Saturday, November 03, 2012

Capital Myths and the 1% Ecology

The 1% Ecology And The Myth of Capitalism

by Michael Parenti 


"Modern capitalist societies avoid telling the truth about themselves"

Betrayal Blindness: Why We Remain Oblivious to the Lies of Our Time


Betrayal Blindness: Why We Remain Oblivious to the Lies of Our Time

by C. L. Cook

The current unravelling of the suddenly repellant BBC television presenter, Sir Jimmy Savile's reputation provides the opportunity for greater revelations. If you haven't followed the case you're not in Britain, where his comic mug adorns practically every front page.

Sir Jimmy died last year, following a six decades-long career in the public eye. Savile began in radio, broadcasting from the famed "pirate radio" ship, Radio Luxembourg in the late nineteen fifties. From there, Savile went into television, hosting the iconic, 'Top of the Pops,' and later the child's wish fulfillment program, 'Jim'll Fix It.'

Children and young adults were the common feature throughout Jimmy Savile's career and personal life. In his off hours, he spent time travelling around to children's hospitals and care homes, where his charity work garnered millions of pounds for various institutions, and provided him special access to, what we now discover was, an endless supply of victims. Sir Jimmy was a serial paedophile, preying on both boys and girls, (and adults too where he could manage it) to satisfy his sexual perversion.

He was brazen in his abuse, described by a psychologist recently interviewed about the case as following the classic "opportunist" pattern. Offered an apartment at one hospital within the nurses' residence to accommodate his frequent visits, Savile was often seen coming and going in the late hours, always accompanied by one or more teen-aged girls. Yet no question about either the inappropriateness of this arrangement, or the legal status of his companions was raised. Nurses at one children's home Savile routinely favoured advised their charges feign sleep to avoid "Good Uncle Jimmy's" not so good ministrations.

Whether on a visit to an orphanage, hospital, at work, or even at family functions, Jimmy just couldn't keep his hands to himself. A now infamous clip from one of his programs features the host molesting a teen-aged girl in a crowd of girls, reaching beneath her dress as he signs off another episode of 'Top of the Pops.' When that girl attempted to file a complaint, a BBC producer told her to "Get lost!"

As the story grows ever more salacious, a retinue of alleged victims is coming forward, (more than 300 at last count) implicating not only Jimmy Savile but some of the stars who appeared on his program back in the day. Former glam rocker, Gary Glitter, already convicted for child porn, and imprisoned in Vietnam in 2006 for having sex with children, was last week called in for questioning and charged for a years-old alleged attack against a young girl in a BBC studio dressing room; and former comedian, Freddie Starr has too been arrested and charged with a molestation he allegedly perpetrated in Savile's own dressing room. The revelations paint a picture of Savile and his friends running with impunity a veritable paedophile carnival out of the BBC. And yet, nothing was done over the long years this carried on.

Writing for The New York Times, Nicholas Kulish reports the efforts of British freelance journalist, and former executive at BBC competitor, Channel 5, David Elstein to discover why the BBC had cancelled an expose of the rampant criminality allowed to continue so long within the Corporation's studios. When questioned about the BBC's decision to shelve the Newsnight expose on Savile, then director-general of the BBC, Mark Thompson denied knowledge of either the accusations against Jimmy Savile of paedophile attacks, or editorial decisions made to drop the expose.  

An incredulous Elstein, who formerly worked too at the BBC, said of Thompson's denials;

"This was in six different newspapers in January and February.” Adding; “The big failing internally, and this is where Mark comes into the picture, is the deliberate incuriosity of the senior executives; there is a culture of avoiding knowledge so as to evade responsibility.” 

Mr. Thompson, who has since moved to New York to serve as the chief executive and president of the The New York Times Company, later admitted another reporter had made him aware of Newsnight's Savile investigation, but only after the report was buried.

Appearing on the Canadian Broadcast Corporation radio program, The Current, psychologist and author of the forthcoming book, 'Betrayal Blindness,' Dr. Jennifer Freyd describes a kind of institutional amnesia that takes hold of people who so completely fear losing their sinecures. Freyd's research began with children betrayed by family members, people essential to the child's survival, and the repression of memory psychologically necessary for the victim's existential continuance. In these cases, the need to live trumps the sense of injustice and impropriety done, a sense arguably inherent, in effect short-circuiting danger signals that would otherwise trigger a fight-or-flight response.

Extrapolated to an institutional setting like the BBC, where producers, directors, talent handlers, (and even lowly technicians) may be privvy to rumours, the choice to acknowledge and inform against wrong-doing could jeopardize not only an individual's career, but could possibly endanger the show employing all her colleagues.

Dr. Freyd outlines a few key points, saying: Often people betrayed personally seem to not remember the betrayal. They don't acknowledge it, or speak to others of it; as if it's something, "in the corner of their eye, not something they're looking directly at."  Like the proverbially "last to know" spouse being cheated on, denial is refuge.

From their observations at the University of Oregon, Dr. Freyd and her colleagues formulated a theory and conducted studies to understand this apparently willful ignorance, coming up with the concept of "betrayal blindness." Freyd observes, for a person caught in this dilemma of choosing either to know what is going on, or protecting the relationship, especially where the survival of the victim is, or is believed to be at stake, protecting the relationship will come first.

Of the Savile case she notes;

"Some individuals were presumably aware of what was going on, and made the conscious decision not to deal with it because it would get in the way of their own goals. But, in order for this to stay undercover, the way it did for so many decades, it also requires a lot of good people, who would want to tell the truth, didn't let themselves fully know what was going on. So, the institution setting is a kind of trust situation, where people need that institution, need it for a number of goals that they have, and by being aware they risk their own comfort within that institution. So, without consciously knowing it, they push the information away; they don't speak out, they don't fully know, and thus they collude with the perpetrator and with the individuals who do know and don't want to talk about it."

In her essay, 'Lies in a Time of Threat: Betrayal Blindness and the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election,' Eileen L. Zurbriggen cites Freyd's work, applying some of her findings to the electorate, or mass mind. Zurbriggen remarks upon exit polls taken during 2004, where Bush supporters, by a large margin, claim "honesty" to be among their core concerns in choosing a candidate. The release of these polls, at a time when the litany of Bush administration lies leading to the invasion of Iraq were widely known perplexed the researcher. To make some sense of the dissonance, Zurbriggen invokes the Betrayal Trauma Theory, or BTT.

Most extensively studied were victims of child abuse, where BTT finds memory impairment increases the closer the perpetrator is; that is, if the abuser is a family member, or someone perceived to be existentially integral, the victim suffered correspondingly greater. She argues, because the president embodies a protector figure, specifically amplified in the case of "war time" president, George W. Bush, voters who perceived Bush as their defender were unable to recognize, even after the facts were known, his layers of lies and misrepresentations leading to war and disaster.

According to Zurbriggen, it may not simply be that Bush supporters just didn't want to know the truth about his mendacity, or were merely too dim-witted to realize it. She offers, they were being taken in by a psychological correlative linking threat perception to an inability to recognize BS. Or, as she puts it, a "blindness to deception."

With another American election on the near horizon, and Bush era threat mongering an accepted strategy for both camps, it's important we now remember to be unafraid. If we are to choose between easy and hard truths, let's leave the road well-travelled and allow courage be our companion. There are real dangers out there to be sure, and we cannot face them properly if habituated through terror into denial.

Zurbriggen offers advice for the necessary separating of lies from truth, saying;

"Political activists have long argued that resistance and social change are most effective when they are collective (rather than individualistic) projects. One reason for this effectiveness may be that taking collective action breaks the feeling of dependence on politicians and the government, leading to many positive outcomes, including an enhanced ability to judge the veracity of governmental pronouncements."

Yes, there are real monsters, like Sir Jimmy Savile and his perverse crew out there, but they can only do harm when allowed to remain in the shadow of our fears.

Chris Cook is managing editor at, and radio host of the weekly public affairs program, Gorilla Radio.

Greek Oracle: Glimpsing a Privatized World

Greek Parliament Approves Contentious Law to Expand Privatization 


Dimitri Lascaris: New budget makes it clear Greece will never pay off its debts, real aim of austerity is to break unions and privatize public assets

Watch full multipart Greece

Dimitri Lascaris is a lawyer called to practice in the State of New York and the Province of Ontario, Canada, where he is a Securities Class Action Lawyer. Dimitri was a securities lawyer for a major Wall Street law firm in their New York and Paris offices. He represented the underwriting syndicate in what was, at the time,the largest initial public offering of common stock in United States history. He also acted on behalf of the Republic of France in the privatization of state industries, and the government of Greece and the German development bank in numerous cross-border securities offerings.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Washington seeks new Syrian puppets in war for regime-change

by Bill Van Auken - WSWS

Speaking in Zagreb, Croatia on Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that Washington is reorganizing the front representing the so-called “rebels” in Syria. The shakeup, which includes the withdrawal of US support from the Syrian National Council, is evidently part of the preparations for a more direct US intervention once next Tuesday’s presidential election is over.

Responding to a question about US policy in Syria, Clinton dismissed efforts by United Nations Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, declaring that the US “cannot and will not wait” for the UN to broker a political solution to the war in Syria. Instead, Washington will unilaterally seek to escalate that war with the aim of effecting regime-change and installing a puppet government aligned with US interests in the Middle East.

