Friday, April 17, 2015

Passing: Eduardo Galeano

Remembering Eduardo Galeano, Champion of Social Justice & Chronicler of Latin America’s Open Veins

by Democracy Now!


One of Latin America’s most acclaimed writers, Eduardo Galeano, died on Monday at age 74 in Montevideo, Uruguay. The Uruguayan novelist and journalist made headlines when Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez gave President Obama a copy of his classic work, "The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent."

Since its publication in 1971, "Open Veins" has sold more than a million copies worldwide, despite being banned by the military governments in Chile, Argentina and his native country of Uruguay. While in exile after the Uruguayan military junta seized power in a 1973 coup, Galeano began work on his classic trilogy "Memory of Fire," which rewrites five centuries of North and South American history. He also authored "Soccer in Sun and Shadow," "Upside Down," "The Book of Embraces," "We Say No," "Voices of Time," "Mirrors," "Children of the Days: A Calendar of Human History," among others. Galeano received numerous international prizes, including the Lannan Prize for Cultural Freedom, the Casa de las Américas Prize, and the First Distinguished Citizen of the region by the countries of Mercosur. We look back on Galeano’s life and hear from his Democracy Now! interviews in 2009 and 2013.

This Ain't No Disco: Canadian Media Cheerleading on Ukraine War

It’s not hockey we’re playing against Russia

by Jim Miles - Miles Report 

Watching the news off an on throughout the day provides a glimpse of the spin that the mainstream media (MSM - mainly CBC) put on the situation in Ukraine.

The first broadcast I heard contained some interesting comments. It indicated that “fighting erupted” along the theoretical truce line.

If any reader had been paying attention to news other than on the MSM, they would know that the Kiev forces never stopped shelling the Novorussia side of the line. The ‘eruption’ of fighting, also as seen on other than MSM news indicated that it was most probably testing forays or training forays by the Ukrainian/Kiev side.

The “heavy shelling” reported would have had to come from the Kiev forces, as according to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) the Novorussian side had pulled back their heavy artillery while the Kiev forces had not.

A more serious error, but one that suits the Russia as bad guy image was the reporting of the truce as being between Ukraine and Russia. This is absolutely not the case as the truce was signed between Kiev and the Donetsk and Luhansk leaders. The Russians were ‘facilitators’ to the efforts by the Germans, as the latter were becoming aware of the serious setbacks to the Kiev forces from the Novorussian forces.

It is true that the rebels are backed by Russia, but in context, the Kiev forces are backed by both U.S. political will and funding, and U.S. equipment.

Susan Ormiston has been called upon as CBC’s ‘senior correspondent’ for the region without having actually travelled to the Novorussian region. She does get some things right, seeing the “broken and fragile” truce as a way to “help Ukraine build up” its military forces after their winter defeat. As for the ‘fragile and broken’ nature of the truce, that was its nature from the start as shelling continuously came from the Kiev forces as the Novorussian forces withdrew their heavy artillery as per the truce.

Ormiston, as with others awash in MSM references refers to “Russia backed rebel aggression.” It is certain that their are Russian supplies and perhaps advisors in Novorussia, not much different from U.S./NATO supplies and ‘advisors’ (more than likely black ops personnel) on the Kiev side. There has been no proof of any regular Russian military in Novorussia. (And what about the distinct silence concerning MH17? A sure sign that it was a false flag operation).

What is wrong is the identification of Russia being the aggressor, when it was the U.S. that instigated the coup that overthrew a democratically - if corrupt - elected government. When Luhansk and Donetsk declared their independence from the neo-Nazi Banderites and Right Sector controlled Kiev, the Kiev rulers attacked the two sectors with the stated intent to eliminate the Russian speaking population - a process normally called ethnic cleansing in which the rhetoric was also calling for genocide of the Russian population.

Evan Solomon came on later stating, “Russians have a lot of forces around Ukraine,” a brilliant statement considering that Russia borders on Ukraine, and now that Crimea has voted to join with Russia, yes, those forces are around Ukraine. Not nearly as widespread though as U.S. forces are spread around the world in over 130 countries with over 750 bases, (or higher depending on source).

Later in the day Susan Ormiston returned, attempting to represent the Russian side, repeating the Moscow phrasing of U.S./NATO forces “meddling” in Ukraine - a considerable toned down response to the actual U.S. aggressor role. She repeated an interesting statement about the equipment and training being used so that Kiev is able “to kill its own citizens”, essentially the truth…

...except that after the continued shelling of civilians and civilian infrastructure by the Kiev forces, there is no way the Novorussians will want to rejoin with the remnants of the Ukraine and be citizens of that state.

Alter-net sources

One of the great things about the internet is the wealth of resources available to anyone seriously considering what is happening in the Ukraine. While the MSM follow the standard U.S. rhetoric, many other sources see the wilful ignorance of it all. There are many sites providing different perspectives, one of the best being, and one of the most honest, from a Crimean citizen who honestly notates Novorussian defeats as well as their successes is Another good site is

But take it from Gary Leupps, a U.S. professor at Tufts University (Massachusetts) if you think the others are nothing but propaganda:

"Russia's official line on Ukraine—and it should not be dismissed just because that’s what it is—is that the U.S. has spent about $ 5 billion backing “regime change” in that sad, bankrupt country, ultimately resulting in a coup d’etat (or putsch) in Kiev in February 2014 in which neo-fascists played a key role. The coup occurred because the U.S. State Department and Pentagon hoped to replace the democratically elected administration with one that would push for Ukraine’s entry into NATO, a military alliance designed from its inception in 1949 to challenge Russia. The ultimate intent was to evict the Russian Black Sea Fleet from the bases it’s maintained on the Crimean Peninsula for over 230 years.

Personally, I believe this interpretation is basically true, and that any rational person should recognize that it’s true."

As for the NATO alliance, U.S. action

"...[V]alidates the key Russian charge that this is all about NATO—the NATO that, following George H. W. Bush’s promise to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989 that the alliance would not advance “one inch” towards Russia’s borders has in fact advanced to surround European Russia since 1999. NATO now includes Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Albania."

In his conclusion Leupp writes

"But with crazies running the U.S. State Department, successfully promoting a bogus narrative about what’s happened in Ukraine over the last two years—a narrative echoed slavishly by a clueless mainstream media—it’s just barely conceivable that there might come a day in which U.S. forces join the Azov Battalion in battling forces of the People’s Republics of Luhansk and Donetsk.

It won’t have anything to do with “freedom,” any more than the last few U.S. wars have had anything to do with that abstraction. It will be about imperial expansion, which while it might serve the .01% that rules this country, is not in your interest at all.(1) "

Isolated? Not at all.

In general the MSM does a poor job of reporting on Russia. There is no reporting that I have heard about the economies of the EU suffering far more than the economy of Russia. For that matter, the retrenchment of the Russian economy has proven to be a bonus as the Russians have been able to internalize and ramp up their own production in agricultural, technology, and finances.

In addition,as for the “rest of the world”, “internationally” (as per the MSM), Russia is backed by China, India, and most of the other Asian countries, as well as most of the Latin American countries. Isolated? India vastly reduced an order of French Rafale jets and turned towards - who else - Russia to manufacture the majority of its next generation fighter jets. This will also include manufacturing sectors in India to the benefit of both countries military technologies.

Speaking of India…

The current visit by India’s leader Narendra Modi highlights interesting features of current geopolitical structures. Modi is a right wing Islamophobe (2), similar to Harper, and is quite content to use Canada’s resources to further its own nuclear ambitions - and India, unlike Iran, has many nuclear weapons, the delivery systems for them, and is not signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

But to tie it together with Russia and the global view, I wonder if Harper introduced himself to Modi by saying, “Get out of Kashmir.”



