperial Brain Trust, a solid two-part article by Michael Flynn, ‘Surge of Think Tanks Blurs U.S. Policy Lines’ (Part 1, Part 2), a different version of which first appeared over at RightWeb.
- One of the (unfortunately unmentioned) hidden hands behind most of the US foreign policy-related think tanks are the philanthropic foundations. While Flynn overlooks them, in his recent article, Michael Barker revisits Edward Berman’s classic study The Ideology of Philanthropy: the Influence of the Carnegie, Ford, and Rockefeller Foundations on American Foreign Policy.
- On the Canadian think tank front, there’s some controversy brewing over at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, the quasi-scholarly offshoot of the Balsillie/Canadian state-funded Centre for International Governance Institution (aka Council on Foreign Relations-North). It seems like little more than infighting amongst foreign policy elites, but is a story worth following. It should also be interesting to see how Balsillie’s sister organization down Hwy 401, U of T’s School of Global Affairs (jointly funded by corporate elite Peter Munk and the Ontario government) fares. For a country which, according to the Ottawa Citizen, lacks a ‘think tank culture,’ these ‘new imperialism‘-oriented outfits sure are on the ascension.
Kenneth Cook found guilty of disinformation: score one for the pueblos
Back in April I gave props to filmmaker* Steven Schnoor for filing a defamation lawsuit against former Canadian ambassador to Guatemala (and Haiti), Kenneth Cook. I am happy to pass along that on June 16th:
“an Ontario judge ruled that former Canadian Ambassador to Guatemala, Kenneth Cook, slandered Ph.D. student and videographer Steven Schnoor by making false statements about a documentary video that Schnoor made that was critical of the practices of a Canadian mining company…Justice Thomson held that the Ambassador’s statements were defamatory and were not true. She further held that “the Ambassador was reckless”, and that “he should have known better”. Justice Thomson also drew attention to the behaviour of the Canadian government in the months after the defamatory comments were spoken. She held that the “dead silence” that Schnoor received in response to his request for an explanation, retraction and apology, was “spiteful and oppressive.”
Speaking of [near-] ‘dead silence,’ with the exception of the Toronto Star, who reported that Cook was found “guilty of slander,” not a single other mainstream news agency has picked up the story, maintaining the corporate media’s shameful record of shielding Canadian corporations’ dirty practices abroad. Congratulations are in order for Mr. Schnoor, although much work remains to be done in exposing and bringing to account…
‘Empire’s Apprentice: Canada in Latin America’
I haven’t been this excited about an issue of NACLA since the January/February 2007 edition, ‘In the Name of Democracy*: US Intervention in the Americas Today.’ Then, as now, if you want the full text**, you’ll just have to go out and purchase a copy (or, read a copy at your local library), which I strongly encourage.
*’In the Name of Democracy’: a since-defunct research collective that was committed to monitoring global political intervention (of which I was a proud member), organized a conference at Yale University in 2006, panelists from which provided material for the subsequent NACLA Special Issue). INADEM’s website is archived at web.archive.org.
**So far, the following articles are available in the current issue:
- ‘Empire’s Apprentice: Canada in Latin America‘
- ‘Against the Odds: Fighting Canada’s Free Trade Deal With Colombia,‘ including ‘A Time Line of the Canadian Anti–Colombia FTA Campaign‘ (unfortunately, the Liberal-Conservative foreign policy coalition passed in the House of Commons on Monday)
- Also included in the issue is Kim Ives’ piece, ‘Haiti Reconstruction: Factories, not Fields‘
“This is a war zone, not an amusement park”: McChrystal’s Apocalypse Now Directive
“This was the moment Pizza Hut died on Kandahar Airfield. No bugle nor a trumpet sounded. Just a few forlorn spectators watched with dismay as two cranes hauled the infamous fast food container from the Nato base’s boardwalk….The commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, ordered all fast food restaurants to close - ostensibly to free up space and logistics capacity for mission essential supplies.”
As fictional counterinsurgent Col. Walter E. Kurtz, wrote in his ‘Commitment and Counter-Insurgency,’ “As long as cold beer, hot food, rock and roll and all the other amenities remain the expected norm, our conduct of the war will gain only impotence.”
Afghan insurgency/counterinsurgency’s ‘coming’ stalemate
“In London today, the US defence secretary, Robert Gates, warned that progress needed to be made. “In all coalition countries the public expects to see us move in the right direction [but] will not tolerate the perception of a stalemate, where we are losing our young men.”
Somebody forgot to tell Gates; perhaps it’s all in the eyes of the perceiver…:
- November 7, 2008: “[Senator John McCain] said NATO forces are at a stalemate with insurgents… ”It’s a stalemate that exists and we’re going to need additional troops.”
- December 28, 2006: “Militarily, 2006 has been a stalemate. This is a victory for the Taliban, who have all the time in the world; for us, time and money and an exasperated home front are a ticking clock.” [Toronto Star, "Our surreal Afghan mission."]
