*"There is a country, if not yet a world, to win."

Latest from Bolivia. Also see all the articles on Bolivia Watch - particularly interesting to see the Baynton "paired example" style analysis comparing the US view of Bolivia and Venezuela.

*"Kremlin seizes assets as state power returns to Russia"

Yukos CEO arrested and the Kremlin takes control of a large stake in the company. "In Moscow the seizure was seen as a bold step by Kremlin hardliners apparently keen to "redistribute" the state assets acquired by the oligarchs." Not a word the Carnegie Endowment likes to hear! (see below for reaction to property rights violation)


"Shortly before the seizure, the Yukos spokesman Hugo Erikssen added that the arrest of the Yukos CEO marked the "inevitable clash of two visions in Russia". [i.e. is the state the power or the shadow cast by the power?]

He said the triumphant Kremlin hardliners, known as siloviki , "do not believe in communism, but they were raised in the communist system. They believe in the pre-eminence of the state."


"Analysts and legal experts said it represented a brave new world in Russian business and the end of the Kremlin's tolerance of a powerful elite. "We are living in a new country now," said Lilia Shevtsova, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment. She said that the targets of this new ideology were "not only those with political aspirations, but those [companies] who want to be independent of power and bureaucracy. [ho, ho] Mr Putin has made a choice, and rejected the role of those trying to strike a balance [between big business and power]. He has chosen a strong state without political pluralism and with a corrupted economy." [sounds like some other large industrial state we know, no?]

Doesn't look like Putin "gets it" sufficiently to see what role political leaders are expected to play in neo-liberal totalitarian societies. Yeltsin certainly did and he immediately handed over state control to the oligarchs (robber barons much like the fortune 500 in the US, Murdoch etc) for them to make decisions. Putin is an old fashioned KGB guy and he wants to call the shots, shooting from the hip, imprisoning/murdering people at will (just like the good old days) and generally ruling. Maybe he should think about a more sophisticated approach to the engineering of consent and realise that neo-liberalism is about us all working together for our common interests - businessmen and policitican together hand in hand ("brothers! sisters! come together!") - you need contracts/I need kickbacks - shit! maybe a middle ground can be found...

*"Our strategy helps the terrorists - army chief warns Sharon" Israeli General announces that he suspects, although it is at yet unconfirmed, that someone may have been fucking.

"Israel's army chief has exposed deep divisions between the military and Ariel Sharon by branding the government's hardline treatment of Palestinian civilians counter-productive and saying that the policy intensifies hatred and strengthens the "terror organisations".

*Thanks to Phil for link below. Didn't work initially so searched for it, whilst looking I found this dialogue with NC. Link appears to be working again now though, and is certainly worth a look, "we may sacrifice the truth in order to secure our identity, or preserve a sense of belonging. Anything that threatens this gives rise to fear and anxiety, so we deny, cut off our feelings. The end result of this pattern is dehumanization. We become split from our own lives and feel great distance from other living beings as well. As we lose touch with our inner life, we become dependent on the shifting winds of external change for a sense of who we are, what we care about, and what we value. The fear of pain that we tried to escape becomes, in fact, our constant companion."


Gay, Pacifist, Filipino, US Marine in Prison...
Demand Freedom for Stephen Funk
1st War Resister to be jailed
To Endorse email: freestephen@join-snafu.org

Stephen is a member of the US Marine Corps Reserve who refused to deploy with his unit because of his opposition to the war. When his unit was activated, Stephen did not report. Instead, he engaged in anti-war work, speaking out at rallies and marches.

On April 1, Funk turned himself in. In his eloquent speech, given minutes before he turned himself over to military officials, Stephen also had the courage to come out as a gay man in the Marines. At first, the Marine Corps said they were going to process his application for a Conscientious Objector Discharge quickly. When the media coverage waned, they threw out his discharge application and put him on trial for desertion. On September 6th, Stephen was
sentenced to six months, becoming the first known war resister to be incarcerated in this current period of US intervention in Iraq.

On October 5th, the New York Post reported there are at least 50 more reservists facing charges for refusing to report to duty.

