>Viva Wikileaks!!!

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On Friday 22nd of October the whistleblowing organization known as Wikileaks released the largest classified military intelligence leak in U.S. history. The leak is known as the Iraqi War Diaries, which comprises nearly 400,000 documents from U.S Army on daily occurrences in the country from 2004-2009. This comes after the July release of nearly 80,000 documents about the war and occupation in Afghanistan. Each report is known as a “SIGACT,” (significant action in the war). The reports document everything form criminal events, demolitions, murder, tribal feuds, enemy action, among many other categories. The reports also document case by case the 285,000 thousand casualties and more than 15,000 thousand civilian casualties that were not previously mentioned in any U.S. media report. The reports detail the complacency of the U.S. military in the torture of thousands of Iraqis, a sort of torture rendition if you will; the voracious actions of U.S. military contractors, the everyday horror and fear that Iraqis live under, as well countless other tragic realities of war.


The release of these reports is quintessential to the denouncement of war and the transparency of government actions. In an era when most major media outlets focus more on who Tiger Woods slept with or what hooker Charlie Sheen banged in a New York hotel room journalism like this is vital because it forces the issue upon us. However, if the media does not extensively report on these issues then it will be as if they never happened. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are disastrous and tragic for all involved and the exposure of classified documents on the true nature of the Pentagon and the U.S. military at large will help in our defense of the countless Iraqis and Afghans that have been affected by the wars as well as the soldiers that have been torn up by these conflicts.

Democracy Now! interviews Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange:




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>"Or Does it Explode"

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“Or does it explode?”*
The people are angry. The powder keg that the capitalist class in France is sitting on is ready to explode.
The French people will be out in vast numbers tomorrow to express their resistance to President Sarkozy’s efforts to undemocratically alter the pension system, changing the retirement age from 60 to 62. Even though his party, the Union for a Popular Movement, controls the two houses in government, which enables him to pass his proposed reforms,he is seen as illegitimate by many of the French people. Polls in France place the vast majority of people against the President and with the protesting masses. The refinery workers, train operators, garbage collectors, and now students, all directly oppose the austerity measures that aim to decrease the country’s debt.
“Or does it explode?”
The French ruling bourgeoisie doled out billions of dollars to French banks and now it wants the people to foot the bill for the crisis that they played not part in creating! If this seems insane it’s because it is. Just as many banks here have restored their rates of profit while the government has turned to the working class to bear the burden of the upper class’ irresponsibility, so too has the situation replicated itself in France. The only difference is the French people are actually resisting in great strides the unjust policies of the government. The president seems to think what he is doing is in the public interest and the public think he is acting in contrary to the interests of the poor and working classes, which he clearly is.
Despite the many differences between the various unions and syndicates in France, the workers must continue to call for a massive general strike! The workers must prove their mettle against the right wing financiers that protect the very ones that created the global capitalist crisis in the first place.
Hopefully, it will explode in a grandeur gesture to illustrate that people will resist no matter the cost!
*The title of this entry a reference, a remission if you will, to the famous poem by one of the pioneers of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes. The title of the poem is “A Dream Deferred.” The great Howard Zinn also used the same title to a chapter in his famous book “A People’s History of the United States.” Consider it an homage to those two great men.

>Barack Obama: A Moment of Historical (un) Importance.

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The news of the first black president seems to be ubiquitous. Every newspaper and political pundit is talking about how significant this recent election was for the United States of America. I must concede that it is indeed a monumental achievement for the U.S. If one was to ask a slave hammering away in the rock quarries during the construction of the White House 250 years ago that a black person would be president they would have probably laughed at the idea. Even if one goes back even 40 or 50 years ago it would have been implausible for a black man or a woman to be running for the nation’s highest office. This observation is worthy of reflection and its significance does speak volumes about how far this country has come. But if an examination is conducted that bypasses gender and skin color, one quickly realizes that the continuation of a unsustainable and unjust system and global economic order is going to proceed under Barack Obama. This blog will outline some reasons why this is so.
Despite the significance of this election we must remain extremely skeptical and not temporize our thoughts to those of the mainstream liberals, i.e., the Democrats. One could even go as far to call the election a complete farce and that to vote for either candidate was a vote for the continuation of war, environmental destruction, exploitation and deleterious social relations. There are still many reasons to criticize the recent election with acrimonious fervor. Although he is of African American decent, it is of secondary importance. His skin color is worthy of mention but distracts from the real issues of political power. The main importance is that he is a member of the political elite and will continue to serve the interests of the capitalist class and wealthy acolytes. That is, he will continue policies of a decrepit and destructive economic system that heralds economic imperialism in the Middle East and all over the world at the cost of human suffering and a false sense of security.
Let’s look at the case of Iraq. President Obama will continue to intensify the hegemonic preponderance of the U.S. in the country. We must not be fooled into thinking that because troops might be pulled out of Iraq that the war is over or that U.S. war machine won’t maintain an overpowering presence in the country through it’s servile puppet regime (which is increasingly warming up its relations with Iran through its Shiite ran government), control of vital economic resources such as Iraq’s oil supply and approximately 58 other “temporary” military bases which give the U.S. an extremely important strategic alignment in the Middle East. The Iraqi people were never part of the equation. In order for the capitalist system to function properly it has to constantly expand its markets and exploit new resources, and this is exactly what is taking place.
Now to some of the new president’s appointees. The people that a President appoints to their cabinet is paramount to understanding how the any given administration will really act once jubilation ends and the gears of government start turning. First on the list is Attorney General, Eric Holder. For those of you who don’t know, Eric Holder represented Chiquita Brands Bananas in an infamous lawsuit and helped them get off the hook for funding and aiding right wing paramilitary death squads in Colombia. Chiquita admitted to paying upwards of 1.7 million dollars to the AUC (United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia) to fund their murderous campaign against labor organizers in order to keep labor costs down. The fact that Obma has appointed someone like this is a slap in the face to anyone who strives for social justice. The people of Colombia, the U.S. and the world are in dire need of government officials who stand up for human rights, not squash them under the boot in the interests of Corporate America and their claims to a secure, cheap business venture.
Next on the list is Obam’s pick for the Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair. Many feel that he is responsible for war crimes in East Timor. It has been revealed that he had several conversations with General Wiranto of the Indonesian military during its massacre of the East Timorese population during their struggle for independence in 1999. He knew what was going on and assured the Indonesian general that they had the full support of the United States. He knew that Wiranto’s men were indiscriminately murdering innocent men, women and children seeking refuge in churches. Obama should be calling for justice or an investigation of someone like this, not appointing them to the highest position in the intelligence community. This appointment is also a severe blow to anyone who is concerned with human rights and social justice.
These are just two of the many people that Obama has appointed. Many of his economic advisers are financial insiders who helped engineer the conditions that led to the current global economic crisis, and now they have been summoned to try and remedy the enormous crisis that they created. Advisors such as Lawrence Summers, Timothy Geithner, Paul Volcker and Mary Shapiro are leftover Reaganites and fincancial fat cats who are more likely to cater to Wall Street than to the interests of the people.
Turning now to the subject of Afghanistan. The country is completely destroyed with not much potential for any positive change in the near future. It doesn’t matter how many troops the U.S. sends or how many NGO’s set up social programs there, the country is worse off than Iraq. Tribal warlords heavily involved in the drug trade are in control of the government. The U.S., in it’s all too often arrogant, manifest destiny parlance, seems to unequivocally know that it can impose a government that will somehow magically create a civil society that is capable of basic governmental functions such as building roads, libraries and schools. Even if the true aim was to help the people and reduce the abject poverty in Afghanistan it will never be done properly or with any dignity trough military occupation. Ever since the country declared its independence it hasn’t had a competent central government. The government is corrupt beyond comprehension. Kabul’s writ has never traversed very far outside the capital. Tribal leaders have always reigned supreme in the country and have taken control of the government. They hate each other immensely, which creates even more problems and backwardness because they are all vying for more power and influence. This is part of the reason why the Taliban has made an enormous comeback.
Obama has said that Afghanistan is where the real war on terror is and they are in the works of sending an additional 30,000 troops there in an effort to help quell the violence. Real change comes from supporting the people, not bombing them. I am a firm believer in the idea that peace is brought about not by more weapons and tanks and bombs and violence but by helping people who are so poor they can’t even afford an education or bread to feed their children. As long as Barack Obama and the war mongering hawkish political elites in the country I live in continue to support policies based on war I will continue to fight them no matter the color of their skin or eloquence of their rhetoric. I will also continue to fight the capitalist system which breeds such in justice.
No matter what Obama might preach in his speeches it must not be forgotten that the social relations of capitalism remain firmly in place. No palpable change will be brought about in a system where production revolves around profit at the expense of the welfare of people and earth. Nothing of admirable veneration can come about from a quantitative change such as the implementation of a new president.
I feel that Barack Obama may have a little more of a propensity to change things but given some of the evidence stated above it is highly unlikely. If we want change then we the people, yes, that is you and me, have to light a serious fire of civil disobedience under his ass if we want to bring about any sort of meaningful change. Obama as president represents a quantitative change in the American political system, not a qualitative one. The brutal system of capitalism persists under President Obama until we tear it down and rebuild our own system based on free association, equality, democratic control of the workplace as well as the government, mutual aid and compassion for one another.