Clinton went on to describe US efforts to “groom” a new leadership to serve as a front for Washington’s neocolonial project. She allowed that the American government had “facilitated the smuggling-out of a few representatives of the Syrian internal opposition” so that they could appear before representatives of the so-called Friends of Syria, comprised of the US and its allies.

The US Secretary of State treated the Syrian National Council, which only last December she had hailed as the “leading and legitimate representative of Syrians seeking a peaceful democratic transition,” with unconcealed contempt. Syria’s opposition, she proclaimed, could not consist of people who have “not been inside Syria for 20, 30 or 40 years.” Instead, it would have to consist of “those who are on the front lines, fighting and dying today to obtain their freedom.”

This public jettisoning of the front group that Clinton had so recently promoted as the salvation of the Syrian people for an as yet unidentified assemblage of new “revolutionaries”—hand-picked by the US State Department—constitutes an admission of the failure of US policy thus far in Syria.

Clearly, Washington had anticipated that its policy of covertly arming and funding armed militia groups in Syria, with the collaboration of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, would have toppled the government of President Bashar al-Assad by now. What has become evident is that large sections of the Syrian population, while hostile to the Assad regime, are even more opposed to and fearful of the so-called rebels, a conglomeration of armed groups that has become ever-more dominated by Islamist jihadist elements, in many cases linked to Al Qaeda, and Sunni sectarian groups.

Clinton’s statements were made in preparation for a conference to be convened in Doha, Qatar next week, where the new opposition council is to be formally constituted under the tutelage of Washington and the former US Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford. He has been directly involved in identifying and selecting “revolutionaries” who appear likely to toe the US line.

“We have recommended names and organizations that we believe should be included in any leadership structure,” Clinton told the news conference in Zagreb. “We’ve made it clear that the SNC can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition. They can be part of a larger opposition, but that opposition must include people from inside Syria and others who have a legitimate voice that needs to be heard.”

It is difficult to overstate the cynicism and brazenness of the US Secretary of State’s approach. Having previously anointed the SNC as the “legitimate” representative of the Syrian people, she now decrees that they are no longer serviceable as the “visible leader” of the opposition. In other words, a new public Syrian face for US imperialist intervention is needed, and Washington has handpicked the individuals who will make it up.

No doubt, this is dictated in part by the identification of the leadership of the SNC with the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and US concerns that within Syria this only strengthens the hostility of those who see the bid to overthrow the Assad government as a sectarian-based war backed by Washington.

While the SNC leaders would still get a piece of the action—perhaps a third of the leadership—under Washington’s new arrangement, they would have to cede formal control to the new front, including those with “a legitimate voice that needs to be heard.” What Syrian voices are “legitimate” is to be determined by the US State Department, which, no doubt, will want to see a collection of Alawite, Shia, Kurdish and Christian “assets” brought on board.

The SNC itself, however, has rejected the US plan, calling its own conference in Doha in the immediate run-up to the US-sponsored meeting and indicating that it is prepared to fight to preserve its franchise as the “legitimate” opposition backed by the imperialist powers and the Sunni Muslim regimes in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar. Where these regimes, which have their own interests in the Syrian civil war, will line up is not altogether clear, and it has been reported that Turkey and Qatar still support the SNC.

There is every possibility that the gathering being organized in Doha will turn into an internecine free-for-all, much like a similar conference convened in Cairo last June, where delegates ended up throwing fists and furniture at each other.

“We also need an opposition that will be on record strongly resisting the efforts by extremists to hijack the Syrian revolution,” Clinton told Wednesday’s news conference. Again, the question is what kind of opposition “we,” meaning Washington and its imperialist allies, need, not what the Syrian people want.

In any case, such a formal disassociation from “extremism” and cosmetic change in the exile leaders posing as a government-in-waiting will hardly shift the sectarian lineup of the ongoing civil war. The CIA, which is orchestrating the funneling of weapons supplied by the Saudi, Turkish and Qatari regimes, has acknowledged that the lion’s share of these armaments are going to the Islamist militias.

Washington’s aim is to cobble together a group that can provide the basis for a puppet regime in Damascus, much as it did with various Iraqi exiles in advance of the 2003 US war on Iraq. As one unnamed senior administration official told Foreign Policy, “We call it a proto-parliament. One could also think of it as a continental congress.”

That such a body is being prepared strongly suggests that the Obama administration is preparing a sharp escalation of the US intervention in Syria in the wake of the November 6 election, perhaps including the use of military force to carve out a “safe haven.” Such an intervention would be part of a wider campaign in preparation for war with Iran, posing the threat of a regional and even global military conflagration.

The entire sordid maneuver in Doha has underscored the real character of the so-called Syrian “revolution,” whose leadership is being directly selected and installed by the US State Department. It further exposes the role of pseudo-left forces, such as the International Socialist Organization in the US, the Socialist Workers Party in Britain, and the New Anti-capitalist Party in France, which have sought to promote the US-backed war for regime-change as a revolution and legitimize the “human rights” pretext for imperialist intervention.

This article was originally posted at WSWS

Copyright © 1998-2012 World Socialist Web Site - All rights reserved

Battle Lines Drawn Along Pipelines to Tar Sands

A Movement Against Tar Sands Oil, Pipelines and Tankers is on the Rise in Canada

by Roger Annis - The Bullet

A popular movement against tar sands oil production and pipeline transport is on the rise and gathering steam in Canada. Its biggest expression to date was in Victoria, BC on October 22 when 4,000 to 5,000 people rallied in front of the British Columbia Legislature to send a forceful message to the tar sands industry and its political representatives. “No tar sands pipelines across BC! No oil tankers in coastal waters!” read the lead banners.

Rally in Victoria, BC on October 22nd. [Picture: Leadnow.]

Two days later, thousands of activists staged rallies at the offices across the province of more than 60 elected members of the Legislature. Both actions were organized by the recently formed Defend Our Coast coalition.

The rally in Victoria was overwhelmingly Indigenous in appearance, participation and message. Speeches and music lasted for hours.

Rally Was a Large Civil Disobedience

It featured a symbolic act of civil disobedience – the hammering of wooden stakes into the Legislature lawn, onto which a series of black cloths 235 meters long were attached, symbolizing the length of oil tankers that will export toxic oil and tar sands bitumen delivered to the BC coast from Alberta via pipelines if an out-of-control fossil fuel industry has its way. Hundreds of such tankers would ply BC's biologically rich and difficult-to-navigate coastal waters per year.

In one of many stirring and militant speeches to the rally, Art Sterritt, executive director of the Coastal First Nations, asked, “What are you willing to do to stop them? Are you willing to lay down in front of the bulldozers?”

“Yes,” roared the crowd in reply.

“It's time to 'warrior-up,'” said hereditary Chief Pete Erickson in another speech. He was referring to the warrior societies that have traditionally sprung up among Indigenous people for self-defense.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs told the crowd that Indigenous peoples stand shoulder to shoulder against the pipelines. “We will fight this insanity through the joint review panel, in the courts of this country and, if necessary, at the barricades on the land itself,” he said. “We will not stand down, we will not step back. We will stop Enbridge and the Kinder Morgan proposals dead in their tracks.”

Victoria police did not move against the deliberate and “illegal” act of placing stakes into the lawn. Leah Norwood of Qualicum Beach told the Victoria Times-Colonist daily, “How can we call ourselves beautiful British Columbia if we've got this disgusting pipeline running through our forest and destroying our coast?… If I get arrested, then so be it. It's for a good cause.”

“No Pipelines, No Tankers” public forums

The rally message was carried into six public forums that took place across British Columbia in the days following. They were organized by the Council of Canadians. Four hundred people jammed into the Vancouver forum on October 25 which featured talks by Rueben George, grandson of Oscar-winning actor Chief Dan George, Maude Barlow, Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, Bill McKibben, founder of the climate justice movement, and Caleb Behn, a lawyer, Indigenous resident of northeast British Columbia and subject of the documentary film Fractured Land.

The forum took place purposely in Burnaby, a Vancouver suburb which happens to host the export terminal on the city harbourfront of the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline. Kinder Morgan company wants to triple the capacity of this pipeline and terminal, to some 850,000 barrels per day. The line originates in Edmonton and is 1,150 km long.

The other tar sands export project under fire is the proposed, 1,200 km-long Northern Gateway Pipeline that would ship some 525,000 barrels of tar sands bitumen per day to Kitimat, on the north coast of BC. (A parallel line would move some 200,000 barrels of condensate inland; it is needed to dilute bitumen to facilitate movement through pipelines.)

Barlow provided a summary of some of the startling facts of the Alberta tar sands:

The tar sands region of northern Alberta covers an area larger than Scotland.
The province has the highest per capita carbon footprint of anywhere in the world.
The production of toxic, tar sands bitumen is currently 2 million barrels per day. Fossil fuel producers want to boost that by four or five times.
The toxic ponds of waste water from tar sands production currently cover 170 square kilometers. Eleven million liters leak from them every day.
14,000 kilometers of new, tar sands pipelines are planned.
In Alberta alone, there have been 1,500 pipeline spills in the last 20 years.

Barlow said the climate threat posed by tar sands production requires building an opposition movement “like never before.” She quoted noted scientist and climate justice spokesperson James Hansen: “If the tar sands in Alberta continue to grow, it's game over for the world's climate.”