Stephen is a political prisoner. The US government jailed Stephen to make him an example to the potentially thousands of soldiers who want to resist this war. What the Bush administration wasn't counting on is that, Stephen, a gay man of color, would garner such a groundswell of support.

Very soon, Stephen's attorney will be filing a suit asking for clemency. We call on all progressive forces to support this call for freedom for Stephen Funk. Every Saturday and Sunday between 12pm-3pm, Stephen is allowed visitors at Camp Lejuene.
Saturday, November 15th, we want to converge with others from the region, to show our support and solidarity with this heroic anti-war activist.

Write to Stephen:
Corp Base Brig; Attn: Stephen Eagle Funk
Bldg 1041 PSC 20140
Camp Lejeune, NC 28542-0140, USA

Send donations to:
Stephen Funk Legal Defense Fund
1230 Market Street #111,
San Francisco, CA 94102, USA
To endorse: freestephen@join-snafu.org

on line petition and snafu website
ZNet: "Being Radical", some wise words from philosophers
An email I recieved this morning...

Dear friends,
Spiros Tsitsas, a Thessaloniki hunger striker for 23 days was taken to hospital yesterday, Tuesday October 28th. His condition isn't thought to be serious. We are not sure if he has stopped the hunger strike. The other 4 hunger strikers - Simon, Castro, Fernando and Carlos are doing okay but some are suffering breathing problems, Castro is appoaching 40 days on hunger strike - the others around 26 days. This is a serious time for them, if the Greek State doesn't intervene the result could be long tern health problems for all the hunger strikers or worse.

For anyone that has ever taken part in actions across Europe over the years, this could have been anyone of us. Our solidarity is with Simon, Carlos, Castro, Fernando, Spiros in these days.

Delegation: Three people from WOMBLES will travel to Thessaloniki to participate in a meeting with the secatariat of Madrid CNT, Anti-authoritarian movement of thessaloniki, Lecturers of the University and the Solidarity Group. This will be a public debate held in Thessaloniki.

There will also be a mass demonstration in Thessaloniki on November 7th. This will hopefully be the biggest mobilisation in support of the Thessaloniki Prisoners.


If you would like to learn more about the thessalonikiprisoners group,
please visit this site


*"America preaches free markets, but at home it's a different story." Joseph Stiglitz remind us there's no need for conspiracy theory - just a recognition that people try and plan things.

*Consider - "World Bank to back controversial Caspian pipeline". Nice to see risk socialised away from shareholders and onto the public ("you and me"). Anyway, I've no need of pipelines. But I do like teachers, but unfortunately we can't afford them ("Teachers face pay freeze to avert funding crisis"). I don't know why but TINA apparently...

*"Eisenhower had said: “Communism demands subservience to a single ideology, to a straitjacket of ideas and approaches and methods. Freedom of individuals or nations, to them is intolerable… They use force and threats of force, subversion and bribery, propaganda and spurious promises”

This time the Emperor warned: “A new totalitarian threat has risen against civilization”. The remark was clearly not meant to be taken as self-referential." Aziz Choudry on the naked imperial one.


very pleased benji!
my e-mail to the politics editor of the Guardian... about this article
what do you think?

Much of this and previous legislation, and the actions of the British
Government are totally against the spirit and letter of the UN Convention
on the Status of the Refugee. Why is this 'Labour' government so
consistently right wing? Why does it continue to ignore UN guidelines and
show such disregard for human life and suffering? What happened to it's
famous 'ethical foreign policy'?

The mainstream media are complicit in a consistent smear campaign against
refugees, the whipping up of racial hatred and public panic over this
'problem'. The truth is that very few refugees come to Britain, and we have
a moral and legal responsibility to help those that do. Past examples show
that many who have been given the opportunity to move freely to this
country have not (the Irish for example, or the seven million from Hong
Kong). The Guardian is amongst a few papers who do provide a more balanced
view but a much more hard line must be taken against the 'crisis' created
and presented by other papers. An easy to understand statement of the facts
about these issues could be put together to show the reality of the
situation, showing the relatively small numbers of refugees we get here,
the apaulling and illegal ways they are treated, the racism of the British
media and state (the Race Relations Act explicitly does not apply to
immigration issues),the stinginess, and amnesia over our promises and
previous mistakes (the denial to Jewish refugees from Germany of asylum in
the 1930's).