(2) Narendra Modi is the Chief Minister of Gujarat. He was re-elected to his post after the 2002 pogrom against Muslims conducted mainly by his political allies and with the complicity of the state apparatus. Two thousand people died and several hundred thousand had their homes and livelihoods devastated. According to Human Rights Watch, "Mobs arrived by the thousands in trucks, chanting slogans of incitement to kill, and armed with swords, tridents, sophisticated explosives, and gas cylinders. They were guided by computer printouts listing the addresses of Muslim families and their properties. While army troops had been flown in to quell the violence, state officials refused to deploy them until after the worst violence had ended. In the weeks that followed the massacres, Hindu homes and places of business were also destroyed in retaliatory violence by Muslims." http:/./

Souha Bechara and Karl Sabbagh

Souha Bechara and Karl Sabbagh 

by Mazin Qumsiyeh - Popular Resistance

I met many people in my short visit to Europe (and I am really home sick to Palestine). The most interesting was Lebanese Souha Bechara.

Souha gave a talk on Gaza in France. It was very moving. Souha spent 10 years in the infamous Al-Khayyam prison in South Lebanon during the Israeli occupation. She was tortured like many who spent time in that prison. She, a Lebanese Christian, had shot Antoun Lahd (the criminal who worked as a subcontractor for the Israeli occupation). Reading her book in its Arabic version on the way from Geneva to Oslo was educational.

I had read the English version a few years ago. The book puts the era of the occupation in perspective and gives us lessons about today’s world (e.g. about security coordination and subcontracting management of local population to local collaborators). It is really fascinating. I also learned so much from talking to people - those we agree with and those we don’t. Now in Oslo for the Arab Film Festival just met Nadine Salib from Egypt (film “Mother of the Unborn”) and we will have many good films to screen and discuss including the one about my village called “The Wanted 18”.

For more on this festival see

Much work accumulated for us in Palestine in our many areas (the clinical laboratory, the museum administration, the research, the student papers, the visitors who will come see us, the writing, the conferences, etc). So it is hard to be away but the time here is important to reflect and reset some priorities while encouraging me to proceed in other areas even in stronger. And the contacts we made are always good and some collaboration likely will produce fruits to serve Palestinian youth. I also recruited some   volunteers who will come work at the Museum.

Invitation: Lectures at the Palestine Museum of Natural History, Mar Andrea Campus of Bethlehem  University

Thursday April 23rd, 4 PM

Karl Sabbagh: Why the World Needs a Museum of the History of Palestine.

Although Palestinians know their own history only too well, many people in the west have only the vaguest of ideas about the history of the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. If they understood the history better they would have a much clearer idea of the rots of the dispute between the Palestinians and the Jews. Karl Sabbagh presents a proposal for a Museum of the History of Palestine, to be built in a major western capital.

Bio: Karl Sabbagh is a British Palestinian, the son of Isa Khalil Sabbagh from Safad. He is a documentary producer, a writer and a publisher, based in the UK. Among his many works “Palestine: A Personal History” and “Britain in Palestine”.

Mazin Qumsiyeh
Professor and Director

HumanRights newsletter

Stopping Bill C-51 - Canada Gets Nation-Wide in Opposition to Police-State Bill

Victoria Day of Action Against Bill C-51

 by Stop Bill C-51

Bill C-51 is coming up for its third and final vote in the House of Commons when Parliament resumes on April 20th.

Saturday April 18 at 12 Noon
Millie's Lane 
(Yates Street, between Douglas and Blanshard)

Listen. Hear.

We're having another Canada-wide Day of Action on April 18th, with the Victoria event beginning in Millie's Lane, right next to Odeon Alley, on Yates St. (between Douglas and Blanshard). We will meet here at Noon and from there we will be going to Centennial Square where we will have a Block (C-51) Party! Join us for speakers, updates and rallying!

Last month saw a beautiful day of solidarity across the entire country. Victoria's turnout was well over 2000 people - a massive accomplishment for a city its size.

In the wake of the Day of Action, amendments started being made, as people hit the streets and stood in solidarity with each other against the government's proposed "Anti-Terrorism" legislation ? which threatens the rights and freedoms of all in Canada. Politicians were forced to listen up. Liberal support for the Bill started wavering. We are so close!

United, we can defeat this.

On April 18th, join in solidarity with people across Canada in a family-friendly, peaceful demonstration for our democratic rights.

For further information, contact us:
Twitter: @StopC51Victoria

Join the event on Facebook

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Kiev: Government by Assassination

America’s Weaponising of Ignorance

Finian Cunningham - SCF


The contract killing of two opposition figures in Kiev this week is stark evidence that the country under the Western-backed regime is descending into a fully-fledged state of chaos and criminality.

We have already seen the rise of Neo-Nazism militarism, and now the assassination of political opponents on the streets of Kiev. Yet, still, the Western governments and their dutiful news media steadfastly refuse to deal with the grim reality. Instead, they continue to regurgitate slanderous aggression against Russia. And when the West cannot cope with explaining reality they simply disparage Russia for telling lies and «weaponising information». But the truth is that it is the West that is «weaponising ignorance». Wilful, unabashed, woeful ignorance.

Former Ukrainian newspaper editor Oles Buzina was gunned down reportedly by two masked assailants near his home in the Ukrainian capital on Thursday.

Only the day before, former parliamentarian Oleh Kalashnikov was also murdered at his Kiev home. Both men were known for their outspoken critical views of the ultra-rightist regime that seized power last year with the backing of Washington and Brussels. Kalashnikov had been a senior member of the Party of Regions – the party of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.

The latest execution-style killings follow a spate of at least four suspicious deaths among other former parliamentarians who had also belonged to the Yanukoych government before it was overthrown in February 2014 in a Western-sponsored coup.

The new regime has gone on to oversee a state of illegal war waged against the dissident pro-Russian eastern Ukraine regions, as well as teetering bankruptcy, widespread social and economic misery, the rise of private militias under the control of competing corrupt oligarchs, and the systematic glorification of former Nazi collaborators. The formation of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, which perpetuated mass killings on behalf of the Nazi Waffen SS during World War Two, has been made into an official public holiday in commemoration of that death squad.

Last week, the regime’s parliament in Kiev, which is dominated by openly fascistic parties, voted to ban Communist organisations and to erase all symbols of Soviet-era history. Public statues of Soviet leaders and Red Army heroes who liberated Ukraine from Nazi domination have been obliterated. The regime is planning to spend more than $200 million purging cities and towns of their Russian place names.

Now the assassination of political opponents who are deemed to be «pro-Russian» takes the Kiev regime to a new level of lawlessness and ideological extremism.

For the past year, Western governments and media have persisted in branding the regime in Kiev as a «pro-democracy» vanguard that was endeavouring to orient the former Soviet Republic towards «Western values», membership of the European Union and joining the US-led NATO military alliance.

The Western depiction of developments under the Kiev regime is a stupendous feat of denial over what is really happening in Ukraine. The practice of oligarch-banditry and the surge in Nazi-styled paramilitaries, brashly donning SS insignia and carrying out war crimes against the ethnic Russian population; the indiscriminate shelling of eastern Ukrainian cities and villages under the orders of Kiev leaders; and the economic blockade of the breakaway region in a Nazi policy of collective punishment – all these violations have been comprehensively denied by Western governments and their mass media.

The West’s preferred distortion is to invert reality by accusing Russia of «invading» Ukraine and sponsoring proxy pro-independence rebels in the east. No matter that there is no credible evidence to support such claims; no matter that Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations, including this week by President Vladimir Putin in his annual public Q&A conference; no matter that the eastern Ukrainian rebels deny the «Russian proxy» charge; no matter that the monitors of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe can’t find evidence of Russian invasion; no matter that the head of French military intelligence Christophe Gaumard just this week told his country’s National Assembly that there is no evidence of Russian military incursion in Ukraine, or even plans for such an incursion.

However, with the emergent campaign of murder against opposition politicians and journalists in Kiev, the Western distortion of reality stretches its elastic credulity to breaking point.

Innocent, unarmed civilians are being gunned down in the streets of Kiev for the sole reason that these individuals have expressed political views that are critical of the Western-installed Kiev regime. If that isn’t evidence of the regime descending into the fascist practices that it eulogises then what is?

Ironically, against this appalling background of Western collusion with atavistic Nazi barbarism in Kiev, the United States Congress this week held hearings on what it called Russia’s «weaponisation of information».

