torsdag den 31. marts 2011

Gilbert Achcar: Obama and the Libyan Rebellion

New Artificial Leaf and Photosynthesis.

Yet another new breakthrough in low cost solar energy just made its debut, and this one is a doozy: a solar cell the size of a typical leaf, that actually creates energy the same way a leaf does: with photosynthesis. No, for real. You just park it in a bucket of water and it generates enough electricity to power household devices… eventually (more on that below). The announcement was made by the lead researcher on the MIT-based project, Dr. Daniel Nocera, who said, “A practical artificial leaf has been one of the Holy Grails of science for decades.”

Source: CleanTechnica.

Noam Chomsky: WikiLeaks Cables Reveal "Profound Hatred for Democracy on the Part of Our Political Leadership"

Dagens Citat: Otto von Bismarck.

"People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election."

- Otto von Bismarck.

lørdag den 26. marts 2011

Dokumentar: Gasland.

GASLAND from WorldReport on Vimeo.

Ilan Pape: Reframing the Israel/Palestine conflict.

Reframing the Israel/Palestine conflict: an interview with Ilan Pappe from Frank Barat on Vimeo.

Noam Chomsky answers questions from famous intellectuals.

Noam Chomsky answers questions from Ken Loach, Paul Laverty, Alice Walker, Chris Hedges, John Berger and Amira Hass from Frank Barat on Vimeo.

Dagens Citat: Derrick Jensen.

“In a finite world, every resource expended for one purpose is unavailable for any other purpose. If you eat a salmon, I cannot eat salmon. If one eats or otherwise kills all of the salmon, no one will ever eat salmon again. The same principle works in economics. Every dollar spent building a B-2 bomber is unavailable to pay for immunization and food that a child needs to survive. Every human-hour used is unavailable to rehabilitate damaged streams, to create music or poetry, to play with children, or to teach people to read. Every gigawatt of electricity consumed is unavailable to run hospitals or schools [..] Since no one in her right mind wishes to kill people by dropping bombs on them, the best any of us can sanely hope for is that every resource used in construction of these bombers will be wasted. The alternative is that the bombers will be used for their designated purpose, which is to destroy. What cultural rootstock would put its resources into yielding such fruits as this? What cultural consciousness would engender such choices?”

Derrick Jensen, The Culture of Make Believe, p. 365.

torsdag den 24. marts 2011

Michael Hardt On 'Common Wealth' (1 of 10)

The Military-Industrial Complex Revisited

Dagens Citat: Hardt & Negri.

“The great modern works of political science all provide tools for transformation or overthrowing the ruling powers and liberating us from repression. Even Machiavelli's The Prince, which some read as a guidebook for nefarious rulers, is in fact a democratic pamphlet that puts the understanding of violence and the cunning of power in the service of republican intelligence. Today, however, the majority of political scientists are merely technicians working to resolve the quantitative problems of maintaining order, and the rest wander the corridors from their universities to the courts of power, attempting to get the ear of the sovereign and whisper advice. The paradigmatic figure of the political scientist has become the Geheimrat, the secret adviser of the sovereign.”

- Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri, Multitude p. 33.

Michelle Alexander: US Prisons, The New Jim Crow

Dokumentar: The Trials Of Henry Kissinger

Glenn Greenwald, Presentation, 8 March 2011

Dagens Citat: Howard Zinn

“[Civil disobedience] is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that numbers of people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience … Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem.”

- Howard Zinn.

onsdag den 23. marts 2011

Afghanistan: Den sikkerhedspolitiske begrundelse.

Den primære officielle begrundelse for de danske troppers tilstedeværelse i Afghanistan, har kontinuerligt været, at vi befinder os i landet for at sikre, at der ikke igen sker terrorangreb på vestlige mål og interesser.

I sin nytårstale 2009 benyttede Anders Fogh Rasmussen således lejligheden til at forsvare Afghanistan-krigen med den sikkerhedspolitiske begrundelse:

“Vi lever i en ny verden. En verden, hvor terrorister kan slå til hvor som helst - også i Danmark. En verden, hvor forsvaret af vores sikkerhed starter fjernt fra dansk jord. Afghanistan må ikke igen blive et fristed for terrorister. Derfor er vi i Afghanistan. Det handler om sikkerhed. Og det handler om, at vi danskere tager medansvar i verden. Vi ønsker frihed, fred og sikkerhed. Så må vi også selv yde et bidrag”.

Den sikkerhedspolitiske begrundelse er imidlertid tvivlsom idet Al-Qaeda ikke længere har nogen nævneværdig tilstedeværelse i landet, mens organisationen til gengæld menes at være aktiv i en række andre lande, som Danmark (eller den internationale koalition) ikke er militært engageret i. Der er ikke meget der tyder på at de lokale krigsførende parter i Afghanistan har andet end lokale interesser, hvorfor de forskellige oprørsbevægelser altså ikke truer den danske befolknings sikkerhed!

