Saturday, February 23, 2013

Is It Free? Is It Trade? What FIP(P)A, TPP, and CETA Agreements Really Mean

FIPA & TPP Corporate Rights Pacts Not 'Free Trade': Harjap Grewal

by Vancouver Media Co-Op

On Thurs. Feb 21st: Harjap Grewal spoke about what FIPA and other 'trade agreements' are really about at the What’s Next? Vancouver network's Demystifying, Debating, and Digging in to Trade Agreements panel at the Rhizome Cafe in Vancouver.

Harjap Grewal is the Council of Canadians' British Columbia-Yukon regional organizer and has written about the bilateral trade agreement between Canada and China known as the Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (FIPA) as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.;

Britain Follows American "Foreign Aid" Militarism Model

Henningsen on RT: 'Foreign Aid Trap' - Cameron using tax cash for military projects

by RT 

21st Century Wire's geopolitical analyst Patrick Henningsen talks to RT about Prime Minister David Cameron's latest campaign, saying he wants pledge more cash to the UK's foreign aid budget for overseas 'military aid' - a proposal that the British government has admitted in the past as 'wasted aid which often falls into the wrong hands'. Aid money is to be used for three areas including security, demobilization and peacekeeping.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Perils of Barack: Obama Tied to the XL Pipeline Tracks

Perils of the Keystone XL Pipeline Confront Obama

by Ralph Nader- CounterPunch

Bill McKibben, a prolific writer and organizer on global warming and climate change, has had a busy year teaching environmentalists not to despair and will soon be learning some lessons himself.

In August 2011, he organized an unprecedented demonstration in front of the White House urging President Obama to deny a permit for the giant Keystone XL pipeline that would haul very dirty tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada down to Texas refineries, largely to be exported. More than 1200 people were arrested over the course of the month to protest the construction of the pipeline. This could be the largest mass arrest before the White House in decades. Kudos to Bill and his associates.

On February 17, 2013, 48 people, including McKibben and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., were arrested for open, non-violent civil disobedience mostly for refusing U.S. Park Police orders to keep moving on the White House’s sidewalk (with some protestors actually attaching themselves to the fence in front of the White House).

This past weekend, McKibben was back at the White House with more than 40,000 anti-Keystone XL protestors along with demands for Obama to act on broader climate issues. Protestors included leaders of Native American tribes, some legislators, corporate executives, farmers, students, workers and other Americans who think saving the planet from a huge rush of carbon dioxide and expanding the very large toxic region of Alberta, was worth some of their direct effort.

President Obama has twice postponed his decision on the XL pipeline, much to the relief of Hillary Clinton, whose State Department would have been blamed for approving the pipeline, much to the detriment of her future political aspirations. Now Secretary of State John Kerry has said a decision is coming “near term.”

The Keystone XL pipeline’s owner is TransCanada, which is busily buying rights of way through the western U.S., and calling on states to use their eminent domain powers when ranchers and farmers resist. Giant pipes have already been shipped to various locations along the way. Actual construction has been underway in Texas. The governor of Nebraska, Dave Heineman, dropped his objection once the pipeline’s route was alerted to go around the state’s environmentally vulnerable Sand Hills area.

Since fracking is spreading rapidly in many states to increase U.S. oil production, not to mention burgeoning natural gas fracking extractions, why would President Obama want to approve Keystone XL? What about his State of the Union warnings regarding global warming and its terrible costs in lives, property and money?

Notwithstanding the absence of the need for oil from Canada and Mr. Obama’s stated concerns about global warming, TransCanada, backed to the hilt by Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, is confident that it will receive a permit from Obama.

First, the pipeline has been promoted as a significant job creator. In reality, building a pipeline in these days of automation requires a few short-term workers. The exporting refineries are even more automated. But with the AFL-CIO and the construction unions combined with the American Petroleum Institute’s lobbying forces in Washington, a majority of members of Congress have signed on.

Second, even without the pipeline, TransCanada can still ship tar sands oil to the U.S. via rail, barge, truck and other existing pipelines. Or the company, with Canadian government backing, can decide to build a pipeline westward through British Columbia for shipment to oil-hungry China.

Those options set up the argument that Alberta tar sands oil will be burned on the planet anyhow so why not have it go through a more efficient pipeline than with railcars and ships.

Third, the “sleeper” argument on Obama’s desk is that TransCanada, having already invested big money in the U.S., can invoke Chapter 11 of the NAFTA trade agreement and sue the U.S. government for big damages if its permit is denied. Incredible as it may seem, the notorious Chapter 11 has been used by numerous companies to seek billions of dollars in damages from governmental official decisions in either Mexico, the U.S. or Canada. Companies have succeeded in obtaining settlements totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. Paid for by the taxpayers, of course.

McKibben and associates know the odds of stopping the Keystone Pipeline are heavily against them. Obama can issue his approval and counteract its impact with intensified White House efforts to reduce the carbon/methane footprint. Obama could, to the delight of conservative and liberal economists, come out for a carbon tax. Obama should be a leader on environmental issues. His environmental supporters voted for him and declined to criticize him prior to the election. The letdown from the high expectation levels built on the many protests would be devastating to the morale and energy of the movement.

McKibben, however, hopes that the struggles’ collateral benefit will be a rise in public consciousness and a recharged Obama Administration to hoist renewable energy and conservation to the top of the President’s expedient “all of the above” policy (coal, oil, gas, nuclear, solar and greater efficiency).

McKibben’s army has thrown its non-violent troops against the Keystone XL Pipeline and tar sands exploitation that will devastate an area in Alberta the size of Florida. This project has been called a massive body blow to the Planet Earth by NASA’s climate scientist James Hansen, who has been arrested several times in the protests.

Obama approving the pipeline makes it happen. While promising collateral offsets by Obama is nothing more than the Obamamania of hope. We know how far hope traveled since Obama became president and never had to worry about political competitors on the ballot, including third parties, attracting votes to environmental and other progressive causes. There are lessons that McKibben may have to explain to his followers.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.

Human Hunt: California's Open Season on Christopher Dorner

Hunting Humans in California: Was An Ambush Set For Christopher Dorner in Torrance?

by Peter Lee - China Matters

Another element of the LA Times’ well-mannered coverage of the Christopher Dorner case that struck me was the incident in which police officers on the lookout for Dorner’s pickup truck shot up a vehicle driven by two newsies delivering the LA Times to homes in Torrance in the wee morning hours.
Here, as they say, are the relevant grafs:
The seven officers were working a protection detail Feb. 7 near the home of a high-ranking LAPD official who was a potential target for Dorner when they riddled the women's blue Toyota Tacoma truck with bullets after mistaking it for Dorner's gray Nissan truck.

The shooting occured after the officers received a radio call that a pickup truck had exited the freeway and was heading their way. 

Jonas [lawyer for the two women] told The Times that the police officers gave "no commands, no
instructions and no opportunity to surrender" before opening fire. He described
a terrifying encounter in which the pair were in the early part of their
delivery route through several South Bay communities.

Hernandez was in the back seat handing papers to her daughter, who was driving. Carranza would briefly slow the truck to throw papers on driveways and front walks. As bullets tore through the cabin, the two women "covered their faces and huddled down," Jonas said. "They felt like it was going on forever."

In an interview with The Times, Beck said the gunfire occurred in two bursts: The first came from an officer positioned down the block from the LAPD official's residence, and the second when Carranza accelerated away from the gunfire and toward other officers.

Jonas estimated that the officers fired between 20 and 30 rounds. Photographs
of the back of the truck showed at least two dozen bullet holes. Neighbors,
however, suggested there were more shots fired. The street was pockmarked with bullet holes in cars, trees, garage doors and roofs.

The LA Times deferentially declines to connect the dots but, reading between the lines, the term that leaps to mind is “ambush”.

If the motive was to deter an attack by Dorner with a conspicuous police presence, to my admittedly non-expert opinion, the LAPD could have simply ostentatiously parked three police cruisers outside the official’s house.

If, on the other hand, the idea was to lure Dorner into revealing himself by concealing evidence of police presence (and, for that matter, keeping the lid on the news that the LAPD already suspected Dorner in the Irvine shootings and had discovered his on-line manifesto with its list of proposed victims; as far as I can tell the LA Times only publicly named Dorner as a suspect the morning after the Torrance fiasco), then moving on Dorner after he hove into view on his mission of vengeance, that might explain why there were units on either side of the newspaper delivery truck as it approached the residence.