Speakers told the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee of their fears that Russia was winning a propaganda war. Their evidence? Well, because reputable Russian news channels, such as RT, Itar-Tass and Sputnik, were reaching Western audiences with an alternative perspective on the crisis in Ukraine. A perspective that actually explains the nature of the Ukraine conflict in a credible geopolitical context of Washington seeking regime change for its wider pursuit of global military dominance vis-a-vis Russia.

Just because Russian media do not peddle an anti-Putin, anti-Moscow narrative – as the Western outlets shamelessly do – then that is construed as «evidence» that the Kremlin is conducting an information war and «weaponising information».

Earlier this year, US Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress that «Russia’s military aggression is matched only by its propaganda». Kerry appealed for more than $630 million to counteract the influence of Russian news media on the American public by setting up Russian-language satellite TV stations that will beam Fox-News-style into Russia.

Kerry’s chain of thought based on false assertion leading to false conclusion is espoused unanimously among the White House, the State Department, the US media and the two chambers of Congress – the Senate and House of Representatives. In other words by the entire American political establishment.

Last month, the House of Representatives voted by a landslide calling on President Barack Obama to send lethal weapons to support the Kiev regime «against Russian aggression».

One of the Representatives, Republican party member Steve Pearce (New Mexico), had this to say to a concerned American citizen, who had written to Pearce deploring Congressional support for the Kiev regime and the drive for war with Russia.

Disturbingly, Pearce’s letter reveals an astounding dearth of knowledge. He writes:

«Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns regarding Ukraine. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue… »

On February 22, 2014, the Ukrainian parliament unanimously voted to impeach President Viktor Yanukovych, following months of protest. Former President Yanukovych has since fled to Russia – with Russia now challenging the sovereignty of Ukraine. It is very concerning that Russia is acting in Ukraine and not allowing the will of the people to determine the future of the nation. The United State [sic] should stand up, and let it be known that we will not tolerate Russia invading its neighbors. Ukraine has the right to determine its own course».

Note how there is no mention by the Congressman of how the US State Department funded the violent Maidan protests in Kiev at the end of 2013, or how the CIA colluded with Pravy Secktor Neo-Nazi paramilitaries to violently topple the constitutionally elected Yanukovych government.

The concerned US citizen who shared this correspondence, Randy Martin, a social media activist, said of Congressman Pearce’s reply: «In his response to my letter, he apparently had no clue about the US role in backing the Neo-Nazi coup that has resulted in the overall collapse of the Ukraine economy, a brutal civil war and genocide against Russian-speaking people in Ukraine, and the fact that the US military is now actively training the only standing Neo-Nazi military in the world».

The Congressman – as with the rest of the ruling elite in Washington – evidently lives in a state of blissful ignorance about what is really going on in Ukraine. Yet based on this ignorance, he and his fellow Congressmen voted for the supply of billions-of-dollars-worth of weaponry to the Nazi-adulating Kiev regime – a regime where opposition politicians and journalists are being gunned down in their homes.

Across the spectrum of official American politics and that supposed pillar of democracy – the news media – what we see is «systematic ignorance».

Never mind American claims that Russia is «weaponising information». America is weaponising ignorance on an industrial scale.

Shattering Hillary's Feminist Shibboleth

Hillary Clinton - Of Glass Ceilings and Shattered Countries

by David Edwards - Media Lens

We live in a time when compassionate rhetoric is used as a weapon of state-corporate control. The rhetoric focuses on ethical concerns such as racial, gender and same-sex equality, but is disconnected from any kind of coherent ethical worldview. Corporate commentators are thereby freed to laud these moral principles, even as they ignore high crimes of state-corporate power.

Thus, it was deemed 'historic', even 'epoch-making', by our corporate culture that Barack Obama was elected the first black president of the United States. And it certainly was a triumph for racial equality. But the moral significance was hailed by a media commentariat that proceeded to gaze with blank indifference at the ethical trailblazer's bombing of seven countries, his deep involvement in four ongoing, full-scale wars, his devastation of Libya, and his abject failure to address the apocalyptic threat of climate change.

Alongside these horrors, Obama's involvement in the Honduran coup, his diplomatic and military support for Egypt's blood-soaked military junta, and his $90bn in arms sales sent (in the last four years) to a Saudi Arabian tyranny wreaking havoc in Syria and Yemen, are mere footnotes.

None of this matters: for our corporate media, Obama remains, above all, the inspirational first black president.

Similarly, in evaluating Obama's possible successor, the Guardian's editorial 'view on Hillary Clinton' focuses on the problem that she is 'hammering the glass ceiling (again)' of gender inequality:

'with four years as her nation's chief diplomat on the world stage under her belt, Mrs Clinton's personal gravitas is even harder to quibble with than it might have been in 2008'.

So, for the Guardian editors, Clinton has more 'personal gravitas' now - she actually has more dignity, should be taken more seriously. A remarkable response, as we will see. The Guardian continues:

'On foreign policy, her spell as secretary of state leaves her with a somewhat clearer record - she is associated with a rather more interventionist approach than Mr Obama. Her admirers would describe her as a happy mix of the smart and the muscular; doubters will recall her vote for the ruinous invasion of Iraq in 2003, and prefer the Obama-esque oath to first do no harm.'

The cognitive dissonance could hardly be more glaring: Obama's colour and Clinton's gender are key ethical concerns, and yet Obama's responsibility for mass killing is not only not a concern, it is not even recognised. Instead, he continues to be presented as a benevolent non-interventionist who has consistently chosen to 'do no harm'.


In a Guardian piece titled, 'Clinton returns to smash glass ceiling, with gender at forefront of campaign', US environment correspondent Suzanne Goldenberg writes:

'The finest moment in Hillary Clinton's political life - so far - arrived on a hot June day in 2008, when she finally took ownership of her place in history as the woman who came so painfully close to shattering that "highest, hardest glass ceiling".'

Goldenberg notes that Clinton 'seems to have adopted a new persona: grandmother-in-chief'. She quotes Clinton:

'Becoming a grandmother has made me think deeply about the responsibility we all share as stewards of the world we inherit and will one day pass on. Rather than make me want to slow down, it has spurred me to speed up.'

If this sounds like vacuous PR blather, it is for a reason. On the BBC website, Anthony Zurcher notes that Clinton's 2008 presidential bid was criticised because it 'showed little personality' and lacked 'a unifying vision'. In other words, Clinton did not stand for anything. So what does Clinton care about in 2015?

'that remains to be seen. There have been hints that she will embrace the economic populist wealth-gap message most notably touted by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. She could also emphasise women's rights, both in the US and internationally - a subject that has been close to her heart for her entire career.'

As Obama created an ethical veneer out of his colour, so Clinton can use her gender. Zurcher reports:

'Early indications are she will attempt to soften her image by emphasising her new role as a grandmother.'

In a rousing conclusion to her Guardian article, Goldenberg writes:

'Now it's time for Clinton to pick up where she left off. Seven years on, many of the issues previously sidelined as women's concerns - minimum wage, equal pay, paid sick leave - have risen to the political mainstream, and Clinton shows every intention of trying to make them her own.'

Her sign-off:

'In every presidential election since 1980, women have turned out to vote in greater numbers than men. There will be many million more cracks to make before shattering that glass ceiling but Clinton is on her way.'

This was much closer to endorsement than impartial analysis, an impression Goldenberg reinforced by retweeting a message of support sent to Clinton by female Pakistan People's Party Parliamentarian Sehar Kamran:

'Good Luck Hillary'

The tweet contained a thumbs-up sign for good measure. We tweeted and emailed Goldenberg:

'How is this retweet compatible with the idea that Guardian journalists are neutral, objective and independent? Should you really be openly rooting for the politicians on whom you are reporting?' (Email to Goldenberg, April 14, 2015)

Goldenberg replied on Twitter:

'oh, please. We all know RT = interesting NOT endorsement'

Readers can decide for themselves if it was interesting that someone tweeted 'Good Luck Hillary' to Clinton.

In similar vein, Guardian columnist Deborah Orr tweeted:

'Go Hills! Imagine. A woman Guardian editor AND a woman US president.'

