Saturday, January 1, 2011

January 1, 2011 New Year Edition

2011: A Special Message to our Readers: Best Wishes for a Peaceful New Year

By The Global Research Team

Global Research
December 31, 2010

Dear Readers,

As 2010 draws to a close, we take a moment to reflect on the past year and contemplate what may be ahead in the months to come.

Undeniably, this has been a year of crisis, characterized by the plight of war, economic dislocation and environmental degradation.

In a very direct way, the global economic and social crisis affects the livelihood of millions of people, as our authors have indicated through their research and news coverage, and our readers have observed through their own experiences.

The global financial picture remains bleak for many who are struggling to support their families and worry about what the future holds. The current administration of the world's superpower has put forth copious promises for change, but as proof of change is not received, disillusionment is setting in.

War continues to be waged across the globe at unprecedented rates, amassing immeasurable monetary, psychological and human costs which affect all citizens of the world. In turn, a large share of the nations' resources (particularly in the United States) is channeled towards the production of advanced weapons systems to the detriment of education, health and housing.

Every day, Global Research brings you articles that report, break down and analyze the pressing issues of our times. And with negative headlines often outweighing the optimistic, this can be a discouraging process indeed. However, we believe in the power of information and analysis to bring about far-reaching change: the more people become aware of the subversive, insidious processes attempting to manipulate the many to benefit the few, the less they can turn a blind eye to the injustice that surrounds us.

Truth in media is a powerful instrument. As long as we all keep probing, asking questions, looking through the disinformation to find real understanding, then we are in a better position to resist the negative and regain our sense of optimism for a better world in which truth and accountability trump greed and corruption.

To that end, we thank all our readers for supporting us, whether you have read, blogged and forwarded our articles for years, or have just recently discovered us when the failures of mainstream media prompted you to seek a deeper understanding of the world around you. We welcome your participation and urge you to keep reading, as much and as often as time will allow.

As a resolution for 2011, we encourage all readers to arm themselves - not with weapons, but with information. Make research a priority and spread the word to others; ask questions and do not settle for unsatisfactory answers; find out what you can and make your decisions based on what's proven instead of what's convenient. And, when possible, support non-profit organizations like Global Research through donations and memberships so that we can all continue to fight together against the flood of disinformation that threatens from larger, well-funded media and organizations.

If we have one wish for this coming 2011, it would be for peace. Until then, we encourage your continued participation and support, and wish you and your loved ones all the best in the year ahead.

- With kind regards from the staff, writers and countless volunteers of The Centre for Research on Globalization

Montreal, December 31, 2010



by Paul Craig Roberts
December 28, 2010

”Dissent is what rescues democracy from a quiet death behind closed doors.”
- Lewis H. Lapham

The year 2011 will bring Americans a larger and more intrusive police state, more unemployment and home foreclosures, no economic recovery, more disregard by the U.S. government of U.S. law, international law, the Constitution, and truth, more suspicion and distrust from allies, more hostility from the rest of the world, and new heights of media sycophancy.

2011 is shaping up as the terminal year for American democracy. The Republican Party has degenerated into a party of Brownshirts, and voter frustrations with the worsening economic crisis and military occupations gone awry are likely to bring Republicans to power in 2012. With them would come their doctrines of executive primacy over Congress, the judiciary, law, and the Constitution and America’s rightful hegemony over the world.

If not already obvious, 2010 has made clear that the U.S. government does not care a whit for the opinions of citizens. The TSA is unequivocal that it will reach no accommodation with Americans other than the violations of their persons that it imposes by its unaccountable power. As for public opposition to war, the Associated Press reported on December 16 that “Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the U.S. can’t let public opinion sway its commitment to Afghanistan.” Gates stated bluntly what has been known for some time: the idea is passe that government in a democracy serves the will of the people. If this quaint notion is still found in civics books, it will soon be edited out.

In Gag Rule, a masterful account of the suppression of dissent and the stifling of democracy, Lewis H. Lapham writes that candor is a necessary virtue if democracies are to survive their follies and crimes. But where in America today can candor be found? Certainly not in the councils of government. Attorney General John Ashcroft complained of candor-mongers to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Americans who insist on speaking their minds, Ashcroft declared, “scare people with phantoms of lost liberty,” “aid terrorists,” diminish our resolve,” and “give ammunition to America’s enemies.”

