Saturday, April 30, 2005

Moving America Forward?

Moving America Forward?

There are myriad groups, many nothing more than names and post box addresses, purporting to be the protectors of America. By that they mean protecting the political powers of President Bush and his cloister of cronies currently running rough-shod over the Constitution and international law. Whenever these latter day Knights Templar sniff any opposition to the whims of the Bushists, they put into action a pre-packaged media blitz effort that amounts to little more than a coordinated smear campaign. And they're at it again, rallying to the defense of Bush's choice of John Bolton as America's Number One at the United Nations. - {ape}

Kaloogian’s Hooligans Battle for Bolton Appointment
Kurt Nimmo
April 30, 2005

Not Nuts for Bolton

For some unexplained reason, I keep getting email from Howard Kaloogian’s Move America Forward. I wrote about Kaloogian last June, when he was attempting to prevent Americans from going to see Michael Moore’s documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, an effort that was pretty much a dismal failure. Kaloogian’s latest effort is to attack those who believe the appointment of John Bolton to the United Nations is not a good idea, considering not only Bolton’s predisposition to attack the international forum but also his tendency to go after those who disagree with his extremist take on international affairs in bully-boy fashion (including chasing them around hotels).

“We’ve had enough of the ‘Smear John Bolton’ campaign led by liberals Barbar Boxer and John Kerry,” Kaloogian writes in his latest spam. “Our new ad redirects the the discussion back on the failures of the UN. More importantly, we’re setting a new standard in these confirmation fights by highlighting the credibility issues that undermine Bolton’s highest profile critics Melody Townsel (active with Mothers Opposing Bush) and Carl Ford (campaign contributor to several liberal Democrats including Senator John Kerry).”

In short, Kaloogian is up to his old tricks, smearing people who disagree with the Bolton appointment. Kaloogian wants the faithful to send him $140,000, so he can run TV ads targeting Democrat Russ Feingold in Wisconsin, “just like we did with Senator Voinovich [an Ohio Republican] when he expressed doubts about Bolton.” Disagreement and reservations about appointing a bully who engages in personal vendettas against those who have the gall to disagree with him, according to Kaloogian, is flat out treason.

Last week Voinovich “shocked” the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to the right-wing New York Sun, when he told them he was not “comfortable voting for John Bolton.” Radio ads smearing Voinovich as “disloyal” to Bush, a “traitor,” and portraying Bolton as “someone who will stand up for the United States and fight the UN’s corruption and anti-Americanism” suddenly appeared on Ohio’s radio spectrum. “Move America Forward has spent tens of thousands of dollars airing radio ads throughout the state of Ohio on more than one-dozen news/talk radio stations,” Kaloogian, who lives in California, proudly admitted. “According to media reports and sources on Capitol Hill, Senator Voinovich’s office was inundated with phone calls, FAXes and emails.”

Organizations such as Move America Forward (into fascism) call this sort of organized harassment “grassroots activism” and it is a favorite tactic for other right-wingers as well. “Within a couple of hours of Voinovich’s action Tuesday, Move America Forward announced on its Web site and in faxes to news organizations that it would target Voinovich for his ‘obstructionist conduct.’ On Thursday, the day the ads began running, Voinovich’s office phones were jammed with callers and computer e-mail in-baskets were clogged with messages related to the Bolton confirmation.” According to Kaloogian, this orchestrated intimidation worked because Move America Forward (into fascism) “received reassurances from very reliable sources that Senator Voinovich has obtained a new and fair outlook on the Bolton nomination.” In other words, Voinovich caved.

Howard Kaloogian, who at one time was a Republican member of the California State Assembly—that is until the people of California had enough of his extreme right-wing nonsense and pitched him—is remarkably tireless in his efforts to smear and malign anybody who disagrees with the far right-wing authoritarian fanatics in the Bush administration and their fellow travelers in Congress.

For instance, Kaloogian went on MSNBC’s Scarborough Country (not surprisingly a right-wing venue) last June and said “Hezbollah … is supportive of this [Moore’s] movie. Now if you’re [Moore] lining yourself up with Hezbollah, then you’re the domestic enemy.” (See Scarborough Country guest Kaloogian accused Moore of “lining [him]self up with Hezbollah.”) In other words, Michael Moore, who is hardly a far left radical (he is a chic Hollywood liberal), is a traitor because somebody in the United Arab Emirates ran his picture and we know how the right in the United States want to treat those they perceive as traitors (for reference, consult Bob Newman, far right-wing radio talk show host in Colorado, who wants to charge Ward Churchill with treason, although he says that he does not “want Churchill hanged” because that “would be ruining a perfectly good rope").

A simple Google search reveals that Kaloogian has a penchant for rubbing elbows with “useful idiots” such as “wealthy car-alarm magnate” Rep. Darrell Issa and working with “a stealthy group of GOP operatives,” as he did during the recall of California Gov. Gray Davis (Kaloogian was chairman of the Recall Gray Davis Committee), according to Max Blumenthal’s California Confidential. Kaloogian’s hooligans, including a former Enron pollster and various shifty Republican tacticians, specialized in “negative character attacks and avoidance of policy discussion,” a staple of right-wingers high and particularly low.

I have personal experience with this sort of unethical behavior, as David Horowitz and his attack dog, Steve Plaut, used precisely this sort of “negative character attack” against me on several occasions, especially after I responded to Plaut’s characterization of Counterpunch as a den of “Cockburn’s cockroaches.” Horowitz and Plaut were simply sharpening their knives on me, since I am essentially a small fry blogger, and usually save their immense reservoirs of venom for more high profile targets, such as Ward Churchill.

Kaloogian is short on fact and long on preposterous accusation, as fits the smear template of the far right. “Two of the most recent MAF [Move America Forward] initiatives are strategically and tactically linked: to move the United Nations headquarters out of the United States and to support John Bolton as the U.S. Representative to the United Nations,” notes Right Web. MAF regards Bolton

as one of the few U.S. diplomats who can “stand up to the ‘Blame America First’ crowd at the United Nations.” In one of its television ads, MAF highlights Kofi Annan’s purported “close association” with Yasser Arafat, Saddam Hussein, and Fidel Castro, while in the same alarmist tone labeling the UN as a “corrupt, anti-American body.” Even though the UN Secretary General was absolved of any involvement in the Oil for Food scandal, MAF has continued to vilify this leader, implying that the UN supports terrorism. The MAF website features an image characteristic of boxing matches with photos of Bolton and Annan in opposing corners.

According to MAF, the United Nations is an “apologist and defender of terrorist organizations and their agents.” In one of its television ads, MAF says that the United States should no longer “harbor” the UN, and that we should begin “kicking the UN out of the United States” as a necessary step “to move America forward.”

Note that MAF and Kaloogian attempt to gain the most political mileage through unsubstantiated lies and insinuation—standard fare for fanatical and amoral right-wingers who will do anything to foist their authoritarian version of lock-step patriotism on the American people and go after their enemies with a curdled nastiness unparalleled in American history. As in the case of Horowitz and Crew, there is plenty of documentation to suggest a small number of rich people are funding this effort (see the Media Transparency entry on David Horowitz).

Kaloogian’s spam offers a URL where I can unsubscribe, but I don’t think I will because his emails are so darn entertaining, filled with paranoia and right-wing gibberish about commies and Muslims. It’s a good way to keep up on the vicious machinations of the far right as they plod along, begging for money like slippery television preachers, and plotting against the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Middle East Democracy 2005: The 110% Solution

You might have thought that the whole chamber, with its toothy smiles and constant handshakes, contained a room full of men celebrating peace rather than war. Alas, not so. These elegantly dressed statesmen were constructing the framework that would allow them to kill quite a lot of people, many of them Saddam's little monsters, no doubt, but a very considerable number of innocents as well.

In Middle Eastern elections, no one bats an eyelid when the leader gets 110 per cent of the vote. Even the worst dictatorships - usually supported by us, the 'democrats' - want to play the game

Robert Fisk

"The Independent" - - Democracy. Ah, how the Middle East would love to have some democracy! On the supermarket shelf - and I can assure you, there are plenty of supermarkets in the Middle East - a couple of boxes of democracy would be a good buy, along with three boxes of human rights and four boxes of justice.

That, by the way, is the right order. But I absolutely (I am using, of course, the favourite adverb of Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara) support democracy in the Middle East.

Another Friendly Dictator

Arab elections are among the quaintest of the Middle East's attempts to reproduce the Western-style "democracy" their dictators claim they already possess. In 1993, for example, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt (our good friend) "won" 94.91 per cent of the vote for his third six-year term in office. His fourth six-year victory in 1999 brought him a measly 93.79 per cent. His predecessor, Anwar Sadat, claimed a thumping 99.95 per cent victory for political reform in a 1974 referendum.

Saddam Hussein supposedly gained 99.96 per cent for his presidency in 1993 - the identity of the errant 0.04 per cent of voters was not disclosed, although they had obviously thought better by 2002 when Saddam's minions announced a clear 100 per cent vote.

In 1999, Hafez Assad of Syria scored what the official Syrian news agency Sana called a "slashing victory" of 98.97 per cent for a new seven-year term in office - a mere 219 brave citizens voted against him - though he did not live to complete it. After this, Abdelaziz Bouteflika's 73.8 per cent victory in Algeria in 1999 and Mahmoud Abbas's 62.3 per cent as Palestinian president in 2005 were modest enough to believe.