Indeed! Imagine having a newspaper editor like Rebekah Brooks AND a prime minister like Margaret Thatcher.

In the Guardian, in a piece titled, 'Why Hillary Clinton would make the perfect US president', Orr writes:

'She'll be less tainted by the scandals and mistakes of previous administrations than any woman ever has been.'

But anyway, 'the symbolic power of her appointment [as a female president] transcends all else'.

Which perhaps explains why both Goldenberg and Orr fail to mention Libya, the country Clinton played a decisive role in wrecking while US Secretary of State (2009-2013). We asked Goldenberg:

'How can you discuss Hillary Clinton's campaign without even mentioning Libya, the country she destroyed?'

Goldenberg replied:

'It's a piece abt gender & framing of @HillaryClinton candidacy, not foreign policy'

We responded:

'But you say "Clinton made several mistakes in the years.. leading up to Sunday's launch". Why not include the destruction of Libya?'

This was tongue-in-cheek. Libya, of course, was not a 'mistake'; it was a major crime - all the more reason to mention it. We received no reply.

We also emailed Orr, asking why she had not mentioned Clinton's role in the Libya catastrophe. Orr clarified:

Hi David,

Because that's not what the article was about.

Best wishes

Deborah Orr
(Email, April 14, 2015)

We responded:

Thanks for replying, Deborah. But the second sentence of the opening paragraph reads:
'She'll be less tainted by the scandals and mistakes of previous administrations than any woman ever has been.'

And you write:

'No doubt many people consider it wrong to believe that Clinton should be president "just because she's a woman". No doubt many feminists are troubled by the way that Clinton is following in footsteps trodden first by her husband.'

So clearly you are writing about these issues. Clinton has already followed in the warmongering footsteps of her husband, which you could have mentioned. It could hardly be more important or relevant.

Best wishes


Orr replied again:

Your first quote.

The sentences [sic] serves two purposes, one rhetorical, to express that no women has been President, the other practical, to note that she is indeed tainted by scandals and mistakes. It is not the purpose of the sentence to explore those things in detail.

Your second quote.

There's a presumption in those sentences that people already know quite a bit about HC's record, and don't need to be told again. You may need to be told again. But I actually doubt that either you, or many other readers, do.

We replied:

The destruction of Libya is not only not 'detail', it is arguably the defining fact, and crime, of Clinton's life. If an official enemy were responsible and under discussion, the idea that one could simply pass over, or take as read, their destruction of an entire country would be unthinkable.



Orr responded one last time:


Libya – 'Hillary's War'

In March 2011, Clinton said:

'Gaddafi has lost the legitimacy to lead, so we believe he must go. We're working with the international community to try to achieve that outcome.' (Quoted, Maximilian Forte, 'Slouching Towards Sirte – NATO's War on Libya and Africa,' Baraka Books, digital version, 2012, p.325)

Writing in the Sunday Times, James Rubin comments:

'Former defence secretary Bob Gates has written that it was secretary Clinton's "considerable clout" that tipped the balance in favour of action.' (Rubin, 'Why Hillary Clinton would make a better president than Obama,' Sunday Times, April 12, 2015)

In the Telegraph, Mary Riddell notes:

'More hawkish than Mr Obama or the dovelike vice president, Joe Biden, she backed the invasion of Afghanistan, while US action in Libya has been described as "Hillary's War".'

The results: about 1.8 million Libyans - nearly a third of the country's population - have fled to Tunisia with 1,700 armed gangs fighting over a country in which chaos reigns.

In her memoir, 'Hard Choices', Clinton revealed how she had also played a key role in supporting the coup in Honduras:

'In the subsequent days [after the coup] I spoke with my counterparts around the hemisphere, including Secretary [Patricia] Espinosa in Mexico. We strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of [overthrown Honduran president] Zelaya moot.'

Political analyst Mark Weisbrot commented:

'The question of Zelaya was anything but moot. Latin America leaders, the United Nations General Assembly and other international bodies vehemently demanded his immediate return to office.'

In 2008, Clinton said:

'I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran [if it attacks Israel]. In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.'

Clinton also commented of Egypt's then dictator, Mubarak:

'I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family.'

In 2006, Clinton co-sponsored a (failed) bill that would have criminalised the burning of the American flag. Clinton described it as 'an opportunity to protect our flag'.

'Hillary's Moment'

In the BBC website article mentioned above, Zurcher writes: 'If this is Hillary's moment, she's going to have to earn it.'

It is a trite but far from innocuous comment. Referring to Clinton by her first name indicates that 'Hillary' is one of 'the good guys', unlike surname-only 'bad guys' like Putin, Chavez, Gaddafi and Assad. Try imagining a BBC news piece commenting: 'If this is Bashar's moment, he's going to have to earn it.'

In 2013, BBC journalist Kim Ghattas authored a book titled, 'The Secretary – A Journey With Hillary Clinton from Beirut to The Heart of American Power.' Clinton, Ghattas explained, is 'a rock star diplomat who finally let her hair down'.

As US Secretary of State, 'Hillary' let her hair down in October 2011, after it emerged that Libyan leader Gaddafi (Muammar to his friends) had been beaten, sodomised with a knife and murdered. Moments after receiving the news, Clinton laughed, commenting: 'We came, we saw, he died.' As Maximilian Forte observed:

'Ghoulish, chilling, and perverse was this utterly remorseless display of how bloodthirsty US power can be.' (Forte, op.cit., pp.359-360)

Zurcher notes that Clinton 'faces an ongoing congressional investigation into her response to the attacks on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya'. This is Zurcher's only reference to Libya. Like the rest of the media, the failure to protect the US consulate is the only Libyan scandal worth mentioning. Thus, the Independent refers to Clinton's 'potential weaknesses, including controversies over her handling, as Secretary of State, of the 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, her use of a private email server while at the State Department and donations by foreign governments to the Bill Clinton foundation'.

In all the coverage of Clinton's presidential bid recorded in the Lexis newspaper database, we have found not one inclusion of the destruction of Libya among her 'controversies'.

It has been estimated that Clinton will raise between $1.5 billion and $2 billion in the primary and general election campaigns, twice the amount Barack Obama and Mitt Romney each spent in 2012. The World Socialist Web Site notes the significance:

'To raise these vast sums, all potential presidents must thus pass through a screening process that involves a few thousand billionaires and near-billionaires... The financial oligarchy selects the possible candidates, a process now referred to as the "invisible primary"... Those selected are invariably right-wing, reliable defenders of corporate America, usually themselves millionaires or multimillionaires.'

Are we really to accept that gender equality counts more than the naked fraudulence of this 'democratic' process, more than the bringing of death and destruction to entire countries? But this is exactly the message of the corporate 'free press', which works so hard to ensure that ethical discussion remains superficial, rootless, and powerless to challenge the status quo.


Suggested Action

The goal of Media Lens is to promote rationality, compassion and respect for others. If you do write to journalists, we strongly urge you to maintain a polite, non-aggressive and non-abusive tone.

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Taking the 'Canada' Out of the Canadian Wheat Board

Takeover of Canadian Wheat Board – We are becoming strangers in our own land

by Peter Ewart  - 250 News

April 16, 2015

Once there was a Canadian Wheat Board that was truly Canadian-owned and based, and whose job was to market the grain of Canadian farmers, especially in the West.

Since coming to power in 2006, the Harper government has waged an all-out war on the Wheat Board as a public enterprise, purging its farmer directors and replacing them with government appointees, overturning legislation in place for decades, refusing to recognize the vote of its farmer members, and putting the organization on the road to complete privatization.

Well, the Harper government has finally got its way. The announcement has been made. As of July 2015, the Canadian Wheat Board will now be majority owned by a giant privately-owned company, G3 Global Grain Group.

But there is a huge irony here. While the Harper government is rabidly hostile to the concept of state-owned enterprises in Canada, it is allowing a foreign state-owned company to be a major partner in taking over the Canadian Wheat Board.