- September 2, 2007: “A year after Canadian and American forces drove hundreds of Taliban fighters from the area, the Panjwai and Zhare districts southwest of Kandahar, the rebels are back and have adopted new tactics. Carrying out guerrilla attacks after NATO troops partly withdrew in July, they overran isolated police posts and are now operating in areas where they can mount attacks on Kandahar, the south’s largest city. The setback is part of a bloody stalemate that has occurred between NATO troops and Taliban fighters across southern Afghanistan this summer.” [New York Times, "Afghan Police Suffer Setbacks as Taliban Adapt."
- January 2008: "On the ground, the situation has gradually settled into a …
Entries have been very light lately. Via Flashpoints, Al Jazeera, and Democracy Now!, I've been following the aftermath of the Israeli flotilla massacre. Many thanks to the generous folks who have 'chipped in' so far. As a couple of people have circumvented PayPal and helped out directly, I've raised $425 as of today. Please consider a donation before the June 30th deadline. So much of Canadian/US foreign policy is carried out in the shadows, making Access to Information/FOIA requests an important and necessary (if not sufficient) means of gathering and gleaning useful insight into the inner workings of their complex, often-intertwined apparatuses.
I'll be back to regular entries next week...
Canada: Israel's New Best Friend?
Jon Elmer reports for Al Jazeera:
"When Binyamin Netanyahu arrives in Canada on Friday, immediately following the ceremony in Paris to introduce Israel to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), it will mark the first visit to Ottawa by a sitting Israeli prime minister since Yitzhak Rabin in 1994.
During his last visit, in 2002, Netanyahu's closed door speech at Concordia University in Montreal sparked a riot that made headlines around the world.
In the years since, as Israel has found itself increasingly isolated on the world stage, successive Canadian governments have moved against the trend and deepened ties with Israel - something that Netanyahu is keen to protect.
"What Netanyahu is trying to do is cement the base," said Dr David Bercuson, the director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary and author of Canada and the Birth of Israel.
"The Israeli diplomatic position is deteriorating and he's trying to keep the stalwarts in place.”
'Suicide bomber can hardly be called coward'
"The daring suicide attack in Kabul on May 18 that killed Canadian Col. Geoff Parker and 17 others served to illustrate not only the limitations imposed by embedded media reporting, but also the skewed punditry and jingoistic overtones that result from such an imbalanced base of knowledge.
"In their efforts to hype the brazen Kabul attack into more of a surprising setback, some journalists reported that this was the most significant insurgent activity in the capital since six Italian soldiers were killed on September 6, 2009.
"This nonsense, of course, stems from the fact that some embedded reporters only cite those attacks wherein NATO soldiers are killed or wounded. Those with a more objective viewpoint will recall that on Jan. 18, 20 Taliban gunmen ran amok throughout the city, engaging in a series of suicide bombings and running gun battles. In these incidents only Afghan officials and security forces were killed, with no international casualties sustained.
"While it borders on racist to discount or dismiss the non-NATO casualties suffered in this conflict, it was definitely self-deceiving jingoism that led some Canadian editors to denounce the suicide bomber in this instance as a "coward."
"You can label him a "fanatic" or an "extremist" but to drive a vehicle into an oncoming convoy of enemy soldiers with the intent of blowing yourself up and taking as many of them with you as possible takes an incredible amount of courage by any martial definition.
New York Times Details Prison Massacre by Canadian-Trained Police in Aftermath of Earthquake
Via the Canada Haiti Action Network:
"The following article from the May 22 New York Times should send chills up the spines of Canadian citizens. The prison massacre that it reports in the aftermath of the January 12 earthquake was perpetrated by the Canadian-trained Haitian National Police-Police nationale d'Haïti (PNH), backed by United Nations "peacekeepers." UN and Haitian authorities now say they are "investigating" the accusations." [Read more, or go straight to NYT article, 'Escape Attempt Led to Killings of Unarmed Inmates.'
PR war over Canada's tar sands
The tar sands in the province of Alberta cover a wide area centered on the town of Fort McMurray. They lie in the heart of Canada's Boreal forests, and produce close to one-and-a-half million barrels of oil a day. The area is the epicentre of a struggle between environmentalists and multinational energy companies, with each side painting different pictures of how oil extraction impacts the region. Al Jazeera's Steve Chao reports from Fort McMurray, Canadan
'[Bill] Clinton + Preval = Corrupti
(Haitian protester holds sign that reads: “Clinton + Preval = Corruption)
Over at News Junkie Post, Gilbert Mercier reports:
“In March, an international donors conference, under the hospice of the United Nations, pledged $10 Billion over the next 10 years to help Haiti’s rebuilding efforts. Projects have to be reviewed and approved by a committee co-chaired by Haiti’s Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive and former US President and UN special envoy Bill Clinton. The [Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission] is composed of an equal number of Haitians and foreign members [including Canada, having anted up the required $100 million]. A lot of Haitians view the creation of the committee as a violation of Haiti’s constitution and national sovereignty. Monday’s protesters shouted that “Preval should leave power and be arrested” and that “Preval is a traitor because he wants to sell Haiti to foreigners”…Considering the troubled history of Haiti, nobody can blame Monday’s demonstrators for being concerned by a leader wanting to hold on to power and by foreign meddling. Haiti is one of the clearest example of the disastrous consequences of colonialism, neo-colonialism and of continued interventionism.”