In 1992, a popular joke in Damascus had it that George Bush Snr, facing defeat at the polls in the United States, asked the Syrian security services to arrange an Assad-style victory for the Republicans. They did. Assad's goons duly flew into JFK and Americans voted 99 per cent - for Assad.

But I should add that an equally popular legend in Damascus would have one believe that the Syrian minister of the interior announced in 1948 that President Kuwatly had won 110 per cent of the vote. Kuwatly, so the story goes, immediately fired the minister of the interior.

But you get the point. Even the worst dictatorships in the world - usually supported by us, the "democrats" - want to play the game. "Popular" support was always a sine qua non of thugs. Thus we always knew - when we read that a country was a "popular democratic republic" that it was a police state, whether that be the German Democratic Republic or the Popular Democratic Republic of Algeria. The more brutal the regime, the more "popular" and "democratic" it became.

The problem, of course, is that we accepted this. We went along with the GDR and, indeed, the "popular" Cambodia of the Khmer Rouge - even at the United Nations - provided they were on "our" side which, at the time, meant that they were either anti-Soviet or anti-Chinese.

So all the tired, hopeless states we bred in the Middle East got away with it. Nasser's Egypt and Gaddafi's Libya - and, later, Saddam's Iraq - were all originally welcomed by Britain and the United States after the initial overthrow of their kings (Farouk and Idriss and the Iraqi regent Feisal).

True, Jack Straw, my favourite Trot, branded Gaddafi a "statesman" after he vowed to dismantle the non-existent weapons of mass destruction he claimed to possess, but that was only a few weeks before the Saudis discovered that Gaddafi was planning to assassinate Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, one of George W Bush's best friends in Arabia - enough of this story, because it has not been told.

Invisible Man in Waiting

So how do we "real" democrats behave? February 3, 2003 was a snow-blasted day in New York, the steam whirling out of the road covers, the US secret servicemen - helpfully wearing jackets with "Secret Service" printed on them - hugging themselves outside the fustian, asbestos-packed UN headquarters on the East River.

Exhausted though I was at the time after travelling thousands of miles around the United States, the idea of watching Secretary of State Colin Powell - or General Powell as he was now being reverently redubbed in some American newspapers - make his last pitch for war against Iraq before the Security Council was an experience not to be missed. In a few days, I would be in Baghdad (the "democratic" nation we originally supported) to watch the start of this frivolous, demented conflict.

Leading the Charge for War

Powell's appearance at the Security Council was the essential prologue to the tragedy - or tragicomedy if one could control one's anger - the appearance of the Attendant Lord who would explain the story of the drama, the Horatio to the increasingly unstable Hamlet in the White House.

There was an almost macabre opening to the play when General Powell arrived at the UN, cheek-kissing the delegates and winding his great arms around them. CIA director George Tenet stood behind Powell, chunky, aggressive but obedient, just a little bit lip-biting, an Edward G Robinson who must have convinced himself that the more dubious of his information was buried beneath sufficient piles of moral fury and fear to be safely concealed.

Just like Bush's appearance at the General Assembly the previous September, you needed to be in the Security Council to see what the television cameras missed.

Because there was a wonderful moment when the little Jack Straw entered the chamber through the far right-hand door in a massive power suit, his double-breasted jacket apparently wrapping itself twice around Britain's most famous ex-Trot. He stood for a moment with a kind of semi-benign smile on his uplifted face, his nose in the air as if sniffing for power.

Then he saw Powell and his smile opened like an umbrella as his small feet, scuttling beneath him, propelled him across the stage and into the arms of Powell for his big American hug.

You might have thought that the whole chamber, with its toothy smiles and constant handshakes, contained a room full of men celebrating peace rather than war. Alas, not so. These elegantly dressed statesmen were constructing the framework that would allow them to kill quite a lot of people, many of them Saddam's little monsters, no doubt, but a very considerable number of innocents as well.

When Powell rose to give his terror-talk - all lies, of course - he did so with a slow athleticism, the world-weary warrior whose patience had at last reached its end. Straw was the obedient schoolboy, clapping first the moment Powell had ended his lies. Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara supported every word of it.

Long live our democracy. Let's hope the Arabs embrace our glorious traditions.

©2005 Independent News & Media (UK) Ltd.

The Pitiful Demise of the Eminent Grey Lady

The Pitiful Demise of the Eminent Grey Lady

The BBC has suffered severe criticism since its initial boosterism for the Iraq invasion, and now for its continued blind support for the laughably implausible Tony Blair's contortion of facts that led Britain to follow George Bush into the quagmire. -{ape}

The Pitiful Demise of the Eminent Gray Lady
Chris Cook
PEJ News
April 30th, 2005

Though their credibility lays in tatters at home, the Doyens of the Beeb's international radio service, (rebroadcast weekdays through Camosun College's Village 900), seem unaware of just how low they, and the fourth estate generally has fallen in the eyes and ears of the public.

How else to explain the blatant propaganda-by-omission masqerading as news broadcast yesterday (Friday, April 29th, 2005) concerning the growing rift between allies Italy and the United States?

Clearly, the BBC must believe us all idiots, too preoccupied with sit-coms and shock jocks to see through their B.S.

It all stems from the infamous March shooting of Italian reporter, Giuliana Sgrena and her saviour, super-spy Nicola Calipari. Relying on the "memory hole theory," yesterday's BBC report failed to mention the fact that Sgrena, prior to the American assassination attempt, had been enduring the Iraq occupation not from the air conditioned terraces of an International Hotel, but with the families, women and children particularly, of Baghdad. The London scoops also felt mentioning her by name unnecessary, she was merely referred to as "an Italian national kidnapped by terrorists."

That Sgrena's reports home were an essential element in forming massive opposition to Italy's participation in the disastrous fiasco was apparently deemed unimportant; that there could well have been motive behind the malice of the attack ignored; that opposition to the war in Italy, triggered in large part by the "friendly fire" incident, has rocked billionaire PM Berlusconi's coalition government; and, the lame joint Italian/U.S. military investigation reports on the incident has enraged the Italian street, making a hasty departure of Italian troops from Iraq a distinct possiblilty, all too seems just so much floppo to the newbies running the Beeb.

Listening for the hourly repeat of the BBC International News, I expected the story to be fleshed out; I expected at least one "W" of the five would be added. You know, "Who?" But what I got was a repeat of the incomplete.

It seems, the BBC has no room to include the names of survivors who dispute the official line they so assiduously toe. It's as though Sgrena has been disappeared, kidnapped for a second time. Though it's Giuliana Sgrena being silenced by the ethically challenged BBC editors, it's the British people, and those dwindling few on this side of the Atlantic still wowed by the poshly accented credibility front projected by the venerable broadcaster who're being hooded.

Fortunately, friend David Cromwell over at is watching and reporting on the many failings of the once trusted public broadcaster. It's an example we would be well to follow here in Canada, before the CBC too is deemed unbelievable, thus unsupportable.


This article was inspired by an e:mail exchange between myself and the estimable Mr. David Cromwell of, reproduced below. {ape}

Subject: Chris Cook-- re: BBC International Radio--Sgrena inquiry

Greetings again, David; This BBC service here is wretched. Today, they "covered" the commission fracas. Interestingly though, the good ol'
boys of the beeb omitted Sgrena, and the entire "journalists as ducks"
angle. They instead focussed on Calipari, barely noting the release of an
"Italian national" he had negotiated.

Perhaps she didn't survive afterall?

David Cromwell:

Interesting to hear, thanks. They've been wretched, too, on the
Attorney General's legal advice to Blair on war: and how all his
caveats of 7th March 2003 disappeared but 10 days later.

The Cabinet did not see the full advice of 7th March, but only heard a verbal
summary from the AG. Clare Short, a Cabinet minister then, said that
questions weren't allowed. Blair is now saying, having been essentially forced to publish the full advice, that it's not the "smoking gun" that anti-war supporters had been saying (which is a strawman argument).

Andrew Marr, the BBC's political editor, has been saying much the same thing, i.e. toeing Blair's line. Scandalous. The next day, the BBC had decreed that the election campaign had "moved on from Iraq". I hope it's all been an eye-opener for yet more people about the abysmal journalism by the BBC.

best wishes,

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. He's also a contributing editor at News, a progressive Victoria news site. Check out his blog at: Gorilla Radio Blog

[The Gray Lady is an honorific for the New York Times, but I felt it also fitting for the failing BBC.]

John Ross' Living Will

John Ross's Living Will

Pope Ratzo and the Hucksters of Death By

April 27 , 2005-Mexico City

As the death gurgles of Terry Schiavo and Pope Wojytla grew more agitated and the media drumbeat pumped up maximum ratings for their mutually Christian agonies, some kindred soul climbed Galeras Mountain above Saltillo city in the great Coahuila desert and set fire to a 50-foot fiberglass figure of Jesus Christ. The immolation could be viewed from downtown Saltillo – only Jesus' left arm survived the blaze. It has since become a local relic, housed in the city's cavernous cathedral.

On the other side of the border where the United States of North America suffered an evangelical coup d'etat last November, no Jesus-burnings have yet been reported despite mounting disgust at such excesses of the Christian coup as the ugliness wafting about the human vegetable formerly known coast to coast as Terry Schiavo,

The Schiavo spectacle featured withering hatred between loved ones, demagoguery run riot, and crazed Catholic zealots, Born-Agains, and Not-Dead-Yets holy rolling around on the Florida hospice's manicured front lawn. The 24-7 media circus was ringmastered by that indefatigueable exterminator Tom Delay of Sugarland, Texas who parlayed the hysteria into an unprecedented congressional vote that put the legislative branch on a train wreck course with the Constitution.