And, if the idea was simply to light up Dorner’s truck with a few dozen rounds from two sides in a kill box without without prior warning, that looks something like an ambush.

Again reading between the lines, I would say that the LA Times and public opinion in general are willing to cut the LAPD a certain amount of slack.

Dorner was apparently a dangerous guy, a murderer, and he was stalking cops. Since Dorner was an ex-cop himself, you can add the element of “LAPD cleaning up its own mess” omerta.

There has also been no publicized outcry over the the San Bernadino Sheriff’s Department’s use of incendiary tear gas shells to short circuit the siege in Big Bear instead of trying to wait Dorner out.

However, if those two women had died in that truck—parenthetically, no thanks to the LAPD that they lived, since one would think 20-30 rounds should have finished the job—there might have been more discussion of the downside of giving law enforcement a free hand to deal with Dorner.

And there is the awkward question of whether Dorner’s murderous behavior in San Bernardino County — such as the apparently unprovoked shooting of Riverside police officer Michael Crain and a trainee while their patrol car was stopped at a traffic light--was caused in part by his perception that the cops had a shoot-on-sight hunting license for him. Maybe, maybe not. Guess we’ll never know the answer to that one.

I suspect—well, at least, I hope—that the report that the seven officers involved in the pickup truck incident have been removed from the field pending an investigation indicates that the LAPD is going to make sure that officers and their bosses treat the Dorner case as a one-off, and not a precedent.

Israel's Jewish Divide: Haredim v. Secular Zionist's Militarism

An Argument in Defense of Haredim Jews and Against Secular Zionist Militarism

by James Petras

Israel is heading towards a profound internal crisis: a Jew on Jew confrontation, which, however, has major implications for its relations with Palestinians, as well as its Middle East neighbors. The conflict is between the highly militarized Zionist state and the Haredim religious movement over a number of issues, including recent proposals by Netanyahu to end the religious exemption of Haradi youth from serving in Israel’s colonial armed forces.
Haredim and the Zionist Colonial State

Even before the forcible imposition(‘founding’) of the Israeli state, the Haredim were opposed to Zionism. Today the vast majority of Haredim in Israel remain staunchly opposed to the Zionist state for religious, ethical and political reasons. Haredim religious teaching claims that the Jewish people are bound by three oaths (1) not to settle in Israel by using force (2) not to war with other nations and (3) not to act as if the nations of the world would persecute Israel. Haredim were in opposition to Israel’s violent ethnic cleaning of over 850,000 Palestinians in the course of establishing the Israeli State and continues to oppose Israel’s settlers’ violently dispossession of Palestinians. Unlike other so-called “ultra-Orthodox” sects, who support Israeli colonialism and bless the military, Haredim believe that Israeli militarism corrupts the spirit and that Zionists have converted Jews from worshippers of the Torah to rabid ethnocentric upholders of a militarist State. For the Haredim, State worship especially the waving of the Israeli flag in the houses of worship, is a sacrilege comparable to the renegade Jews condemned by Moses for worshipping the Golden Calf.

The majority of Haredim boycott elections, organize their own schools (Yeshivas), encourage students to deepen their religious studies, emphasize community and family values (of a oppresive patriarchal sort) with numerous children and strongly reject the State’s attempt to conscript Haredim youth into their colonial occupation army, the so-called Israeli Defense (sic) Force (IDF). All the major Zionist political parties and the ruling colonial regime demonize the Haredim, claiming they are shirking their military responsibilities .Via the mass media and public pronouncements they incite Israeli hatred toward the Haredim: a study in 2006 claimed that over a third of Israeli Jews considered the Haredim the most hated group in Israel.

The Haredim, on the other hand, have reason to fear and loath the secular militarist Zionist state and politicians. After World War II in the Zionist controlled camps for Jewish refugee children in Teheran, the Jewish Agency imposed Zionist ideology and militarist anti-religious policies to cut Haredim children from their spiritual roots. According to one Haredim report many groups of Jewish youth from Poland, mostly survivors of the Holocaust and Soviet Russia, were subjected to “unimaginable mental and physical cruelty with one goal in mind: obliteration of Judaism”. Given the Israeli drive today to harness a corrupted form of Judaism to colonial militarism, the Haredim have every reason to believe that the conscription of its youth will be accompanied by cruel, systematic Zionist brainwashing to ensure they make “good”, brutal occupation soldiers.

Haredim versus Israeli State Values

The Haredim fervently believe and practice in the Biblical teaching, “Be fruitful and multiply”. They have large families and the median age of Haredim is 16 years. Their peaceful message to militarist Zionists could be “make babies not bombs”.

Some Haredim leaders have met with Palestinian and Iranian leaders and in line with their religious doctrine have declared their support for peaceful resolution of conflicts and have denounced Israel’s aggressive military posture.

Haredim are intensely religious and discuss and debate the readings of some of the great religious scholars: their message to the Zionists is read Maimonides’ ethical treatices not Netanyahu’s bellicose, blood curdling rants.

Haredim live and study largely in the confines of their cohesive communities. They send their sons to the yeshivas to study religious doctrine not to the West Bank to kill Palestinians.They call on their children to serve G-d not the IDF. They seek truth in the Torah not in conquest via the Preventive War Doctrines espoused by prestigious Israeli and overseas Zionist academic militarists.

Haredim focus on building a better life within their community; they reject the efforts of the Zionist state to entice them into joining self-styled “jewish” settlers engaged in vicious land grabs in the West Bank, in the name of “contributing to society (sic)”. Haredim’s ‘introverted way of life’ is seen as a prophylactic alternative to the crass militarism, money laundering, financial speculation, body parts enterprises and real estate swindles rife among the elite Jews in Israel and among sectors of overseas Zionists engaged in procuring multi- billion dollar tribute from the US Treasury.

Haredim believe, with exemplary evidence, that conscripting their youth into the Israeli colonial army would destroy their moral values, as they would be forced to grope Arab women at checkpoints, break the legs of stone throwing Palestinian children, defend lawless self-styled “Jewish” settlers scribbling obscene graffiti in mosques and churches … not to speak of the ill effects of what secular Israeli Jews call a “modern education”, full of historical fabrications about the origins of Israel, scientific readings on high tech war-making and “advanced” economic doctrines proclaiming the sacred role of the free market,and justifying the 60% poverty rate among Haredim as “self-induced”:

No, the Haredim demand that the Israeli Jewish elite stop trying to conscript their youth into the Army and practicing employment discrimination, which triples the unemployment rate among Haredim.

The Coming ‘Civil War’: Zionist State versus the Haredim

The elected leader Yair Lapid of newly formed Yesh Atid Party, dubbed a “centrist” by the New York Times and a ‘moderate’ by the leading ideologues of the Zionist “lobby”, ran on a platform of forcibly ending the Haredim exemption from conscription into colonial military service. Yair Lapid, in the run-up to joining a new Netanyahu coalition regime, has launched a vicious attack on Haredim. Lapid premises his agreement to joining Netanyahu’s war machine on forcibly confronting the Haredim leadership. Yair Lapid taps the class and secular resentments of Israel’s upwardly mobile youth who bitterly complain of having to serve in the army and delaying their money-making opportunities while the poor, semi-literate “blacks” (derogatory term for the clothing of Haredim) engage in “worthless studies” of the Torah. Lapid, using the same perverted logic as Netanyahu, claims that “Ten percent of the population cannot threaten 90 percent with civil war” (Financial Times, 2/14/13, p. 6.). The executioner (Lapid) accuses the victim (Haredim) of the violence he is about to commit. Yesh Atid, the “centrist party” (sic), has allied with Naftali Bennett’s neo-fascist Jewish Home Party (pushing for the annexation of all of Palestine) in support of smashing Haredim’s opposition to conscription. They hold veto power over the next cabinet. This rabid secular military assault has provoked the opposition and unity of other Zionist-religious parties. The Shahs and United Torah Judaism have taken up the defense of the Haredim.

Lines are being drawn far beyond a Haredim-Zionist State confrontation.