Selvom Al Qaeda fortsat havde en markant tilstedeværelse i landet, eller skulle få det igen på et senere tidspunkt, er det særdeles tvivlsomt hvorvidt en nedkæmpning af organisationen på afghansk territorium ville forvolde en større grad af sikkerhed, da hverken terrorangrebene i London eller Madrid havde nogen beviselig forbindelse til Afghanistan. Sikkerhedsargumentet bør endvidere mødes med skepsis da planlægningen af et terrorangreb ikke kræver nogen konkret tilstedeværelse i et givent land. Terrorangreb, som dem vi så i London, Madrid og Mumbai, kræver ikke store træningslejre men beror derimod på relativt små sammensværgelser, som kan planlægge angrebene uden fysisk kontakt, så længe de har adgang til internettet. Endvidere har Al Qaeda iflg. officielle udmeldinger etableret sig i en række lande, herunder Yemen, Afghanistan-krigen vil altså ikke eliminere terrortruslen fra Al Qaeda og organisationens sympatisører, uanset dens udfald.

tirsdag den 22. marts 2011

Jeremy Scahill on Yemen and US covert action.

Dagens Citat: Henry David Thoreau

»When the subject has refused allegiance, and the officer has resigned his office, then the revolution is accomplished. But even suppose blood should flow. Is there not a sort of bloodshed when the conscience is wounded? Through this wound a man's real manhood and immortality flow out, and he bleeds to an everlasting death. I see this blood flowing now.«

- Henry David Thoreau Civil Disobedience (1849)

"Freedom Packages!!!"

Democracy and Hypocrisy in Libya.

Dagens Citat: Umberto Eco

“Ur-Fascism is still around us, sometimes in plainclothes. It would be easier for us if there appeared on the world scene somebody saying, “I want to reopen Auschwitz. I want the blackshirts to parade again in the Italian squares.” Life is not that simple. Ur-fascism can come back under the most innocent of disguises. Our duty is to uncover it and to point our finger at any of its instances – everyday, in every part of the world.”

Umberto Eco, Eternal Fascism: The New Face of Power in America, New York Review of Books, November-December 1995, p 15.

mandag den 21. marts 2011

Libyen: Analyser og Kommentarer (de nyeste øverst).

Counterpunch: The US, Libya and Oil.

Jadalliya: Is the 2011 Libyan Revolution an Exception?

International Perspective: Libya: a legitimate and necessary debate from an anti-imperialist perspective.

Al Jazeera: Responsibility to protect or right to meddle?

Al Jazeera: Libyans on the move.

ICH: The CIA’s Libya Rebels.

Chossudovsky: 24 March 1999: Remembering the NATO led War on Yugoslavia.

IPS: U.N. Chief's Ambivalent Role in the No-Fly Zone.

Foreign Policy: Has the U.S. forgotten how to pass the buck?

Al Jazeera: Gaddafi, moral interventionism and revolution.

Commondreams: Instead of Bombing Dictators, Stop Selling Them Bombs.

Foreign Policy: De Gaulle, He Ain't - Nicolas Sarkozy's misguided quest for glory in Libya.

MERIP: Of Principle and Peril.

IPS: African Union at a Loss Over Libya.

IPS: Conflicting Interests Cloud Military Intervention's Objectives.

Guardian: Though the risks are very real, the case for intervention remains strong.

Greenwald: The manipulative pro-war argument in Libya.

Majorie Cohn: Stop Bombing Libya.

Al Jazeera: Libya intervention threatens the Arab spring.

AlMasryAlYoum: The Libyan conundrum.

Stephen Walt: What intervention in Libya tells us about the neocon-liberal alliance. The Libyan war: Unconstitutional and illegitimate.

Guardian: Kosovo: A Template for Disaster.

Al Jazeera: The drawbacks of intervention in Libya.

Politico: Libya: Too much too late.

Greenwald: Libya and the Familiar Patterns of War.

Foreign Affairs: The Folly of Protection.

Foreign Policy: Libya in its Arab Context.

Foreign Policy: Libya Is Too Big to Fail.

Juan Cole: How the No-Fly Zone Can Succeed.

Achcar: Libyan No Fly Zone Necessary But Intervention Has Imperialist Objectives

More at The Real News

Gaddafi compound hit by missile as dozens die in coalition strikes.

Inside Story - True Democracy for Egypt?

Dagens Citat: Erich Fromm

“The failure of the great promise, aside from industrialism's essential economic contradictions, was built into the industrial system by its two main psychological premises: (1) that the aim of life is happiness, that is maximum pleasure, defined as the satisfaction of any desire or subjective need a person may feel (radical hedonism); (2) that egotism, selfishness, and greed, as the system needs to generate them in order to function, lead to harmony and peace.”

- Erich Fromm To Have or To Be (1976).

fredag den 18. marts 2011

Kritiske analyser.

Jeg har sammen med Poya Pakzad skrevet en kritisk analyse af de mulige implikationer af en (primært) vestlig militær intervention mod Libyen, som inkluderer noget historisk kontekst omkring humanitær intervention og det sidste nye skud på stammen af belæg for intervention, Responsibility to Protect doktrinen.

Man kan med fordel supplere op med Poya Pakzads og Uffe Kaels Aurings ganske fremragende artikel 'Sikkerhedsproduktion' på Atlas Magasins side som giver et ganske fint overblik over NATOs dominanspolitik, hvilket også er relevant ift. talen om intervention i Libyen. Artiklens indhold er det bedste jeg mindes at have læst om (dansk) sikkerhedspolitik i noget dansk medie.