As the Department of Justice (sic) sees it, when the ACLU defends habeas corpus it is defending the ability of terrorists to blow up Americans, and when the ACLU defends the First Amendment it is defending exposures of the lies and deceptions that are the necessary scaffolding for the government’s pretense that it is doing God’s will while Satan speaks through the voices of dissent.

Neither is candor a trait in which the American media finds comfort. The neoconservative press functions as propaganda ministry for hegemonic American empire, and the “liberal” New York Times serves the same master. It was the New York Times that gave credence to the Bush regime’s lies about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and it was the New York Times that guaranteed Bush’s re-election by spiking the story that Bush was committing felonies by spying on Americans without obtaining warrants. Conservatives rant about the “liberal media” as if it were a vast subversive force, but they owe their beloved wars and cover-ups of the Bush regime’s crimes to the New York Times.

With truth the declared enemy of the fantasy world in which the government, media, and public reside, the nation has turned on whistleblowers. Bradley Manning, who allegedly provided the media with the video made by U.S. troops of their wanton, fun-filled slaughter of newsmen and civilians, has been abused in solitary confinement for six months. Murdering civilians is a war crime, and as General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the National Press Club on February 17, 2006, “It is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to disobey an order that is either illegal or immoral” and to make such orders known. If Manning is the source of the leak, he has been wrongfully imprisoned for meeting his military responsibility. The media have yet to make the point that the person who reported the crime, not the persons who committed it, is the one who has been imprisoned, and without a trial.

The lawlessness of the U.S. government, which has been creeping up on us for decades, broke into a full gallop in the years of the Bush/Cheney/Obama regimes. Today the government operates above the law, yet maintains that it is a democracy bringing the same to Muslims by force of arms, only briefly being sidetracked by sponsoring a military coup against democracy in Honduras and attempting to overthrow the democratic government in Venezuela.

As 2011 dawns, public discourse in America has the country primed for a fascist dictatorship.The situation will be worse by 2012. The most uncomfortable truth that emerges from the WikiLeaks saga is that American public discourse consists of cries for revenge against those who tell us truths. The vicious mendacity of the U.S. government knows no restraint. (Editor's bold emphasis throughout) Whether or not international law can save Julian Assange from the clutches of the Americans or death by a government black ops unit, both executive and legislative branches are working assiduously to establish the National Security State as the highest value and truth as its greatest enemy.

America’s future is the world of Winston Smith.


Hope in 2011: Peoples, Civil Society Stand Tall

By Ramzy Baroud

Global Research
December 30, 2010

When the Iraqi army fell before invading US and British troops in 2003, the latter’s mission seemed to be accomplished. But nearly eight years after the start of a war intended to shock and awe a whole population into submission, the Iraqi people continue to stand tall. They have confronted and rejected foreign occupations, held their own against sectarianism, and challenged random militancy and senseless acts of terrorism.

For most of us, the Iraqi people’s resolve cannot be witnessed, but rather deduced. Eight years of military strikes, raids, imprisonments, torture, humiliation and unimaginable suffering were still not enough to force the Iraqis into accepting injustice as a status quo.

In August 2010, the United States declared the end of its combat mission in Iraq, promising complete withdrawal by the end of 2011. However, US military action has continued, only under different designations. The occupation of Iraq carries on, despite the tactical shifts of commands and the rebranding effort.

However, were it not for the tenacity of the Iraqi people, who manage to cross-sectarian, political and ideological divides, there would be no talk of withdrawals or deadlines. There would be nothing but cheap oil, which could have ushered in a new golden age of imperialism - not in Iraq, but throughout the so-called Third World. The Iraqi people have managed to stop what could have become a dangerous trend.

2010 was another year where Iraqis held strong, and civil societies throughout the world stood with them in solidarity, a solidarity that will continue until full sovereignty is attained.