I could easily write such a piece, and would be happy to help anyone
writing one as it seems absurd to almost 'Chomskian' propaganda model
levels that there is not more outcry in the press over these issues. The
lies and illegality of our government are easy to see and it is extremely
suspicious that they are not more brutally exposed.

yours sincerely

Benjamin Zeitlyn
giggle.. where on earth / in inglan is llanelli?:

"Denzil Davies (Llanelli): When my right hon. Friend attends the European summit at the end of this week, will he gently suggest to the German Chancellor that, in the interests of the European economy, perhaps Germany should consider withdrawing temporarily from the European monetary union, so that it can recover control over its interest rates, exchange rates and public expenditure, and therefore take the necessary measures to try to arrest its serious decline into deflation and economic depression?

The Prime Minister: It has to be said that, from time to time, my diplomatic triumphs at certain European summits are not always exactly as I would wish with one or two other leaders in recent memory, but I do not think that it would be wise or diplomatic for me to suggest to Chancellor Schröder how to run the German economy. I am simply delighted that the British economy is in such good shape."


Having scanned the anti-chomsky links as below, found this site which is the nearest I've found to a rationale criticism, rather than the delightful polemic found elsewhere.

Also a mixed bag of articles here.
"During the 1980s many countries gave Saddam huge loans:

These loans financed his wars, palaces and oppression of the Iraqi people.
Today up to $200bn is claimed in debt and reparations (oil revenue is <$15bn).
Payment would hamper reconstruction and cripple the Iraqi economy for decades.

Jubilee Iraq, founded by Iraqis and citizens in creditor countries, calls for:

Cancellation of all odious debt, which benefited Saddam but not the Iraqi people.
Debt negotiations that are fair and include a strong Iraqi voice. (see tribunal)
A complete moratorium on payments until negotiations are complete.
A large enough reduction in debt to allow Iraq to recover and prosper. "
Vietnam killing spree revelations shock US - Atrocity to rival My Lai is exposed - after 36 years

"Tiger Force operated out of control in the Vietnamese highlands for seven months in 1967. Moving across the region, the platoon of 45 paratroops slaughtered unarmed farmers and their wives and children. They tortured and mutilated victims. A litany of horror has emerged - a baby decapitated for the necklace he wore, a teenage boy for his tennis shoes. A former Tiger Force sergeant, William Doyle, told reporters of a scalp he took off a young nurse to decorate his rifle. The Blade investigation concluded that hundreds probably died. 'We weren't keeping count,' Ken Kerney, a former soldier who is now a California firefighter, told the paper. 'I knew it was wrong, but it was an acceptable practice.' Another, Rion Causey, then a 19-year-old medic and now a nuclear physicist, talked of how villagers were routinely shot: 'If they ran we shot them, and if they didn't run we shot them anyway.'"


"One soldier, Gerald Bruner, turned on his own men and ordered them to stop shooting civilians or he would open fire. For this, he was berated by a commanding officer and told to see a psychiatrist."


oh dear The United States has no yardstick for measuring progress in the war on terrorism, has not 'yet made truly bold moves' in fighting al-Qaeda and other terror groups, and is in for a 'long, hard slog' in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a memo that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sent to top-ranking Defense officials last week. Despite upbeat statements by the Bush administration, the memo to Rumsfeld's top staff reveals significant doubts about progress in the struggle against terrorists. Rumsfeld says that 'it is not possible' to transform the Pentagon quickly enough to effectively fight the anti-terror war and that a 'new institution' might be necessary to do that.
aha: Outspoken Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Wednesday state terrorism was worse than that committed by individual groups and accused countries advocating democracy of terrorizing the world.

first time i've read this outside of chomsky's lyrics.
some interesting blogs:

this is an outstanding blog by kurt nimmo, Another Day in the Empire: life in neoconservative america. super

Cuba and the "Necessary Viciousness" of the Bushites - an artical by him in last week's Counterpunch - transcript of bush's speech here

this blog is very good too, with some interesting and amusing flash movies they call their 'question mark campaign' - blah3.com

and on the otherside of the fence...

there are some bitter, twisted people out there. an absurdly irrational onslaught of abuse from a blog set up to attack Chomsky

their mission statement. sweet jesus:

'What exactly would we be aiming to do?