Dagens Citat: Henry Giroux.

“Jingoistic patriotism is now mobilized in the highest reaches of government, in the media, and throughout society, put on perpetual display through the rhetoric of celebrities, journalists, and nightly news anchors, and, relentlessly buttressed by the never-ending waving of flags – on cars, trucks, clothes, houses and the lapels of TV anchors – as well as through the use of mottoes, slogans, and songs. As a rhetorical ploy to silence dissent, patriotism is used to name as unpatriotic any attempt to make governmental power and authority accountable at home or to question how the appeal to nationalism is being used to legitimate the United States government's aspirations to empire-building overseas. This type of anti-liberal thinking is deeply distrustful of critical inquiry, mistakes meaningful dissent for treason, constructs politics on the moral absolutes of “us and them”, and views difference and democracy as threats to consensus and national identity. Such “patriotic” fervour fuels a system of militarized control that not only repudiates the authority of international law, but also relies on a notion of preventive war to project the fantasies of unbridled American power all over the globe.”

Henry Giroux: Against the New Authoritarianism: Politics after Abu Ghraib, Arbeiter Ring Publishing 2005, p. 41-42.

onsdag den 16. marts 2011

Wallerstein: Libya and the World Left.

There is so much hypocrisy and so much confused analysis about what is going on in Libya that one hardly knows where to begin. The most neglected aspect of the situation is the deep division in the world left. Several left Latin American states, and most notably Venezuela, are fulsome in their support of Colonel Qaddafi. But the spokespersons of the world left in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, and indeed North America, decidedly don’t agree.

Hugo Chavez’s analysis seems to focus primarily, indeed exclusively, on the fact that the United States and western Europe have been issuing threats and condemnations of the Qaddafi regime. Qaddafi, Chavez, and some others insist that the western world wishes to invade Libya and “steal” Libya’s oil. The whole analysis misses entirely what has been happening, and reflects badly on Chavez’s judgment – and indeed on his reputation with the rest of the world left.

First of all, for the last decade and up to a few weeks ago, Qaddafi had nothing but good press in the western world. He was trying in every way to prove that he was in no way a supporter of “terrorism” and wished only to be fully integrated into the geopolitical and world-economic mainstream. Libya and the western world have been entering into one profitable arrangement after another. It is hard for me to see Qaddafi as a hero of the world anti-imperialist movement, at least in the last decade.

The second point missed by Hugo Chavez’s analysis is that there is not going to be any significant military involvement of the western world in Libya. The public statements are all huff and puff, designed to impress local opinion at home. There will be no Security Council resolution because Russia and China won’t go along. There will be no NATO resolution because Germany and some others won’t go along. Even Sarkozy’s militant anti-Qaddafi stance is meeting resistance within France.

And above all, the opposition in the United States to military action is coming both from the public and more importantly from the military. The Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mullen, have very publicly stated their opposition to instituting a no-fly zone. Indeed, Secretary Gates went further. On Feb. 25, he addressed the cadets at West Point, saying to them: “In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president again to send a big American land army into Asia or the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined.”

To underline this view of the military, retired General Wesley Clark, the former commander of NATO forces, wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post on Mar. 11, under the heading, “Libya doesn’t meet the test for U.S. military action.” So, despite the call of the hawks for U.S. involvement, President Obama will resist.

The issue therefore is not Western military intervention or not. The issue is the consequence of Qaddafi’s attempt to suppress all opposition in the most brutal fashion for the second Arab revolt. Libya is in turmoil because of the successful uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. And if there is any conspiracy, it is one between Qaddafi and the West to slow down, even quash, the Arab revolt. To the extent that Qaddafi succeeds, he sends a message to all the other threatened despots of the region that harsh repression rather than concessions is the way to go.

This is what the left in the rest of the world sees, if some left governments in Latin America do not. As Samir Amin points out in his analysis of the Egyptian uprising, there were four distinct components among the protestors – the youth, the radical left, middle-class democrats, and Islamists. The radical left is composed of suppressed left parties and revitalized trade-union movements. There is no doubt a much, much smaller radical left in Libya, and a much weaker army (because of Qaddafi’s deliberate policy). The outcome there is therefore very uncertain.

The assembled leaders of the Arab League may condemn Qaddafi publicly, but many, even most, may be applauding him privately – and copying from him.

It might be useful to end with two pieces of testimony from the world left. Helena Sheeham, an Irish Marxist activist, well-known in Africa for her solidarity work there with the most radical movements, was invited by the Qaddafi regime to come to Libya to lecture at the university. She arrived as turmoil broke out. The lectures at the university were cancelled, and she was finally simply abandoned by her hosts, and had to make her way out by herself. She wrote a daily diary in which, on the last day, Mar. 8, she wrote: “Any ambivalence about that regime, gone, gone, gone. It is brutal, corrupt, deceitful, delusional.”

We might also see the statement of South Africa’s major trade-union federation and voice of the left, COSATU. After praising the social achievements of the Libyan regime, COSATU said: “COSATU does not accept however that these achievements in any way excuse the slaughter of those protesting against the oppressive dictatorship of Colonel Gaddafi and reaffirms its support for democracy and human rights in Libya and throughout the continent.”