Perhaps the culminating moment of this reality freak show came when, flanked by burley leftist bodyguard monks from St. Paul, Terry's parents tried to get the brain dead woman to pronounce the words "I want to live." "AHHH WAAAAAAA" was as far she got reported the Associated Press – it is not known how the agency determined the exact number of "h"s and "a"s. Although Terry was not a southern gal, the "ah wahs" have a decided downhome lilt to them and have been open to many interpretations including "ah wahnt out of here" and "ah wahnt to kill Tom Delay."

Whatever she was seeking to annunciate (the medics described it as an involuntary moan), by April Fool's Day – assuming I was not perusing one of those joke facsimile editions of major American newspapers (remember Not-The-New York-Times?) - Schiavo was pronounced really dead. Her bereaved family celebrated her demise by leasing the list of those who contributed cash to keeping her "alive" for the past 15 years to a Christian direct mail advertiser for $4000 a month. It is reported that receipts from every Terry Schiavo tee shirt and coffee mug hawked outside the hospice were directed into the legal battle aimed at wresting the malpractice moolah from that Devil Incarnate, the evil husband Michael Schiavo.

The death carnival was full tilt in St. Peter's Square too and the trinket venders were cleaning up on John Paul memorabilia. In the inner sanctums of the Vatican, most every political poltroon on the planet passed silently by the bier of the demised pontiff, shedding crocodile tears and stabbing each other in the back as they cloaked their sins in Wojytla's death shroud.

With the vaults of the Bank of the Vatican reportedly bare and the Holy See running deeply in the red due to the diminishment of believers in the Roman Catholic product and humungous payouts in pederast priest scandals, the Church mavens missed a good bet by not selling tickets to these macabre events. This is not just a modest proposal – tickets to several of John Paul II's last appearances were backed by coupons for Big Macs, and just before his death, the late Pontiff blessed 7000 cell phone photos in a last-ditch promotion to replenish emptying donation baskets.
The requiem Mass presided over by former Boston Cardinal Bernard Law would have been a big-ticket item. Law, who was forced to flee his archdiocese after evidence emerged that he moved up to 80 pederast priests from parish to parish to elude police detection, was extended sanctuary in the Vatican by the late Pope.

Protestors disrupted the mourning for John Paul to demand the ironically named Churchman be brought back to Boston to face justice.

Leading the U.S. delegation to this funerary fiesta (if leadership is to be measured by how much ink one accrues) was the unavoidable Tom Delay. The House Majority leader, who reportedly unplugged his dear old dad, a rugged oil wildcatter, after a household accident, utilized the Pope's sarcophagus as a pulpit to rail against "activist" judges and their war on the Judeo-Christian Faith.

Sadly, there are no activist judges anymore – Bruce "Cut 'Em Loose" Wright passed away just recently - he is the only member of the North American judiciary I would have voted to keep artificially alive.

Representative Delay's arrival in Rome obeyed his staunch ecumenical convictions – the humility-challenged Republican's belief system appears to be a heady mix of Apocalyptical Zionism, fundamental Jesusism, and firm faith in pest control. The Holy Land for the Texas Exterminator seems to be the launching pad for the End Times, the pathway to the Rapture, and he is, of course, a high profile partisan of Ariel Sharon and those to his right in their crusade to eradicate the pesky Palestinians as if they were so many household pests.

As the "lives" of Schiavo and Wojytla wound down, Oxfam activists installed a large billboard clock near the World Bank where the Masters of the Universe were in annual spring session. Tick Tick Tick. Oxfam advised the bigwigs that every three seconds a child dies somewhere in the world. Tick. Tick. Tick. Mostly, they die because they do not have a life support system. Tick Tick Tick. You know, stuff like air, water, food, housing, and medicine. Tick Tick Tick. Entitlements that in the third world the poor fight revolutions to obtain. Tick Tick Tick. Another kid dead. Tick Tick Tick. Another $125,000 USD gobbled up by Citigroup, a million dollar a minute corporation. Tick Tick Tick.

It is not known exactly when Pope Wojytla expired. He is believed to have been on life support for many years, pumped full of steroids and monkey glands and dopamine to control the trembles, and injected daily with the blood of virgins held captive in the Vatican basement. But the machinery was always breaking down, often before millions on television although, like the emperor and his new duds, no one dared to mention the degradation of the Pope's mortality. Once the Clear Channel Pope, a Great Communicator of Ronald Reagan dimensions, he had slipped so deeply into dementia that he was now unintelligible in the 13 languages he allegedly once spoke. Now His Holiness was pissing all over the Popemobile and refusing to wear diapers!

That's when Ratzinger stepped in and had his throat slit, an "emergency tracheotomy", arrrgghhh. What else could he do? The man was making a mockery of the One True Church. After that, they couldn’t even get a feeding tube down poor John Paul's guggle.

Much as with the late Pope, it is not easy to know how many members of the College of Cardinals are maintained on life support systems but as Cardinal Ratzinger moved to grab power, at least 77 of the Men In Purple proved to be brain dead. After a few half-hearted puffs of indeterminate emissions from the famous Fumata (doesn't the city of Rome have air pollution standards?), a member of Hitler Youth and a foot soldier in Adolph's army who knew just where the Nazi death camps were located, was chosen as God's representative on earth. With Arnold in the White House and Ratzinger in the Pope House, it looks like the Aryan Nation won the war after all.

Ratzinger's selection settled over the world like a pall. Those who had anticipated a pope of color - Latin America accounts for half the Roman Catholics in this part of the galaxy – had foolishly underestimated the racism entombed in the bosom of Holy Mother Church. As dispensation to the disillusion, Chilean Cardinal Jose Agustin Medina was pushed out on the balcony to sound the time-honored cry "We have a Pope!" Cardinal Medina is (was) Augustin Pinochet's favorite priest.

Benedictus XVI had operated as Wojytla's ventriloquist since 1981 when he took over the Congregation for the Defense of the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the Santa Inquisition, and began to dismantle Vatican II, the historic accord hammered out by the Peoples' Pope, John XXIII, that insisted upon the Church's option for the poor. Ratzinger's promotion to the throne of Peter and the installation of Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank are indeed ominous tidings for the world's poor.

Exactly how many disobedient priests were drawn and quartered or burnt at the stake during Ratzinger's reign of terror at the Congregation is not a matter of public record but at least 140 were silenced or defrocked, precisely for espousing the Church's option for the poor, amongst them the exalted theologian Hans Kung who once gave the then-liberal Ratzinger (he now sits to the right of Opus Dei) his first teaching job. Also bopped was the bushy-bearded Brazilian Leonardo Boff who Ratzinger silenced and drove from the Church. Boff bemoaned Ratzinger's elevation as the worst move the Church fathers (there are no mothers) could have made. "Cardinal Ratzinger is hated by the bishops, many of whom he has publicly humiliated for years," Boff avowed in a recent El Pais interview.

As the keeper of the dogma, the Terminator Pope made a hobby out of hunting down practitioners of liberation theology. Among his trophies: the Nicaraguan poet-priest Ernesto Cardenal who Wojytla trampled into the tarmac at Managua International Airport in 1984, and Don Samuel Ruiz, the beloved bishop emeritus of Chiapas.

Ratzinger once accused the World Council of Churches of fomenting subversion in Latin America and his orthodox convictions coincide with CIA doctrine that miscreant liberationists threaten Washington's hegemony in the Americas.

The self-anointed Benedictus XVI is a kind of Teutonic John Ashcroft who promulgates edicts barring mariachis and indigenous dancers from performing during Mass (an instruction widely disregarded in Mexico.) Ratzinger's persecution of Don Samuel who he accused of preaching a Marxist version of the Gospel, led him to attack the indigenous church that Tatik nurtured during 40 years as head of the San Cristobal diocese as "a stalking horse for Marxism-Leninism." In his eagerness to nail Samuel to the cross, he even sent his inquisitors deep into the Lacandon jungle to gather evidence that the Bishop was ordaining women deacons.

For a quarter of a century, the new Pope has waged a personal war against syncreticism, the Indian church, woman priests, abortion providers, gays and lesbians, and above all, the Dread Condom. Although his predecessor has been nominated for sainthood for having once miraculously cured a man with terminal pain in his brain, Wojytla's candidacy must be nullified by the millions of AIDS deaths his condemnation of condom use incurred.

Despite being dead from the neck down, the celibate Ratzinger feels so full of the Lord that he never tires of damning sexual intimacies left of the missionary position. He rails against same sex marriage, pre-marital sex, birth control pills, and the liberation of women. Nevertheless, the new Pope and his predecessor Wojytla failed to notice decades of pederasty in the priesthood on their watch, even when Father Marcial Macial, founder of the Legionnaires of Christ, was buggering small children behind locked Vatican doors. Some of Macial's victims reported that the good father told them he had a papal dispensation to sodomize them.

In response to allegations that he had purposefully ignored Father Macial's sins for years for fear of disaffecting John Paul who particularly favored the sodomite, Ratzinger assailed media coverage of pederast priest scandals as "an attack on the Church."

The 265th in a long line of Machiavellian tyrants, poisoners, and pederasts, Ratzinger is the wrong pope in the wrong time zone. Confronted with onrushing Islam, Ratzinger lobbied the European Union to exclude the swarthy Turks because he considered Europe to be "a Christian continent." No wonder the Gray Wolves took a shot at his pal Wojytla.

Pope Ratzo insists that the Church of Rome is the only true church, sneers at Protestant denominations as "sects", and has written that the Jews bear the blame for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (although he doesn't think they should have gotten the gas chamber for it.)