The Larger Meaning of the Haredim-Zionist Conflict

The Haredim hostility to the secular Zionist state is in part based on its opposition to military conscription thus calling into question Israeli militarism ,in general, and specifically its policy of colonial occupation and regional aggression. While some Haredim may oppose conscription for religious reasons and seek exemption solely for its own youth, objectively, the effect is to undermine Israel’s violation of Palestinian rights and to call into question the entire apartheid system. By speaking to spiritual values, they deny the legitimacy of the idea of a Jewish police state based on force, violence, torture and disappearance of political prisoners. Their questioning of the institutional configuration upholding Jewish supremacy and Israel as the homeland of the Chosen People, they strike a powerful blow at the ideological underpinnings of the overseas activity of the Zionist power configuration. Their animosity to the fusion of Jewish chauvinism and religious rituals and the tribal deification of the Israeli state is counterposed to their embrace of Moses Ten Commandments.

The Haredim study the teaching of the renowned Judaic philosophy Maimonides and abhor Zionist militaristic strategists like Walzer, Dershowitz, Kagan, Feith, Netanyahu, etc. who preach colonial “just war” doctrines. Representing 10% of the Israeli population and a far greater percentage of military age youth, the Haredim are in a position to sharply limit the scope of future Zionist wars.If they succeed in blocking conscription, they would provide a lasting contribution to making the world in general, and the Middle East in particular, a more secure and peaceful place to live.

Facing the prospect of a loss of future cannon fodder to sustain its colonial ventures, and in their frenzied attacks on the Haredim, the Israeli-Zionist elite have incited the majority of Israeli Jews to demonize them as ‘backward’, illiterate, freeloaders and to blame the religious curriculum for their growing and current 60% rate of poverty and high unemployment. Israel’s war machine needs fresh recruits to maintain its imperial quest for a Greater Israel. Demographics – with families exceeding five children –indicate the Haredim are likely to double their percentage of the Israeli population over the next two decades. Faced with the facts in the womb,the colonial expansionist imperative drives all the leading zionist parties to end Haredim’s exemptions. In response Haredim leaders threaten to engage in massive civil disobedience if the Zionists impose conscription, rightly seeing conscription of its youth as an assault on its most profoundly held spiritual and family values and as an opening wedge in destroying community solidarity and reciprocal relations.

The Haredim share a common plight with Israel’s Arab population: both face increasing police harassment, discrimination, religious persecution and rising levels of poverty. A Haredim-Arab alliance would unite 30% of the population against a common secular militarist and plutocratic enemy. Farfetched as it seems on the subjective level, there are objective historical and structural processes which are driving the two groups together.

It is one of the great ironies of history that the world’s modern secular anti-imperialist movements should find their most consequential allies among Israel’s most traditional and deeply religious movement. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

You've Come a Long, Long, Long Way Baby! Half a Century From and For Feminism

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby (Or Have You?)The Women’s Movement, the Next Half-Century

by Ruth Rosen - TomDispatch

In 1968, the Phillip Morris Company launched a memorable campaign to sell Virginia Slims, a new brand of cigarettes targeting women, itself a new phenomenon. It had a brand-new slogan: “You’ve come a long way, baby.” The company plastered it on billboards nationwide and put it in TV ads that featured women of the early twentieth century being punished for smoking. In all their advertising, smoking was equated with a set of traits meant to capture the essence of women in a new era of equality -- independence, slimness, glamour, and liberation. 

As it happened, the only equality this campaign ended up supporting involved lung cancer. Today, women and men die at similar rates from that disease.

Still, women have come a long way since the mid-twentieth century, and it’s worth considering just how far -- and just how far we have to go.

Tomgram: Ruth Rosen, Feminism's Long March

On February 12th, the Senate passed a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) with broad bipartisan support. But House Republicans (who killed the legislation in the last Congress) have yet to introduce their version of the bill. They're still hung up on what might seem like a minor provision, which they've been battling about for a year and a half. Native American women are two-and-a-half times more likely to be raped than other women, and three out of five are victims of domestic violence. Currently, Native American courts don’t have jurisdiction over domestic violence committed by non-native men on tribal lands. This provision would change that.

While there are some Republicans begging the House leadership to pass a bipartisan bill on the double, it's not just Congress they'll have to convince. All across the conservative landscape, voices of opposition have been coming out of the woodwork.

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) calls the provision about those tribal courts a result of "unconstitutional demands of special interests." Special interests being women. Unconstitutional because he and other legislators claim that men tried in tribal courts would not be able to appeal that court’s decision in federal courts (which is not true). Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) says that what is really at issue is the fear among his colleagues, "veiled in constitutional theories," that "Indian [women] are going to take out 500 years of mistreatment on us through this."

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, is freaking out because the reauthorization of VAWA would, they claim, expand the definition of domestic violence to include “emotional distress,” though the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women has called this “a complete fabrication.” More to the point, Heritage is worried the bill would give women more power. "The substance of VAWA focuse[s] largely on redistributing power and resources to female victims,” says their blog.

Janice Crouse of the conservative Concerned Women for America is worried that VAWA could bring on "a war against men." The bill "ends up creating a climate of suspicion where all men are feared or viewed as violent and abusive and all women are viewed as victims," she says in a passage that uses the word "feminist" as if it were a curse, not an adjective: "The law is more about building feminist power structures."

Laura Wood, a conservative blogger writing at U.S. News & World Report, decries the "relentless feminist propaganda" around the bill, arguing that it "is opposed to domestic harmony," and claims that "dozens of studies have found that women initiate domestic violence at equal rates to men; due to the superior strength of men, women are more likely to get hurt." According to the National Institute of Justice, studies like those she cites do not measure control or coercion. The Institute concludes that 90% of "systematic, persistent, and injurious" violence is committed by men.

The high-profile Tea Party group FreedomWorks says that if women were forced to deal with this sort of violence on their own, it would empower them: "Supporters of the VAWA portray women as helpless victims -- this is the kind of attitude that is setting women back.”

Such overwhelming hostility from social conservatives will be a big hurdle for the House GOP as they move to draft their own version of VAWA (yet again). It's also the kind of resistance that the push for women's rights has faced since its birth, as Ruth Rosen, author of the classic book The World Split Open: How the Modern Women’s Movement Changed America, writes today. That such "debates" go on, so many decades after the feminist movement first burst onto the scene, is a reminder that the movement she’s been involved with since its inception may indeed be "the longest revolution" of all. Erika Eichelberger


You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby (Or Have You?)

The Women’s Movement, the Next Half-Century

by Ruth Rosen - TomDispatch 


Once Upon a Time

These days it may be hard for some to believe, but before the women’s movement burst on the scene in the late 1960s, newspapers published ads for jobs on different pages, segregated by gender. Employers legally paid women less than men for the same work. Some bars refused to serve women and all banks denied married women credit or loans, a practice which didn’t change until 1974. Some states even excluded women from jury duty.

Radio producers considered women’s voices too abrasive to be on the air and television executives believed that women didn’t have sufficient credibility to anchor the news. Few women ran big corporations or universities, or worked as firefighters and police officers. None sat on the Supreme Court, installed electrical equipment, climbed telephone poles, or owned construction companies. All hurricanes had female names, due to the widely held view that women brought chaos and destruction to society.

As late as 1970, Dr. Edgar Berman, a consultant to presidents and to Medicare, proclaimed on television that women were too tortured by hormonal disturbances to assume the presidency. Few people ran into women professors, doctors, or lawyers. Everyone addressed a woman as either Miss or Mrs, depending on her marital status, and if a woman needed an abortion, legal nowhere in America, she risked her life searching among quacks in back alleys for a competent and compassionate doctor.

The public generally believed that rape victims had probably “asked for it,” most women felt too ashamed to report rape, and no language existed to make sense of what we now call domestic violence, sexual harassment, marital rape, or date rape. One simple phrase seemed to sum up the hidden injuries women suffered in silence: “That’s life.”

On August 27, 1970, in response to such injustice, 50,000 women marched down New York’s Fifth Avenue, announcing the birth of a new movement. They demanded three rights: legal abortion, universal childcare, and equal pay. These were preconditions for women’s equality with men at home and in the workplace. Astonishingly, they didn’t include the ending of violence against women among their demands -- though the experience and fear of male violence was widespread -- because women still suffered these crimes in silence.

Those three demands, and the fourth one that couldn’t yet be articulated, have yet to be met.