And just who might own that state-owned company? None other than the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Indeed, the G3 Global Grain Group is a partnership between SALIC Canada Limited, which is 100% owned by the Saudi government, and Bunge Canada, which is a subsidiary of the global agri-business Bunge Limited.

The global agri-business companies have always had a problem with the Canadian Wheat Board. They didn’t like all those farmers banding together in a common front. Now they have finally triumphed – with huge help from the Harper government.

What chance will independent Canadian farmers have now to get a fair price when they are under the thumb of a giant company backed by the oil-rich Saudi government and other global agri-business oligarchs?

This is just one more indication that we no longer have a national government. Indeed, it is a government of the global oligarchs, by the global oligarchs and for the global oligarchs.

We need nation-building in Canada, not nation-looting.

Peter Ewart is a columnist and writer based in Prince George, British Columbia. He can be reached at:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sound of One Hand Clapping: Thoughts on the Clinton Campaign

Joy Oh Joy, Hillary is Running

by John Chuckman 

Yes, there is still bias "out there," as some have written, about an American woman running for President, but I do not believe the bias is decisive: after all, America has broken what surely was its fiercest taboo with the election of a black man, twice. There is, however, another bias “out there,” and a decisive one: a bias against the Clintons, a ghastly pair in almost every respect, America's contemporary version of the Borgias - both of them grasping, vicious, ruthless, two-faced, and lacking only the Borgias' good taste in art and literature.

Among the distinguished achievements of Hillary’s husband are the bombing of Serbia's capital, including the offices of journalists, and the bombing of a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan claimed to be a chemical weapons plant. President Clinton bragged of "ending welfare in our time," quite the claim for a self-styled liberal. It was his blundering, belligerent FBI and ATF that committed the atrocities at Waco. He embarrassed everyone with his grotesque personal behavior, and he pardoned some ghastly criminals in return for huge contributions to his "foundation." He is good friends with people like Jeffrey Epstein, a registered sex offender who solicited and kept underage girls to “service” guests on his private island or on the “Lolita Express,” nick-name for his private jet - both jet and island having Clinton recorded as a guest.

Bill Clinton failed every major undertaking of worth, including healthcare reform, Hillary playing a large role in that failure. Sometimes forgotten, he also frequently played the public coward, not standing behind appointments he made when they were attacked viciously in the Senate, allowing honorable people to be pilloried, then finally withdrawing their nominations. Perhaps his greatest act of cowardice involved the genocidal horrors of Rwanda. He was aware of them quite early, but his government was instructed not to use inflammatory language in public, and he made virtually no effort to save a million lives.

His contemptible behavior should, in theory, have nothing to do with Hillary, but in fact it very much does. They were the ones going around talking up the idea of getting “two for one” during his term of office. She still treats him as a confidant and advisor, having been photographed a number of times engaged in serious tête-à-têtes, and he has had several sessions with Obama, and big money sources, concerning Hillary’s ambitions.

Both Clintons have long records of chasing, indeed grovelling in much the same fashion as the smarmy Tony Blair, after big money - money for the foundation, money for elections, she having set an unenviable record for cancerous spending when running for the Senate in New York, and they have both been involved in at least as many questionable deals on the side as several former Israeli Prime Ministers combined.

I wish a woman could run for President, but must the candidate be someone who resembles Richard Nixon in drag and shares views the late ogre, J. Edgar Hoover? Everyone who doubts what a colossally unpleasant character Hillary has in private should read the memoirs of former secret service agents. Her behavior was appalling, tasking agents with things like holding her purse in public, and shouting a stream of "f--k off" invective at them if they declined.

She has always voted for war in the Senate, including the horrible war crime of invading Iraq. She goes around making speeches – at $300,000 a pop plus a whole printed list of demanded perquisites – about America’s need for a strong defense. Strong defense? America? How does one manage to spend more than America already spends on death and destruction? Park a nuclear-loaded B-52 at every civilian airport? Supply every Boy Scout troop with heavy machine guns and plenty of ammo? The woman borders on deranged here.

She has lied countless times in office and while running for office. The bloody mess at Benghazi was her baby, and she has done nothing but lie about its embarrassing and deadly failure. The last time she ran for President, in order to bolster her image for toughness, she bragged of coming under gunfire when she landed on a visit to Bosnia as First Lady, but a news video promptly appeared which showed nothing but a sweet little girl presenting flowers to her at the airport. Of course, she had to lie again when the video turned up, saying she hadn’t remembered events clearly, but no one ever forgets coming under gun fire. It is not possible unless your faculties are in such a jumbled state you should be disqualified from office.

Of course, in the end, Hillary’s mass of deceptions and terrible associations and rotten personality really do not matter because America's real government, its ongoing unelected one, allows no President to depart much from the established script. The last one who made a serious try had half his head blasted into the streets of Dallas.

Anticipation and excitement about the first woman candidate reminds me of America’s electing and celebrating its first black - a seemingly charming and intelligent man at the time - and he has proved just another George Bush, giving ordinary Americans nothing, and especially his own people. He weekly approves extrajudicial killings in a half dozen places, behavior completely in keeping with former South American juntas who made thousands of people just disappear, and he happily does business with tyrants and absolute monarchs and madmen like Netanyahu. Hillary would do precisely the same.

In the end, the person America elects as President makes no appreciable difference to what America does in the world or how its wealthy rulers treat their own people, a presidential election being little more than the most costly theater performance in the world;
“a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
  Signifying nothing.”

Empire's Incubator: Professor Nye and the Harvard School of Hegemony

Mandarin for the Warlords: The Harvard School of Empire Building

by James Petras

Harvard professor Joseph Nye, a former senior Pentagon functionary, is one of the longest serving and most influential advisers to US empire building officials. Nye has recently re-affirmed the primacy of the US as a world power in his latest book, Is the American Century Over? And his article, ‘The American Century will survive the Rise of China’ (Financial Times, 3/26/15, p. 7). These publications are in line with his earlier book, Bound to Lead, and his longstanding view that the US is not a declining world power, that it retains ‘supremacy’ even in the face of China’s rise to global power.

Nye’s views of US world supremacy have served to encourage Washington to wage multiple wars ; his sanguine view of US economic power has allowed policy-makers to ignore fundamental weaknesses in the US economy and to overestimate US power, based on what he dubs, ‘soft’ and ‘military’ power.

In tackling Professor Nye’s work, we are not dealing with a ‘detached academic in the ivory tower’ – we are taking on a high level political influential, a hardline military hawk, whose views are reflected in the forging of strategic decisions and whose arguments serve to justify major government policies.

First, we will proceed through a critical analysis of his theoretical assumptions, historical arguments and conceptual framework. In the second part of this essay, we will consider the political consequences, which have flowed from his analysis and prescriptions. In the conclusion, we shall propose an alternative, more realistic, analysis of US global power, one more attuned to the real international position of the US in the world today.

Nye is Ossified in His Distorted Time Warp

Nye’s segmentation of power into three spheres – economic, military (hard), and diplomatic/cultural (soft), overlooks the inter-relation between them. What he dubs as ‘soft power’ usually relies on ‘hard power’, either before, during or after the application of ‘soft power’. Moreover, the capacity to influence by ‘soft power’ depends on economic promise or military coercion to enforce ‘persuasion’. Where economic resources or military threats are not present, soft power is ineffective.

Nye’s argument that military power is co-equal with economic power is a very dubious proposition. Over the medium run, economic power buys, expands and increases military power. In other words, economic resources are convertible into military as well as ‘soft power’. It can influence politicians, parties and regimes via trade, investments and credit in many ways which military power cannot. Over time, economic power translates into military power. Nye’s claims of persistent US military superiority in the face of its admitted economic decline is ephemeral or time bound.

Nye’s argument about the continued ascendancy of US global power ‘for the next few decades’ is a dubious, static view – ignoring a long-term, large-scale, historical trajectory. Lifelong shibboleths never die! By all empirical indicators - economic, political and even militarily, the US is a declining power. Moreover, what is important is not where the US is at any given moment but the where it is moving. Its declining shares of Latin American, African and Asian markets clearly points to a downward trajectory.