Perhaps the only consolation for humanity in this catastrophic appointment is that, at 78, Benedictus XVI is the oldest pontiff to be selected since the 18th century. Like many of us old people, he sometimes loses track of where he is at – often mixing up the 21st century with the Middle Ages. On the eve of the Cardinals' conclave, he stirred souls by dissing godless Communism, apparently unaware that the Berlin Wall had come down in 1989.

The new Pope's selective memory loss is cited by critics reviewing Ratzinger's autobiography, which seems to omit an uncle who was in the concentration camp business and important Nazi slaughters of dissidents near his hometown in Bavaria. Nor does the volume mention his ties to Bank of Vatican insider Roberto Calvi, found dangling from London's Blackfriers r Bridge in 1984.

Although Ratzinger was low down on the papal totem pole when John Paul I, the last Italian pope, came to the throne in 1978, his Borgia-esque death 30 days later propelled both Wojytla and Ratzinger into the papacy.

It is not known at what level of the living dead the new pope functions – he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in 1991 and his health is not robust. Moreover, stocks of virgin blood stored in the Vatican basement have been greatly diminished by prolonged efforts to keep John Paul II "alive." That famous Not-the-New York Times headline after the first Pope John Paul took a dive, may soon be revived: "POPE DIES AGAIN!"

All of this shameless huckstering of death and dying has made drawing up one's living will an urgent priority. To my mind, these living wills should be transformed into political manifestoes, our final rant to the rest of the world, and a call for direct action. Why lay around dying at home when you can be out there dedicating your corporeal remains to smashing the church and the state!

Here is my living will.

"When I, John Ross, become so debilitated by terminal illness, and the consumption of opiate-derived drugs no longer quells the pain, and/or when I am rendered helpless by disease, intentional violence, or a freak accident, I ask that a guardian be appointed who will strap dynamite to my cadaver, wheel me to the designated capitalist target and light the fuse.

"The burning of my body Bonze-style would be an acceptable alternative to such sabotage but only if I am propped up in front of a recognizable emblem of U.S. imperialist domination while I roast.

"Say no to war and world hunger, racism, sexism, Capitalism, and all other isms that get in the way of the peoples' struggle to control their own destinies. There is no peace without justice. Hasta La Victoria Siempre! Bye Bye."

John Ross is a 2005 recipient of the Upton Sinclair "Uppie" Award presented by the southern California chapter of the ACLU, for his latest instant cult classic "Murdered By Capitalism: A Memoir of 150 Years of Life & Death on the U.S. Left"

Friday, April 29, 2005

Bird in the Hand: Two Bush's Worth

Chris Floyd
Friday, April 29, 2005

It seemed, at first, like nothing more than a novelty item in the news briefs, the kind of odd, meaningless side-fact thrown off by most major stories: "New Pope, President's Brother Had Link in Swiss Group." But a look beneath the surface of this innocuous connection reveals a vast web of sinister alliances -- and moral corruption on a world-shaking scale.

The network links a bewildering line-up of players -- the Bushes, the Vatican, bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and China's Communist overlords, among others -- in a staggering array of crime and turpitude: prostitution, pedophilia, mass death and war profiteering. Yet this is not some grand "conspiracy theory," a serpent's egg hatched in Bilderberg or Bohemian Grove. It's simply the way the Bush boys do business, trawling the globe for sweetheart deals and gushers of blood money from the war and terror they foment.

At the center of this particular nexus is the unlikely figure of Neil Bush, the feckless, fraudulent brother of the current president. Neilsy, as he's known in the family, is most famous for costing American taxpayers $1 billion to bail out a savings-and-loan he had ruined with secret insider loans to his own business partners. For this massive fraud, he was fined -- by his father's administration -- the princely sum of $50,000, which was actually paid by one of his dad's political bagmen, of course.

You see, the Bushes are robber barons, not capitalists: They never risk any of their own money in the competition of the marketplace. Nor do they ever pay the price when their deals go belly-up. Just ask George W., whose first business was jump-started with secret cash from the bin Ladens, laundered through their U.S. frontman, James Bath -- who was also hired by W.'s dad, then-CIA director George Bush Sr., to set up offshore companies for shifting CIA money and aircraft between Texas and Saudi Arabia, the Texas Observer reported. Neilsy's latest business ventures include a partnership with one of China's own influence-peddling oligarchs: Jiang Mianheng, son of former President Jiang Zemin. He's paying Bush $2 million for "advice" in a field – the semiconductor industry -- which Neilsy cheerfully confesses he knows nothing about.

Bush also trousered $1 million for "introductions and advice" from the CP Group, a Bangkok conglomerate spreading bipartisan gravy around Washington. In return for supplying his paymasters with a golden conduit to the White House, Neilsy received a special perk: free prostitutes, served up fresh to his hotel room during business trips to Asia. But between his sessions of bouncy-bouncy with trafficked women, Neilsy was also sitting down with hard-line cleric Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the former soldier for Nazi Germany now translated to glory as Pope Benedict XVI. The two men were board members of an obscure Swiss institute ostensibly devoted to "interfaith dialogue."

Although the organization did have some prominent ecumenical figures on the board, none of them could say exactly why pimp-daddy Neilsy was invited to join, Newsday reported. Perhaps there's a clue in the group's incorporation. Dunn & Bradstreet lists the supposedly nonprofit foundation as a "management trust," designed for "purposes other than education, religion, charity or research." The group's spokesman says this designation was a "mistake," and anyway, the institute is hastily being "re-launched" with a "new focus" on its religious mission. But a cynic -- i.e., anyone with the slightest acquaintance of Bush business practices -- might think that a "management trust" masquerading as a religious charity would be an excellent place to launder money or park assets away from the taxman's prying eyes.

Meanwhile, Ratzinger spent his time on the Swiss board trying to bury the Vatican's massive pedophilia scandal, the London Observer reported this week. In a secret 2001 letter, he ordered Church officials to prevent police from learning about abuse allegations -- a theological innovation more commonly known in the United States as "obstructing justice." Given this criminal high-wire act, perhaps the good cardinal thought it prudent to cultivate some personal ties with a presidential sibling.

Whatever Neilsy and Das Panzerkardinal were up to in Switzerland, Ratzinger repaid their camaraderie with a decisive intervention in brother George's 2004 election, issuing a fatwa that essentially condemned any Catholic voting for John Kerry to eternal hellfire. With the Vatican's iron hand on the scales, Bush reaped an extra six percent of the Catholic vote -- a huge boost in a tight race.

But it's Neilsy's long-time partnership with Syrian-born businessman Jamal Daniel that has provided the true mother lode: war profiteering. Daniel, also a boardmate in the Swiss adventure with Ratzinger, is a principal in New Bridge Strategies, a firm set up by top Bush insiders to steer corporate clients to the fountains of blood money flowing from George W.'s conquest of Iraq.

The company makes frequent use of Neilsy's "introductions" and Middle East connections, The Financial Times reported. It also operates a profitable sideline in mercenaries. Daniel brings his own unique connections to the regional porkfest: His family was instrumental in the creation of the Baath Party in Syria and Iraq, The Financial Times noted. And of course, the Bush Family's covert arm, the CIA -- whose headquarters bears the name of George Sr. -- assisted not one, but two, Baathist coups in Iraq, including the bloody upheaval that brought Saddam Hussein's family faction to power, historian Roger Morris reported.

Still later, the CIA would supply Osama bin Laden and his fellow extremists with weapons, money and terrorist training: a shrewd investment whose long-term consequences -- the current "war on terror" -- are still paying fat dividends for Bush coffers. Sure, thousands die and millions suffer from these dirty deals -- but it's not a "conspiracy." It's just business -- the Bush way. Annotations

Neil Bush, Ratzinger Co-Founders
of Ecumenical Group
Newsday, April 21, 2005

Pope 'Obstructed' Sex Abuse Inquiry
The Observer, April 24, 2005

New Bridge: New Strategy for GOP
Insider's Iraq Development Company
Congressional Quarterly Weekly, Feb. 12, 2005 (subscription required)

Neil, Prince of Bush: Why his Latest Outrage
Provoked So Little Outrage
Harper's, May 1, 2004

The Barrelling Bushes
Los Angeles Times, Jan. 11, 2004

President's Brother Helped
New Bridge Businessmen
Financial Times, Dec. 12, 2003

Neil Bush's Business Dealings
Financial Times, Dec. 12, 2003

Ratzinger and the N Word
Max Blumenthal, April 19, 2005

With Great Diligence,
In Iraq (New Bridge Security Spin-Off)
Haaretz, July 7, 2004

A Tyrant 40 Years in the Making
New York Times, March 14, 2003

The Bush Family's Favorite Terrorist, April 24, 2005

US Insider's New Firm Consults on Iraq
New York Times, Sept. 30, 2003

The Profiteering Bush Brothers
Scoop, Jan. 31, 2005

New Pope Intervened Against
Kerry in 2004 Election
Agence France Presse, April 19, 2005

The Bush-bin Laden Connection
Texas Observer, Nov. 9, 2001

The Bush-bin Laden Connection
One Nation, Dec. 7, 2004

Influence Peddling, Bush-Style
The Nation, Oct. 23, 2000

Ratzinger Defends Violence
Against Gays
Americablog, April 19, 2005

Priestly Sin, Cover-Up
ABC News, April 26, 2002

The Painter's House: Another Case of Last Things Done

What follows is the rap on last week's show. As it turned out, one of the guests no-showed, but you'll get the idea. In the meanwhile, the Italian-U.S. rift grows wider by the day. The Italian people won't accept a whitewash of the incident. but, the U.S. administation is as unrelentingly recalcitrant as ever, refusing to budge from the original tale spun by military PR. {ape}

Gorilla Radio for Monday, April 25th, 2005

They were singing and laughing in the car, happy to be heading home to Italy. Giuliana Sgrena, correspondent for Italy's 'Il Manifesto' newspaper had endured weeks of mortal fear, not knowing who her kidnappers really worked for, or what they might do to her. Now, less than half a mile from the airport, they were homefree. And then the shooting started.