The Hidden Injuries of Sex

As the women’s movement grew, women activists did, however, begin to “name” their grievances. Once named, they could be identified, debated, and -- with a growing feminist political voice -- turned into policy or used to change the law.

It turned out that there were plenty of hidden injuries, which women activists discovered and publicized through consciousness-raising groups, pamphlets, and books. Rape, once a subject of great shame, became redefined as a physical assault that had little to do with lust. Date rape, for which there was plenty of experience but no name, opened up a national conversation about what constituted consensual sex. Few people had ever heard the words “marital rape.” (“If you can’t rape your wife,” California Senator Bob Wilson allegedly said, “then who can you rape?”) In this way, a new conversation began about the right of wives to have consensual sex and the nature of power relations within marriage.

From the very beginning, the mainstream media and the public labeled women activists as “lesbians.” Why else would they complain about male behavior? Provoked by constant efforts to “tarnish” all feminists as lesbians, activists chose to embrace the label, rather than exclude lesbians from the movement. In the process, they also began to write about and then discuss compulsory heterosexuality. Together with a burgeoning men’s gay movement, feminist lesbians and gay men formed the Gay Liberation Front in the 1969. Soon, lesbian feminists created an all-women’s group called the Lavender Menace.

The birth control pill and the sexual liberation movement of the mid-1960s gave women new freedoms. Grasping the limitations of such changes without abortion being legalized, feminists soon joined the medical abortion rights campaign of that era. Determined to repeal laws against abortion, in New York they testified before the state legislature and passed out copies of a “model abortion bill”: a blank piece of paper. Through “public speak-outs,” they openly discussed their own illegal abortions and explained why they had made such choices. In Chicago and San Francisco, activists created clandestine organizations to help women seek qualified doctors. Some feminists even learned how to perform abortions for those who could not find a competent doctor.

Then, in 1973, the Supreme Court handed down its famous Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion and ignited the abortion wars that still rage today. You could even say that this is where the culture wars of the coming decades really began, and you wouldn’t be wrong.

What had feminists started? In essence, they had begun to redefine one “custom” after another as crimes. For instance, one of the greatest hidden injuries suffered by women in those years was the predatory sexually behavior of male bosses. In 1975, a group of women at Cornell University coined the term sexual harassment. Previously, some women had called it “sexual blackmail,” but when legal scholar Catherine Mackinnon used the new phrase in the title of her 1979 book, Sexual Harassment of Working Women, both feminists and judges began using it in litigation against predatory bosses. After Anita Hill’s accusations against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991, the phrase became a household term. In that same year, Congress added amendments to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, accepting the feminist argument that sexual harassment violated a woman’s right to earn a living and work in a non-hostile atmosphere.

If the naming of sexual harassment changed the workplace, the reframing of wife-beating as domestic violence turned a custom into a felonious crime. At the same time, feminists spread a network of battered women’s shelters across the nation, offering havens from marital violence and possible death.

A Half-Century to Go

If the women’s movement often surprised and sometimes blindsided men, it also radically expanded America’s democratic promise of equality. Women are now everywhere. No one is shocked in 2013 when a woman enters an operating room or a lecture hall. More than half the undergraduates at most universities are women.

Now, if your boss drives you crazy with sexual advances, you can report him for sexual harassment and sue him in court. If your husband beats you, he can be charged with a felony and, in most urban areas, you can escape to a battered women’s shelter. Women like Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo!, and Ruchi Sanghvi, head of operations at Dropbox, are some of the most powerful players in the new technology universe. Two women have served as secretary of state and one as national security advisor. Three women sit on the Supreme Court. Hillary Clinton almost became the first woman president and may still achieve that goal. Major magazines and newspapers have women executive editors and managing editors -- even the New York Times, which waited until 1986 before reluctantly putting "Ms" in front of women’s names on its pages. Hurricanes now bear male and female names. Women in the U.S. military fight alongside men. They work as firefighters and police detectives, and when a female plumber shows up to fix an overflowing toilet, most people don’t panic.

Because so much has changed, many people, including young women, believe that the longest revolution is over, that we should stop complaining, be proud of our successes, and go home. Consider for a moment, though, the three demands made in 1970, and the fourth one that couldn’t even be articulated.

As anyone who’s been awake for the last decade knows, despite Roe v. Wade, women can’t access abortion providers in many parts of the country. States have passed laws requiring pregnant women to watch ultrasound “pictures” of their “babies,” and forced them to endure 24- or 48-hour waiting periods so that they can “rethink” their abortion decisions. In May 2012, Utah established the longest waiting period in the nation: 72 hours. In that year, in fact, anti-abortion legislatures managed to pass 43 new laws that, in one way or another, restricted abortion.

In big cities, finding an abortion provider is often not difficult -- unless of course you are poor (because the government won’t pay for abortions). Women in rural areas have, however, been hit particularly hard. They have to travel long distances, pay to stay in hotels while they “rethink,” and then, and only then, can they make the choice that was promised in 1973. So yes, women still have the right to legal abortion, but less and less access to abortion providers.

And what about child care? In 1971, Congress passed the Comprehensive Childcare Act (CCA), providing national day care to women who needed it. (Such a law wouldn’t have a chance today.) President Richard Nixon vetoed it that December. Using Cold War rhetoric, he argued that the legislation would harm the family and turn American women into their Soviet counterparts -- that is, working drudges. His veto was also payback to his religious supporters in the South who opposed women working outside the home, and so using child care. It set childcare legislation back until, well, this very moment.

Ask any young working mother about the nightmare of finding day care for her infant or a space in a preschool for her child. Childcare, as feminists recognized, was a major precondition for women entering the labor force on an equal footing with men. Instead of comprehensive childcare, however, this country chose the more acceptable American way of dealing with problems, namely, that everyone find an individual solution. If you’re wealthy, you pay for a live-in nanny. If you’re middle class, you hire someone to arrive every day, ready to take care of your young children. Or you luck out and find a place in a good preschool -- or a not-so-good one.

If you’re poor, you rely on a series of exhausted and generous grandparents, unemployed husbands, over-worked sisters, and goodhearted neighbors. Unlike every nation in Europe, we have no guaranteed preschool or after-school childcare, despite our endless political platitudes about how much we cherish our children. And sadly, childcare has remained off the national political agenda since 1971. It was never even mentioned during the 2012 presidential debates.

And let’s not forget women’s wages. In 1970, women earned, on average, 59% of men’s wages. More than four decades later, the figure is 77%. When a university recently invited me to give a keynote address at a conference, they asked what fee I expected. I wasn’t quite sure how to respond. The best advice I got -- from my husband -- was: “Just tell them to give you 77% of whatever they’re paying the male keynote speaker.” That response resulted in a generous honorarium.

But what about all the women -- widowed, divorced, or single -- who can’t draw on a second income from a man? How can we claim we’ve reached the 1970 equal pay demand when 70% of the nation’s poor are women and children? This isn’t about glass ceilings. What concerns me are all the women glued to the sticky floor of dead-end jobs that provide no benefits and no health insurance, women who, at the end of each month, have to decide whether to pay the electricity bill or feed their children.

As an activist and historian, I’m still shocked that women activists (myself included) didn’t add violence against women to those three demands back in 1970. Fear of male violence was such a normal part of our lives that it didn’t occur to us to highlight it -- not until feminists began, during the 1970s, to publicize the wife-beating that took place behind closed doors and to reveal how many women were raped by strangers, the men they dated, or even their husbands.

Nor did we see how any laws could end it. As Rebecca Solnit wrote in a powerful essay recently, one in five women will be raped during her lifetime and gang rape is pandemic around the world. There are now laws against rape and violence toward women. There is even a U.N. international resolution on the subject. In 1993, the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna declared that violence against girls and women violated their human rights. After much debate, member nations ratified the resolution and dared to begin calling supposedly time-honored “customs” -- wife beating, honor killings, dowry deaths, genital mutilation -- what they really are: brutal and gruesome crimes. Now, the nations of the world had a new moral compass for judging one another’s cultures. In this instance, the demands made by global feminists trumped cultural relativism, at least when it involved violence against women.

Still, little enough has changed. Such violence continues to keep women from walking in public spaces. Rape, as feminists have always argued, is a form of social control, meant to make women invisible and shut them in their homes, out of public sight. That’s why activists created “take back the night” protests in the late 1970s. They sought to reclaim the right to public space without fear of rape.