Let us keep our eye on the ball. The key struggle worldwide right now is the second Arab revolt. It will be hard enough to obtain a truly radical outcome in this struggle. Qaddafi is a major obstacle for the Arab, and indeed the world, left. Perhaps we should all remember Simone de Beauvoir’s maxim: “Wanting to be free yourself means wanting that others be free.”

Source: - Libya and the World Left.

Bahrain forces attack protesters

The world can be powered by alternative energy, using today's technology, in 20-40 years

A new study – co-authored by Stanford researcher Mark Z. Jacobson and UC-Davis researcher Mark A. Delucchi – analyzing what is needed to convert the world's energy supplies to clean and sustainable sources says that it can be done with today's technology at costs roughly comparable to conventional energy. But converting will be a massive undertaking on the scale of the moon landings. What is needed most is the societal and political will to make it happen.

Stanford University News.

lørdag den 12. marts 2011

Karzai: Nato skal stoppe alle operationer

"Jeg vil gerne bede Nato og USA med ære og ydmydighed og ikke med arrogance at standse deres operationer i vort land, sagde Karzai under besøget i Kunar-provinsen lørdag.

Hvis dette er en krig imod terrorister og international terrorisme, så skulle de tage hen og kæmpe denne krig, hvor vi over de seneste ni år har vist dem, at den er, tilføjede han - tilsyneladende en henvisning til grænseområdet mellem Afghanistan og Pakistan.

Vi er et meget tolerant folk, men nu er vi løbet tør for tolerance."


Dokumentar: Lifting the Veil: Obama and the Failure of Capitalist Democracy

“Barack Obama and the failure of capitalist democracy”, this film explores the historical role of the Democratic Party as the “graveyard of social movements”, the massive influence of corporate finance in elections, the absurd disparities of wealth in the United States, the continuity and escalation of neocon policies under Obama, the insufficiency of mere voting as a path to reform, and differing conceptions of democracy itself.

Lifting the Veil from S DN on Vimeo.

Dagens Citat. Rune Engelbreth Larsen

"I stedet for klassiske liberale dyder om den enkeltes individualitet og integritet og menneskerettigheders værn om individet i kontrast til statsmagten og konforme massebevægelser, har vi fået Pinds håndsrækning til nationalprotestantismens mumificerede kulturchauvinisme som sindelagsdiktat. "

fredag den 11. marts 2011

Chomsky interview på BBC

Dagens citat: C.S. Lewis.

"The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid "dens of crime" that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered, moved, seconded, carried and minuted, in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut finger nails and smooth shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the offices of a thoroughly nasty business concern."

Naomi Klein interview

tirsdag den 8. marts 2011

Skandaløs Hvidvaskning.

Jeg har i dag en artikel på's webmagasin Kontradoxa omhandlende den Reagan-klub som Søren Pind, Lykke Friis og Uffe Ellemann-Jensen stiftede på hundredeårsdagen for Reagans fødsel. Jeg kritiserer i artiklen Reagan-klubben for at male et glansbillede af Reagan og jeg anklager dem for forsøg på hvidvaskning og revisionisme. Artiklen kan læses på Modkraft.

Fortsatte massive protester i Bahrain.

Titusinder af demonstranter omringede i søndags regeringsbygningnerne i Manama, Bahrains hovedstad, for at lægge pres på den royale familie for at der gennemføres omfattende reformer. Protestbevægelsen kræver regeringens afgang, reformering af den herskende orden til et konstitutionelt monarki, løsladelse af alle politiske fanger, reformering af valgsystemet, etablering af en ny overgangsregering og en uafhængige undersøgelse af syv protestanters dødsfald siden sammenstødene mellem magthaverne og protestbevægelsen startede for over en uge siden.

Bahrain er en ø-nation som er en vigtig strategisk allieret for USA, idet det amerikanske militærs femte flåde har base i landet hvor man administrerer op mod en femtedel af landarealet. Man støtter fortsat op om den autokratiske kongefamilie, mens man dog iflg. Wall Street Journal, fra officiel side har hævdet, at denne støtte ikke er ubetinget og godt kan ændre sig såfremt styret ikke møder protestbevægelsen med tilbageholdenhed i magtanvendelsen, eller, hvis der kommer oprør i gaderne i stor skala. Sidstnævnte bør imidlertid vække skepsis idet hele 40 pct. af Bahrains befolkning var på gaden samtidig i den hidtil største demonstration mod styret. Hvis ikke 40 pct. af befolkningens simultane protest er et stort nok oprør, hvad er så?

[Check i øvrigt denne interessante baggrundsartikel om den amerikanske alliance med Bahrain, skrevet af den amerikanske mellemøstekspert og professor i politologi Stephen Zunes].

mandag den 7. marts 2011

The Military-Industrial Complex from Eisenhower to Obama

Fortsatte forfølgelser og mord i Irak.