Power is a relationship. By definition it means a country’s capacity to make other countries or political entities do what they otherwise would not do. To consider the US as the dominant world power, we cannot, as Nye proposes, look at its ‘reputation’ as a world power or cite its ‘military capacity’ or willingness to project military force. We need to look at military and political outcomes in multiple key issue areas in which US policymakers have sought to establish regional or local dominance.

Nye’s discussion fails to look at the negative cumulative effects of US policy failures in multiple regions over time to determine whether the US retains its global supremacy or is a declining power.

To simply preach that ‘the American century is not over’, because some critics in the past mistakenly thought that the USSR in the 1970s or Japan in the 1980’s would displace the US as the global power, is to overlook the foundational weakness and repeated failures of US policymakers to impose or persuade other nations to accept US supremacy over the past decade and a half.

If, as Nye grudgingly concedes, China has replaced the US as the leading economic power in Asia, he does not understand the dynamic components of Chinese economic power, especially its long term, large-scale accumulation of foreign reserves and rapidly growing technical knowhow. Even worse, Nye ignores how the military dimension of world power has actively undermined US economic supremacy.

It is precisely Nye’s belief, along with other Pentagon advisers, that US military supremacy make it a ‘world power’, which has led to catastrophic, prolonged and costly wars. These wars have degraded and undermined US pretensions of ‘world leadership’ or more accurately - imperial supremacy.

While the US has spent trillions of dollars of public money on prolonged and losing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, as well as ongoing military interventions in Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen, China and other emerging powers have engaged in large long-term economic expansion, increasing market shares, acquiring productive enterprises and expanding their sources of capital accumulation in dynamic regions.

US repeated projections of military power have not created new sources of wealth. The US capacity and willingness to engage in multiple disastrous wars has led to a greater loss of military influence.

Consequences of High Military Capacity and Declining Economic Performance

The consequence of utilizing its great storehouse of military capacity so disastrously has degraded and weakened the US military as well as its imperial economic reach. Repeated US military defeats, its inability to secure its goals or impose its dominance in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan has severely weakened the domestic political foundations of global military power, to the point where the US public is adverse to sending large scale US ground troops into combat.

Nye’s inventory of military resources, stockpile of up-to-date bombers, nuclear weapons, fighter planes, military bases, special forces operations, and its vast spy (“intelligence”) apparatus, in other words the US’s supreme military ‘capacity’, has not resulted in the establishment of a prosperous, stable and submissive empire (the goal that Nye euphemistically dubs ‘world supremacy’). US military engagements, both high and low intensity wars, have resulted in costly defeats and retreats as adversaries advance into the vacuum. Superior material capacity has not translated into US dominance because nationalist, anti-imperialist consciousness and movements based on mass armed resistance, have demonstrated superiority in countering foreign (US) invasions, occupations and satellite building.

Nye ignores a decisive ‘military resource’, which the US does not have and its adversaries have in abundance – nationalist consciousness. Here, Nye’s notion of US supremacy in ‘soft power’ has been terribly wrong-headed. According to Nye, the US superiority in the use and control of mass media, films, news and cultural organizations and educational institutions continues and has allowed the US to retain its global supremacy.

No doubt the US global propaganda apparatus and networks are formidable but they have not been successful, not least, as a bulwark of US global supremacy. Once again Nye’s inventory of soft power assets relies exclusively on quantitative, contemporary, material structures and ignores the enormous counter-influence of historical legacies, nationalist, cultural, religious, ethnic, class, race and gender consciousness, which rejects US dominance in all of its forms. US ‘soft power’ has not conquered or gained the allegiance of the people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria or Yemen. Nor has it convinced the billions of Chinese, Latin American or Islamic peoples to embrace American ‘leadership’.

No doubt ‘soft power’ has worked to a limited extent, especially among sectors of the educated classes and the local political elite, converting them into imperial collaborators. No doubt elements of the educated elite have been co-opted by US funded ‘non-governmental organizations’ that engage in grass roots counter-insurgency as the counterpart to the drone attacks from above. But, once again, Nye relies on quantitative, rather than qualitative, measures of influence. Despite an army of NGOs and the budgeting of billions of dollars, US imperial conquests, coups, occupations, rigged elections, and puppet regimes are highly unpopular. As a result, US troops need to diminish their presence, and its overseas and visiting diplomats require a squadron of security officials and operate out of armed fortresses.

Professor Nye’s treatment of what he calls ‘soft power’ is reduced to an inventory of propaganda resources, developed and/or cultivated by the imperial state (the US) to induce submission to and acceptance of the global supremacy of the US. However vast the spending and however broad the scope of ‘soft power, Nye fails to recognize the ineffectiveness of the US ‘soft power apparatus’ in the face of systemic crimes against humanity, which have profoundly alienated and decisively turned world opinion and specific national publics against the US. Specifically, Washington’s practice of torture (Abu Ghraib), kidnapping (rendition), and prolonged jailing without trial (Guantanamo); its global spy network monitoring hundreds of millions of citizens in the US and among allies and its use of drones killing more non-combatant (innocent) citizens than armed adversaries, have severely weakened, if not undermined, the appeal of US ‘soft powers’. Nye is oblivious to the ways in which US projections of military power have led to the precipitous long-term decline of ‘soft power’, and the way in which that decline has resulted in the greater reliance on military power . . . in a vicious circle.

Nye ignores the changing composition of the strategic decision makers who decide where and when military power will be exercised. He blandly assumes that policy is directed by and for enhancing US ‘global supremacy’. But as Professors Mearsheimer and Walt, (The Israel Lobby) and Petras, (The Power of Israel in the United States), have demonstrated, powerful, organized lobbies, like AIPAC, and Israel First officials in the Executive branch have taken military decisions to focus on the Middle East at the behest of Israel in order to enhance its power. These decisions have had an enormous cost in terms of loss of human and financial resources and have contributed to the decline of US global supremacy. Nye fails to recognize how the ascendancy of his militarist colleagues in the Pentagon and the Zionists in the Congress and Executive have drastically changed the way in which hard power (military) is exercised

And how it has weakened the composition and use of soft power and provoked greater imbalances between economic and military power.

Nye’s argument is further weakened by his incapacity to ‘problematize’ the changing content of military power, its shift from a tool of economic expansion, directed by US empire-builders, to an end in itself exploiting economic resources to enhance Israeli hegemony in the Middle East. This weakness is exacerbated by his failure to recognize the changing nature of economic power – the shift from manufacturing to finance capital and the negative consequences, which result for the projection of US economic power and dominance.

Finally, Nye totally ignores the moral dimension of the US drive for world dominance. At worst, he blithely assumes that destructive US wars are, by their nature, virtuous. Nye’s political commitment to the ‘American Century’ and total belief in its benignancy blind him to the killing and displacement of millions of Iraqis, Syrians, Afghans, Somalis, Libyans and now Ukrainians - among others. Nye’s assumption of the beneficial effects of the US-NATO-EU expansion into the former Warsaw Pact countries, and especially Russia, ignores the vast impoverishment of 70% of the Ukrainian population, the outward flight of 20 million skilled professionals and workers, and the subsequent militarization of Eastern Europe and East Germany via its incorporation in NATO. According to Nye’s moral calculus, any policy that enhances US global power is virtuous, no matter how it impacts the recipient population. These are not only Nye’s views, they provide the ideological underpinning of the official ‘soft power’ propaganda accompanying past, present and near future wars of mass destruction.

Nye is not your typical garden variety Ivy League-ideologue-for-US-and-Israeli-dominance (and there are many in US academia). Nye has been an important theoretical architect and strategic planner responsible for US global wars and the accompanying crimes against humanity. His global fantasies of US ascendancy have led to the parlous state of the US domestic economy, multiple unwinnable wars overseas and the eclipse of any strategic thinking about reversing the economic decline of the US in the world economy. Applying a cost-benefit analysis to Prof. Nye’s policies, if he were employed as a CEO in the private sector, he would have long ago been fired and dispatched to a prestigious business school to teach ‘ethics’. Since he is already tenured at Harvard and employed by the Pentagon he can continue to churn out his irresponsible ‘manifestos’ of US global leadership and not be held to account for the disasters.