Palestine provides another example of international solidarity, one that is unsurpassed in modern times. Civil society has finally crossed the line between words and sentiments of solidarity into actual and direct action. The Israeli siege on Gaza, which was supported by the United States and few other Western powers, resembled more than a humanitarian crisis. It was a moral crisis as well, especially as the besieged population of Gaza was subjected to a most brutal war at the end of 2008, followed by successive lethal military strikes. The four year long siege has devastated a population whose main crime was exercising its democratic right to vote, and refusing to submit to the military and political diktats of Israel.

Gaza remains a shining example of human strength in our time. This is a fact the Israeli government refuses to accept. Israeli and other media reported that the Israeli army will be deploying new tanks to quell the resistance of the strip, with the justification that Palestinians fighters managed to penetrate the supposedly impenetrable Israeli Merkava tank. Israeli military chief Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi, who made the revelation in a recent parliamentary session, may never comprehend that neither a Mekava (or whatever new model he will be shipping to Gaza soon) nor the best military hardware anywhere could penetrate the will of the unwavering Palestinians.

Gaza is not alone. Civil society leaders representing every religion, nationality and ideology have tirelessly led a campaign of solidarity with the Palestinian people. The breadth and magnitude of this solidarity has been unmatched in recent times, at least since the anti-fascist International Brigades units resolutely defended the Second Spanish Republic between 1936-1939.

The solidarity has come at a cost. Many activists from Turkey and various other countries were killed in the high seas as they attempted to extend a hand of camaraderie to the people of Gaza and Palestine. Now, knowing the dangers that await them, many activists the world over are still hoping to set sail to Gaza in 2011.

Indeed, 2010 was a year that human will proved more effective than military hardware. It was the year human solidarity crossed over like never before into new realms, bringing with it much hope and many new possibilities.

But the celebration of hope doesn’t end in Palestine and Iraq. It merely begins there. Champions of human rights come from every color and creed. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, The Most Rev. Dr. Desmond Tutu of South Africa, former US President Jimmy Carter and other luminaries and civil society heroes and heroines from across the world will continue their mission of peace and justice, as they have for many years.

These well-known names are only part of the story. There are literary millions of unsung heroes that make the hardship of the years more tolerable, and who will continue to guide us through new years and unknown challenges.

Haiti was one country that was hit hardest in 2010. The small nation was greeted on January 12, 2010 with a most catastrophic earthquake, followed by 52 aftershocks. Over half a million people were estimated killed and injured, and many more became homeless. The year ended on a similarly devastating note, as over 2,000 people died and 105,000 fell ill (according to estimates by the Pan American Health Organization) after a cholera outbreak ravished an already overwhelmed country.

It is rather strange how leading powers can be so immaculate and efficient in their preparations for war, and yet so scandalously slow in their responses to human need when there is no political or economic price to be exacted. But this discrepancy will hardly deter doctors and nurses at the St. Nicholas Hospital in Haiti, who, despite the dangerous lack of resources, managed to save 90 percent of their patients.

Our hearts go out to Haiti and its people during these hard times. But Haiti needs more than good wishes and solemn prayers. It also needs courageous stances by civil society to offset the half-hearted commitments made by some governments and publicity-seeking leaders.

It must be said that hope is not a random word aimed at summoning a fuzzy, temporary feeling of positive expectations for the future. To achieve its intended meaning, it must be predicated on real, foreseeable values. It must be followed by action. Civil society needs to continue to step up and fill the gaps created or left wide open by self-seeking world powers.

Words don’t end wars, confront greed or slow down the devastation caused by natural disasters. People do. Let 2011 be a year of action, hope, and the uninterrupted triumph of civil society.


2010: The Big Con Continues

By Ted Morgan

December 30, 2010
Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center

Despite the end-of-the-year upturn with Congressional ratification of the START Treaty and repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the United States remains stuck in a quagmire that has paralyzed our politics for 30 years. While the Republican party holds our government hostage, Democrats typically collaborate in public policies that don't have a prayer of resolving the deeply serious problem we face.

Though Americans younger than about 40 have never experienced it, there was a time when government was seen as a vehicle the American people could use to resolve pressing societal problems. When government failed to address the needs of relatively powerless groups, it was possible for them to mobilize around their grievances and place them on the public's agenda.