Danny Schechter on the Sgrena Incident in the first half.

It’s no secret, Corporate Canada is a big fan of the U.S. economic model. Who, in business wouldn’t back lower wages and benefits for workers? Which among them would oppose tax cuts? The recent history of Canadian business should read as a horror story for any of those quaint old-fashioned Canadians. You know, patriots?

Murray Dobbin on the CEO Sellout of Canada in the second half.

And...Janine Bandcroft at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed on all that's good to do in and around Victoria this week.

Gorilla Radio
Monday, April 25th, 5-6pm pdt

She was an old Iraq hand, having covered the invasion and occupation from a uniquely feminine perspective, living with and documenting the effects of the conflict on Iraqi women and children. And her reports were uncompromisingly critical of America and it's so-called coalition. And then the shooting started.

Danny Schecter is the founder and executive editor of, an on-line “media issues super site,” and he’s also a founder and executive producer at Globalvision Inc., an award-winning media company. Danny is one of the first and last on the “Sgrena Incident.” Danny Schechter in the first half.

And; It’s no secret, Corporate Canada is a big fan of the U.S. economic model. Who, in business wouldn’t back lower wages and benefits for workers? Which among them would oppose tax cuts? The recent history of Canadian business should read as a horror story for any of those quaint old-fashioned Canadians. You know, patriots?

Murray Dobbin is a Canadian author and journalist. His books include: ‘The Myth of the Good Corporate Citizen: Democracy Under the Rule of Big Business,’ ‘Preston Manning and the Reform Party,’ and his latest, ‘Paul Martin: CEO for Canada?’ He also writes for the B.C.-based online news site, The Murray Dobbin and the Canadian CEO Sell Out of Canada in the second half.

And; Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with all that’s good to do in and around Victoria this week. But first, Danny Schechter and shooting the messenger.

Chris Cook produces and hosts, Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 102FM, 104.3 cable, and on the internet at: And, check out the GR blog at:

G-Radio is dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in the mainstream media.

Some past guests include: Nahla Abdo, M. Junaid Alam, M. Shahid Alam, Joel Bakan, Maude Barlow, David Barsamian, William Blum, Eric Blumrich, Kristina Borjesson, Vincent Bugliosi, Helen Caldicott, Noam Chomsky, Michel Chossudovsky, Diane Christian, Juan Cole, William A. Cook, David Cromwell, Jon Elmer, Reese Erlich, Jim Fetzer, Laura Flanders, Glen Ford, Susan George, Al Giordano, Stan Goff, Robert Greenwald, Denis Halliday, Chris Hedges, Sander Hicks, Julia Butterfly Hill, Robert Jensen, Tom Jackson, Ron Jacobs, Dahr Jamail, Diana Johnstone, John Kaminski, Kathy Kelly, Naomi Klein, Anthony Lappe, Frances Moore Lappe, Dave Lindorff, Jim Lobe, Wayne Madsen, Linda McQuaig, Mark Crispin Miller, George Monbiot, Mykeru, Loretta Napoleoni, John Nichols, Kurt Nimmo, Greg Palast, Michael Parenti, William Rivers Pitt, Justin Podur, Sheldon Rampton, Scott Ritter, Paul de Rooij, John Ross, Michael C. Ruppert, Bert Sacks, Danny Schechter, Vandana Shiva, Jaggi Singh, Norman Solomon, Starhawk, John Stauber, Ben Tripp, Grant Wakefield, Bernard Weiner, Robert Anton Wilson, Katherine Yurica, Mickey Z., and many others.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Fallujah: A Modern Monument to Brutality

Ruined, cordoned Falluja is emerging as
the decade's monument to brutality

Guernica- Pablo Picasso

Jonathan Steele and Dahr Jamail

04/27/05 "The Guardian" - -Robert Zoellick is the archetypal US government insider, a man with a brilliant technical mind but zero experience of any coalface or war front. Sliding effortlessly between ivy league academia, the US treasury and corporate boardrooms (including an advisory post with the scandalous Enron), his latest position is the number-two slot at the state department.

Yet this ultimate "man of the suites" did something earlier this month that put the prime minister and the foreign secretary to shame. On their numerous visits to Iraq, neither has ever dared to go outside the heavily fortified green zones of Baghdad and Basra to see life as Iraqis have to live it. They come home after photo opportunities, briefings and pep talks with British troops and claim to know what is going on in the country they invaded, when in fact they have seen almost nothing.

deputy secretary of state-Robert Zoellick

Zoellick, by contrast, on his first trip to Iraq, asked to see Falluja. Remember Falluja? A city of some 300,000, which was alleged to be the stronghold of armed resistance to the occupation.
Two US attempts were made to destroy this symbol of defiance last year. The first, in April, fizzled out after Iraqi politicians, including many who supported the invasion of their country, condemned the use of air strikes to terrorise an entire city. The Americans called off the attack, but not before hundreds of families had fled and more than 600 people had been killed.

Six months later the Americans tried again. This time Washington's allies had been talked to in advance. Consistent US propaganda about the presence in Falluja of a top al-Qaida figure, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was used to create a climate of acquiescence in the US-appointed Iraqi government. Shia leaders were told that bringing Falluja under control was the only way to prevent a Sunni-inspired civil war.

Blair was invited to share responsibility by sending British troops to block escape routes from Falluja and prevent supplies entering once the siege began.
Tony Blair-Stretching the Truth?

Warnings of the onslaught prompted the vast majority of Falluja's 300,000 people to flee. The city was then declared a free-fire zone on the grounds that the only people left behind must be "terrorists".

Three weeks after the attack was launched last November, the Americans claimed victory. They say they killed about 1,300 people; one week into the siege, a BBC reporter put the unofficial death toll at 2,000. But details of what happened and who the dead were remain obscure. Were many unarmed civilians, as Baghdad-based human rights groups report? Even if they were trying to defend their homes by fighting the Americans, does that make them "terrorists"?

Journalists "embedded" with US forces filmed atrocities, including the killing of a wounded prisoner, but no reporter could get anything like a full picture. Since the siege ended, tight US restric tions - as well as the danger of hostage-taking that prevents reporters from travelling in most parts of Iraq - have put the devastated city virtually off limits.

In this context Zoellick's trip, which was covered by a small group of US journalists, was illuminating. The deputy secretary of state had to travel to this "liberated" city in a Black Hawk helicopter flying low over palm trees to avoid being shot down. He wore a flak jacket under his suit even though Falluja's streets were largely deserted. His convoy of eight armoured vehicles went "so quickly past an open-air bakery reopened with a US-provided micro-loan that workers tossing dough could be glanced only in the blink of an eye," as the Washington Post reported. "Blasted husks of buildings still line block after block," the journalist added.

Black Hawk

Meeting hand-picked Iraqis in a US base, Zoellick was bombarded with complaints about the pace of US reconstruction aid and frequent intimidation of citizens by American soldiers. Although a state department factsheet claimed 95% of residents had water in their homes, Falluja's mayor said it was contaminated by sewage and unsafe.

Other glimpses of life in Falluja come from Dr Hafid al-Dulaimi, head of the city's compensation commission, who reports that 36,000 homes were destroyed in the US onslaught, along with 8,400 shops. Sixty nurseries and schools were ruined, along with 65 mosques and religious sanctuaries.

Daud Salman, an Iraqi journalist with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, on a visit to Falluja two weeks ago, found that only a quarter of the city's residents had gone back. Thousands remain in tents on the outskirts. The Iraqi Red Crescent finds it hard to go in to help the sick because of the US cordon around the city.

Burhan Fasa'a, a cameraman for the Lebanese Broadcasting Company, reported during the siege that dead family members were buried in their gardens because people could not leave their homes. Refugees told one of us that civilians carrying white flags were gunned down by American soldiers. Corpses were tied to US tanks and paraded around like trophies.

Bearing Witness

Justin Alexander, a volunteer for Christian Peacemaker Teams, recently found hundreds living in tents in the grounds of their homes, or in a single patched-up room. A strict system of identity cards blocks access to anyone whose papers give a birthplace outside Falluja, so long-term residents born elsewhere cannot go home. "Fallujans feel the remnants of their city have been turned into a giant prison," he reports.

Many complain that soldiers of the Iraqi national guard, the fledgling new army, loot shops during the night-time curfew and detain people in order to take a bribe for their release. They are suspected of being members of the Badr Brigade, a Shia militia that wants revenge against Sunnis.

One thing is certain: the attack on Falluja has done nothing to still the insurgency against the US-British occupation nor produced the death of al-Zarqawi - any more than the invasion of Afghanistan achieved the capture or death of Osama bin Laden. Thousands of bereaved and homeless Falluja families have a new reason to hate the US and its allies.

