The Loneliness of Anti-Imperialist Fighters
by Andre Vltchek
- CounterPunch I
t is late at night and you cannot sleep. Ebrie Lagoon is right behind the window of your hotel, but it is hardly visible at this hour. You are in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa.
Sick child from a cocoa plantation
You are here because you were informed that the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, also known at ‘Chocolate King’, has been getting his cocoa from the fields of this country. You are also convinced by several of your sources, based all over the world, that his confectionary empire, Roshen, is receiving its basic product from some of the most terrible plantations in Côte d’Ivoire that are still using child labor. You decided to come here, to investigate…
You feel sick, really unwell. You caught some intestinal virus, some terrible infection, while staying for a month in the Indonesian city of Surabaya. There was no time to cure it, or even properly diagnose it. You had to go and work in Jordan, on the Syrian border, between your engagements in Indonesia and Africa.
During nights like this, you feel alone. Totally alone… After each of your books that goes to print, after each film, or essay from some battlefield or other dreadful part of the world, you get many emails; readers are thanking you and encouraging you to write… to write more and more. You are grateful for each letter of support… But you actually cannot increase volume of your writing.
There is no one behind you – no government, no organization and no institution. You are ‘senior fellow’ at a respectable institute, but it really does nothing for you… it does not even ask you how are you doing, or whether you are alive. They have your name there, on their website, because it is convenient, good for them… That’s all.
Created on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 17:31
Written by Creative Commons
West Should Stop Turning World Into ‘Global Barracks’
The remarks below are excerpted from President Putin’s meeting with Russia’s ambassadors on July 1, 2014.
Putin damns Washington’s puppet president of Ukraine, an usurped position resulting from the overthrow of a democratically elected president, for taking “the path of violence which cannot lead to peace.” Putin’s remarks are simultaneous English translations as Putin speaks in Russian. Such translations are seldom good, but are usually adequate to convey the content.
“Unfortunately, Ukrainian President Poroshenko has made the decision to resume military actions, and we – meaning myself and my colleagues in Europe – could not convince him that the way to reliable, firm and long-term peace can’t lie through war. Previously, Petro Poroshenko had no direct relation to orders to take military action.
Now he has taken on this responsibility in full. Not only military, but also more importantly, politically.”
Created on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 17:26
Written by Tom Engelhardt
Whose Security? How Washington Protects Itself and the Corporate Sector
by Noam Chomsky
he question of how foreign policy is determined is a crucial one in world affairs. In these comments, I can only provide a few hints as to how I think the subject can be productively explored, keeping to the United States for several reasons.
First, the U.S. is unmatched in its global significance and impact. Second, it is an unusually open society, possibly uniquely so, which means we know more about it. Finally, it is plainly the most important case for Americans, who are able to influence policy choices in the U.S. -- and indeed for others, insofar as their actions can influence such choices. The general principles, however, extend to the other major powers, and well beyond.
There is a “received standard version,” common to academic scholarship, government pronouncements, and public discourse. It holds that the prime commitment of governments is to ensure security, and that the primary concern of the U.S. and its allies since 1945 was the Russian threat.
There are a number of ways to evaluate the doctrine. One obvious question to ask is: What happened when the Russian threat disappeared in 1989? Answer: everything continued much as before.
The U.S. immediately invaded Panama, killing probably thousands of people and installing a client regime. This was routine practice in U.S.-dominated domains -- but in this case not quite as routine. For first time, a major foreign policy act was not justified by an alleged Russian threat.
Instead, a series of fraudulent pretexts for the invasion were concocted that collapse instantly on examination. The media chimed in enthusiastically, lauding the magnificent achievement of defeating Panama, unconcerned that the pretexts were ludicrous, that the act itself was a radical violation of international law, and that it was bitterly condemned elsewhere, most harshly in Latin America. Also ignored was the U.S. veto of a unanimous Security Council resolution condemning crimes by U.S. troops during the invasion, with Britain alone abstaining.
All routine. And all forgotten (which is also routine).
Created on Tuesday, 01 July 2014 18:58
Written by Oil Price.com
Could Gang Violence End Mexico's Shale Dream?
by Nicholas Cunningham
iolence in Mexico could thwart hopes of a budding shale boom, as oil and gas companies operating in Texas may think twice about moving south of the border.
Mexico holds an estimated 545 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable shale gas and 13 billion barrels of shale oil, but progress in developing those resources has been slow.
The obstacles to kick-starting Mexico's shale industry have dampened the once lively enthusiasm surrounding Mexico's historic energy reform. Mexico passed legislation last year that opened up the country's oil and gas sector to private investment, ending a 75-year monopoly by state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).
But the secondary laws that the government must pass to actually implement the legal framework for oil and gas development are proving much more contentious.
Created on Sunday, 29 June 2014 16:39
Written by Tom Engelhardt
The Arab Millennials Will Be Back: Three Ways the Youth Rebellions Are Still Shaping the Middle East
hree and a half years ago, the world was riveted by the massive crowds of youths mobilizing in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to demand an end to Egypt’s dreary police state.
We stared in horror as, at one point, the Interior Ministry mobilized camel drivers to attack the demonstrators. We watched transfixed as the protests spread from one part of Egypt to another and then from country to country across the region. Before it was over, four presidents-for-life would be toppled and others besieged in their palaces.
Some 42 months later, in most of the Middle East and North Africa, the bright hopes for more personal liberties and an end to political and economic stagnation championed by those young people have been dashed. Instead, a number of Arab countries have seen counter-revolutions, while others are engulfed in internecine conflicts and civil wars, creating Mad Max-like scenes of post-apocalyptic horror.
But keep one thing in mind: the rebellions of the past three years were led by Arab millennials, twentysomethings who have decades left to come into their own. Don’t count them out yet. They have only begun the work of transforming the region.
Given the short span of time since Tahrir Square first filled with protesters and hope, care should be taken in evaluating these massive movements.