The movement must recognize the leadership of First Nations’ communities, she said. Its immediate focus should be the pipelines. “Pipelines are the bloodlines of the tar sands. If we can stop the pipelines, we can stop the expansion of the tar sands” and eventually see them shut down. The crowd cheered as she concluded her talk with, “Our motto must be, ‘You shall not pass.”

Caleb Behn spoke on the vast expansion of natural gas production that has taken place in his homeland in the past two decades. Tens of thousands of “conventional” gas wells have been drilled in the past two decades. Now there is a huge expansion of the “fracking” method of drilling taking place.

Behn says that the people of northeast BC and their lifestyles are being seriously harmed by gas extraction. Equally important, he said, is that, “The CO2 (carbon dioxide pollutant) that comes from our land and spreads into the atmosphere is a world issue.”

Bill McKibben told the audience that July 2012 was the hottest month on record in the United States. The resulting drought and crop losses have caused a 40 per cent rise in corn and soy prices on world markets.

Over the past 40 years, he said, the world's oceans have become 30 per cent more acidic as they absorb increased atmospheric CO2. In September of this year, at the end of the Arctic summer, the Arctic Ocean had only 25 per cent of the amount of ice cover compared to forty years ago.

Human activity has damaged the very biosphere, he said, and the worse is yet to come. “This is the biggest thing happening in the world and we've got to get organized to stop it.”

“The fossil fuel industry is a rogue industry that's out of control. We have to keep oil and gas in the ground where it belongs,” he concluded.

(See reports on the “No tankers, no pipelines” forums in Nanaimo BC on Oct 27 and Kamloops BC on Oct 30.)

Political Challenges Facing the Movement

The movement against the tar sands is growing all across Canada. Enbridge Corp. has applied to begin shipping tar sands crude across southern Ontario and Quebec. In July 2010, one of its aging pipelines burst in nearby Michigan, filling a long stretch of the Kalamazoo River with toxic bitumen.

But the movement confronts an enormous challenge. How can it win the tens of thousands of skilled, semi-skilled and service workers in the fossil fuel industry in Alberta, British Columbia and elsewhere in Canada to a plan to transition to an economy based on less harmful energy sources? These workers are drawn from regions in Canada of high unemployment and many earn exceptionally high salaries. Increasingly, and controversially, some workers are being recruited from low wage countries.

This challenge is not unique to the tar sands; it also applies to the coal industry, which is also booming in western Canada[1], and to a lesser extent (where the numbers of workers are smaller) to the natural gas industry.

Discussion of this challenge is only beginning. The political party of the trade unions, the New Democratic Party, which is also the official opposition in Ottawa and quite possibly the party that will be elected to government in 2014, remains beholden to the fossil fuel industry. It favours continued tar sands production.

The BC provincial NDP is wavering on the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal. Party leader Adrian Dix says the party opposes the pipeline, but he also wants to conduct a ‘made in BC’ environmental review of it (by a new agency to be created by balkanizing Canada's present environmental review process into ten provincial components). If the pipeline product will contribute to destroying the Earth's climate, and if it is bad for the peoples and communities whose land it will cross, what is there to be reviewed?

Dix and the NDP have not taken a stand on the Trans Mountain Pipeline. They have come out in support of natural gas fracking and related pipelines in the northeast as well as proposals to build at least three gas liquefaction plants in Kitimat. All this will massively increase the province's greenhouse gas emissions and destabilize its electrical production facilities.[2]

Trade unions affiliated to the NDP are participating in protest actions against pipelines. But the two most important unions in the fossil fuel industry – the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union (CEP, soon to merge with the Canadian Auto Workers union to create the largest industrial union in Canada) and the Alberta Federation of Labour are also pressing for the industry to build refineries in Alberta to process tar sands crude in the name of creating “jobs for Canadians.”

In a press release announcing the CEP's participation at the October 22 protest in Victoria, National President Dave Coles said, “We cannot continue to build new pipelines just to export raw bitumen overseas while leaving our own communities with no jobs or means to prosper. We believe that Canada needs to focus on jobs that treat crude oil here in this country instead of rushing to grow our unrefined oil export capacity.”

The unions do not specify through which pipeline they then propose to ship the refined product out of Alberta. Their position is far removed from the radical measures that the global climate emergency requires, as highlighted by speakers at the October 25 forum.[3] What the world needs is nothing less that the rapid ending of dependence on fossil fuels and transitioning of workers to alternative energy production and other forms of socially useful economic activity.[4]

Roger Annis is a writer and social justice activist in Vancouver BC. He maintains a blog at where this article appeared.


1. Most of Canada's fossil fuel reserves are not in tar sands but in coal. The country presently produces one per cent of the world's coal (compared to 6, 14 and 50 per cent, respectively, for Australia, the United States and China). Coal production and export is undergoing significant expansion in western Canada.

2. See Oct. 20, 2012 op-ed commentary by Marc Lee of the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, Natural gas strategy nothing more than a fairy tale, and a dossier of articles examining plans for natural gas fracking and liquefaction in British Columbia.

3. The Vancouver Sun of Oct. 29, 2012 publishes a commentary arguing in favour of expanding mineral and fossil fuel production in Canada. It is signed by officials of the carpenters and building trades unions of BC, the BC Chamber of Commerce and the association of mining companies in BC. Meanwhile, one of the world's leading climate scientists, James Hansen, recently spoke to a conference of trade union leaders at Cornell University in New York state. The 17-minute talk was titled, “Energy Emergency, Energy Transition.” In it, Hansen described what is happening to the earth’s climate, ice sheets, oceans and weather patterns.

4. Listen to an interview with Canada's pre-eminent writer on the fossil fuel industry, Andrew Nikiforuk, talking on his latest book, The Energy of Slaves, and how the oil industry has enslaved the world.

"You're the War Criminal!" Albright Goes Mad at Prague Book Signing

"Disgusting Serbs! Get Out!"

Madeleine Albright's Scrap With Pro-Serbian Activists in a Prague Bookstore

"You're a war criminal," Protesters

by Deana Kjuka - The Atlantic

Video has emerged showing Madeleine Albright in a verbal altercation with a group of pro-Serbian activists in Prague. The former U.S. Secretary of State got involved in a heated exchange with the activists who remonstrated with her over her role in the American-led 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia and her reported interest in a Kosovar communications firm. At a book-signing event, promoting her memoir "Prague Winter," in the Czech capital's Luxor bookstore on October 23, members of the civic group, "Friends of Serbs in Kosovo" entered into a verbal confrontation with Albright and her representatives.

The two videos, which were uploaded to YouTube by the group were published by the Czech publication Parlamentni Listy on its website on October 25. The videos show the verbal jousting that ensued after one of the group's members, Czech film director Vaclav Dvorak who made the documentary "Stolen Kosovo," walked up to Albright and asked her to sign a DVD copy of his film.

Anton Dvorak told "Parlamentni Listy " that he had not expected such a feisty response from the septuagenarian former diplomat. "... I was surprised by her reaction," he said. "We politely came to give her the film we recorded in Kosovo, regardless of the fact that it concerns "stolen Kosovo" -- which was gifted to the narco mafia with the help of NATO bombings and aggression -- and the IPKO company that enabled Albright to line her pockets."

Thursday, November 01, 2012

The Eclectic Faces of Resistance

Manipulating History: The Different Faces of ‘Popular Resistance’ in Palestine

by Ramzy Baroud

Apparently, ‘popular resistance’ has suddenly elevated to become a clash of visions or strategies between the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and its rivals in Gaza, underscoring an existing and deepening rift between various factions and leaderships.

Addressing a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) meeting in Ramallah on July 2011, PA President Mahmoud Abbas sounded as if he had finally reached an earth shattering conclusion, supposedly inspired by the ‘Arab Spring.’ “In this coming period, we want mass action, organized and coordinated in every place .. This is a chance to raise our voices in front of the world and say that we want our rights.” He called on Palestinians to wage “popular resistance”, insisting that it must be “unarmed popular resistance so that nobody misunderstands us,” (Reuters). He made a similar call at the UN General Assembly in September.

It was Abbas’ way of escaping forward. He needed to quell the mounting anger and resentment of his lacking leadership. His message targeted and continues to be aimed at dual audiences: Palestinians, thus the word “resistance” and international, thus ‘non-violence’ and “so that nobody misunderstand us.”

Abbas has little credibility as far as unleashing any form of resistance against Israel. Since its establishment in 1994 as a transitional body that would guide Palestinians towards independence, the PA has turned into an end in itself: dedicated to self-preservation, it means even conspiring with the Israeli government to manage the very occupation that has tormented Palestinians for over 45 years. Indeed, ‘security coordination’ between both sides predicates on the common understanding of silencing any dissent that would imperil the PA standing or how it is perceived by Israel as a security threat.

There is little if any evidence that the PA is leading a sincere ‘mass action, organized and coordinated in every place’. The PA-staged rhetorical revolution however served its purpose, at least for now, as Abbas and his men survived the regional upheaval.