The daytime brutal rape and killing of a 23-year-old in India in early January 2013 prompted the first international protest around violence against women. Maybe that will raise the consciousness of some men. But it’s hard to feel optimistic when you realize how many rapes are still regularly being committed globally.

So, yes, we’ve come a long way, but without achieving full access to legal abortion, comprehensive childcare, or equal pay -- those three demands from so many decades ago. Nor have we won the right to enjoy public space without fearing violence, rape, or worse.

I always knew this was the longest revolution, one that would take a century or more to unfold. It’s upended most of our lives, and significantly improved so many of them. Nothing will ever be the same. Yet there’s still such a long way to go. I doubt I’ll see full gender equality in my lifetime.

Ruth Rosen, a former columnist for the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, is Professor Emerita of History at the University of California at Davis and a Scholar in Residence at U.C. Berkeley. She is the author, most recently, of The World Split Open: How the Modern Women’s Movement Changed America. She is on the editorial board of Dissent magazine and is a monthly contributor to in England. Her op-eds, commentary and articles can be found on the website

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch book, Nick Turse’s The Changing Face of Empire: Special Ops, Drones, Proxy Fighters, Secret Bases, and Cyberwarfare.

Copyright 2013 Ruth Rosen

Canada to Norway: Uniting for Wild Salmon - Indigenous Salmon Defenders March in Solidarity

Wild Salmon First! From Canada to Norway: Uniting for Wild Salmon - Indigenous Salmon Defenders March in Solidarity


March for Wild Salmon’ begins next week (1 March) with solidarity events in Canada and Norway. In Oslo, a ‘Declaration for Wild Salmon’ written upon a hand-made Norwegian flag will be brought to the King of Norway, the Norwegian Parliament and the Norwegian Government-owned company Cermaq.

In Vancouver, the Indigenous Salmon Defenders will gather to deliver a similar declaration with the message: 

“Stop Norwegian Fish Farms from Killing Wild Salmon!”

‘March for Wild Salmon’ is a month-long series of events with protests also planned in Galway, Ireland (2 March) and Bergen, Norway (6March), before closing on 31 March with a global vigil for wild salmon in support of the young salmon smolts as they prepare to head out to sea and past the disease-ridden Norwegian-owned salmon farms.

“We need widespread support of people who are willing to stand beside us to protect our sacred wild salmon and most nutritious and precious food,” said Dawn Morrison of the Indigenous Food Sovereignty Network who is leading the gathering of Indigenous Salmon Defenders in Vancouver.

“We have stood on the shores of the rivers, lakes, streams and ocean and watched the government fail miserably by allowing the Norwegian owned salmon farming industry to inflict disease and suffering upon this amazing keystone species. It is time to head to higher ground and find balance in the politics and greed that has been compromising wild salmon. In addition to being the most culturally adapted food in Indigenous communities, the salmon are highly significant contributors to the beautiful landscapes that define BC. The value of wild salmon is much higher than any amount of money that can be traded in the market economies created by fish farms.”

“Wild salmon are the lifeblood of Indigenous communities and have been for thousands of years,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “The spectre of salmon farms has not only placed the survival of wild salmon under threat, but the cultural survival of Indigenous Peoples. By continuing to operate in the Pacific waters of our wild salmon, the Norwegian owned salmon farming industry is unacceptably infringing on the rights of Indigenous Peoples as identified in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We are left no choice but to unite in solidarity and demand the removal of threats posed by the salmon farming industry.”

“Travelling thousands of miles through the oceans and seas, wild salmon know no borders,” said Elena Edwards, founder of Wild Salmon First! “Unfortunately, neither does the salmon farming industry and the infectious diseases that come with it. The spread of this predominantly Norwegian owned industry is going to require a united multi-national effort to ensure that salmon farming does not bring the final death blow to wild salmon of the world. People must fight to ensure that wild salmon are the first priority not the last.”

For more details please visit
For photos visit online here
Read the schedule for the Oslo event on 1 March online here
Read the schedule for the Vancouver event on 1 March online here

Elena Edwards (in Europe)
Dawn Morrison (in Canada)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hupacasath Files for Review of Canada/China FIPPA

Hupacasath First Nation files for judicial review of Canada-China FIPPA

by Hupacasath First Nation

A First Nations filing for judicial review is the latest manifestation of concern about the Canada-China investment agreement. The Harper government agreed to the FIPPA with China last year, but, following widespread public opposition, it has yet to officially ratify the deal.

Earlier today, a press conference was convened at the Vancouver offices of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (UBCIC). The organizers released the following statement.

Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, B.C.
- On January 18, 2013, legal counsel for the Hupacasath First Nation, filed a Notice of Application with the Federal Court of Canada regarding the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA). Supporting affidavits for the application were submitted on February 15, 2013.

Brenda Sayers, Councilor of the Hupacasath First Nation stated:

 "First Nations were not consulted on the Canada China FIPPA. As First Nations with our Aboriginal Title, Rights and Treaty Rights, it is our duty to intervene for the sake of our children's futures. Our firm belief, if ratified, FIPPA will immediately affect our Title and Rights by limiting our ability to exercise Hupacasath jurisdiction in land use planning and regulation of our territory as well as our ability to fairly negotiate in the British Columbia Treaty Process."

The Hupacasath First Nation is supported with affidavits from Serpent River First Nation and the Tsawwassen First Nation along with the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the Chiefs of Ontario.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the UBCIC, said, “On November 29th, 2012 the Chiefs Council of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs passed by consensus, Resolution 2012-59 which expresses our shared belief it is necessary to conduct a thorough legal review of FIPPA and its impact on First Nations."

"Without such a review, it is difficult for many First Nations to demonstrate the specific ways in which their own Aboriginal Title, Rights and Treaty rights may be affected by an arrangement as complex and long lasting as FIPPA. To ratify the without consultation would adversely impact our rights and territories and would require us to take legal action. It is why the UBCIC fully supports the Hupacasath call for a judicial review."

When Ships Kiss: Sea Shepherd Trading Paint with Japanese Whalers

Japanese whale poaching vessel, Nisshin Maru, rams S. Korean fuel tanker, Sea Shepherd ships Sam Simon, Steve Irwin, and Bob Barker


The SSS Bob Barker and SSS Steve Irwin have been rammed by the Japanese whaling fleet’s massive factory vessel, the Nisshin Maru. The floating slaughter-house is eight times the mass of the Steve Irwin.

The Bob Barker and the Steve Irwin were behind Sun Laurel, Steve Irwin on portside, Bob Barker on starboard.

On loudspeaker, the Shonan Maru No. 2 ordered Sea Shepherd’s Australian flagged ship, the SSS Sam Simon, which is located in the Australian Antarctic Territory, to leave the area on the orders of the Government of Japan. Concussion grenades were thrown at the Bob Barker and the Steve Irwin by the crew of the Nissin Maru.

Captain Peter Hammarstedt radioed the whaling fleet’s factory vessel, the Nisshin Maru, and told them that the Bob Barker intended to maintain course and speed, that the moral and legal obligation to avoid the collision was on the Nisshin Maru.

The Nisshin Maru, turned and was approaching from starboard. It nearly collided with Bob Barker, before it turned into Steve Irwin, and rammed the Sea Shepherd ship’s stern.

The Nisshin Maru continued on its collision course, and rammed the portside of the Steve Irwin.

The Nisshin Maru then rammed the Bob Barker. The Steve Irwin increased its speed ahead to avoid the Nisshin Maru.

The Bob Barker took the Steve Irwin’s position on the portside of the Sun Laurel.

The Steve Irwin circled back, and the Nisshin Maru pushed the Bob Barker into the Sun Laurel, sandwiching the Bob Barker between itself and the Sun Laurel. The Nisshin Maru then fell back behind the Bob Barker, and rammed full speed into the portside stern of the Sun Laurel, shattering their portside life-raft, and destroying the davit to launch the other life-raft. The Nisshin Maru then rammed the Bob Barker again from behind, destroying one of their radars, and all of their masts.

The Bob Barker completely lost power and issued a MayDay distress call. As this distress call was issued, the Nisshin Maru turned away and began fleeing north.

Sea Shepherd Australia Co-Campaign leader, former Senator Bob Brown, has informed the Australian Government of the Japanese multiple breaches of international law and called for Tokyo to be required to remove its ships from this region north of Australia’s Casey Base and to desist from its gross violation of Australian and international laws. He says that the Australian Navy should be dispatched to restore the law.