At least Zoellick went to see. He gave no hint of the impression that the trip left him with, but is too smart not to have understood something of the reality. The lesson ought not to be lost on Blair and Straw. Every time the prime minister claims it is time to "move on" from the issue of the war's legality and rejoice at Iraq's transformation since Saddam Hussein was toppled, the answer must be: "Remember Falluja." When the foreign secretary next visits Iraq, he should put on a flak jacket and tour the city that Britain had a share in destroying.

The government keeps hoping Iraq will go away as an election issue. It stubbornly refuses to do so. Voters are not only angry that the war was illegal, illegitimate and unnecessary. The treatment inflicted on Iraqis since the invasion by the US and Britain is equally important.

In the 1930s the Spanish city of Guernica became a symbol of wanton murder and destruction. In the 1990s Grozny was cruelly flattened by the Russians; it still lies in ruins. This decade's unforgettable monument to brutality and overkill is Falluja, a text-book case of how not to handle an insurgency, and a reminder that unpopular occupations will always degenerate into desperation and atrocity.

Jonathan Steele is the Guardian's senior foreign correspondent;

Dahr Jamail is a freelance American journalist.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005

Monday, April 25, 2005

Bush's Bully Pulped

Boston, Mass.
April 25, 2005

John Bolton, an evil man, looks headed for a fall. But will he, foaming at the mouth, fall for the right reasons?

On May 6, 2002 Bolton, then Undersecretary of State for Arms Control, in a speech to the rightwing Heritage Foundation claimed that Cuba had a program to produce offensive biological weapons. The Bush administration, he declared, “believes Cuba has at least a limited offensive biological warfare research and development effort,” and has “provided dual-use biotechnology to other rogue states.”

His talk, entitled “Beyond the Axis of Evil” (recall that the term had been introduced just three months earlier by President Bush in his State of the Union rant), followed charges by anti-Castro Cuban-American organizations that a joint Cuba-Iran pharmaceutical research venture was actually a front for the development of such weapons.

The press made a big deal of the talk, the shameless neocon groupie Judith Miller of the New York Times reporting, “Bush administration officials report that the United States believes that Cuba has been experimenting with anthrax and other deadly biological pathogens.”

Cuba, proud of its advanced biotech- and genetic-engineering programs that provide medicines and vaccines at small cost to many Third World countries, called the accusations “vile.” Fidel Castro, planning to host former President Jimmy Carter on a Cuba from May 12 to 17, labeled the allegation “an absolute lie” and offered Carter “together with any experts of [his] choosing” “free and complete access” to any of Cuba’s science centers.

After visiting Cuba’s Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Carter stated, “With some degree of reluctance I would also like to comment on the allegation of bioterrorism. I do this because these allegations were made, maybe not coincidentally, just before our visit to Cuba.”

He said that U.S. intelligence officials had given him extensive briefings before his visit and that they had told him they had no evidence Cuba was either producing biological weapons or helping other countries to do so. “I asked them specifically, on more than one occasion: ‘Is there any evidence that Cuba has been involved in sharing any information to any other country on Earth that could be used for terrorist purposes?’

And the answer from our experts on intelligence was ‘no.’ ” On May 15, the day after Carter’s remarks, Secretary of State Colin Powell (who has recently opined Bolton’s UN appointment would be “problematic”) told reporters, “We didn’t say [Cuba] actually had some weapons, but [that] it has the capacity and capability to conduct such research.”

The Cuban Foreign Ministry noted with satisfaction in a statement published in Granma, entitled rather cutely “Colin Powell Recognizes that Bolton Lied,” “We appreciate the efforts of Secretary of State Colin Powell to help clear up what happened.” We haven’t heard much about those bioweapons since. Instead we hear of the nefarious presence of Cuban doctors in the self-sacrificing spirit of Che Guevara, providing medical care in countries like Venezuela and (Aristide’s) Haiti and (as Bolton would have us believe) by their very presence promoting anti-Americanism in such countries.

Then there was that delayed testimony to Congress regarding Syria. In July 2002 Bolton was supposed to testify at a Congressional hearing on Syria prior to deliberations on the Syria Accountability Act, and to emphasize the threat from Syria’s alleged chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs.

According to the Daily Star, “Bolton had already infuriated U.S. intelligence officials by claiming in May 2002 that Cuba has a biological weapons program. Intelligence analysts declared themselves ‘fed up’ with such assertions and drew the line at Bolton’s July draft testimony against Syria.” The CIA was indeed pleased that, as Seymour Hersh reported in the New Yorker magazine: “(B)y early 2002 Syria had emerged as one of the CIA’s most effective intelligence allies in the fight against Al-Qaeda, providing an outpouring of information that came to an end only with the invasion of Iraq.” Bolton gave a watered-down version of his presentation in a partly closed hearing September 2003, after some of the content had been leaked through the Times’ Judith Miller.

Soon afterwards the anti-Syrian act was passed into law amid unsubstantiated charges originating in Israel that WMDs weren’t found in Iraq because they’d been transported across the border to Syria.

That same month, a high-ranking official identified by the Guardian as Bolton declared, “We tolerate nuclear weapons in Israel for the same reason we tolerate them in Britain and France. We don’t regard Israel as a threat.” This from the Bush administration’s top arms control official, as he huffed and puffed about Syria’s paltry WMD menace. Meanwhile Bolton crusaded against the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency, headed by Mohamed ElBaradei, for its unwillingness to declare that Iran was seeking to produce nuclear weapons. While the U.S. bugged the phone of ElBaradei, Bolton called his November 2003 report on Iran to the United Nations, which concluded that he “found no evidence” of an Iranian nuclear weapons program, “impossible to believe.”

Is that ambassadorial, or what?

Despite U.S. efforts to unseat him, ElBaradei, one of the most respected and popular U.N. officials, retains his post for a third term. Bolton’s diplomatic skills were much in evidence when on July 31, two days after North Korea had agreed to U.S. demands that it participate in multilateral talks on its nuclear program, he told a South Korean audience that North Korea was a “hellish nightmare” ruled by a “tyrannical leader.” Pyongyang replied reasonably that it would not attend talks if Bolton (a “blood-sucker” and “human scum”) represented the U.S. No matter. As Vice President Cheney, Bolton’s chief patron, has said of the administration, “We don’t negotiate with evil; we defeat it.”

In the last week or so Bolton’s personal bullying has weakened his prospects for Congressional approval as ambassador to the United Nations, an organization he once disparaged in a speech to a World Federalists audience. “There are 38 floors to the U.N. building in New York. If you lost 10 of them, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.” That comment’s come back to haunt him, I suspect in part because it conjures up a mental image of planes crashing into the UN headquarters in New York.

The extraordinary unilateralism of Bush policy, and incessant gripes about the UN’s failure to meet its “international responsibilities” (to rubber-stamp U.S. imperialism) suggests that Bolton’s nomination might indeed be intended to smite the international body bringing it down like the walls of Jericho.

Others past statements haunt him too. He allegedly screamed “You’re fired,” at his subordinate Lynne D. Finney when they both worked in the General Counsel’s Office of the Agency for International Development in the 1980s.


Because she’d refused to try to persuade World Health Organization delegates to weaken restrictions on the marketing of infant formula in the developing world that would in her judgment cause product misuse and infant deaths. As she tells it, Bolton shouted that “Nestle was an important company and that he was giving me a direct order from President Reagan.”

Turned out that he was lying about Reagan and the top USAID administrator allowed her to keep her post. In 1994 Bolton went berserk when another USAID worker, Melody Townsel, reported to her superiors that a contractor for an AID project in Kyrgystan was performing poorly. Bolton, then legal counsel for the contractor, “proceeded” in her words “to chase me through the halls of a Russian hotel --- throwing things at me, shoving threatening letters under my door and, generally, behaving like a madman.”

She says that he kept pounding on her hotel door for two weeks shouting threats, making her life a “hell.” (You know, like North Korea.) Despite Bolton’s efforts to smear her as a felon headed for jail time, and to label her a lesbian, she kept her job and won promotion. Then, to return to where I started, there was the matter of those Cuban bioterror weapons. Carl W. Ford Jr., the former director of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the State Department (which by the way, concluded that Iraq did not have WMD threatening the world) has told Congress that the bureau’s chief bioweapons analyst Christian Westermann questioned Bolton’s assessment of Cuba’s weapons programs.

Maybe he was one of those who’d talked with Carter. Bolton again exploded and threatened Westermann, causing Ford to intervene. Bolton nurtured a grudge, telling Ford last year before he retired, “I’m glad you’re leaving” before hanging up the phone. Human Scum, Ford states, is “an 800-pound guerrilla” who likes to stomp on bananas. He “abuses his authority with little people.” These issues of management style and people skills will no doubt determine the vote on Bolton’s nomination, now postponed for obvious reasons to mid-May.

Or perhaps he will see the handwriting on the wall and withdraw. In any case, one would prefer that the big issues would determine his political fate. He cares little about human life, as the Finney case reveals. He puts corporate profit above everything, as the Townsel case reveals. He lies through his teeth to demonize governments and remake the world according to the neocons’ plans, as the Westermann case reveals.

No doubt a Republican or two on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will decide not to support Bolton because of his “confrontational personality,” his “abrasiveness” or lack of diplomatic polish. But don’t expect George Voinovich or Lincoln Chafee or any of them to list the really big reasons this man does not belong at the UN.

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan; Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900.

He is also a contributor to CounterPunch's merciless chronicle of the wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, Imperial Crusades. He can be reached at:

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Weapons of Mass Deception


There may have been no Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, but there were media Weapons of Mass Deception. This is the website that connects you with a way to order and learn more about Danny Schechter's film, WMD (Weapons of Mass Deception). Its all here: the DVD, the reviews, essays, photos and promotional tools. Help us get the word out. The democracy we save may be our own.