1. Spread the news that Chomsky is an intellectual fraud on the scale of Lysenko or Lyndon LaRouche.

2. Make it impossible for any intelligent and well-informed person to quote him with a straight face. (We're already more than half-way there before we even start.)

3. Make any TV or radio talk show host trying to find someone to cover the left side of a political debate think twice about calling Chomsky. Ditto for university lecture series.

4. Get our site high enough on the Google hit-list for 'Noam' and 'Chomsky' to be able to convince the ignorant that Chomsky is an ass, while annoying the Hell out of the unteachable Gnoams.

5. Cause sales of Chomsky's stupid, dishonest, and repetitious political books, pamphlets, and tapes to plummet. If they drag sales of his linguistics books with them, too bad.

6. Maybe even work up a book of our own and make a few bucks. (Bet you saw that one coming, "Eric A. Blair"!)'

... the rest of the site is all pretty shocking, so if you have a weak heart...


EZLN is 20 soon... anyone know of any Zapatista celebrations or events going on?

revista rebeldia interesting zapatista magazine... mainly in spanish but some french and english translations

EZLN’s Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, 1993 “We have nothing to lose, absolutely nothing, no decent roof over our heads, no land, no work, poor health, no food, no education, no right to freely and democratically choose our leaders, no independence from foreign interests, and no justice for ourselves or our children. But we say enough is enough! ….”

Those who have running water:
Mexico overall: 79%
Chiapas : 58%

Mexico 88%
Chiapas 67%

Literacy rates:
Mexico 87%
Chiapas 69%

Urban Vs. Rural living
Mexico 71% Urban
Chiapas 40% Urban

this stuff from this EZLN site


Some crazy stuff going on in anti privatisation protests in Bolivia...
check it out in: zmag and in this week's schnews out tomorrow

otherwise, keep bright and bushy tailed (or on the bushy trail) this November... remember, remember ...

viva Guy Faulks! viva Sung Joon Cho!


From Mike - the Phil's Brain Noam Chomsky Audio Archive
"Preventive war is, very simply, the "supreme crime" condemned at Nuremberg." Noam article from Friday.
"The personal role of Sir Kevin Tebbit, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence, in an alleged cover-up of major fraud and corruption is exposed in letters seen by the Guardian."

Government official bravely attempts to cover up corruption (slush fund for showering Saudi's with call girls etc) at death merchants BAE by letting them know the Serious Fraud Office are on to them, dropping his own investigation etc.


Well, I woke up today with a sore head and a signed copy of Eric Hobsbawm's Uncommon People by my bed. How did this come to pass? With a little mutual encouragement between Jona and I, and Dutch courage courtesy of Marker's Mark bourbon.

I had heard EH was talking in Foyle’s around now but I'd lost the precise date. Jona calls me yesterday "It's today. I'll get tickets." This it rather exciting news and I feel enormously let down when I get a text telling me the event has been sold out for days. Recognising that this may be the last chance to catch the 86-year-old legendary historian I resolve that we'll go anyway and try and blag our way in.

On the way of course we pop in to a pub to discuss what approach is likely to be most effective and consider options over a couple of glasses of this tasty bourbon. After the first drink we elect to play it by ear ("like jazz!") and improvise in response to events ("what would Derren Brown do?"). So, excited we head over to the store and head up to the second floor. Whilst I'm still composing my opening line we edge toward and then past the ticket collector, Jona steaming in and me directing him to the free wine bar. As too often I am reminded that, left to my own devices, I will invariably over complicate matters when a simpler option is more likely to be successful.