Currently the Sun Laurel is being escorted north by the Sea Shepherd fleet, since they have no emergency life-saving devices in the potentially treacherous waters of the Southern Ocean. Director of Sea Shepherd Australia, Jeff Hansen said, "The Nisshin Maru has committed the maritime equivalent of a hit and run accident. They have rammed the Sun Laurel, putting them in perilous danger, and simply abandoned them."

All vessels are heading north with the illegal whale poachers from Japan two miles ahead of Sea Shepherds’ fleet.

All three Sea Shepherd ships were rammed, with the Bob Barker sustaining the heaviest damage. Power has been restored to the Bob Barker. Fortunately no crewmembers sustained injuries. The crews completed the mission to block the refuelling and will continue to protect the whales in the sanctuary.

The Nisshin Maru rams the Steve Irwin as the Sea Shepherd fleet block whaling fleet’s
illegal refueling efforts. photo: Sea Shepherd Australia/Glenn Lockitch

The Nisshin Maru rams the Bob Barker and the Sun Laurel
photo: Sea Shepherd Australia/Glenn Lockitch

Baby Doc in the Dock: Will Haiti's Dictator Finally Face Justice?

Duvalier hearing this week could be historic, despite U.S. obstruction


In Argentina, Guatemala, Peru and other countries in the region, former dictators and many of those responsible for egregious human rights violations under former authoritarian regimes have been, or are in the process of being tried for their crimes. In Haiti, for the first time, there appears to be genuine hope that Haiti’s former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier will face human rights charges in court. But there’s still a very difficult road ahead.

After Duvalier failed to appear at an appeals hearing regarding human rights charges on February 7, the judge rescheduled the hearing for February 21.

“The hearing on February 21 could be a pivotal moment in the prosecution of Jean-Claude Duvalier,” the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti’s Nicole Phillips told NACLA blogger Kevin Edmonds.

“If Duvalier appears as ordered by the appellate court, it will present the first opportunity for the former brutal dictator to speak about his political violence crimes in a courtroom full of his victims and the media. If Duvalier fails to appear, the Haitian government will be under intense pressure to arrest him for violating a court order.” 

While Duvalier has blatantly violated his house arrest related to pending corruption charges, failure to appear again would presumably be a more flagrant disregard for the Haitian judicial system. Duvalier also must appear in his own role as an appellant; he is appealing the standing corruption charges against him.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have both announced that they will monitor the proceedings tomorrow. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued a press release today “reminding the Haitian state of its international obligation to investigate, prosecute, and punish the serious human rights violations committed in that country, and to ensure that justice operators may work with independence and impartiality.”

On January 30, 2012, Investigative Judge Carvés Jean ruled that Duvalier could not stand trial for human rights crimes, while allowing corruption charges to go ahead. The ruling shocked the human rights community, considering that Duvalier is one of the hemisphere’s more notorious past dictators, infamous for brutally crushing dissent with the assistance of the dreaded “Tonton Macoute” secret police and the Haitian army during 15 years in power. “Under the presidency of Duvalier and his Tonton Macoutes, thousands were killed and tortured, and hundreds of thousands of Haitians fled into exile,” according to Human Rights Watch.

At the time, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said it was “extremely disappointed” by the ruling. Human Rights Watch condemned the judge’s decision, saying that it “ignores Haiti’s international obligation to prosecute such crimes.” Human Rights Watch’s Reed Brody stated that “This wrong-headed decision, if upheld on appeal, would entrench Haiti’s culture of impunity by denying justice for Duvalier’s thousands of victims.”

Amnesty International also condemned what it determined to be “stalling” by the Haitian judiciary: “Haitian authorities at the highest level have until now shown great leniency towards Jean-Claude Duvalier, while showing contempt to the victims of human rights violations who continue to await justice and reparation.”

The IACHR pointed out that “tor­ture, extra­ju­di­cial exe­cu­tions and forced dis­ap­pear­ances com­mit­ted dur­ing the regime of Jean-Claude Duva­lier are crimes against human­ity that, as such, are sub­ject nei­ther to a statute of lim­i­ta­tions nor to amnesty laws.” Several human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and others also noted that there is no statute of limitations on crimes against humanity, and that Haiti has a duty to prosecute Duvalier under international law, including the American Convention on Human Rights.

The human rights plaintiffs filed an appeal to Judge Carvés Jean’s decision, and the February 7 hearing was the latest of several over the past few months in which Duvalier was a no show.

Duvalier’s defense team and supporters have responded to human rights charges with great hostility. Duvalier’s lawyers and supporters disrupted a press conference by Amnesty international where Amnesty was presenting its report, “'You cannot kill the truth': The case against Jean-Claude Duvalier” in September 2011. Victims of Duvalier, many of which were present “were intimidated and harassed” and “most felt forced to leave the room due to fear for their security.” Amnesty stated that the “type of pressure and intimidation which has been exerted on victims and the judicial authorities since the start of the criminal investigation against Jean-Claude Duvalier is totally unacceptable.” Prosecuting attorney Mario Joseph of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux began to receive death threats and experience various forms of harassment following Judge Carvés Jean’s decision. On February 7 this month, one of Duvalier’s attorneys reportedly demonstrated open contempt for the would-be plaintiffs – New York Times editorial writer Lawrence Downes wrote, “according to observers on Twitter, a Duvalier lawyer jabbed his finger at one victim and yelled, ‘The victims will never be able to participate!’” As for crimes themselves, a letter that Duvalier’s team presented to the judge declared Duvalier’s having been forced to flee Haiti to be one of "the greatest political crimes (…) committed in this country.”

“The handful of victims who have been interviewed had been subjected to intimidation by Duvalier supporters and his lawyers,” Amnesty International Special Advisor Javier Zúñiga has said.

An important factor, many observers agree, is the U.S. government’s response to the case, which has been consistently muted. Asked about Duvalier after his surprise return to Haiti in January 2011, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hinted that Duvalier’s past abuses were old news, and that trying him could hamper efforts to “stabilize” the country:

Well, we are very clear going back many years about the abuses of that regime. And certainly, we believe that his record is one of repression of the Haitian people. Ultimately, a decision about what is to be done is left to the government and people of Haiti. But we’re focused on trying to maintain stability, prevent chaos and violence in this very unpredictable period with his return, with cholera still raging, with the challenges of reconstruction, with an election that’s been challenged.

The line that “a decision about what is to be done is left to the government and people of Haiti” is a position that has been restated in subsequent State Department press briefings and other fora. “What happens at this point forward is a matter for the people of Haiti. …This is their concern, not ours,” then-State Department spokesperson P. J. Crowley told reporters on January 18, 2011. “It is now up to Haitians to decide what to do,” U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice said on January 20, 2011. Even more distressing, former president Bill Clinton went so far as to shake Duvalier’s hand at a high-profile public event last year marking the second anniversary of the Haitian earthquake – as did Haitian President Michel Martelly.

The Obama administration’s position on Duvalier stands in contrast to past U.S. government statements regarding other fallen dictators. As Human Rights Watch described in June last year, for example:

[Then Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton urged the Senegalese government to “move quickly” in bringing [former Chadian dictator Hissène] Habré to justice. “If progress is not forthcoming on efforts to extradite or prosecute, the Department of State will continue to press vigorously for expedient action by Senegal in finally holding Habré to account,” Clinton said in the report.

Even worse, the U.S. government may be obstructing justice by withholding documents that could be used as evidence against Duvalier. While the U.S. did make public similar documents about former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and members of Argentina’s former junta, for example, prior to judicial proceedings in those countries, it has yet to take similar action that could help build the case against Duvalier. The U.S government has also notably long refused to hand over documents regarding the former C.I.A.-linked Haitian death squad, FRAPH.

The U.S. response could signal an unwillingness to see Duvalier pay for his crimes, which might come as no surprise considering the enduring support the U.S. government showed for Duvalier during his rule, with U.S. aid to Haiti – including military training -- increasing during the 1970’s and 80’s. When a popular uprising finally forced Duvalier to flee in 1986, the U.S. flew him out on a military plane.