In Joseph Nye, we have our own American version of Colonel Blimp surveying his colonial projects: He has exchanged his pith helmet, short britches and walking stick, for a combat helmet and boots, and has limited his ‘reviews’ of the Empire to secure zones, surrounded by an entourage of combat ready Leathernecks or mercenaries, circling helicopter warships and super-vetted local military toadies.

Historical Fallacies

Even at its zenith of ‘global power’ during the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s, US military performance was the least effective component of world power. Two major wars, Korea and Indo-China, speak against Nye’s formula. The US military failed to defeat the North Korean and Chinese armies; Washington had to settle for a ‘compromise’. And the US was militarily defeated and forced to withdraw from Indo-China. Success in securing influence came afterwards, via economic investments and trade, accompanied by political and cultural influences.

Today, Nye’s reliance on the superior military resources of the US to project the continuance of the ‘American Century’ rests on very shakey historical foundations.

Nye’s Military Metaphysics as Crackpot Realism

The US has declined as a world power because of its ‘military pivot’ – following Nye’s military metaphysics and ‘soft power’ psychobabble. In every practical situation, where the US attempted to secure its dominance by relying on its superior ‘military capacity’ against its competitors’ reliance on economic and political resources, Washington has lost.

China has set in motion the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) - with an initial offering of $50 billion dollars. The US is staunchly opposed to the AIIB because it clearly represents an alternative to the US-dominated International Monetary Fund (IMF). Despite Washington’s pressure to reject membership, its ‘allies’, led by the UK and followed by all major powers (except Japan for now), have applied for membership. Even Israel has joined!

Washington sought to convince leading ‘emerging economies’ to accept US-centered economic integration; but instead, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (the BRICS) founded the BRICS’ bank.

The US engineered the overthrow of the elected government in the Ukraine, and set up a puppet regime to incorporate it as a NATO client and military platform on Russia’s border. Instead, the Ukraine turned into an economic basket case, run by kleptocratic oligarchs, defended by openly neo-Nazi brigades and incapable of defeating federal autonomist rebels in the industrialized east.

The US and the EU imposed economic sanctions on Russia and federal autonomist rebels of the Donbass in Eastern Ukraine. This has become another example of projecting political power to enlarge the scope of military operations at the cost of devastating losses in trade and investment, between Moscow and the European Union, not to speak of the Ukraine – whose economy was dependent on trade with Russia.

The decline of US world power is, in part, a result of the dynamism and economic growth of emerging powers such as China and the relative decline of US market shares and inferior rates of growth.

Nye, in one of his more egregiously foolish efforts to puff up US economic superiority and to downgrade China’s economic rise, argues that China’s growth rate is ‘likely to slow in the future’. Dear Joe… don’t you know that a Chinese ‘slow down’ from double digit growth to 7 percent is still triple the rate of growth of the US today and for the foreseeable future?

Moreover China’s balanced economy, between production and finance, is less crisis-prone than the lopsided growth of the corrupt US financial sector. Nye’s economic calculus ignores the qualitative, as well as quantitative, dimensions of economic power.


The dubious intellectual value of Joseph Nye’s writings would not merit serious consideration except for the fact that they have a deep and abiding influence on US foreign policy. Nye is an ardent advocate of empire building and his arguments and prescriptions carry weight in the White House and Pentagon. His normative bias and his love of empire building blinds him to objective realties. The fact that he is a failed policy advisor, who refuses to acknowledge defeats, decline and destruction resulting from his world view, has not lessened the dangerous nature of his current views.

Nye’s attempt to justify his vision of continuing US world supremacy has led him to blame his critics. In his latest book, he rants that predictions of US decline are ‘dangerous’ because they could encourage countries such as China to pursue more aggressive policies. In other words, Nye having failed, through logic and facts, to sustain his assertions against his better-informed critics, questions their loyalty – evoking a McCarthyite specter of intellectuals critical of US global power…stabbing the country in the back.

Nye tries to deflect attention from the fragile material foundations of US power to disembodied ‘perceptions’. According to Nye, it’s all perceptions’ (or illusions!): if the world leaders and public believe that ‘the American century is set to continue for many decades’, that faith will, in itself, help to sustain America’s superiority! Nye’s fit of irrationality, his reliance on Harry Houdini style of political analysis (‘Now you see US global power, now you don’t!) is unlikely to convince any serious analyst beyond the halls of the Pentagon and Harvard University’s John F Kennedy School.

What matters is that the US, while it is a declining world power, is still militarily powerful, dangerous and destructive, even as its empire building is weakening and its forces are in retreat. As Mahatma Gandhi once stated about the declining British Empire, ‘It’s the aging tiger that becomes the man eater’.

As an alternative, we can follow two lines of inquiry: One is to question the entire imperial enterprise and to focus on our return to republican values and domestic social and democratic reconstruction. That is a necessary, but prolonged struggle, under present circumstances. In the meantime, we can pursue policies that emphasize the importance of shifting from destructive military expansionism toward constructive economic engagements, flexible cooperation with emerging competitors, and diplomatic agreements with adversaries. Contrary to Nye’s assertions, militarism and economic expansion are not compatible. Wars destroy markets and occupations provoke resistance, which frighten investors. ‘Soft power’ and NGO’s that rely on manipulation, lies and demonization of critics gain few adherents and multiple adversaries.

The US should increase its ties and co-operation with BRICS and China’s AIIB. It should reach out to sign trade deals with Iran, Syria and Lebanon. It should cut off aid to Israel, because of it bellicose posture toward the Arab East and its brutal colonization of Palestine. Washington should end its support of violent coups and engage with Venezuela. It should lift sanctions against Russia and East Ukraine and propose joint economic ventures. By ending colonial wars, we can increase economic growth and open markets. We should pursue economic accommodation not military occupation. The former leads to prosperity, the latter to destruction.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Passing Storm

The Storm Is Over

by Kathy Kelly -

April 11, 2015

Lightning flashed across Kentucky skies a few nights ago. "I love storms," said my roommate, Gypsi, her eyes bright with excitement. Thunder boomed over the Kentucky hills and Atwood Hall, here in Lexington, KY's federal prison. I fell asleep thinking of the gentle, haunting song our gospel choir sings: "It's over now, It's over now. I think that I can make it. The storm is over now."

I awoke the next morning feeling confused and bewildered. Why had the guards counted us so many times? "That was lightning," Gypsi said, giggling. The guards shine flashlight in our rooms three times a night, to count us, and I generally wake up each time; that night the storm was also a culprit.

As the day continued we saw large pools of water had collected at each entrance to Atwood Hall. Prisoners from drought-ridden areas wish they could collect the rainwater and send it home. Fanciful notions, but of the kind, at least, that can help us remember priorities. I suppose it's wise, though, to focus on what can be fixed. The elevator here, for instance.

The Department of Justice Budget for Fiscal Year 2015 provides 27.4 billion in discretionary funding. In state prisons alone, it's estimated that taxpayers spend an average of $31,286.00 per inmate per year. (The Price of Prisons: What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers, p. 9). But, for most of the 2.5 months that I've lived here in Atwood Hall, the elevator from the basement to the 3rd floor, which should serve close to 300 women, has been out of order. According to "inmate dot com," our in-house rumor mill, a decision was made, last month, not to fix it. In the past several weeks, two women arrived in wheelchairs and another new prisoner is blind.

I like moving from the basement to the third floor on the staircase. It's easy exercise. But traveling up and down the stairs can be life-threatening for many prisoners here.

Ms. P. seems to be in her seventies. Wiry white hair, fixed in a braid that reaches down her neck, surrounds her golden brown face. I like to imagine a framed oil painting of her gracing the first floor entrance.

A few nights ago, I watched her toil to haul herself, hanging on to the handrail, from the basement to the first floor. She needed to rest on the landing, winded, her heart pounding, barely able to speak. But Ms. P. made the best of it. "Ms. P.," said another prisoner comfortingly, "maybe they'll get this elevator fixed this week."