Hobsbawm is promoting the paperback realise of his memoir Interesting Times and talks about his life, the sense of impermanence created by having lived so long and seeing such profound change ("the colonialist world that constituted "concrete" realism when I was growing up had every bit as much a sense of permanence as US economic imperialism has today") and then takes questions from the floor. By this time a growing sense of frustration with EH is present in me that, whilst his analysis is one which strikes me as both carefully crafted, persuasive scholarship and also as correct, his failure to extend his thought (this is perhaps unfair since after all he is a historian) to anything other than very vague prescriptions in favour of "tackling global injustice" is perhaps somewhat reformist. What I seemed to be faced with is an honest intellectual who in virtue of his honesty, which contrasts so clearly with the emperor's new clothes-ness of Huntingdon-Berman-Bobitt-Fukuyama-Kagan etc, is characterised as a radical! Hobsbawm offers an account of history that is unsympathetic to the prevailing power structure and demands progress in response. So, I asked him whether this progress, the change he was looking for contra "global injustice" (his words) was best achieved via the ballot box or through alternative, revolutionary means - adding "do we need leaders?" as an after thought to point him to comment on who makes history. He replied that the possibilities of revolution in advanced societies are highly limited and probably untenable. On the other hand, he pointed out that the ballot box was rendered virtually useless by now due to the limited democratic input (once every five years) and the subversion of the process to simple brand recognition (cf. governor Arnold and Berlusconi).

I wasn't sure whether he was taking the Arthur MacEwan line that democratic institutions are only purposive if they reflect popular social movements - that is if they are engaged and engaging citizens. Or whether he was pointing to Alan's Dilemma, moderate affluence (big TV’s relatively cheap... people isolated so even if they're disaffected they're likely to feel that they're alone in this...) equals apathy = standard violent revolution unlikely AND despite technically having the legal right to replace all of evil government with entirely new set of individuals with a mandate to actually improve society, the propaganda model encourages mindless consumption and general apathy, particularly towards political process ("why should we be paupers with the ballot in out hand?" = because we're too retarded to cash our cheque) = same old shit. Either way he wasn't offering any insight into the opportunities and dangers ahead. He did please me immensely when some US academic asked him some stupid question about TWAT (The War Against Terror), although he did go on to give an analysis largely within this type of talk, he opened with "terrorism isn't a historical or political term but a propagandists term". Rather than then talking about state terrorism he did unfortunately just focus on the more small scale "independent" ventures that are generally considered the sum total of terrorism.

There was some excitement when the question of whether the cost of displacing Hitler (50m lives) would have been thought worth it had we known as we made the decision to participate what the cost would be. A lively Zionist type in the audience pretty much denounced him for even raising the, perfectly legitimate, question ("all Europe would have become one great gas chamber"). He then questioned the appropriateness of comparing Palestinian political violence with that perpetrated by the early Zionist revolutionaries against the UK earlier in the century - since the former involves deliberately targeting civilians in a way which the later did only incidentally (cf. the Duke of York hotel). I wasn't entirely satisfied with EH's response on this point, I don't recall him having a satisfactory response. I would have thought directing the comparison between the horror of Palestinian political violence and the horror of Israeli political violence as approaching equivalence in their moral vacuity, if not in their scale, would have been the point to make.

And so it ended and I couldn't resist wanting to chat to him further (can I get him to join us down the pub I wondered?) so Jona and I, floating as we were from out success so far, "picked up" copies of his books and simply joined the queue to get them signed. As he kindly inscribed my book I made some quip to the effect of "maybe the coming revolution will be the real one - ending the leader/led dichotomy" which raised a chuckle from the old boy and we left, careful to remove the security tags, 'natch, into the night refreshed and invigorated and making plans for tomorrow.

Tonight, Pilger and Tariq Ali at LSE... watch this space...


"Monkeys strike for justice: Capuchin umbrage suggests sense of fairness extends beyond humans."
Wonderful new Chomsky book out (thanks to Jona for bringing it to my attention).

Understanding Power is basically all dialogue, teach-in style. The exciting bit is that the website (as linked) has 500 pages of footnotes, longer than the book itself, which provide both the evidential basis for assertions and include extended discussions, illustrations of topics at hand. I'm very excited and I hope you will be too.
They are intensely passionate about the idea of democracy, even as they squabble over tactics for Iraq: Neo-Cons@AEI

slags will be slags


this week's schnews GM crops, Bournemouth, Spain, Z-mag and the legendary "Crap Arrest of the Week"