For fem dage siden skrev jeg et indlæg med titlen "USAs dobbelte standarder" hvor jeg omtalte, at der ugen før var omfattende - og i nogle tilfælde dødbringende - repression rettet mod prostestanter i Irak, hvilket den amerikanske regering ikke fandt grund til at kritisere, mens nabolandet Irans stærkt kritisable, men meget lignende forfølgelser, blev mødt af skarp kritik. Den irakiske regerings repressive virke synes desværre at fortsætte. Om det vil blive mødt af nogen nævneværdig kritik fra officiel hånd vil tiden vise, men indtil videre er hverken mediedækningen eller de vestlige magters kritik på et tilfredstillende endsige prisværdigt niveau.

Orientalisten Thomas Friedman.

Den verdenskendte klummeskribent og politiske kommentator ved New York Times, Thomas Friedman, havde den 2. marts en klumme i avisen hvor han postulerer, at revolutionerne i Mellemøsten blandt andet kan tilskrives Obamas nu så berømte Cairo-tale, samt hans mellemnavn og hudfarve, og at dette var blandt årsagerne til at egypterne rejste sig mod deres (amerikansk støttede) diktator. Denne og Friedmans øvrige årsagsforklaringer gendrives på Counterpunch af Esam al-Amin som anklager Friedman for at være orientalistisk anlagt.

Dagens citat: Geroge Kennan

“USA rummer 50 pct. af verdens rigdomme, men kun 6,3 pct. af dens befolkning. I den situation kan vi ikke undgå at være genstand for misundelse og vrede. Vor egentlige opgave i den kommende tid vil blive at udforme de relationer, der tillader os at bevare denne ulighed, uden at det sker på bekostning af vor nationale sikkerhed. I den hensigt må vi se bort fra al sentimentalitet og dagdrømmeri og over alt koncentrere vor opmærksomhed om vore umiddelbare nationale formål. Vi har ikke behov for at bilde os ind, at vi har råd til uegennytte og velgørenhed. Vi må holde op med at tale om så vage og urealistiske mål som menneskerettigheder, højnelse af levestandarden og demokratisering. Den dag er ikke langt borte, hvor vi må handle ud fra ren magtstrategi. Desto mindre vi hæmmes af idealistiske slagord, desto bedre.”

George Kennan

lørdag den 5. marts 2011

Al Jazeera: Libyan rebels repel Gaddafi forces.

Daniel Ellsberg and Julian Assange Talk WikiLeaks.

Om Vestlig intervention i Libyen.

Det Nationale Libyske Råd har netop offentliggjort, at man har dannet en krisekomite som har til formål at strømline beslutningstagningsprocessen udenrigspoltisk og militært. Rådets formand, den tidligere justitsminister Mustafa Abdel Jalil, opfordrer andre magter til at foretage luftangreb mod Gaddafis styrker, de revolutionære libyere ønsker imidlertid selv at befri landet fra Gaddafis jernnæve, hvorfor man ikke ønsker fremmede magters soldater på libysk jord.

Dagens Citat: Aldous Huxley.

"At least two-thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity: idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religous or political ideas."

fredag den 4. marts 2011

Dagens Citat: Neil Postman.

"We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn't, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.

But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell's dark vision, there was another - slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions". In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us."

Neil Postman i "Amusing Ourselves to Death".

Kritik af Politikens dækning af Israels praksis i de besatte områder.

På det meget anbefalelsesværdig danske site har den generelt læseværdige og opvakte medieanalytiker, Uffe Kaels Auring, en meget interessant kritik af Politikens dækning af Israels magtpraksis i de besatte områder, nærmere bestemt af den overlagte forarmelsespolitik man fører mod indbyggerne i Gaza. Uffe Kaels Auring vurderer at Politikens dækning er præget af misrepræsentationer og udeladelser.

torsdag den 3. marts 2011

Prof. Stephen Zunes om USAs forhold til Bahrain.

Den amerikanske ekspert i mellemøstlige forhold og professor i politologi, Stephen Zunes, har skrevet en interessant artikel om Bahrains historie, oprørene i landet og ø-nationens alliance med USA. Uddrag:

..."The fortress-like U.S. embassy in Manama is probably the largest embassy relative to the population of the host country of any in the world. The U.S. military in Bahrain, which directs the Fifth Fleet and the U.S. Naval Central Command, controls roughly one-fifth of this small nation, making the southern part of the island essentially off-limits to Bahrainis. For more than 20 years, approximately 1,500 Americans have been stationed at the base (which the U.S. government refers to as a “forward operations center”), supporting operations and serving as homeport for an additional 15,000 sailors. As University of California–Irvine Professor Mark LeVine describes it, “If the United States is Egypt's primary patron, in Bahrain it is among the ruling family's biggest tenants.” Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral William Crowe once told me in an interview that Bahrain was “pound for pound, man for man, the best ally the United States has anywhere in the world.” [..]

In the aftermath of the nonviolent overthrow of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, President Obama warned other Middle Eastern leaders that they should "get ahead of the wave of protest" by quickly moving toward democracy. Even though his February 15 press conference took place during some of the worst repression in Bahrain, he chose not to mention the country by name. In the face of Bahraini security forces unleashing violence on peaceful protesters, Obama insisted that "each country is different, each country has its own traditions; America can't dictate how they run their societies." Although certainly a valid statement in itself, in this case it appears to have been little more than a rationalization for silence in the face of extreme violence by an autocratic ally. Indeed, the United States has hardly been silent in the face of the ongoing repression by the authoritarian regime in Libya, even though elements of the pro-democracy movement in that country, unlike in Bahrain, have taken up arms.