The U.S. position is also ironic considering that USAID has spent $150 million [PDF] on "governance and rule of law" programs in Haiti just since the earthquake, and helped to create the Superior Judicial Council – which has been dogged by controversy during its brief existence. Nor should Duvalier’s return have caught U.S. officials off guard. A Wikileaked cable reveals that Duvalier’s possible return was a concern as far back as 2006, when then U.S. charge d'affaires in the Dominican Republic Lisa Kubiske (now assigned to Honduras) “expressed USG [US government] concern over a return to Haiti of either Duvalier or [Jean-Bertrand] Aristide [the former Haitian president]. Both potentially were provocative and could complicate the ability of any new government to establish itself," The Guardian summarized the cable as saying. The cable does not mention any desire by the U.S. government to see Duvalier tried, nor any mention of possible charges whatsoever.

The Martelly administration in Haiti has also been reluctant to see Duvalier prosecuted. Martelly’s connections to the Duvalier regime are well known, and Martelly has admitted to being a former Tonton Macoute himself. Amnesty noted that as well as allowing Duvalier to take part in ceremonies to mark the second anniversary of the Haiti quake, “In October [2011], President Martelly paid a highly publicized visit to Duvalier’s home, under the pretext of national reconciliation.” More recently, the Haitian government reportedly gave Duvalier a diplomatic passport. “Several public statements from President Martelly have also hinted at pardoning Duvalier,” as Amnesty noted.

As Edmonds wrote for NACLA, “The 61-year-old Duvalier would face no more than five years in prison if convicted of embezzling public funds and other financial crimes. On the other hand, a conviction of crimes against humanity could put him away for life.”
“The Duvalier trial could be the most important criminal case in Haitian history,” Human Rights Watch’s Brody has said. As important as it is in holding Duvalier accountable for human rights crimes and finding justice for victims, its magnitude transcends even this. If Duvalier is allowed to walk free, it would demonstrate that in Haiti some people truly are above the law, and it would send a dangerous message to other rights abusers, past, present and future – of which there are many, a good number of them also notorious, like Duvalier. As Zúñiga said, “It is the whole credibility of the Haitian justice system which is at stake.”

Red Guest, Blue Guest: NYT in the Service of the Sino-American Cyberwar

If There’s a War With China…  It’s All Evan Osnos’ Fault!

by Peter Lee - China Matters

Evan Osnos is the China columnist for the New Yorker.
My impression is that he usually covers the social issues/human rights/dissident beat.
However, yesterday, riffing off the news about organized Chinese hacking of US government and private websites, he veered off into counter-proliferationblack ops:

The fact is that the United States government has already shown signs of an energetic capacity for cyber war, as in the case of Stuxnet, the software worm that the U.S., working with Israel, is believed to have used to disrupt Iran’s uranium-enrichment program. Coincidentally, I happened to ask some North Korea experts last week if Pyongyang’s latest round of nuclear tests might make it a prime target for a Stuxnet-style intervention. “The only time I heard anything along such lines recently was suspicion that the April launch failure may have resulted from cyber attack—but that was in the realm of conspiracy theory,” John Delury, of Yonsei University, in Seoul, told me. 
As long as it’s in the realm of the theoretical, here’s another twist: given China’s vocal frustration with its erstwhile allies in Pyongyang, and China’s fondness for cyber adventures, any chance that China might try a Stuxnet approach to slow down a headache on its northeast border? From what I gathered, the chances were slim, in part because of operational differences between Iran and North Korea. “Do the Chinese know which industrial-control systems are in place?” Adam Segal, of the Council on Foreign Relations, asked. “Could they deliver the malware to a system that is most likely ‘air gapped’ and not connected to the Internet? Could they be sure that the infection wouldn’t spread—back to China or to U.S. or others? Do D.P.R.K. nuclear scientists travel? Is it possible to leave thumb drives around with no one noticing?”

On a couple of levels I am gobsmacked by Olnos’ blithe presumption.

I will set aside for the time being his rather fanciful view of the dynamics underlying PRC-DPRK relations. Suffice to say that Beijing’s vision for sustaining its rather precarious economic and political sway over the northern half of the Korean peninsula do not involve sabotaging Pyongyang’s most cherished strategic initiative.

But as to the casual attitude toward a “Stuxnet approach”, Stuxnet was an act of war. Full stop. If the PRC or anybody else did that to us, they would face the prospect of direct, escalating retaliation.

If one is looking for an explanation for why cyberwarfare has become an obsession of the Department of Defense, with the planned addition of thousands of specialists to “Cyber Command”, and why President Obama raised the spectre of cyberwarfare in his State of the Union address, look no further than Stuxnet.

I believe the stories of massive hacking effort condoned and directed by the PRC government, and the significant value of the intellectual property and secrets extracted.

But for the sake of clarity, let’s call it “cyberespionage”.

Cyberwarfare—the destruction of military, industrial, or infrastructure facilities i.e. acts of war—is qualitatively different.

I also believe that the reason that that the reason that Chinese cyberespionage is hyped today (and conflated into the “cyberwarfare” category) is to distract attention from the US complicity in an irrevocable escalation of cyberwarfare, and to prepare public opinion against the day when this weapon is turned against us.

In the same article that Osnos advances the narrative of the dire character of Chinese hacking (After years of warnings that Chinese hacking was a rising threat, the Mandiant study, and the willingness of U.S. officials to confirm many of its findings, signal a blunt new American counteroffensive against the era of Chinese cyber attacks), he proposes that the PRC might engage in a Stuxnet-type exploit of cross-border military sabotage.

There’s a qualitative difference in what the PRC has been accused of in the past, and what the US did with Stuxnet.

That’s not because the PRC is run by wonderful, peace-loving people--or because the PRC has not developed any cyberwar weapons (for one thing, I expect the PRC's computer scientists have been interested and involved participants in Iran's struggles with Stuxnet).

It’s because the PRC is extremely careful to avoid cycles of escalation with US power, preferring to counterpunch asymmetrically.

In defense matters, the asymettric doctrine is embodied in “non-interference in the affairs of sovereign states” as a bedrock value, one that provides China with a ready, if ever-eroding, bulwark against US “pre-emption” and “R2P” doctrines which leverage US military and technological superiority across national borders, and the ability for unmatchable escalation that is at the heart of the American game.

That isn’t a diplomatic and strategic shield to be abandoned lightly for the transient pleasures of fucking with North Korea’s nuclear program, or other cyberwarfare shenanigans, for that matter.

So I found Osnos’ speculation rather clueless, both in the matter of his understanding of the PRC security mindset and in the matter of his apparent utter gormlessness as to the significance of the Stuxnet exploit.

I will speculate that Olnos’ level of comfort with the “Stuxnet approach” has a lot to do with the fact that “we did it first, so it must be OK.”

Well, it’s not OK, and President Obama realizes it and the Pentagon realizes it, as can be seen from the attached piece.

But if Evan Osnos thinks it’s OK, and his ignorance is contagious, we’re closer to the day when US cyberaggression against China can be excused and advocated as “less than war” and any Chinese retaliation will, inevitably, be condemned as “an act of war”.

So Evan, if there’s a war with China…it’s your fault!

Crossing the Digital Line

President Obama chose to open the Pandora’s box of cyberwar with the Stuxnet attack on Iran’s centrifuge operations. In the process, he made a mockery of the Pentagon’s attempts to establish the rules of cyberwarfare in discussions with a most active and interested adversary--China.

Now, it is almost inevitable that, in addition to potential battlefields on land, sea, and in the air, the escalating and repeating cycle of genuine risk, threat inflation, politicized fearmongering, destabilizing challenges, and growing polarization, accompanied by expanded missions and fattened budgets for the security establishment and its defense contractors —will apply to the US-PRC cyber-arena.

China, of course, is an enthusiastic practitioner of every commercial, military, and diplomatic hack known to science and, it can be safely assumed, is developing its own suite of cyberweapons.

I expect Stuxnet also provides adequate inspiration and justification for the Chinese security and defense establishment to further formalize and professionalize its cyberwar operation and bloat its budget.

Chinese hacks against US targets have traditionally been attributed to freelancers indirectly steered by the Chinese government in order to preserve deniability, as I wrote for Asia Times in April 2012:
China is notorious for its interest in cyber-war as an asymmetric counter to the conventional military superiority of the United States ... and for its apparent willingness to farm out, encourage, or benefit from private hacker initiatives.