No longer. Today, protest has become routinized and all-but-impotent. Or, like the Tea Party, it has been coopted by the agenda of wealthy conservatives.

The dominant political message beamed at younger Americans for the past 30 years is that government is the problem, the market is the solution, and the United States must rely on aggressive military intervention to defend "our" interests.

And so, when the Democrats pledge to end the tax cuts enjoyed by the wealthiest Americans, the Republicans cry "class warfare," and the Democrats cave. With former Senator Alan Simpson gleefully anticipating the budgetary "blood bath" this coming spring when Congress has to raise the ceiling on national debt, we'll see more of the same. Social Security looms as perhaps the likely next target.

If we are to escape this quagmire, it is important to understand how we got into this mess and why we have lost the sense that we as a people can solve our problems and determine our future.

The crucial turning point occurred with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. Reagan's policies were anticipated in earlier pronouncements by then corporate attorney Lewis Powell and the Trilateral Commission who blamed America's economic woes of the 1970s on the "democratic excess" of the 1960s -most notably the entry of new populations -racial minorities, women, and the young- into an increasingly agitated political process. Both Powell in 1971 and the Trilateralists in 1975 called for a concerted effort to shift American public opinion to the Right, while turning politics over to the market.

Reagan's electoral success stemmed from his ability to appeal through folksy rhetoric to voting majorities while simultaneously producing the market friendly policies corporate America desired. Thus he appealed to time-honored "family values" that allegedly prevailed in a simpler, if mythical, United States before the era of "riots, assassinations, and domestic strife over the Vietnam war," as he characterized the 1960s.

By tapping into the very real grievances of Americans who felt they were losing ground in the 1970s, Reagan created the key to the Right's electoral success ever since: a pseudo-populism that blamed the "strife" of the 1960s on an allegedly liberal elite: liberal Big Government, liberal university administrators, and the "liberal" media who paid attention to the strife. Pseudo populism drew crucial populations who felt aggrieved by 60s era movements -notably the white South and the white working class-away from the Democratic Party. The Democrats' response was telling: a new Democratic Leadership Council was organized to move the party into the corporate-friendly center.

The political backlash against the 60s was greatly aided by the commercial media -by a narrowed range of political discourse produced by an increasingly subservient news media, and by a wide range of films (think Big Chill or Forrest Gump), television sit-coms (Reagan's favorite: Family Ties), and advertisements that either reinforced the 60s imagery played up in the conservative backlash or converted 60s social movements to stereotypes that robbed them of their political meanings relevant to today.

It would take pages to explain adequately, but I argue that during the 1960s era the very same forces -a narrow range of media interpretation and the commercial emphasis on dramatic imagery, conflict and personalities- provided an open invitation to the kinds of "strife" backlash types love to equate with something they call the "Sixties." The mass media did not consider the more system-challenging meanings and arguments of 60s-era social movements worthy of serious consideration. But they were attracted to the behavioral expressions of what they too glibly saw as a generation in revolt.

These are the same images, behaviors, and personalities -and generational frame for understanding them- that continue to provoke unending media treatments and "hip" sales pitches designed to encourage our consumption of material goods and entertainment. We are stuck with a discourse that loves to use media images to blame some "Other" for our problems.

As for the now-distant 1960s era, it has been relegated to an alleged "generational debate" between those who continue to blame the 60s for our contemporary problems and those who are, perhaps, wistfully nostalgic for a more vital and hopeful time. What we have lost as a people is, first, a history whose central meaning was that even relatively powerless people can organize and achieve historic change, and second, the ability to carry on a democratic conversation with each other across the boundaries that have long been rigidified in what passes for political discourse in our mass media.

Left to its own devices, a capitalist economy extracts enormous wealth from the labor of employees and reliable access to cheap resources. The inequality capitalism produces is supposedly balanced by the one-person-one-vote equality of a political democracy. The "people" are thus empowered to rein in the excesses of capitalism through the political process. Under the neo-liberal regime, we the people have lost that power.

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