Meanwhile, on February 23, U.S. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, came to Bahrain to meet King Hamad and Crown Prince Salman, who serves as commander-in-chief for the Bahraini armed forces. According to Mullen’s spokesman, Navy Captain John Kirby, the admiral “reaffirmed our strong commitment to our military relationship with the Bahraini defense forces.” And, despite the massacres of the previous week, he thanked the Bahraini leaders “for the very measured way they have been handling the popular crisis here.”...

Dagens citat: Voltaire.

"It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets."

Nationalistisk bias blandt amerikanske journalister.

I sagen om Raymond Davis, en amerikansk CIA agent som lige nu er tilbageholdt i Pakistan for dobbeltmord, får vi et interessant indblik i ledende medlemmer af den amerikanske presses nationalistiske tilbøjeligheder og hvordan disse afspejler sig i deres rapporteringer (eller i dette tilfælde mangel på samme).

Den amerikanske avis New York Times var, i modsætning til den engelske avis The Guardian, tilbageholdne med at fortælle deres læsere, at Raymond Davis ikke var en amerikansk diplomat, men derimod en CIA agent. Den tidligere embedsmand under Bush-administration, Jack Goldsmith, forsvarer dette, idet han mener det er udtryk “for et lidet værdsat fænomen” nemlig en patriotisme som gennemsyrer den amerikanske presses ledende skribenter indenfor sikkerhedspolitiske anliggender. Et fænomen som Goldsmith mener er en god ting. Goldsmith citerer endvidere i sit forsvar af New York Times redaktionelle linje den amerikanske general Michael Hayden som har sagt, at amerikanske journalister udviser “villighed til at samarbejde med os [den amerikanske udøvende magt]” når det kommer til sikkerhedspolitiske anliggender. Den amerikanske blogger og forfatningsadvokat Glenn Greenwald finder dette særdeles kritisabelt i en anbefalelsesværdig kommentar på sin blog:

“Leave aside just for the moment the question of whether it's good or bad for American journalists to allow such nationalistic allegiances to mold their journalism. One key point is that allowing such loyalties to determine what one reports or conceals is a very clear case of bias and subjectivity: exactly what most reporters vehemently deny they possess. Many establishment journalists love to tout their own objectivity -- insisting that what distinguishes them from bloggers, opinionists and others is that they simply report the facts, free of any biases or policy preferences. But if Goldsmith is right -- and does anyone doubt that he is? -- then it means that "the American press" generally and "senior American national security journalists" in particular operate with a glaring, overwhelming bias that determines what they do and do not report: namely, the desire to advance U.S. interests.”

Amnesty Internationale kritiserer behandlingen af Bradley Manning.

Whistlebloweren Bradley Manning, den amerikanske soldat der forsynede Wikileaks med de kontroversielle ambassadetelegrammer, bliver fortsat tilbageholdt på en amerikansk militærbase uden rettergang og under kritisable forhold iflg. menneskerettighedsorganisationen Amnesty International som skriver på deres hjemmeside, at Manning “har været tilbageholdt i en sparsomt møbleret enecelle uden en pude, lagner og personlige ejendele siden juli.” Manning er endvidere under specielt opsyn begrundet med risiko for selvmord. Dette bekymrer Amnesty International som på organisationens hjemmeside skriver følgende: “Vi er bekymrede for, at betingelserne som Bradley Manning er blevet påført, er unødvendigt hårde og ensbetydende med inhuman behandling fra de amerikanske autoriteters side. Manning er ikke blevet dømt for nogen forbrydelse men de militære autoriteter forekommer at bruge alle tilgængelige midler for at straffe ham mens han er i detention. Dette underminerer USA's forpligtelse til princippet om formodet uskyldighed”.

USA's brug af contractors møder intern kritik.

Brugen af private firmaer, de såkaldte contractors, i genopbygningen af Irak og Afghanistan har i lang tid været en kontroversiel praksis. I mandags bragte Huffington Post en artikel hvor vi lærer, at contractors som har svindlet for anseelige summer igen bliver hyret til at udføre arbejde for den amerikanske regering da tilsynet med dem er ringe og mødt af mange forhindringer.

onsdag den 2. marts 2011

Empire - Information wars.

Dokumentar: 'You Should've Stayed at Home'

DFs Finn Rudaizky kontra virkelighedens verden.

Medlem af borgerrepræsentationen i København for Dansk Folkeparti, Finn Rudaizky, hævder i forlængelse af, at man fra Københavns Kommunes side i sidste uge valgte at hylde de hjemvendte soldater som helte, at "Soldaterne er unge mennesker, der har sat livet på spil for demokrati og humanistiske værdier." Hvilket altså var grunden til at kommunens lokalpolitikere mente, at man burde hylde dem. Det er selvfølgelig meget muligt at det er den selvforståelse soldaterne har, men det er ikke desto mindre milevidt fra virkelighedens verden af følgende grunde.