The term, ‘popular resistance’ though is still being generously infused as if its mere repetition is a key to solving every political dichotomy facing Palestinians. The context in which it is used or manipulated is registering unfavorably among Palestinian factions that have long championed armed struggle and vehemently opposed Oslo and its institutions. Particularly irked by Abbas' version is the Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

When Islamic Jihad Secretary General Ramadan Shallah addressed thousands of supporters in Gaza in celebration of the 31st anniversary of the movement’s founding, he addressed this very issue. He called for a new national strategy, underscoring the failure of the so-called peace process. “The Palestinian project of establishing a state on the 1967 borders through negotiations has obviously failed,” he said.

Of course he also lashed out at ‘peaceful non-violent resistance’ which provided very useful sound bites quoted generously by the media. Interestingly, however, Shallah’s views on non-violent popular resistance were combined with his views on negotiations, thus interpreting the strategy of popular resistance as part and parcel of the PA’s futile hunt for ‘Israeli concessions’. “Nineteen years of failed negotiations have created a crisis which cannot be resolved by insisting on more negotiations, or through non-violent resistance,” he said, according to the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency (October 04).

A third and less factional reading of the popular resistance strategy was offered by the ever-articulate Palestinian activist Dr. Mostafa Barghouti, who was clear on Al Jazeera (October 18) when he defended Palestinians’ rights to resist by all means available, but asserted that popular resistance can be a more effective strategy at achieving political rights.

Obviously, the problem doesn’t exist within the non-violent popular resistance strategy itself, but its political contextualization and misuse by certain parties. When placed within a truly genuine framework aimed at devising a conducive and beneficial strategy for obtaining Palestinian rights, popular-resistance takes on a different look and feel altogether. Moreover, as far as Palestinian history is concerned, the strategy is hardly an alien concept or a defeatist attempt at not being ‘misunderstood’ by western benefactors.

History is rife with evidence. In September 19, 1989, the West Bank town of Beit Sahour lead a campaign of popular resistance and civil disobedience that became the stuff of legends. It was an effort that was part of the awe-inspiring and massive mobilization of the First Palestinian Uprising (1987-1993). Numerous attempts failed to break the collective will of Beit Sahour. The Israeli government moved its military in full force, launching ‘the biggest taxation raid in recent history’: occupation forces moved in en masse, and tax collectors worked their magic, confiscating all that they could seize. Many families were left with nothing. Most of the confiscated furniture and other personal belongings were sold at auctions inside Israel. The small town fell under a forty-five day military curfew that started on the night of September 21. Hundreds of Beit Sahour residents were taken to military camps and many remained in prison under various excuses. The Israeli military may have thought it won a decisive battle, but on that day a star near Bethlehem shone in the night sky of Palestine. It connected past and present inspiring hope that people, despite the many years of military occupation, still had much power. It had even enough power for a small town to vex the leaders of Israel’s political and military establishments.

The story of popular resistance in Palestine is a century old. However, its origins are often dated to 1936, when Palestinians, Muslims and Christians, rebelled against the Zionist colonial drive and the British role in espousing it and laboring to ensure its success. In April 1936, all five Palestinian political parties joined in under the umbrella of the Arab Higher Committee (AHC). That unity was pressing and was a reflection of the general attitude among ordinary Palestinians. A general strike was declared, ushering the start of Palestine’s legendary civil disobedience campaign – as exemplified in its cry of ‘No Taxation without Representation’. The 1936 uprising sent a stern message to the British government that Palestinians were nationally unified and capable of acting as an assertive, self-assured society in ways that could indeed disturb the matrix of British mandatory rule over the country. The British administration in Palestine had thus far discounted the Palestinian demand for independence and paid little attention to their grave concerns about the rising menace of Zionism and its colonial project.

Of course these are not distant histories. That collective action was hardly a passing phase, but was repeated throughout history, even after the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 which institutionalized the Israeli occupation and ruthlessly punished those who dared resist.

The PA in Ramallah should quit utilizing and referencing the notion of ‘popular resistance’ while doing everything in its power to suppress it; and Abbas’ rivals must not associate popular resistance with Oslo and its bankrupt institutions, for history can easily delink that distorted connection. Popular resistance in Palestine continues to exist not because of the Palestinian leadership but despite of it.

Ramzy Baroud ( is an internationally syndicated columnist and the editor of His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story.

Status Empire: A Universe Unravelling in Your Hand

The Anti-Empire Report

The universe unraveling

by William Blum -

The Southeast Asian country of Laos in the late 1950s and early 60s was a complex and confusing patchwork of civil conflicts, changes of government and switching loyalties. The CIA and the State Department alone could take credit for engineering coups at least once in each of the years 1958, 1959 and 1960. No study of Laos of this period appears to have had notable success in untangling the muddle of who exactly replaced whom, and when, and how, and why. After returning from Laos in 1961, American writer Norman Cousins stated that "if you want to get a sense of the universe unraveling, come to Laos. Complexity such as this has to be respected." 1

Syria 2012 has produced its own tangled complexity. In the past 18 months it appears that at one time or another virtually every nation in the Middle East and North Africa as well as members of NATO and the European Union has been reported as aiding those seeking to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-Assad, while Russia, China, and several other countries are reported as aiding Assad. The Syrian leader, for his part, has consistently referred to those in combat against him as "terrorists", citing the repeated use of car bombs and suicide bombers. The West has treated this accusation with scorn, or has simply ignored it. But the evidence that Assad has had good reason for his stance has been accumulating for some time now, particularly of late. Here is a small sample from recent months:

"It is the sort of image that has become a staple of the Syrian revolution, a video of masked men calling themselves the Free Syrian Army and brandishing AK-47s — with one unsettling difference. In the background hang two flags of Al Qaeda, white Arabic writing on a black field ... The video, posted on YouTube, is one more bit of evidence that Al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists are doing their best to hijack the Syrian revolution." (New York Times, July 24, 2012)
A leading German newspaper reported that the German intelligence service, BND, had concluded that 95% of the Syrian rebels come from abroad and are likely to be members of al Qaeda. (Die Welt, September 30, 2012)
"A network of French Islamists behind a grenade attack on a kosher market outside Paris last month also planned to join jihadists fighting in Syria ... Two suspects were responsible for recruiting and dispatching people 'to carry out jihad in some countries – notably Syria'," a state prosecutor said. (Associated Press, October 11, 2012)
"Fighters from a shadowy militant group [Jabhat al-Nusra] with suspected links to al-Qaida joined Syrian rebels in seizing a government missile defense base in northern Syria on Friday, according to activists and amateur video. ...The videos show dozens of fighters inside the base near a radar tower, along with rows of large missiles, some on the backs of trucks." (Associated Press, October 12, 2012)
"In a videotape posted this week on militant forums, the Egyptian-born jihadist Ayman al-Zawahiri ... urged support for Syria's uprisings." (Associated Press, October 28, 2012)

According to your favorite news source or commentator, President Assad is either a brutal murderer of his own people, amongst whom he has had very little support; or he's a hero who's long had the backing of the majority of the Syrian population and who is standing up to Western imperialists and their terrorist comrades-in-arms, whom the US is providing military aid, intelligence, and propaganda services.

Washington and its freedom fighters de jour would like to establish Libya II. And we all know how well Libya I has turned out.

Of backward nations and modern nations

Page one of the October 24 Washington Post contained a prominent photo of a man chained to a concrete wall at a shrine in Afghanistan. The accompanying story told us that the man was mentally ill and that "legend has it that those with mental disorders will be healed after spending 40 days in one of the shrine's 16 tiny concrete cells", living "on a subsistence diet of bread, water and black pepper." Every year hundreds of Afghans bring mentally ill relatives to the shrine for this "cure".

Immediately to the right of this story, constituting the paper's lead story of the day, we learn that the United States is planning to continue its policy of assassinating individuals, via drone attacks, for the foreseeable future. This is Washington's "cure" for the mental illness of not believing that America is the savior of mankind, bringing democracy, freedom and happiness to all. (The article adds that the number of "militants and civilians" killed in the drone campaign over the past 10 years will soon exceed 3,000 by some estimates, surpassing the number of people killed on September 11.)

Undoubtedly there are many people in Afghanistan, high and low, who know that their ancient cure is nonsense, but the chainings have continued for centuries. Just as certain, there are American officials who know the same about their own cure. Here's a senior American official: "We can't possibly kill everyone who wants to harm us. ... We're not going to wind up in 10 years in a world of everybody holding hands and saying, 'We love America'." Yet , we are told, "Among senior Obama administration officials, there is a broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade. Given the way al-Qaeda continues to metastasize, some officials said no clear end is in sight."

We can also be confident that there have been people chained to the wall in Afghanistan who were not particularly mentally ill to begin with but became so because of the cure. And just as certain, there have been numerous people in several countries who were not anti-American until a drone devastated their village, family or neighbors.

The Post article also reported that Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, returned from Pakistan a while ago and recounted a heated confrontation with his counterpart, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. "Mullen told White House and counterterrorism officials that the Pakistani military chief had demanded an answer to a seemingly reasonable question: After hundreds of drone strikes, how could the United States possibly still be working its way through a 'top 20' list?"

American officials defended the arrangement even while acknowledging an erosion in the caliber of operatives placed in the drones' cross hairs. "Is the person currently Number 4 as good as the Number 4 seven years ago? Probably not," said a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official. "But it doesn't mean he's not dangerous." The Post added this comment: "Internal doubts about the effectiveness of the drone campaign are almost nonexistent."