"I'd contribute my entire month's salary if it would help repair the elevator!" Ms. P. said with a chuckle. She very likely earns $6.72 cents per month, at 12 cents an hour. Three of us readily agreed to match her donation, which would amount to about $28.00.

We need Ms. P.'s lightheartedness. But I've seen flashes of fury, followed by sad resignation, like lightning giving way to rain, in the faces of guards and prison administrators witnessing these scenes occurring on their watch, but as powerless to stop them as to call off those storms the other night.

A ray of brilliant sun fell for me last weekend with a visit from an old friend, parent to a lovely child I was especially delighted to see. Once again, I am luckier than so many whose loved ones lack the means for regular and intensive travel. Through our conversation in the prison visiting room, I learned the story of Thompson FCI, a freshly-constructed but never-occupied federal prison near Clinton, Iowa. My friend's folks, who live near the town, have speculated for years, as have all the town's residents, about when or whether the empty prison would ever open. Right now, my friend said, there's only one full time employee in the prison, the warden, and his job is to mow the lawn.

Apparently, local people have been pining for the Bureau of Prisons to act.

"The BOP's positive impact on rural communities is significant," says a 2015 paper issued by the Department of Justice.

"By bringing in new federal jobs, stimulation of local businesses and housing, contracting with hospitals and other local vendors, and coordinating with local law enforcement, the BOP improves the economy of the town and the entire region where these rural facilities are located."

Yet government's promises to aid small towns with "prison money" often ring false. In an article entitled "The American Prison, Open for Business?" (Peace Review, vol. 20, issue 3), Stephen Gallagher notes that although prisons may bring with them high-paying jobs, "most employees of the prison industry do not live in the host communities." "In a joint WSU/MSU study, it was found that 68 percent of the corrective jobs were held by people who did not even live in the county that housed the prison where they worked. In another study in California, it was found that less than 20 percent of the jobs went to residents of the host community." And most people living in poor rural communities aren't eligible for the better-paying jobs in the prison system.

Communities desperate to host a new prison should also consider the wages that will be paid to the prisoners. What company would choose to hire local non-inmate workers when the BOP can forcibly hire inmates to work for 12 cents an hour, right in their homes, with no need to consider employee benefits, pay raises, vacation pay or insurance. Prison labor creates a labor pool that is always available and can be maintained in a manner similar to the cost of maintaining slaves. If neighboring people lose their jobs, if they have to steal to try to get by, they can always wind up living in the prison.

I'm hard-pressed to see how this can possibly benefit an area's economy, that is if its "economy" is understood to include all the area's people, and not just the wealthiest who can influence prison placement.
When prisons are constructed in rural, southern areas, the political elites can count the entire prison population as part of their census, bringing federal funds into their jurisdictions, but without much pressure to share funds with their new 'constituents,' since the prisoners by and large can't vote. Blighted urban areas lose funds desperately needed for education, housing, health care and infrastructure, while rural people compete to be hired as jailers.

One morning last week, a neighbor across the hall told us she feared she would choke on her own sobs as she cried herself to sleep. I wondered how many times the flashlights would re-awaken her during the night. She had been counting on a sentence reduction and her lawyer had told her, just the previous day, that her case is complicated and she most likely wouldn't qualify. "I can't do 3 1/2 more years here," she said, completely distraught. "I just can't!" "Yes, you can," insisted one of the friends gathering to console her. I watched appreciatively, two people caught in the storm and guiding each other through it.

We hear about the droughts, and the temperature records, and we recognize that more storms are coming. The recent, and for many never-ended, financial crisis was a storm, and I notice that politicians and pundits are in full swing demanding a new regional war overseas with the arguments we'd hoped the nation had learned to reject twelve years ago. We can expect these threats, with ecological scarcity underlying them all, to build into each other: the perfect storm. We remember that storms can build quickly. "I can't do 3 more years" might well be a statement truer, and truer for many, many more people, than my suffering fellow inmate ever imagined. We could be working together preparing shelter.

Many people of Clinton, Iowa will clamor for the prison to open, but not for more direct government help, communal help to foster employment and development in the the area. For many, a "free market" will mean the choice to lose our homes or find a home behind bars, or else to make a living keeping other people there; but without the choice, in an increasingly undemocratic nation, to pool our resources as a community and help each other to stay free; compassionately, or even sanely, to shelter each other from this storm. The jobs will come when strangers file in, in chains - that's freedom. I look around me at "freedom," and at how Ms. P. is getting a step up in the world.

We could awake into the world, build affinities between the suffering people locked in Atwood Hall and its managers, between the struggling rural community of Clinton and the urban desperate they wait to see bused in. Just about everyone longs to raise their children in a world where drought, storms, and brutal want won't loom as insoluble, inevitable catastrophes. Working together we could reclaim misspent resources and correct misguided policies. Our fear and isolation from each other, aiming to get a step up above our neighbors, our reluctance to live in a shared world, may be worse than the other storms we face.

The other storms will come, and we will have to see how we weather them, but what if our terrible fear of each other could pass us by? What if, for those of us doing the easiest time, "I can't do 3 more years" became "I won't make you do 3 more years" - became our part in a chorused "we won't do 3 more years!" ringing through our society.

How miraculous it would be to hold our children and grand-children and sing,

"I think that we can make it. The storm is over now."

This article was first published on TeleSUR.

Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence (, is nearing the end of a term in federal prison incurred for participation in an anti-drone protest. She can receive mail at:


Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Dave Lindorff, Ramona de Graaf, Janine Bandcroft April 15, 2015

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook -

Seems the hits are coming one a minute in the Home of the Brave. Following months of protests over the police killings of unarmed men of colour, last week revealed another inexplicable use of deadly force by a policeman in North Charlston, who shot dead a fifty year old man fleeing a traffic stop.

As with the Eric Garner case - remember the "I Can't Breathe" demonstrations? - a bystander captured Walter Scott's violent death on a cell phone. Different this time though was the murder charge leveled against the officer who shot Scott five times. These too numerous tragedies, and the reaching critical point of the country's mass incarceration prison system, is prompting many in the US to question the state of American Justice.

Listen. Hear.

Dave Lindorff is a long-time, muckraking journalist, author, broadcaster, and founder of, a website that has, since 2004 taken on the task of filling some of the vast investigative vacuum in what passes sadly today for journalism. As Dave says, he realized, "[I]t would take more than one journalist to cause any significant degree of affliction" so he approached, and has now been joined by three "long-time friends, political comrades and colleagues" John Grant, Linn Washington and Charles M. Young. Dave's book titles include: 'This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the Disintegration of American Democracy,' 'Marketplace Medicine: The Rise of the For Profit Hospital Chains,' 'Killing Time: An Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal,' and co-authored with Barbara Olshansky 'The Case for Impeachment: Legal Arguments for Removing President George W. Bush'.

Dave Lindorff in the first half.

And; for years disparate voices on Canada's west coast have warned of the dangers of increasing oil tanker traffic here. But it wasn't the feared Exxon Valdez II mega-spill that struck last week, just the banal refueling of a brand new freighter by an inexperienced crew that fouled Vancouver's crown jewel, English Bay with thousands of litres of bunker oil. The Keystone Kops-like response to the spill by the agencies presumably responsible, and the turgid media performance by the federal government in its dismal aftermath have reinforced fears of what is truly at stake for the environment, as petro-state Canada ramps up industrialization here in the Salish Sea.

Ramona de Graaf is a marine biologist specializing in forage fish. She earned her Bachelors of Science degree right here at UVic, and her Masters at UBC. She now serves as Executive Director and Coordinator of the Sea Watch Society, adjunct to the BC Shore Spawners Alliance, and is the Principal of Emerald Sea Biological. She's focused her studies these last years on the population genetics of bay pipefish, their eelgrass habitat, and is Primary researcher for other marine intertidal spawning forage fish, like the surf smelt and Pacific sand lance.

Queen of the Smelts, Ramona de Graaf and the effects of introduced petroleum products on marine life in the second segment.

And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us news of good goings-on from our city's streets and beyond for the coming week. But first, Dave Lindorff and American Justice's burgeoning crisis of confidence.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: And now heard at Simon Fraser University's . He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, 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 corporate media.