"A comprehensive and devastating critique of the TV news networks' complacency and complicity in the war on Iraq... brilliantly argued and scrupulously documented... a must see"
-- Chicago Reader

"More cohesive and devastating than Fahrenheit 911" -- Boston Phoenix

“Searing... Powerful" -- Sacramento Bee

Aid or Empire's Agency?

Aid or Empire's Agency?

The two principle tools of empire building are political penetration where possible and military wars and assassinations where necessary. Much has been written about the war strategy – its critics are numerous; few however have studied the “other track” – the political penetration strategy. - {JP}

Bush Busted- The Holy Modern Roman Emperor

Alternatives to Imperial Ideologies
Free Elections for Empire or Democracy?
By JAMES PETRAS -Weekend Edition
April 23 / 24, 2005

It is a well-established fact that US intelligence and state agencies have penetrated civil and political society directly or via intermediary organizations, foundations and other ostensibly private groups.

Penetration involves funding, influence, control and setting political agendas that serve US imperial state and business interests and is largely directed at destabilizing or pressuring regimes and securing their acquiescence with US policies. As the final, and oft used sanction, penetration broadens its scope to overthrowing regimes and putting in power obedient clients.

In the post-Communist, post-nationalist world barriers to US penetration has been drastically reduced while Washington has vastly expanded its activities in penetrating and controlling regimes and opposition via what are called “civil society” movements.

From as early as the mid 1960s the US state, its intelligence and overseas “aid” institutions were deeply involved in influencing electoral processes and financing client organizations, particularly in Latin America, whenever one of the contending parties ran on a nationalist or socialist program. A well-documented case in point was the Chilean elections of 1964, where the CIA poured millions into the election campaign of Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei in order to defeat the Socialist Salvador Allende. Earlier, in the 1940s, large-scale US penetration of the Italian and French political system took place to promote the electoral victories of anti-Communist candidates.

Since the 1990’s and increasingly in the first decade of the 21st century, US penetration and organization of “shock troops” – ostensible “civil society” organizations – have served as a battering ram to overthrow regimes and organize electoral outcomes favorable to US clients.

Few have been made to discuss the theoretical implication and practical consequences of large-scale, long-term US penetration of civil society and electoral processes. At what point does a “free election” cease to be “free”?

Is it ‘free’ when an imperialist superpower and its “private associates” (like the Soros Foundation) finance and train national networks of cadres, mass media outlets, provide innumerable advisers, high-tech communications and transport to bring about an electoral outcome favorable to the imperial state?

How does large-scale imperialist intervention affect “free choice”, electoral competition and the capacity to mobilize for street warfare?

In what sense can one speak of free elections when the “external factors of power and influence” play such a large role in shaping the leadership, activities, agendas and outcomes of elections?

What are the alternatives to imperialist penetration and manipulation of civil society, its organizations, and the electoral contests?

Should multi-party elections be abridged, restricted or regulated? Should the recipients of outside funding agencies be prosecuted?

How about NGO’s and foundations which act as imperial state conduits of influence and finance to local clients – should they be prosecuted, regulated or allowed to carry on as if they were really “non-governmental”?

These questions are central to the discussion of democracy, free elections and citizen choice. They are especially important today because the US imperial state is increasingly bent on dominating the world – as its leading politicians and ideologues openly declare.

The two principle tools of empire building are political penetration where possible and military wars and assassinations where necessary. Much has been written about the war strategy – its critics are numerous; few however have studied the “other track” – the political penetration strategy. In fact, some of the “critics” of imperial war strategies are advocates of the ‘political or, ar they choose to call it, ‘democratic peaceful approach’.

This posing of alternatives is highly misleading, as the long-term, large-scale effects of political penetration can be just as destructive of national sovereignty, living standards and social services as open warfare.

Re-Election Guaranteed!

The Incompatibility of Free Elections and Democracy with Imperialist Penetration

While elections take place between competing candidates and parties, the major organizers, financial sponsors, propagandists and media operators of the US electoral clients are not elected, not responsible to any of the electors and have a political-economic agenda designed to favor the economic interests of imperial investors, creditors, multinational corporations and their local corrupt clients and oligarchs. “Free elections” take place in context of non-accountable (to the voters) electoral backers acting at the behest of a foreign power, in order to subordinate popular sovereignty and national independence to imperial interests.

Without national independence or popular sovereignty, “free elections” have no political significance or positive outcome for the voters. All the slogans designed to manipulate voters “freedom”, “democracy”, “independence”, “prosperity”, and “partnership with the West” are devoid of content.

Following the elections, the large-scale, long-term entry of imperial banks, investors, military advisers, IMF and World Bank officials impose macro-economic policies which deny the populace the very rights which they were promised by the imperial candidates before the elections. The regimes pass from ‘local’ authoritarian regimes to international tyrannies.

While imperial ideologues speak of elections “legitimating” their newly elected clients, in fact they have no grounds for such a claim given the fact that the outcomes were largely determined by the exercise of power by external intervention.

No election has legitimacy when national independence is compromised. Imperial promoted candidates and electoral processes make a mockery of the notion of popular sovereignty. In order for free elections to occur the absolute minimum conditions demand that the populace (citizens) are sovereign: The candidates, parties and electoral process emerge from the ‘give and take; of the citizens of the country. Popular sovereignty can only occur if a country is independent, that the only governing authority is not beholden to a foreign power.

Before one can speak of “free elections” the political boundaries defining the nation-state must be firmly established and within those boundaries, civil society and its organizations are the exclusive domain of national citizens.

National independence and popular sovereignty are essential pre-requisites for free elections. Given the gross violation of both conditions by imperial agencies (their pervasive political, financial and media penetration of the political processes up to and including electoral outcomes) the elections are illegitimate exercises of great power, empire building. The elections do no express the popular will ; they measure the imperial capacity to intervene in civil society, change regimes and restructure the economy to maximize their interests.

The paramount goal of the nation-state, the essential framework which might allow free elections, is the securing of national independence and popular sovereignty. This means the effective exclusion of imperial penetration of civil society and political processes by whatever means necessary. This may mean constraints and legal restrictions on domestic groups financed, supported and directed by imperial state and para-state organizations and NGO’s.

Imperial intervention in the electoral processes is based on long-term and short-term policies and strategies, most of which are not framed in terms of overt empire-building language, but rather in terms of “enhancing our long-term interests”.

First and foremost is the recruitment, education and ideological indoctrination of “the willing” among future “opinion leaders” and potential leaders. The US has a ready-made systems for education-cum-indoctrination particularly in all of its “prestigious” universities: the “leading professors” move in and out of imperial state and corporate organizations and think tanks. The imperial state agencies and their auxiliaries in the “private” foundations provide scholarships, training programs, seminars, conferences, media attention, lucrative stipends, attention, flattery and promises of a ‘golden future’ in the recruitment and formation of future client rulers and organizers of future “civil society” revolutions. Many if not all the leaders, who have emerged, supposedly from the grass-roots struggle have biographies closely inter-linked with imperial indoctrination and educational backgrounds.

In the organization of the ‘soft coups’ or ‘civil society revolutions’ as the imperialist ideologues prefer to call it, a vast array of imperial institutions converge to promote escalating protests, exploiting local grievances. The National Endowment for Democracy, the Democratic and Republican Institutes, Agency for International Development, CIA front groups, the mass media, the Soros Foundation and especially imperial-funded NGOs intervene in the mechanics of destabilizing a regime, de-legitimizing and demonizing its leaders, propagandizing populist slogans as a prelude to overthrowing a regime and “winning an election”.

The imperial-trained and indoctrinated clients emerge as the ‘popular democratic candidate’, who then proceeds to privatize public enterprises into the hands of imperial investors, invite US military base builders, provide mercenary soldiers for imperial assignments and ‘yes votes’ in international forums, while skimming off commissions for self, family and cronies. In other words, imperial-conducted elections led by penetrated “civil society” organizations violate all of the pro-requisites for free elections and not surprisingly lead to the formation of client regimes embedded in a web of imperial economic and strategic interests, in which corruption and nepotism erode the initial democratic façade.

In the electoral process, the political contest between competing domestic political factions, class and ethnic interests is irreparably distorted by the vast disproportion in financial resources, personnel, media access, organizational capacity and political reach of the intervening imperial power. The ‘political weight’ of the imperial power in electoral contests usually (but not always) makes a mockery of the notion of free elections. In many cases and for a long time, presidential candidates for office throughout Latin America (from Brazil to Honduras) visit Washington to secure a certificate of good behavior in exchange for pledging to ‘respect’ US property, trade and debt obligations as well as to assure their support of the general contours of US global endeavors. This is done, I have been told by Presidential candidates, in order to avoid US electoral intervention (or to secure financial support) prior to the elections and to avoid destabilization after the elections.

In other words the threat of imperial civil society penetration shapes the operative political agendas under which the incoming regime will govern, not the “populist” electoral program presented to the electorate during the electoral campaign.

The tremendous resources which the imperial state possesses in electoral financing, organizational capacity, mass media influence and societal penetration generate competitive advantages in both electoral and non-electoral “extra-parliamentary” mobilizations against typical elitist regimes. The cumulative advantages which accrue to imperialist strategists begin with financing potential leaders, advisers, and NGOs. This provides the basis for pro-imperial media outlets self-described as “independent” or “democratic”. Such media, financing and organization lead to intense propaganda and mobilization campaigns to create “civil society” movements, while the imperial state recruits or “neutralizes” officials in the targeted state with threats of international sanctions if repression is ordered to establish law and order.