The next day we could read in the Post: "There is ample evidence in Pakistan that the more than 300 [drone] strikes launched under Obama have helped turn the vast majority of the population vehemently against the United States."

Wake up and smell the bullshit. Then go vote.

After the second presidential debate in early October, Luke Rudkowski of the media group We Are Change asked Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, about President Obama's widely reported "kill list" of Americans and foreigners who can be assassinated without charge or trial.

Luke Rudkowski: "If President Romney becomes president, he's going to inherit President Barack Obama's secret 'kill list'? This is going to be debated. How do you think Romney will handle this 'kill list,' and are you comfortable with him having a 'kill list'?"

Debbie Wasserman Schultz: "I have no idea what you're talking about."

Luke Rudkowski: "Obama has a secret 'kill list' which he has used to assassinate different people all over the world."

Debbie Wasserman Schultz: "I'm happy to answer any serious questions you have."

Luke Rudkowski: "Why is that not serious?"

Debbie Wasserman Schultz: "Because I have no idea what you're talking about."

Luke Rudkowski: "Of course you don't."

The existence of the U.S. 'kill list' has been publicly known for nearly two years and was the subject of a 6,000-word exposé in the New York Times in May.

At the same event, Sierra Adamson of We Are Change asked former White House Press Secretary and current Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs about the U.S. killing of Abdulrahman Awlaki, the teenage son of Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.

Sierra Adamson: "Do you think that the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki's 16-year-old son, who was an American citizen, is justifiable?"

Robert Gibbs: "I'm not going to get into Anwar al-Awlaki's son. I know that Anwar al-Awlaki renounced his citizenship."
Sierra Adamson: "His son was still an American citizen."
Robert Gibbs: "Did great harm to people in this country and was a regional al-Qaeda commander hoping to inflict harm and destruction on people that share his religion and others in this country. And..."

Sierra Adamson: "That's an American citizen that's being targeted without due process of law, without trial. And he's underage. He's a minor."
Robert Gibbs: "I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father. If they're truly concerned about the well-being of their children, I don't think becoming an al-Qaeda jihadist terrorist is the best way to go about doing your business." 2

To demonstrate that the bullshit is bipartisan, we now present Mr. Mitt Romney, speaking during the presidential foreign policy debate: "Syria is Iran's only ally in the Arab world. It's their route to the sea. It's the route for them to arm Hezbollah in Lebanon, which threatens, of course, our ally, Israel."

However, a look at a map reveals firstly that Iran does not share a border with Syria; there's something called Iraq in between; and secondly that Iran already has access to the sea on both its north and south; actually about 1100 miles of coastline. Romney has made this particular blunder repeatedly, and the Washington Post has pointed it out on several occasions. Post columnist Al Kamen recently wrote: "We tried so hard back in February to get Romney to stop saying that." 3

Of course, neither Obama nor the debate moderator pointed out Romney's errors.

The sanctity of life

"I'm as pro-life as a person gets," Congressman Paul Ryan, the Republican candidate for vice-president, told the conservative Weekly Standard in 2010. 4

How nice. Yet the man supports all of America's wars, each of which takes the lives of large numbers of people, both American and foreign; and he's opposed to national health insurance, which would save countless more lives. The good congressman is also an avid hunter and supporter of gun-owners' rights, so he apparently is not too pro-life concerning other creatures of God's Kingdom. Of course, what Ryan actually means by "life" is an embryo or fetus, perhaps even a zygote. Oh wait, that's not all of it – corporations are also people whose lives Ryan cherishes.

The fate of those who do not love the empire

On October 7 Hugo Chávez won his fourth term in office as president of Venezuela. The feeling of frustration that must have descended upon the Venezuelan and American power elite is likely reminiscent of Chile, March 1973, when the party of another socialist and American bête noire, Salvador Allende — despite the best intentions and dollars without end of the CIA — won about 44 percent of the vote in congressional elections, compared to some 36 percent in 1970. It was said to be the largest increase an incumbent party had ever received in Chile after being in power more than two years. The opposition parties had publicly expressed their optimism about capturing two-thirds of the congressional seats and thus being able to impeach Allende. Now they faced three more years under him, with the prospect of being unable, despite their most underhanded efforts, to prevent his popularity from increasing even further.

During the spring and summer the Agency's destabilization process escalated. There was a whole series of demonstrations and strikes, with a particularly long one by the truckers. Time magazine reported: "While most of the country survived on short rations, the truckers seemed unusually well equipped for a lengthy holdout." A reporter asked a group of truckers who were camping and dining on "a lavish communal meal of steak, vegetables, wine and empanadas" where the money for it came from. "From the CIA," they answered laughingly. 5

There was as well daily sabotage and violence, including assassination. In June, an abortive attack upon the Presidential Palace was carried out by the military and the ultra-right Patria y Libertad.

In September the military prevailed. "It is clear," said the later US Senate investigating committee, "the CIA received intelligence reports on the coup planning of the group which carried out the successful September 11 coup throughout the months of July, August, and September 1973." 6 The United States had also prepared the way for the military action through its economic intervention and support of the anti-Allende media.

Chávez has already been overthrown once in a coup that the United States choreographed, in 2002, but a combination of some loyal military officers and Chávez's followers in the streets combined for a remarkable reversal of the coup after but two days. The Venezuelan opposition will not again make the mistake of not finishing Chávez off when they have him in their custody.

Both Hugo Chávez and Salvador Allende had sinned by creating "nationalistic" regimes that served the wrong "national interest". The hatred felt by the power elite for such men is intense. The day after the legally and democratically elected Venezuelan leader was ousted, but before being restored to power, the New York Times (April 13, 2002) was moved to pen the following editorial:

"With yesterday's resignation [what the coup leaders called it] of President Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator. Mr. Chávez, a ruinous demagogue, stepped down after the military intervened and handed power to a respected business leader."

It should be noted that the "respected business leader", Pedro Carmona, quickly dissolved the National Assembly and the Supreme Court, and annulled the Venezuelan constitution.

And keep in mind that in the United States the New York Times is widely regarded as a "liberal" newspaper; most conservatives would say "very liberal", if not "socialist".


William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, chapter 21
Democracy Now, October 25, 2012
Washington Post, October 24, 2012, column by Al Kamen
New York Times, August 12, 2012
Time, September 24, 1973, p.46
Covert Action in Chile, 1963‑1973, a Staff Report of The Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities (US Senate) December 18, 1975, p.39

William Blum is the author of:

Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower
West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire

Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at

Previous Anti-Empire Reports can be read at this website.

To add yourself to this mailing list simply send an email to bblum6 [at] with "add" in the subject line. I'd like your name and city in the message, but that's optional. I ask for your city only in case I'll be speaking in your area.

(Or put "remove" in the subject line to do the opposite.)

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission. I'd appreciate it if the website were mentioned.


Obama's Delicate Disposition: To Whom and To What the President is Disposed

American democracy and the “disposition matrix”

by Joseph Kishore - WSWS

The media and political establishment have responded with near total silence to the Washington Post’s revelation last week that the Obama administration has transformed extra-judicial assassination into a permanent practice of the US government.

What should be immediate grounds for the impeachment of the president has been met with indifference, most notably from liberal and “left” supporters of Obama’s re-election. If the initial Post article has something of the character of a trial balloon—to see to what extent the revelation of such measures would be met with official opposition—the results are conclusive: there is no significant commitment to democratic rights in the media and political establishment.

By any objective account, the Post’s revelations are extraordinary. “Targeted killing”—a euphemism for assassination—“is now so routine that the Obama administration has spent much of the past year codifying and streamlining the processes to sustain it.” The administration has transformed “ad hoc elements into a counterterrorism infrastructure capable of sustaining permanent war.”

Kill lists “that were regarded as finite emergency measures after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, are now fixtures of the national security apparatus.” At the same time, it is “a policy so secret that it impossible for outsiders to judge whether it complies with the laws of war or US values—or even determine the total number of people killed.”

In other words, the administration has systematized a process by which the executive branch, with no judicial oversight, kills people—including US citizens—routinely all over the world. From a “state of exception,” the administration has transformed these powers, without any public discussion, into a state of permanence.

The language used by government officials to justify such measures is chilling. The list of potential targets has been dubbed a “disposition matrix.” One former administration official noted that they faced a “disposition problem”—i.e., the government faced the challenge of disposing of targets. Wary of a potentially messy legal process, whether in civilian courts or before military tribunals, the Obama administration has elected more and more to simply kill people.

Writing in the Council of Foreign Relations, Micah Zenko cites one military official involved in the targeted killing program: “To emphasize how easy targeted killings by special operations forces or drones has become, this official flicked his hand back over and over, stating, ‘It really is like swatting flies. We can do it forever easily and you feel nothing. But how often do you really think about killing a fly?’”

Employing a somewhat different analogy, former CIA analyst and Obama adviser Bruce Riedel, told the Post, “The problem with the drone is it’s like your lawn mower. You’ve got to mow the lawn all the time. The minute you stop mowing, the grass is going to grow back.”

Thousands have been slaughtered in this way, including many entirely innocent civilians. Among those assassinated by the American government were US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, accused of propagating Islamic fundamentalist ideas. Obama has declared that ordering the killing of al-Awlaki was “an easy one.” Robert Gibbs, a top Obama adviser, declared in relationship to the killing of al-Awlaki’s 16-year old son, also a US citizen, who was accused of nothing, that “he should have had a more responsible father.”

It is impossible to speak of the “erosion” of American democracy any longer. The situation is far more advanced. Such language reflects a political establishment for which the most basic democratic conceptions are entirely foreign. It is language befitting a police state.

The implications go far beyond the use of drones. In seeking to justify its program of state killings, the Obama administration has in effect obliterated the legal basis for all constraints on executive power. The core concept of due process is inscribed in the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, which declares that “no person shall…be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.”

The concept of due process traces its roots to the very origins of constitutional monarchy and the limitations on arbitrary power in Britain—the Magna Carta. In brief: a person cannot be deprived of his rights, including his right to life, without a legal and judicial process. According to the Obama administration, however, this due process requirement is satisfied by the internal deliberations of the executive—by the president and his closest advisers.

And if the president can kill anyone, including US citizens, without judicial review, what power does he not have? Any but the most formal distinction between democracy and presidential dictatorship is swept away.

Such measures will ultimately be used within the United States. Particularly since the September 11 attacks, the American government has constructed a huge spying apparatus, an apparatus currently overseen by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC)—the same body that is at the center of the assassination program.

In March, the Justice Department modified guidelines to allow the NCTC to collect and “continually assess” information on American citizens for up to five years, from 180 days as established under Bush. In July, the American Civil Liberties Union remarked that the changes amounted to “a reboot of the Total Information Awareness Program” which Bush was forced to formally abandon in 2003 after intense public opposition, though it was continued in different forms.

The terminal crisis of American democracy is deeply rooted in the structure of American capitalism, and in particular the vast growth of social inequality. Over the past several decades, a tiny financial aristocracy has monopolized enormous resources on the basis of speculation and increasingly criminal operations. After creating the economic and financial crisis that erupted in 2008, this same social layer is determined to pursue unpopular policies at home and abroad.

It is worth noting in this context a column by prominent political commentator George Will, appearing in the Washington Post earlier this month. Under the headline, “Seeds of Our Dysfunction,” Will complains that “America’s public-policy dysfunction exists not because democracy isn’t working but because it is.” People are not being sufficiently “reasonable,” Will complains, particularly because they do not recognize the need for massive cuts in social programs. “People flinch from confronting difficult problems until driven by necessity’s lash.”

Will is simply giving voice to conceptions more broadly felt in the ruling class. The political system, even under its current anti-democratic form, is seen as a hinderance to implementing policies that are determined to be “necessary.”

In fact, the two political parties are as united in their commitment to a wholesale attack on the working class as they are in supporting the policy of extra-judicial assassination abroad. In the aftermath of the election, whether Obama or Romney wins, the ruling class is planning immediate measures to slash social program upon which millions of people depend.

Unending war, social reaction, and the repudiation of legality—this is the program of the American ruling class. Democracy is incompatible with the continued rule of the financial aristocracy, and the continued existence of the social system, capitalism, upon which it rests.

The task of defending and extending democracy, therefore, lies with the working class—through its independent political mobilization in the fight for socialism.

The Socialist Equality Party is intervening in the 2012 elections to fight for a socialist leadership in the working class. To sign up to attend one of the regional conferences in New York (November 3) and Michigan (November 4), click here.

Florianopolis Audiovisual Mercosur

Carousel FAM 2010 Florianopolis Audiovisual Mercosur

O filme Cabeça a Prêmio, que marca a estreia do ator Marco Ricca na direção, abrirá a Mostra Longas Mercosul (dia 11 de junho.


Mostra Outros Olhares: Antologia

Uma seleção de 12 dos melhores curtas-metragens produzidos nos últimos 23 anos da famosa Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión de San António de Los Baños, Cuba.

Criada em 1986, a escola tem como fundadores e padrinhos personalidades como Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Francis Ford Coppola e Robert Redford.
A seleção dessa mostra foi realizada em 2009, sob coordenação da suíça Christa Saredi, responsável pelos festivais internacionais da EICTV.
Oscuros rinocerontes enjaulados, muy a la moda, ficção dirigida por Cremata Juan Carlos, é um filme em preto e branco e num clima surreal, foi pintado a mão diretamente sobre a película.

Os Filmes
Oscuros rinocerontes enjaulados, muy a la moda, de Cremata Juan Carlos, Ficção, 18´, 1990, Cuba
La maldita circunstancia, de Eduardo Eimil Mederos, Ficção, 11´, 2002, Cuba
Barrio Belén, de Marité Ugás, Documentário, 16´, 1988, Cuba
Model town, de Laimir Fano Villaescusa, Documentário, 15´, 2006, Cuba
El año del cerdo, de Claudia Calderón Pacheco, Ficção, 10´, 2007, Porto Rico-Cuba
La Cura, de Rodrigo Alves de Melo, Ficção, 4´, 2007, Brasil-Cuba
Al otro lado del mar, de Ortega Patricia, Ficção, 12´, 2005, Venezuela-Cuba
Oda a la piña, de Laimir Fano Villaescusa, Ficção, 10´, 2008, Cuba
Los que se quedaron, de Benito Zambrano Tejera, Documentário, 26´, 1993, Espanha
Filiberto, de Amanda García Saldaña, Ficção, 10´, 2008, México-Cuba
La Chirola, de Diego Mondaca Gutierrez, 26´, Documentário, 2008, Bolívia-Cuba
El invasor marciano: 36 años después, de Wolney Oliveira, Documentário, 1988, 24´, Brasil.

I Encontro de Film Commissions da América Latina

Objetivo de criar uma Rede Latinoamericana de Film Commissions.
convidados internacionais
Mauricio Pedroza, Carla Raygoza, Gabriel Del Valle, Sergio Gutierrez Barraza, Elisa Haro Ruíz e Alicia Castillo Baraya (México FC), Charles Grazier (Panamá FC), Silvia Echeverri Botero (Colômbia FC), Patricio Parraguez e Bettina Bettati (Chile FC), Ana Francisca Aizenberg e Enrique Avogadro Argentina FC) e Lucila Bortagaray (Uruguai FC).

FAM 2010

Cine video Brasil Festival e Forum
Mostra Internacional de Cinema e video
Associação Cultural Panvision UFSC

TV Alenha RMTV espana portugal cabo verde argentina uruguay brazil mexico colombia panama chile cuba france moçambique



Standard YouTube License

What Cohen Commission Report Means

Rafe: Cohen Commission Report Rightly Targets Salmon Farms, Precautionary Principle

by Rafe Mair - The

There are several things that jumped out at me with the Cohen Commission Final Report, released yesterday.

The first is that my faith in Bruce Cohen as expressed on CBC's Early Edition right after his name was announced has been fully justified. I said then that I knew the man, had fought in court with the man, that he was a superb lawyer and judge and that those who thought he could be pushed around just because he happened to be a very nice guy to boot would be pleasantly surprised.

Hell of a good job, Bruce, I’m proud of you.

Here is my first prediction - the Fraser Institute-led Op-ed page in the Vancouver Sun will very soon have a weasily op-ed piece from Mary Ellen Walling of the Salmon Farmers Association.

Alexandra Morton has been thoroughly vindicated and ought to get the Order Of Canada immediately. Only we who know Alex know what she’s been through with the DFO and Provincial governments slandering her and blocking her every move with lies and distortions.

Commissioner Cohen tested, as I said he would, his mandate to the utmost. It’s here we should note that he was only empowered to look at Fraser River sockeye, not the hundreds of thousands of other salmon impacted by fish farms.

It will be observed - as it already has been - that he found no “smoking gun”. Of course he didn’t because there probably isn’t one - the sockeye run more risks that just fish farms. What I also observed on the Early Edition that morning is that there are many causes of salmon loss on their journey into the ocean and back but that one thing will surely come out - fish farms are a major suspect and since we could deal with them we should. This is clearly the finding of the Cohen Commission.

Let’s look at an obvious finding in the report and one that the Commissioner must have felt awkward finding what should be so easy to see - DFO has a clear conflict of interest being mandated to protect wild salmon and shill for the fish farmers at the same time. How any minister could fail to see that is beyond me.

I cannot in the time I have today deal with all of the report, but let me emphasize what all who want to save our salmon must repeat, tiresomely if necessary: THE OPERATIVE POLICY IS THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE.

This means that the onus of proving no harm will follow is placed on the shoulders of him whom proposes an undertaking.
If this principle had been followed in the beginning none of this would have happened.

It’s not that no one knew about this principle because it’s been the law of the land for decades.

Henceforth every single proposed invasion of the environment must be subject to this rule.

Why should people like Alexandra Morton have to lose their homes and go broke when, if the Precautionary Principle had been enforced, she could do what she came to Canada to do - study Orcas?

Looking very bad today is also John Cummins, the leader of the vanishing BC Conservatives whose one-track mind can’t accept anything that doesn’t involve abolishing the native fishery.

You can be sure that the government of Canada and the Clark government will do nothing. And here it is that our system of so-called parliamentary government is so flawed by reason of party discipline - not one Liberal MLA nor Conservative MP will press for implementation of Commissioner Cohen’s recommendations. It is because of this that every time those who care about the environment  win, they end up losing - the Kemano Completion Program is a good example.