1) Udover Pakistan, er NATOs vigtigste regionale samarbejdspartner i krigen mod Afghanistan et af verdens værste diktaturer, nemlig Uzbekistan. I Uzbekistan er tortur under afhøring normalt, herunder tortur af børn foran deres forældre og anal voldtægt med smadrede flasker. Regimet er endvidere kendt for at koge folk levende. Det er desuden iflg. Transparency International et af de mest korrupte lande i verden. Jeg kan anbefale at læse Human Rights Watchs dækning af forholdene i landet for en nærmere gennemgang.

2) Marionetstyret i Kabul som ledes af Hamid Karzai er bundkorrupt og der har gennem årene været mange rapporter om at medlemmer højt oppe i administrationens hierarki, herunder Karzais egen bror, er involveret i narkotihandlen og produktionen, som desuden er eksploderet efter invasionen. Respekten for demokrati kan i Karzai-styrets tilfælde ligge på et meget lille sted.

3) USA og andre vestlige lande, såsom Frankrig, har ingen problemer med at støtte diverse repressive regimer i den øvrige del af den muslimske verden, men lige i Afghanistans tilfælde skulle man altså have den største interesse for folkets velbefindende, samt i demokratisering og humanitære værdier. Check eventuelt min gennemgang fra den 20. Januar i år omhandlende USAs nuværende, og i Egyptens tilfælde forhenværende, støtte til repressive regimer i den muslimske verden.

4) Grunden til at man overhovedet har et problem med talebanisering og jihadisme i Afghanistan, har i høj grad at gøre med den udenrigspolitik man fra amerikansk side har ført i regionen. I 1980erne støttede man aktivt jihadisten og fundamentalisten General Zia ul-Haq, Pakistans diktator. Under Zia blev der bygget i hundredevis af koranskoler langs den afghansk-pakistanske grænse, mens den pakistanske efterretningstjeneste ISI i samarbejde med CIA trænede titusindevis af hellige krigere til brug mod Sovjetunionens invasion af Afghanistan. Dette var sædekornene til såvel Al Qaeda som til Taleban og derfor også til den nuværende krig.

Det er med ovenstående in mente derfor ret svært at tage seriøst, at soldaterne skulle kæmpe for demokratiske og humanitære værdier i Afghanistan, da mange af de lande som de befinder sig i landet på vegne af, ganske tydeligt har demonstreret gang på gang, at demokrati og humanisme er noget man taler meget om, mens afstanden mellem tale og handling er enorm i udenrigspolitiken. Det er i øvrigt nærmest komisk at skulle høre en repræsentant for Dansk Folkeparti tale hjerteligt om humanitære værdier, for er der noget partiet aldrig har været kendt for er det forkærlighed for humanisme.

Lokalisering, ikke globalisering.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Al Jazeera: Tariq Ali om amerikansk udenrigspolitik i Mellemøsten.

USAs Dobbelte Standarder.

Den amerikanske administration var længe om at støtte op om oprøret i Egypten mod den amerikansk støttede diktator Hosni Mubarak. Hillary Clinton sagde så sent som den 25. januar, at hun anså regimet for stabilt og at hendes ministeriums vurdering af situationen var, at Mubarak-regimet ville efterkomme den egyptiske befolknings legitime krav. Det var først da begivenhederne havde udfoldet sig således at alt tydede på Mubaraks fald, at man begyndte at støtte op om folket, sandsynligvis i håb om fortsat indflydelse i et eventuelt fremtidigt demokratisk Egypten.

Når det kommer til Iran, et diktatur som ikke er på god fod med USA, har man imidlertid ikke de store problemer med at komme med hurtig og hård kritik af den gældende magtpraksis. I en udtalelse fra forleden lød der således kraftige fordømmelser fra Det Hvide Hus idet det hed sig at man “kraftigt [fordømte] den iranske regerings organiserede skræmmekampagne og arrestationerne af politiske skikkelser, menneskerettighedsforkæmpere, politiske aktivister, studerendes ledere, journalister og bloggere.”

I nabolandet Irak fængslede den amerikansk støttede Nouri al-Maliki-regering i sidste uge 300 journalister, advokater og intellektuelle for at stoppe igangværende protester imod regeringen, mens op mod tredive mennesker blev dræbt. Til trods for den bemærkelsesværdige lighed med det iranske regimes repressive magtudøvelse er dette imidlertid ikke blevet mødt af nogen kritik fra den amerikanske regerings side.

Heller ikke den fortsatte ekspansion af de jødiske bosættelser i de besatte områder, som er ulovlige i henhold til gældende international lov, møder nogen nævneværdig modstand fra den amerikanske regering. Tværtimod vetoede man fra amerikansk side for nylig en resolution i sikkerhedsrådet som fordømte den israelske bosættelsespolitik.

De dobbelte standarder er derfor ganske iøjnefaldende. Når usamarbejdsvillige regimer begår voldshandlinger mod egen befolkning bliver det mødt af hård kritik, mens samarbejdsvillige og formålstjenlige statlige aktørers voldshandlinger enten mødes med tavshed, udenomssnak eller decideret opbakning, som i det israelske tilfælde. Ikke at dette på nogen måde er nogen nyhed.