Having seized the political initiative, the imperial clients launch a frontal assault on the institutions of the state, imposing new elections or toppling the regimes prior to convoking elections. Riding the wave of mass mobilizations, external funding, subsidized ‘civil society’ organizations and advisers, the US –backed clients win the elections and quickly move the regime into the imperial orbit.

When Imperialist Electoral Strategies Fail: The Military Option

The “soft coup” or electoral strategy does not always work. At different times and places, popular regimes have effectively resisted and overcome the electoral strategies, economic advantages and civil society destabilization campaigns of imperial strategists and proceeded to defeat client candidates. When the electoral and civil society strategies fail to bring to power US clients, Washington resorts to violent intervention, preceded by direct economic embargoes, financing of terrorist surrogates, direct military intervention or military coups by client generals.

In the 1950s reformist regimes in Iran (Mossadegh), Guatemala (Arbenz) and Guyana (Jagan) were elected by popular majorities despite Anglo-US electoral intervention. Having lost elections, Washington organized military coups in Guatemala and Iran, while in Guyana the British, with US trade union support, provoked a destabilization campaign as a pretext for British intervention to displace Jagan. In the 1960’s, the US electoral clients were defeated by nationalist and democratic candidates in Brazil (Goulart) and Dominican Republic (Bosch). The US backed a military coup in Brazil and the Dominican Republic. When the constitutionalist forces in the Dominican Republic were on the verge of restoring constitutional democracy, the US military intervened, savagely repressed the democratic forces, restored their clients, the military and paramilitary groups and then organized ‘elections’ to provide a pseudo-constitutional façade to imperial supremacy.

In the seventies the US poured millions into its electoral and destabilization strategies to defeat elected Chilean President Salvador Allende. When Allende’s support actually increased over his term of office, the US combined a heavily financed “civil society” destabilization campaign with a military coup. Where the US lacked a capacity for electoral intervention and mobilization because “civil society” was under worker (as opposed to client) hegemony as in Bolivia, Washington simply backed a military coup to decimate the popular organizations of civil society.

In the 1980s in Central America, Washington faced highly organized and politicized popular civil society organizations, which challenged US client regimes, and civil organizations. In response, Washington financed and advised para-military death squads and special military forces to engage in genocidal massacres of popular civil society organizations. The strategy of “death squads and elections” ensured the continuity of US client rulers.

In Nicaragua, popular civil society organizations overwhelmingly backed the nationalist-populist Sandinista government. Washington combined continued financing of the internal elite with the arming , advising and financing of a mercenary invasion army, the Contras. In the1984 elections the US was the only country which refused to recognize the Sandinista election; instead the US government intensified its military and economic warfare, bleeding the government of resources, devastating economic activities and inflicting heavy casualties on the civilian population. After a decade of warfare, the US poured tens of millions of dollars in advisers and propaganda and threats of continual warfare into the election campaign of 1989, leading to the election of a US client “President”.

The only popular regime which Washington was not able to reverse through the 1960s to the present was the revolutionary government of Cuba, which organized highly regulated elections, anchored in public institutions loyal to the national government. The US had no leverage in the electoral system and was not able to utilize the military to counter or overthrow the revolutionary government.

In the new millennium Washington has made several efforts to overthrow the Chavez regime including a military coup, an elite-sponsored economic lock-out and the electoral process. All were defeated because of Chavez regime’s powerful organized support among the mass of poor in civil society, the allegiance of sectors of the military and the inclusive social welfare reforms.

In several countries in Latin America, namely Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador, popular civil society organizations have ousted pro-imperialist US client regimes, despite institutional repression. Efforts by US imperial strategists to build pro-regime “civil society” organizations were a dismal failure, despite no lack of mass media support, an army of client NGOs, vast expenditures of financial resources and the dispatch of political advisers. In Latin America the growth of independent mass movements in opposition to US client rulers presiding over the imperial plunder and impoverishment of their people has forced the US to resort to recruiting ‘outsiders’, former leftists labeled ‘center-left’ and to strengthen the formal and informal repressive apparatus. This has facilitated the election of client presidents, but has weakened Washington’s influence in civil society.


What are the alternatives to US-controlled electoral processes and imperial penetration of civil society organizations designed to curtail national independence and popular sovereignty?

The first point of departure is recognition that there is a serious problem with the very way in which the entire electoral process is organized to favor imperial outcomes in most Third World countries. The second is to recognize that some regimes are extremely vulnerable to imperial electoral strategies –because they are corrupt, elitist and divorced from organized independent mass support. This is most notable in the former Eastern European and ex-Soviet Republics where the ruling elites have used state enterprises for personal enrichment, creating a new oligarchical class of predators who try to play off Russia against the EU and the US. These regimes manipulate voter outcomes to remain in power – but have little or no capacity or interest in mobilizing significant sectors of the population in the face of US-NGO orchestrated street protesters.

In many cases these regimes may have originally been encouraged or supported by Washington in the break-up of the Soviet Union but subsequently may have used up their credibility, retained some economic and military links to Russia, a mixed state-private economy, or “privatized” economic enterprises under circumstances in which local cronies were favored and major foreign investors excluded.

The two countries which have, at least for an extended period, won elections contested by imperial clients are Nicaragua (1984) and President Chavez in Venezuela (1998 to the present 2005). In both countries the regimes carried out important socio-economic reforms which elicited wide-spread mass support, governed with a modicum of honesty under the law, secured the loyalty of at least sectors of the military and had some access to mass media outlets.

Most of all these regimes engaged organized masses in class and national struggles which politicized and mobilized them and created a level of anti-imperialist consciousness and independent class-based national organizations. In the case of both countries successful struggles against local imperial clients created an identity of interest between regimes and mass supporters which were instrumental in neutralizing the corrupting influx of massive imperial funding of local clients and the propaganda effects of imperial funded mass media outlets.

Nevertheless, in Nicaragua a prolonged war of attrition (over a decade) which destroyed the economy and the unregulated electoral process allowed the US to pour tens of millions of dollars to promote NGOs, political parties and mass media outlets, resulting in an electoral victory for Washington’s electoral clients in 1989.

In Venezuela, the unregulated electoral process allows ongoing US intervention of electoral processes and penetration of “civil society” organizations despite resounding defeats of imperial clients in municipal, gubernatorial, congressional and presidential elections. Washington’s shift to military threats has not precluded funding of local elites, and Colombian paramilitary and military forces poised to intervene on any pretext.

In these circumstances of pervasive and persistent imperialist penetration of civil society and massive intervention in the electoral process what can be done to protect and promote citizen choice and free elections (that is – free of imperial intervention)? How can the integrity of the electoral process be protected from the massive intrusion of public and “private” imperial funding and training operations?

First of all, free elections cannot take place unless national independence and popular sovereignty is put at the center of political practice and discourse. The left and progressive intellectuals and politicians have totally ignored the vital issue of national security and the measures necessary to protect the electoral process from imperial penetration. Virtually no serious debate or discussion of practical policies has taken place within left movements, parties, journals or social forums, despite the widespread and pervasive nature of imperial intervention in electoral processes.

History teaches us that this ignorance or ‘laisser faire’ attitude has disastrous results in political terms (destroying democratic procedures and the integrity of free elections) as well as catastrophic socio-economic consequences, by bringing to power pro-Western predator regimes which sell off strategic resources to multi-national corporations at bargain prices and impose IMF austerity programs. Clearly new electoral and political regulations and laws are in order.

In the first place legal measures must be passed which prohibit any and all funding by imperial sources or their “front groups” of local political parties or social organizations. All groups which receive foreign funding must register as foreign agents and face stiff jail sentences and fines if they fail to register.

Secondly all funding for electoral and social activity over a given level must be accounted for before an impartial tribunal.

Thirdly groups or institutions acting in concert with armed imperial organizations or clients to overthrow legally constituted regimes should be subject to public prosecution, and their property confiscated. “Private” foundations with a history of imperial collaboration in destabilizing regimes should be denied licenses and their recruiting activities terminated.

The purpose of these electoral regulations is to level the playing field for electoral competition and to eliminate many of the financial and political advantages which the imperial infiltrators utilize to manipulate elections. Tighter regulations on the use of the mass media and media ownership, and the opening of media channels for the expression of popular views and organizations should create a pluralistic exchange of ideas. Restriction on the ownership of media outlets by foreign interests would constrain imperial media propaganda and incitement to violence.

Consolidation of national independence requires the limitation of imperial penetration of civil society and the state (especially the military). All joint military activities with imperial powers should be curtailed and overseas educational programs should be regulated to ensure that students avoid the major propaganda mills in the overseas studies programs, especially in the social sciences, law and commercial schools. A balance needs to be established between openness to diverse cultural influences and exchange of ideas and the need to eliminate the negative influence of cultural imperialism and recruitment of future clients.

While these and other regulations of political and electoral processes are necessary, they are not sufficient or even effective if there is no deliberate effort to politicize and educate civil society. Mass democratic organizations, class based social and economic reforms, citizens militias, defense of the national economy and open public debate can create a democratic class consciousness and minimizes imperialist media manipulation and the provision of monetary enticements to act via phony ‘civil society’ organizations. Vigorously enforced security and electoral regulations and an active participatory citizenry which experiences the positive effects of egalitarian socio-economic reforms are the best way to ensure that free elections take place in the service of democracy and not empire building.

James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, owns a 50 year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in brazil and argentina and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed). He can be reached at: