Tag Archives | Geopolitics & Globalization

Neo-Colonizing Africa Through GMO Crops

african_farm

Via This Is Africa, Paula Akugizibwe on conquering the world through the food chain:

While the science of GMOs may remain murky, the economics are crystal clear. The most obvious and direct of these is the matter of seed ownership and control.

Unlike traditional agriculture, in which seeds are the property of nobody in particular and nature at large, GMO farming places the ownership of seeds firmly in the hands of corporations, and entitles them to a share of profits from crop sales. GMO farmers are not allowed to save seed produced through their crops for use in the coming season, as they have always done.

Meanwhile, in some African countries such as Nigeria, genetically modified cotton is viewed as an ideal entry point for GMOs. “We don’t eat our clothes, so people are less concerned about cotton. This would be the first way in for GMOs,” explained Kola Masha, a Nigerian agribusiness advisor, earlier this year.

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On Sovereignty And Double Standards

double standardVia The New Inquiry, Aaron Bady explains that acting arbitrarily is the point:

American foreign policy is full of double standards. But if we observe the hypocrisy of our leaders and are scandalized by it—John Kerry lunching with the Assads, Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein—then we actually misunderstand what “foreign policy” is and is for.

If American foreign policy is anything, it is not even-handed and impartial. It is a state arrogating to itself the right to make arbitrary choices, to make the rules while other countries only follow them. And to prove that distinction the US must not only establish “red lines,” and enforce them, but it is the very arbitrary nature of those red lines which allows them to function as signs on the international stage. Lawlessness is how a state proves itself sovereign; submission to law is the sign of the weak.

“Legality” only obscures the real issue, which is why we are hearing so much talk about it, why so many commentators are pretending it matters.

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CIA Acknowledges Role In 1953 Overthrow Of Iran’s Democracy

iran_map1Via George Washington University’s National Security Archive:

Marking the sixtieth anniversary of the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, the National Security Archive is today posting recently declassified CIA documents on the United States’ role in the controversial operation.

American and British involvement in Mosaddeq’s ouster has long been public knowledge, but today’s posting includes what is believed to be the CIA’s first formal acknowledgement that the agency helped to plan and execute the coup.

The explicit reference to the CIA’s role appears in a copy of an internal history, The Battle for Iran, dating from the mid-1970s. The agency released a heavily excised version of the account in 1981 in response to an ACLU lawsuit, but it blacked out all references to TPAJAX, the code name for the U.S.-led operation. Those references appear in the latest release. Additional CIA materials posted today include working files from Kermit Roosevelt, the senior CIA officer on the ground in Iran during the coup.

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Who Are The Experts Urging Us To Bomb Syria?

Waterwheels_in_Hamma,_SyriaLawyers, Guns & Money points out that we should no longer be listening to these people:

The Weekly Standard has an open letter explaining that blowing up lots of stuff in Syria is a great idea: The signatories on the letter addressed to President Obama inlcude Senator Joe Lieberman, Bernard-Henri Levy, Karl Rove, Bill Kristol, Elliott Abrams, Leon Wieseltier, and many others.

The “other people” include Max Boot, Paul Berman, Dr. Clifford D. May, Marty Peretz, and Danielle Pletka. I suppose it’s not literally true that the endorsement of these people means that bombing and/or invading Syria is a bad idea, but…let’s just if there was some way of betting that these people would be wrong you could be living in your own $32 million apartment complete with $160,000 wine cellar and million-dollar apartments for your many domestic servants.

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The Daily Mail’s Retracted Story On A U.S. False Flag Chemical Attack In Syria

syria

In January, the Daily Mail reported that leaked emails suggested that the United States was planning to stage a chemical weapons attack which would be blamed on the Assad regime and justify military action against Syria.

The article was subsequently deleted, with the Mail apologizing and explaining that the emails had turned out to be fabricated.

Is this a case of a hoax and shoddy tabloid reporting? Or a possible conspiracy? The original article can be viewed via the Internet Archive:

Leaked emails have allegedly proved that the White House gave the green light to a chemical weapons attack in Syria that could be blamed on Assad’s regime and in turn, spur international military action in the devastated country.

A report released on Monday contains an email exchange between two senior officials at British-based contractor Britam Defence where a scheme ‘approved by Washington’ is outlined explaining that Qatar would fund rebel forces in Syria to use chemical weapons.

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Documents Reveal NSA Bugged The United Nations

united nationsPerhaps most disturbing is how chipper they are about it. TechCrunch writes:

The NSA has been spying on the goings-on at the United Nations’ New York headquarters for nearly a year.

German news magazine Der Spiegel cites a multitude of documents that “stemmed” from Edward Snowden which purport (among other things) that the NSA first managed to crack the UN’s video conferencing system during the summer of 2012.

Some of the documents speak nicely to the sort of banality those involved ascribed to their actions — “The data traffic gives us internal video teleconferences of the United Nations (yay!),” one of them reads.

Also on that list of targets is the International Atomic Energy Agency and the European Union, though at this point it’s unclear what exactly the NSA has managed to dig up on either of those bodies. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Der Spiegel notes that [the NSA’s activity] “has little or nothing to do with warding off terrorists.”

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United States Refusing To Extradite Bolivia’s Ex-President Facing Genocide Charges

bolivia

Compare and contrast with other ongoing asylum controversies. Via the Guardian, Glenn Greenwald writes:

In October 2003, the intensely pro-US president of Bolivia, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, sent his security forces to suppress growing popular protests against the government’s energy and globalization policies.

Using high-powered rifles and machine guns, his military forces killed 67 men, women and children, and injured 400 more, almost all of whom were poor and from the nation’s indigenous Aymara communities. Dozens of protesters had been killed by government forces in the prior months when troops were sent to suppress them.

The resulting outrage drove Sanchez de Lozada from office and then into exile in the United States, where he was welcomed by his close allies in the Bush administration. He has lived under a shield of asylum in the US ever since.

The Bolivians, however, have never stopped attempting to bring their former leader to justice for ordering the killing of indigenous peaceful protesters in cold blood (as Time Magazine put it: “according to witnesses, the military fired indiscriminately and without warning in El Alto neighborhoods”).

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It’s Time To Introduce A Global Minimum Wage

global minimum wage

Al Jazeera, Dr. Jason Hickel argues that a global minimum wage is not only just, but doable:

Because of neoliberal economic policies imposed over the past few decades, companies now have the power to rove the globe in search of what CEOs refer to as the “best investment conditions”.

So workers are made to face a stark choice: accept dangerous conditions and minimum wages of $0.21 per hour, or lose their jobs. The constant threat of replacement keeps workers cheap and docile, to the tremendous benefit of corporate profits.

The problem with globalisation is that capital has been globalised while the rules that protect people from it have not. If we’re going to have a global labour market, it stands to reason that we need a global system of labour standards [and] a global minimum wage.

Not only is it now conceivable to have a global minimum wage system, it’s also – for the first time in history – quite doable.

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On The Death Of The Global Internet

global networkVia the Guardian, John Naughton writes that the most significant development heralded by Edward Snowden’s revelations is the end of the internet as a global network:

The days of the internet as a truly global network are numbered. It was always a possibility that the system would eventually be Balkanised, i.e. divided into a number of geographical or jurisdiction-determined subnets as societies such as China, Russia, Iran and other Islamic states decided that they needed to control how their citizens communicated. Now, Balkanisation is a certainty.

Second, the issue of internet governance is about to become very contentious. Given what we now know about how the US and its satraps have been abusing their privileged position in the global infrastructure, the idea that the western powers can be allowed to continue to control it has become untenable.

The Obama administration’s “internet freedom agenda” has been exposed as patronising cant. “Today,” he writes, “the rhetoric of the ‘internet freedom agenda’ looks as trustworthy as George Bush’s ‘freedom agenda’ after Abu Ghraib.”

They tell us, for example, that no US-based internet company can be trusted to protect our privacy or data.

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NSA Spies On 500 Million German Calls, Emails, Or Messages Each Month

nsa spiesIt’s not just Americans having their every move captured by the NSA, but vast numbers of people in countries such as Germany, France, China, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia are being specifically targeted as well. This, plus the American government’s alleged tapping and bugging of foreign embassies and EU offices, are now threatening to unravel U.S.-European trade agreements. DER SPIEGEL reports:

Secret documents viewed by SPIEGEL reveal that the American NSA intelligence service monitors around half a billion telephone calls, emails and text messages in the country every month.

The data stored by the NSA includes telephone calls, emails, mobile-phone text messages and chat transcripts. The metadata — or information about which call or data connections were made and when — is then stored at the NSA’s headquarters in Fort Meade, near Washington, DC.

The documents also show that the NSA is primarily interested in important Internet hubs in southern and western Germany.

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