This report must be the bottom line of all protests for our environment and those it sustains. Our rallying cry should be, “Mr. Justice Bruce Cohen and the precautionary principle!” so that people who care can centre on this fundamental maxim and force the governments to do what they have been told to do.

This should be a great day for all who care and it will be so if we bring unyielding pressure, including in the voting booth.

Rafe Mair was a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. Since 1981 he has been a radio talk show host, and is recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists.

Watching Disaster Land from the Disaster Lands

Living Differently

by Cathy Breen

Najaf, Iraq - For the past three days I have been trying to get news of the situation in our houses on the lower East side of Manhattan, where the flooding from hurricane Sandy was especially heavy. I pictured the worst. As a good portion of Maryhouse is subterranean—the whole dining area and kitchen for example-- I imagined the cellar and ground floor underwater! We have folks who are elderly and infirm, even an older frail resident who speaks no English. I pictured them frightened and in darkness! On internet news I read “Don’t think if you boil the water it is safe to drink it.”

This morning, Wednesday, I am getting the first news from home. The electricity is down, but there was no flooding! Moreover, they were even able to serve a meal, albeit in a somewhat darkened house, to a handful of women who came to us. I can’t tell you how grateful and relieved I am for this news!

I was in Baghdad last Sunday, the 28th of October, and hadn’t even heard of hurricane Sandy until I opened email on Monday morning to read that a couple of friends were going to stay at our home because of the impending storm! What storm I asked myself.

The lack of news and the anxiety it caused me these last days, took me back to the time we were in Baghdad during “Shock and Awe.” What must it have been like for those back home with little to no information about our well-being? One always imagines the worst. In many ways I think it was harder for those far away.

I know I was alarmed, thousands of miles away, by the pictures I saw in the news. I wonder what the thoughts were in people’s minds and hearts as the water levels began to rise, and they didn’t know what would happen.

As you might have heard, the explosions and bombings, in Baghdad especially, continue. Last Saturday fifty-three persons were killed, and on Sunday another twenty four people died. I would wager to say that when they arose that morning they didn’t know it would be their last day.

It is almost ten years since the U.S.-led war against Iraq. The electricity keeps going off here and all throughout the country. Sami, whose family is hosting me in Najaf, remarked yesterday with no ill intent, “Maybe we could send them some of our electricity!” We had to laugh.

I read another email this morning from an Iraqi friend of Sami’s whom we were unable to see in Basra. He spoke about the lack of electricity and the high humidity in Basra, where temperatures reached almost 50 degrees Centigrade last summer (about 120 degrees Fahrenheit), and this was during the fasting month of Ramadan when no water, or food, is taken from dawn to dusk. “How is it” this friend asks “that the U.S. has poured billions of dollars into Iraq and yet there was no project for a [national] electrical power station to help cool temperatures and calm temperaments that went along with the political instability, the insecurity and the sectarian killings…?”

The oppressive heat has eased now in Basra, Baghdad and Najaf. Winter is around the corner. The waters have subsided in New Jersey, Coney Island and Manhattan. Will we live differently today than we did yesterday? Will we be more mindful of our own mortality and fragility? More mindful of our interconnectedness with the larger human family? Mindful that even our smallest act has far-reaching consequences.

For some reason we have been granted another day.


Cathy Breen ( co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence. ( She will be writing about her visits to several communities in Iraq during the next several weeks.

Marketizing Disaster: The Romney Plan to Capitalize Havoc

Romney Wants to Privatize Disaster Relief


Romney Wants to Privatize Disaster Relief Bill Black Financial and Fraud Report: Romney plan for smaller federal government and privatization is a way to make private profit from crisis

Watch full multipart The Black Financial and Fraud Report

William K. Black, author of THE BEST WAY TO ROB A BANK IS TO OWN ONE, teaches economics and law at the University of Missouri � Kansas City (UMKC). He was the Executive Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention from 2005-2007. He has taught previously at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and at Santa Clara University, where he was also the distinguished scholar in residence for insurance law and a visiting scholar at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Black was litigation director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, deputy director of the FSLIC, SVP and general counsel of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, and senior deputy chief counsel, Office of Thrift Supervision. He was deputy director of the National Commission on Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement. Black developed the concept of "control fraud" � frauds in which the CEO or head of state uses the entity as a "weapon." Control frauds cause greater financial losses than all other forms of property crime combined. He recently helped the World Bank develop anti-corruption initiatives and served as an expert for OFHEO in its enforcement action against Fannie Mae's former senior management.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Tribes of New York: Back to the future?

Mickey Z. -- World News Trust

Oct. 31, 2012

“I don’t know how to save the world. I don’t have the answers or The Answer. I hold no secret knowledge as to how to fix the mistakes of generations past and present. I only know that without compassion and respect for all of Earth’s inhabitants, none of us will survive -- nor will we deserve to.”

- Leonard Peltier

As the effects of Hurricane Sandy left much of lower Manhattan (and elsewhere) in the dark, I couldn’t help but recall the events -- and lessons -- of Aug. 14, 2003: the day/night of the Eastern seaboard’s most recent major blackout.

When the blackout of '03 dimmed the mighty skyline, I could suddenly see stars... zillions of them blinking at me from beyond the unlit skyscrapers. Traffic lights were out of commission, but to the southeast, Mars provided the only red light we really needed.

By coincidence, our crimson neighbor was closer to Earth than ever before and the power outage gave us Easterners an excellent view of Mars's southern hemisphere from a mere 34.6 million miles away.

Still, even with the stars twinkling above and little green Martians close enough to reach out and shake my hand, it was when I returned my gaze back down to the streets that I truly couldn't believe my eyes. That clammy evening, one could witness a sight even more uncommon than any celestial spectacle.

Across the darkened city, Big Apple denizens stopped hustling. They sat still and talked to each other. No computers, no televisions, practically no telephones... just face-to-face communication (even if it was too dark at times to actually see faces).

Huddled around flickering candles and eating food before it could spoil, longtime Astoria neighbors introduced themselves, discovering similarities and answering the question of the day: "Where were you when the lights went out?"

This unforeseen solidarity was accomplished without the assistance of e-mails, texts, or tweets. Money didn't change hands, no cell phone radiation was emitted, no air was conditioned. Under a sky full of stars and a visiting red space-mate, it was possible to encounter the sort of life we may have evolved to live back in the "caveman" days.

Our modern caves, the subterranean tunnels of transportation known as "the subway," were empty but the concrete jungle above them might as well have been the Savannah. The tribes of Astoria sat around fires -- sharing food and communal stories. Some even beat on drums.

In times like this, it's easier to appreciate that we each possess a physiology that evolved to negotiate the Stone Age. Here lies the rub: we live in the Space Age. We are urban cavemen... overmatched in our daily crusade to navigate an artificial reality because we’ve lost contact with our primal instincts.

For one thing, we likely didn't evolve to be surrounded by this many people. Thus, in our futile search for a manageable tribe, we preserve our attention for a handful of fellow humans. What's vexing is how to deal with the millions not in our tribe... but still in our face. Subsequently, we inventive mortals have cultivated the ability to hastily disregard non-tribe members.

"In the busy streets, you develop human traffic skills of amazing dexterity," writes zoologist Desmond Morris. "In crowded buses, trains, and elevators, you acquire a blank stare. You have eyes only for those you know. This enables you to enjoy the varied delights of the big city while mentally re-creating a personal tribe existence."

But what happens when those streets aren't busy... like, say, during the worst blackout in U.S. history? We may have eyes only for those we know, but what about when it's too shadowy to tell the difference?

With our vision impaired enough to create the illusion of intimacy and our vaunted technology no longer at our overworked fingertips, we are gifted with a taste of a potentially different culture. Sure, things returned to "normal" when power was restored, but the experience left some of us wondering just what "normal" means.

The last time Mars got as close to Earth as it was in 2003 was some 60,000 years ago... an age when stars were easy to find and one could cause a blackout simply by dousing the fire.

The extraterrestrial lady in red will once again be 34,646,418.5 miles away in a mere 284 years. I wonder what kind of earthly culture will be there to greet her.


Mickey Z. is the author of 11 books, most recently the novel Darker Shade of Green. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on an obscure website called Facebook.

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The Man Who...Libya and November

Who Lost the World? The Curious Case of How Libya Became an Election Issue

 by Ira Chernus

Who lost Libya? Indeed, who lost the entire Middle East? Those are the questions lurking behind the endless stream of headlines about “Benghazi-gate.” Here’s the question we should really ask, though: How did a tragic but isolated incident at a U.S. consulate, in a place few Americans had ever heard of, get blown up into a pivotal issue in a too-close-to-call presidential contest?

My short answer: the enduring power of a foreign policy myth that will not die, the decades-old idea that America has an inalienable right to “own” the world and control every place in it. I mean, you can’t lose what you never had.

This campaign season teaches us how little has changed since the early Cold War days when Republican stalwarts screamed, “Who lost China?” More than six decades later, it’s still surprisingly easy to fill the political air with anxiety by charging that we’ve “lost” a country or, worse yet, a whole region that we were somehow supposed to “have.”

The “Who lost...?” formula is something like a magic trick. There’s no way to grasp how it works until you take your eyes away from those who are shouting alarms and look at what’s going on behind the scenes.

Who’s in Charge Here?

The curious case of the incident in Benghazi was full of surprises from the beginning. It was the rare pundit who didn’t assure us that voters wouldn’t care a whit about foreign affairs this year. It was all going to be “the economy, stupid,” 24/7. And if foreign issues did create a brief stir, surely the questions would be about Afghanistan, Pakistan, or China.

Yet for weeks, the deaths of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans became the rallying cry of the campaign to unseat Barack Obama. What made this even more surprising: when news of the tragedy first broke, it appeared to be stillborn as a political issue.

The day after the attack on the consulate, as the news about the killings was just coming out, Mitt Romney rushed to blast his opponent: “American leadership is necessary to ensure that events in the region don’t spin out of control.” A president must show “resolve in our might” and a readiness to use “overwhelming force.” Barack Obama had failed on all these counts, Romney charged, and the deaths in Benghazi proved it.

The Republican presidential candidate was duly blasted in return for “politicizing” the incident. It seemed like almost everyone chimed in critically. Even longtime Republican stalwart Ed Rogers wrote that “Romney stumbled,” while “the president said the right things and had the right tone.”

Romney never retracted anything he said on that first day -- and somehow the same words, once scorned as unfitting and “unpresidential,” were mysteriously transformed into powerful arguments against reelecting the incumbent. A month later, a new story dominated the headlines: Romney’s criticisms on Libya were now said to be hitting the target, changing the dynamic, playing a major role in his campaign’s resurgence.

This change of tune surely reflected in part the media’s primal need for a close presidential contest to keep the public’s interest. At the time of the Libyan incident it was generally agreed that Obama was beginning to pull ahead in the race, potentially decisively, and anything that might boost Romney’s chance was undoubtedly welcome on an editor’s desk.

No matter how hard editors try, though, some stories just don’t stick. But the Libya story stuck. It struck a chord somewhere in the hearts and minds of a lot of Americans. You have to wonder why.

A big part of the answer lies in the power of the key words in Romney’s first statement: “might” and “control.” His strategists grasped a fundamental truth of American politics: The public has an endless appetite for gripping stories about challenges to America’s global might and its right to control the world. So they doubled down and sent their man out to tell the story again.

In his first major foreign policy speech, Romney absolved his opponent of any direct responsibility for the four American deaths, but he pilloried Obama for a far more grievous sin. By a wild leap of imagination, he turned this one incident into the spearhead of a vast assault on America: “Our embassies have been attacked. Our flag has been burned… Our nation was attacked.”

The president’s job is to protect us by dominating our enemies, the challenger proclaimed. It’s our consistent record of victory as well as our values that make America “exceptional” -- and on Obama’s watch, as the incident in Benghazi proved, America and its exceptionalism had gone down for the count.

This was not simply an exaggerated indictment of presidential “weakness.” As he had on that first day, Romney was again raising a question even more crucial to any popular narrative of American foreign policy: Who’s in charge here?

After all, what’s the point of being the global superpower if not to keep control of events around the world? As Romney put it succinctly: “It is the responsibility of our President to use America’s great power to shape history.” And on that most crucial count, he insisted, Obama had failed dismally and a U.S. ambassador had paid for that failing with his life.

A Bipartisan Mythology

The debates gave Romney a chance to sharpen his attack. In the second of them, Obama deftly deflected the charges about Libya (though he never actually answered them). By the time the third debate rolled around, Romney’s strategists apparently saw no benefit and lots of risk in pressing the Libyan question. But they still saw plenty of benefit in keeping the broader issue alive. So Romney rushed past Libya, saying, “We’ve seen in nation after nation a number of disturbing events.”

He built his case using fearful images: “I see the Middle East with a rising tide of violence, chaos, tumult... You see al-Qaeda rushing in.” Power in Washington needed to be restored to the right hands so that, wearing “the mantle of leadership,” the U.S. could “help the Middle East” turn back “the rising tide of tumult and confusion” and subdue the terrorists.

Translation: For decades nearly all the governments in the Middle East, the energy heartlands of the planet, were our allies (more precisely, our clients, though that word was never used in polite company). We could build up their militaries, support their autocratic regimes, and count on them to quell any expressions of anti-American sentiment. Now, under Obama, this crucial area of the world, once well under our thumb, was spinning out of control. Lose control by failing to exercise our might and we lose our safety.

Strength, control, and national security are all parts of the same package; nothing matters more to America -- and Obama was letting it all go down the drain. So the Republican story went (with copious document leaks on the Libyan “cover-up” and the like from Congress). What had been considered an Obama strong suit -- he was, after all, the man who took out Osama bin Laden -- suddenly seemed to have been trumped.

The Democrats actually responded by putting out a remarkably similar story about (as the president termed it in the third debate) “strong, steady leadership,” which, they claimed, was preventing the Middle East from spinning out of control. In other words, we hadn’t really lost Libya at all. But that was the only point in dispute.

The debate between Republicans and Democrats wasn’t about goals in the Middle East, where support for autocratic friends like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain is assumed, and both sides agree on the need for democratic elections, religious pluralism, a free press, empowering women, strengthening free enterprise capitalism, and destroying Islamist terrorists.

More broadly, both sides agree, as they have for decades, that Washington’s overriding foreign policy goal must be to shape history, control the world, and make it mirror American values and serve American interests. This mythic vision of American foreign policy is a rare example of long-term bipartisan consensus.

When I call it myth, I don’t mean it’s a lie. I mean it’s a foundational narrative of American power that expresses our most basic assumptions about the world, a story in which every nation on the planet is, theoretically, ours to lose.

To most Americans (though not to much of the rest of the world), this narrative does not reflect sheer hubris and intoxication with imperial power. It’s just good common sense. Throughout our history, at the heart of the dominant national mythology has been the assumption that the U.S. should be the world’s “locomotive” and all the other nations “the caboose” (as President Harry Truman’s Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, once said). The reason for this was simple (at least to Americans): we were the first and greatest nation founded on the universal moral truths that are supposedly self-evident to any reasonable person.

Sure, controlling the world would serve our self-interest in all sorts of tangible ways. However, our primary self-interest, so the myth maintains, always was and always will be the moral improvement -- perhaps even perfection -- of the entire world. By serving ourselves we serve all humanity.

The Fiercest Political Battle of All

The only question worth debating, then, is how we can use our preponderant power and wealth most shrewdly to maintain effective control. Most Americans expect their president to know the answer. At the same time, most Americans worry that he might not. A more recent pillar of the bipartisan narrative, the myth of homeland insecurity, suggests the opposite.

According to that myth, no matter how much military strength we have or control we exert, there is always “a rising tide of tumult” somewhere that threatens our national security. At every moment, somewhere in the world, we have something crucial to lose. The name of the threat can change with surprising ease. But the peril must always be there. It’s essential to the story.

And that story, in turn, is now essential to every presidential contest. As New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd once wrote, “Every election has the same narrative: Can the strong father protect the house from invaders?” (Think of Ronald Reagan and the Iran captivity tale or George W. Bush and 9/11.) If one candidate is the incumbent, the question becomes: Has he been a strong enough father to control the world and thereby protect the house?

Every challenger plays on that anxiety, picking the most obvious or convenient example of the day as a hook on which to hang the perennial charges of weakness and peril. Since the “Who lost China?” days, Republicans have played this card especially skillfully.

This year it seemed that a Democrat who “surged” in Afghanistan, killed bin Laden, and personally ran a drone assassination campaign from the White House had, for once, successfully protected his right flank against the predictable GOP attack. Then fate sent the Libyan killings to the Romney campaign, the newsrooms, and a big portion of the American public. Give Romney’s people credit: they sensed the opportunity from day one.

Mitt had to demand “Who lost Libya?” and then transform it into “Who lost the Middle East?” -- not merely to boost his chances but because a big slice of the public yearns for such a “debate.” After all, every time the question of “Who lost [fill in the blank]?” arises, it reaffirms both the reassuring promise that we deserve to control the world and the disturbing anxiety that we might lose what is rightly ours.

What was, for all its tragic dimensions, a minor event in Libya became a central campaign issue because it proved to be this season’s code word for the whole mythological package. For many Americans, the deepest reassurance may come simply from sensing that our traditional mythology -- the familiar lens through which we view our nation and its role in the world -- is still intact.

On the horizon, though, we can dimly see a new question rising: How much longer can this mythology survive? It suffered a major wound in the Vietnam War era, when the fantasy of global control was rudely punctured by reality. That wound has been ripped open again by fruitless wars and conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

Now, there are so many unsettling changes around the world that we can’t predict, much less control, them. Soon enough -- perhaps by 2020, or even 2016 -- the political battle cry may be: “Who lost the world?”

It’s even possible to imagine that someday Americans will engage in the debate we really need -- about choosing a new paradigm for foreign policy that fits today’s world, where the fantasy of global control has become irrelevant because the facts so obviously contradict it, as American power declines while other nations steadily gain strength.

Don’t expect the old mythology to disappear quietly, though. Old myth versus new myth is the fiercest political battle of all.

Ira Chernus is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, a TomDispatch regular, and author of “Mythic America: Essays.” He blogs at

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Copyright 2012 Ira Chernus