Ten years too long: What is the True Cost of the Afghanistan War?

September 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Narrated by Tony Benn, with music by Brian Eno. The clip ends with a call to join the Antiwar Mass Assembly in Trafalgar Square on 8 October: http://www.antiwarassembly.org

Haiti: After the Quake

September 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

It is documentaries like this that set Al Jazeera apart from other major news networks. Sebastian Walker examines why a system that was designed to help actually ended up exacerbating Haiti’s misery.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Showdown in Peru: Indigenous communities kick out Canadian mining company

September 17, 2011 § 1 Comment

(Photo: Shantala Robinson)

by Benjamin Dangl

This article appeared at The Dominion.

Earlier this spring, an anti-mining Indigenous movement in Peru successfully ousted a Canadian mining company from their territory. “In spite of government repression, if the people decide to bring the fight to the bitter end, it is possible to resist the pressure of mining and oil companies,” Peruvian activist and journalist Yasser Gómez told The Dominion.

The David and Goliath scenario of this anti-mining uprising highlights the vast economic inequality that has beset Peru. The country’s economy has been booming for the past decade, with a seven per cent growth expected this year—one of the highest growth rates internationally. Sixty-five per cent of the country’s export income comes from the mining industry, and investors are expected to spend over $40 billion in the next 10 years on mining operations.

Yet this growth has not benefited a large percentage of the population. The poverty rate in Peru is just over 31 per cent; in the countryside, two in three people live under the poverty line. Today, there are over 200 communities organized against mining across Peru.

« Read the rest of this entry »

The State of Palestine – A Hint of Liberation?

September 15, 2011 § 1 Comment

State of Palestine Stamp by Khaled Jarrar It occurs to me that I can’t address the issue of a Palestinian state without addressing my Anarchism. The national struggle is an issue of inevitable debate for many Anarchists who support the Palestinian struggle for liberation. Truth be told, as a local Anarchist, in a time when Palestine is still occupied territory, when asked about the Palestinian bid at the UN for a Palestinian state, I worry mostly about how more violent the Israeli army could get when we demonstrate with the villages. I worry about being denied entry into the occupied territory, in order to get to the demonstrations. I worry about not being able to see my friends, or being prosecuted for attempting to do so.

Many of us- “on the ground” as they say- Palestinians, Anarchists and allies, have been brushing off the reality of a Palestinian-state-positive vote in the UN , because we doubt it’ll change anything ”on the ground.” To those shot at, holding a flag or holding a stick is at best a semantic exercise.

That said, declaring a Palestinian state is not one of those small issues that can be brushed aside, especially because “state” is an internationally accepted legal term. As an Anarchist the idea of an international general assembly, in which whole populations have their say is remarkable to me. Had the United Nations been fashioned after a participatory society model, rather than a hierarchical, neo-liberal, democratic model, maybe it needn’t have had to hang its head in shame. But for now, one must hold the status of a “state”, in order to be recognized as a people- and consequently a person. So in a bid to understand the repercussions of next week, over our lives, more deeply, I’d like to delve into the legal opinions that have been published about the move.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Israel’s advocates in the UK cosy up to Christian Right

September 15, 2011 § 5 Comments

Faced with the increasingly difficult task of ‘selling’ Israeli policies to the UK public, Israel’s supporters in this country are cementing relationships with some strange bed-fellows.

Israeli embassy officials are happy working with groups like ‘Mordechai Voice’, a new addition to the Christian Zionist scene in the UK. Apart from helping with local presentations, staff from Israel’s embassy spoke at a July “prayer meeting” organised by people who look forward to the day “all Israel is saved”. It seems the Embassy has no problem collaborating with Christians whose motivation for supporting Israel is the belief that such advocacy is the “key to UK revival”.

Where Israel’s government representatives go, the advocacy groups follow. In October, the UK’s Zionist Federation will host David Dolan, billed as a “Broadcast Journalist and Author”, to speak on “Turmoil in the Middle East: What comes next?” Well for Dolan, the answer is the Second Coming. In his book ‘Holy War for the Promised Land’, Dolan shares his own unique ‘analysis’:

I am personally convinced that there are strong supernatural forces at work behind the Arab-Israeli dispute. I cannot help mentioning that I often perceive a certain glowing, otherworldly light behind the conflict…

His website has details of the speaking tour that includes the Zionist Federation date, an event Dolan describes as a meeting with “members of the Jewish community”. Perhaps he’ll share with them his belief in “the only peace process that will ultimately succeed”, namely for “Arab and Jew” to receive “God’s gift of eternal life, offered in his chosen Messiah, Jesus”.

Then there’s Israel lobby outfit StandWithUs, notorious in the US for their ties to Islamophobic right-wing donors and aggressive tactics. A more recent presence in the UK, though already embraced by some student groups, they helped Mordecai Voice arrange a recent rally where signs were held saying “God warns: The nations that refuse to be Israel’s allies will be utterly destroyed”.

Their UK coordinator Gili Brenner will be a guest speaker at a November conference (PDF) called ‘Israel’s Future & Ours’, billed as “a unique, not-to-be-missed Christian conference that will educate, inspire and move you to intercede for the Jewish people”. The conference is being promoted by the likes of ‘The Time is Now’, a site that believes that God will “curse those who curse Israel”.

Alongside the StandWithUs UK coordinator will be speakers from Christian Friends of Israel (CFI), who believe that “God’s time to ‘favour Zion’ has begun”, and Nathan Barnard, whose website ‘The Last Trumpet’ aims to inform Christians “about current events in relation to biblical prophecy”. Another speaker is David Pawson, a pastor who has warned that Britain is on its way to becoming an Islamic state.