On 2010, Mara Hvistendahl wrote in Foreign Policy:
[T]he hacking scene in China probably looks more like a few intelligence officers overseeing a jumble of talented - and sometimes unruly - patriotic hackers. Since the 1990s, China has had an intelligence program targeting foreign technology, says James A Lewis, senior fellow for cyber-security and Internet policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Beyond that, however, things get complicated. "The hacking scene can be chaotic," he says. "There are many actors, some directed by the government and others tolerated by it. These actors can include civilian agencies, companies, and individuals." [3]
Patriotic hackers in China are called "hong ke" or "red guest", a pun on the phonetic rendering "hei ke" or "black guest" for hacker.

Their patriotic cyber-duties included destroying the online presence of South Korean boy band Super Junior after an unruly and undignified crowd of Chinese fans clamored to hear the band at the Shanghai World Expo and embarrassed Chinese nationalists. [4]

They also weigh in on foreign issues of greater moment, mixing it up with their Japanese counterparts when Sino-Japanese passions are inflamed by visits to the Yasukuni Shrine or the collision between a Chinese fishing boat and Japanese coast guard vessel off Diaoyutai/Senkaku in 2010.

But their major utility to the Chinese government may be their ability to generate chaff - a barrage of cyber-attacks to distract and overwhelm US security specialists trying to cope with China's pervasive, professional program of industrial and military espionage - and give the People's Republic of China (PRC) government deniability when hacking is traced to a Chinese source.

Chinese industrial cyber-espionage has emerged as a dominant near-term security concern of the United States.

The Barack Obama administration went public with its case against China in November 2011, with a report on industrial espionage titled Foreign Economic Collection. It described China rather generously as a "Persistent Collector" given the PRC's implication in several high-profile industrial espionage cases and soft-pedaled the issue of official Chinese government involvement. The report stated:
US corporations and cyber-security specialists also have reported an onslaught of computer network intrusions originating from Internet Protocol (IP) addresses in China, which private sector specialists call "advanced persistent threats." Some of these reports have alleged a Chinese corporate or government sponsor of the activity, but the IC [intelligence community] has not been able to attribute many of these private sector data breaches to a state sponsor. Attribution is especially difficult when the event occurs weeks or months before the victims request IC or law enforcement help. [5]
A month later, in December 2011, US criticism of China became a lot more pointed. Business Week published an exhaustive report on Chinese cyber-espionage, clearly prepared with the cooperation of federal law enforcement authorities as it named and described several investigations:
The hackers are part of a massive espionage ring codenamed Byzantine Foothold by US investigators, according to a person familiar with efforts to track the group. They specialize in infiltrating networks using phishing e-mails laden with spyware, often passing on the task of exfiltrating data to others.

Segmented tasking among various groups and sophisticated support infrastructure are among the tactics intelligence officials have revealed to Congress to show the hacking is centrally coordinated, the person said. US investigators estimate Byzantine Foothold is made up of anywhere from several dozen hackers to more than one hundred, said the person, who declined to be identified because the matter is secret.
United States security boffin Richard Clarke had this to say about Chinese cyber-espionage in an interview with Smithsonian magazine:
"I'm about to say something that people think is an exaggeration, but I think the evidence is pretty strong," he tells me. "Every major company in the United States has already been penetrated by China."


"The British government actually said [something similar] about their own country."

Clarke claims, for instance, that the manufacturer of the F-35, our next-generation fighter bomber, has been penetrated and F-35 details stolen. And don't get him started on our supply chain of chips, routers and hardware we import from Chinese and other foreign suppliers and what may be implanted in them-"logic bombs," trapdoors and "Trojan horses," all ready to be activated on command so we won't know what hit us. Or what's already hitting us.
Some big numbers are being thrown around to publicize the Chinese threat.

Business Week's report, while admitting the woolliness of its methodology, stated that losses to American companies from international cyber-espionage amounted to US$500 billion in a single year.

Scott Borg, director of a non-profit outfit called the US Cyber Consequences Unit told Business Week:
"We're talking about stealing entire industries ... This may be the biggest transfer of wealth in a short period of time that the world has ever seen."
Beyond these apocalyptic economic and military scenarios, we might also descend to the personal and political and point out that Google, a favorite target of Chinese cyber-attacks, is Obama's friend, indispensable ally, brain trust and source of personnel in the high-tech sector.

Connect the dots, and it is clear that the Obama administration, in its usual meticulous way, is escalating the rhetoric and preparing the public and the behind-the-scenes groundwork for major pushback against China in the cyber-arena.

When the New York Times (and Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal) got hacked after printing embarrassing stories about the immense family wealth of Chinese leaders at the end of 2012, the dominant meme was still the “amateur hacker” as “nationalist vigilante” determined to avenge the affront to China’s dignity.

However, I was struck by the fact that the hackers explored the New York Times system primarily to identify sources for the offending articles.

Perhaps the intruders simply wanted reveal the names in order to incite a “flesh engine search” so that the sources would face the rough justice administered by the PRC’s nationalistic netizens (though I haven’t heard that any source was exposed on the Chinese internet)…but to me it appears more plausible that somebody in the PRC security apparatus wanted to find out-- for internal use--who violated party discipline by leaking personal information on the families of top leaders from the files of the Organization Department.

It was also interesting to me that, according to the Times, most of the hacks occurred during business hours…Chinese time. The implication being, the PRC is moving away from the freelance hacker model to employing salaried drones who punch the clock at 8:00 am and spend their day grinding down a punchlist of planned cyberintrusions.

The United States, of course, has not been standing idly by.

In a parallel to the alleged Chinese regime patronage of freelance hackers, the United States Department of Defense also has a history of recruiting black-hat hackers to provide the DoD with expertise or…whatever.

I profiled one of the first publicized freelance hacks of Chinese sites, by one “Hardcore Charlie” on the occasion of a blizzard of hacks by “Anonymous China” against several hundred sites, many of which, like the Taoyuan Land Reform Bureau’s, were low-level and presumably poorly secured.

“Hardcore Charlie”’s hack attracted some media attention because his hack of the China Electronics Import & Export Corp. website scored some puzzling and confidential if not particularly useful documents: shipping manifests for contractors trucking supplies to US bases in Afghanistan.

I don’t know of “Hardcore Charlie” hacked the website of the China Electronics Import and Export Corporation for lulz, from principled outrage, or because he thought or was told that he could avoid the prosecutorial hammer currently descending on associates in his hacker collective by executing a China hack at the behest of the US government.

In any case, judging by his manifesto, Hardcore Charlie does not look like the model cyber-soldier:

Hola comradezz, Today us prezenta recently owneed chino military kontraktor CEIEC Us be shoked porque their shiiit was packed with goodiez cummin froma USA Military brigadezz in Afghanistan, them lulz hablando mucho puneta sam slit eyed dudz in Vietnam and Philiez doing bizness in Ukraine and Russia selling goodiez to Taliban terrorists.

As the US and China professionalize its cyber forces—and expand their capabilities beyond espionage and low level harassment to inflicting real-world damage and casualties—freelancers like Hardcore Charlie, with his affection for anti-imperialist thrash metal, will be remembered as quaint artifacts of a simpler, more innocent bygone age when the devastation of a cyberattack was measured by the brilliance of the taunting gif deposited on the victim’s homepage.

The U.S. military has a strong bias toward formalizing and institutionalizing aggression in order to prevent uncontrolled and counterproductive actions by its own forces, allies, and proxies, and trying to get its antagonists to accept the same norms. As will be seen below, the U.S. military has already had an unsuccessful go at trying to define the rules of cyber-engagement with the Chinese before Stuxnet blew the American argument out of the water.

However, cyberwarfare is in a different class from other forms of unconventional warfare.

Because of the central feature of the Internet—its interconnectedness—it is extremely difficult to assure a high level of security and containment in the case of an attack and prevent unpredictable and extensive “collateral damage”...

…even if cyber attacks are executed by serious people in crisp military uniforms who have been trained to the highest level of readiness through cogent Powerpoint presentations and loyally obey crystal-clear orders transmitted down the chain of command from omniscient strategists and tacticians.

In fact, I might say that it was…irresponsible…for President Obama to get the world into the cyberwarfare business.

The US government has been frantically cleaning up the Stuxnet cybermess, as can be seen from this post from last year, with a new afterword.