USA: Over $1.2 billioner til national sikkerhed i 2012.

Det er næppe nogen stor hemmelighed at den amerikanske økonomi fortsat har svært ved at komme sig oven på finanskrisen, men selvom dette er velkendt er det svært at tyde udfra supermagtens økonomiske prioriteringer, idet tallene som udgør det enorme forventede nationale sikkerhedsbudget for 2012, alt i alt løber op i over $1.2 billioner (am. trillion). Christopher Hellman har en gennemgang af budgettet på Counterpunch.

Le Scandal.

Revolutionerne i den arabiske verden har også haft interessante konsekvenser i Europa, nærmere bestemt i Frankrig, hvor regeringens respons på de revolutionære begivenheder i Mellemøsten har vakt harme og modstand. Den franske udenrigsminister Michèle Alliot-Marie måtte den 27. februar gå af efter blot fire måneder på posten. Årsagen var at Alliot-Marie den 11. Januar, på et tidspunkt hvor Ben Ali-regimet allerede havde dræbt mindst 35 protestanter, tilbød at støtte op om diktatoren og hjælpe med at løse hans sikkerhedsproblem. Dette fik en række franske oppositionspolitikere, herunder den tidligere premierminister Laurent Fabius, til at kræve ministerens afgang. Dette er imidlertid blot en del af en større fortælling om Sarkozy-regeringens forkærlighed for samarbejde med nordafrikanske diktatorer. Newsweeks korrespondent i Frankrig, Eric Pape, har skrevet en læseværdig gennemgang af hvad han betegner som Le Scandal.

tirsdag den 1. marts 2011

Analyse: Irak har fortsat diktatoriske træk.

Iraq's burgeoning protest movement shows that the country may have more in common with other Arab dictatorships than the United States would care to admit [..]

A generation of Iraqis has grown up with even less control over their lives than youth elsewhere in the Arab world. They went from brutality and scarcity under Saddam Hussein to a U.S.-led liberation they never asked for. Foreign troops patrolled their streets, searched their houses at night, yelled at them in a language they didn't understand, and, as the WikiLeaked war logs show, killed without good reason. The ensuing chaos placed them at the mercy of Iraq's fearsome militias. And now, they're living under a prime minister who is undermining some of the crucial checks and balances that are meant to make the Iraqi government accountable to its people [..]

There is more to democracy than elections, and, in some crucial ways, Iraq is becoming more autocratic. Iraq's Supreme Court ruled in January that several independent institutions -- including the central bank, the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), and human rights and anti-corruption committees -- should be under the control of the government's council of ministers led by Maliki. The prime minister's critics have accused him of pressuring the court to issue the ruling. The bloc led by Ayad Allawi, the former interim prime minister and Maliki's rival, issued a statement condemning the verdict as "a coup against democracy."

This decision will have a significant and pernicious effect on Iraq's nascent democratic system. Qassim Aboudi, an Iraqi judge and IHEC official, condemned the Supreme Court's decision, raising fears that future elections could see more meddling if the elections commission is not politically independent. The human rights committee is also an important check on the security services' behavior. A recent Human Rights Watch report, detailing abuses at secret prisons run by a security force close to the prime minister, is just the latest example of the sort of issue that the committee cannot be expected to investigate objectively if it is under political control.
Foreign Policy: "Up in Arms."

Bob Woodward kritiserer Donald Rumsfeld.

Den legendariske amerikanske journalist Bob Woodward, bedst kendt for sine afsløringer i Watergate-skandalen der væltede den amerikanske præsident Richard Nixon, kritiserer i skarpe vendinger forhenværende forsvarsminister Donald Rumsfeld i et gæsteindlæg på Foreign Policy's site:
Rumsfeld's memoir is one big clean-up job, a brazen effort to shift blame to others -- including President Bush -- distort history, ignore the record or simply avoid discussing matters that cannot be airbrushed away. It is a travesty, and I think the rewrite job won't wash.

The Iraq War is essential to the understanding of the Bush presidency and the Rumsfeld era at the Pentagon. In the book, Rumsfeld tries to push so much off on Bush. That is fair because Bush made the ultimate decisions. But the record shows that it was Rumsfeld stoking the Iraq fires -- facts he has completely left out of his memoir...
Læs resten her.

Gene Sharp: "From Dictatorship to Democracy".

Den amerikanske politilog Gene Sharp, som er blevet kaldt "den ikke-voldelige krigsførelses Clausewitz," skrev tilbage i 1990erne en læseværdig manual i ikke-voldelig modstand mod diktatoriske styreformer med titlen "From Dictatorship to Democracy." Manualen er blevet anvendt med succes af forskellige demokratiske oprørsbevægelser verden over. Den kan dowloades gratis her.

Analyse: Saudi-araberne er klar til politisk forandring.

Saudi Arabia is ripe for change. Despite its image as a fabulously wealthy realm with a quiescent, apolitical population, it has similar economic, demographic, social, and political conditions as those prevailing in its neighboring Arab countries. There is no reason to believe Saudis are immune to the protest fever sweeping the region.
Foreign Policy.