Despite discomfort in Israel about such alliances, Israel’s advocates in UK seem glad to get any support they can.

Latin America’s left at the crossroads

September 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

Income inequality rose under Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Gallo/Getty)

William I. Robinson writes at Al Jazeera on the subject of the Pink Tide–“the ambiguous turn to the left in recent years in several Latin American countries”:

The Pink Tide governments have been “leftist” insofar as they have introduced limited wealth redistribution, restored a minimal role for the state in regulating accumulation, and administered government expansion in more inclusionary ways. When we cut through the rhetoric, however, a number of these governments – such as the Socialists in Chile, Kirchner in Argentina, and Lula in Brazil – were able to push forward capitalist globalisation with greater credibility than their orthodox neo-liberal predecessors, and, in doing so, to deradicalise dissent and demobilise social movements. What emerged was an elected progressive bloc in the region committed to mild redistributive programmes respectful of prevailing property relations and unwilling or simply unable to challenge the global capitalist order – a new, post-neo-liberal form of the national state tied to the larger institutional networks of global capitalism.

In many Pink Tide countries there has been no significant change in the unequal distribution of income or wealth, and indeed, inequality may actually be increasing.  Nor has there been any shift in basic property and class relations despite changes in political blocs, despite discourse favouring the popular classes, and despite mildly reformist or social welfare measures. In Argentina, for instance, the percentage of national income going to labour (through wages) and to the unemployed and pensioners (through social welfare subsidies and pensions) dropped from 32.5 per cent in 2001, before the crisis exploded, to 26.7 per cent in 2005. In Kirchner’s own words, the aim of his policies was to reconstruct capitalism in the country, “a capitalism in which the state plays an intelligent role, regulating, controlling, and mitigating where necessary problems that the market does not solve”. Despite its social programmes, the Kirchner administration worked to demobilise and divide Argentina’s social movements.
« Read the rest of this entry »

A Syrian

September 13, 2011 § 2 Comments

I met a Syrian whose identity will be revealed at the time of revealing. The Syrian, who is a revolutionary and someone who knows, reassured me of the final outcome. There are two options, the Syrian said. Either the regime goes or the people go. The people say: let’s say there’s been an earthquake. Let’s say a million of us have been killed. Now let’s go out and bring down the regime.

The Syrian said the businessmen of Aleppo in recent weeks have sent their capital into Turkey. Aleppo will rise, the Syrian said.

The Syrian has suffered. The Syrian is not a child. Almost enough clues.

While we were talking the Syrian heard that another friend had been detained. A woman. A professional.

« Read the rest of this entry »

White King, Red Rubber, Black Death

September 12, 2011 § 1 Comment

The story of King Leopold II of Belgium’s brutal colonisation of central Africa, turning it into a vast rubber-harvesting labour camp in which millions died.

What we are Forgetting to Remember: The Social Context of 9/11

September 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

by Mike King

September 11, 2001 is a world historic moment, a historical signpost – “9/11” – marking more than a deadly attack, but a moment that truly changed history, one that can help us understand both the past and the present.  This week marks the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  Of the memorials given, documentaries aired and news stories published this week, few will address the causes and effects of 9/11 in a way that gives a sense of the root causes, social context and contradictions that surround that moment and continue to define our present.

9/11 grew out of everything from Cold War contradictions to longstanding political grievances and anti-imperialism in the Muslim world.  9/11 propelled two unending wars, Afghanistan being the longest in US history, bankrupting both State finances and global moral legitimacy.  Despite the killing of Osama bin Laden, and his mysterious burial at sea, and despite the fact that there have been no successful terror attacks in the US since 9/11, the US has lost the “War on Terror” in every other conceivable way.  Whether in terms of lost economic hegemony or in terms Federal budget deficits (and their social effects), largely caused by the costs of wars, or in terms of a loss of geopolitical control over much of the Western hemisphere or North Africa, the US leveraged its Empire to fund a new Crusades which has them clutching to their global thrown with one hand, munitions with the other, as the other world powers and financiers wait for the right moment to pull the rug out from under them, as multiple occupations meet persistent resistance.

« Read the rest of this entry »

The Terrorism Issue that Wasn’t Discussed

September 11, 2011 § 2 Comments

by Gareth Porter

George W. Bush and President Barack Obama visit the 9/11 memorial (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

In the commentary on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the news and infotainment media have predictably framed the discussion by the question of how successful the CIA and the military have been in destroying al Qaeda. Absent from the torrent of opinion and analysis was any mention of how the U.S. military occupation of Muslim lands and wars that continue to kill Muslim civilians fuel jihadist sentiment that will keep the threat of terrorism high for many years to come.

The failure to have that discussion is not an accident. In December 2007, at a conference in Washington, D.C. on al Qaeda, former State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism Daniel Benjamin offered a laundry list of things the United States could do to reduce the threat from al Qaeda. But he said nothing about the most important thing to be done: pledging to the Islamic world that the United States would pull its military forces out of Afghanistan and Iraq and end its warfare against those in Islamic countries resisting U.S. military presence.

During the coffee break, I asked him whether that item should have been on his list. “You’re right,” he answered.  And then he added, “But we can’t do that.”

“Why not,” I asked.

“Because,” he said, “we would have to tell the families of the soldiers who have died in those wars that their loved ones died in vain.”

His explanation was obviously bogus. But in agreeing that America’s continuing wars actually increase the risk of terrorism against the United States, Benjamin was merely reflecting the conclusions that the intelligence and counter-terrorism communities had already reached.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Where Am I?

You are currently viewing the archives for September, 2011 at P U L S E.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,387 other followers

%d bloggers like this: