31.7.04

this really should be disseminated as widely as possible:

Hail, the Conquering War Hero Comes Home

"Kerry was an extremely aggressive officer and so was I. I liked that he took the fight to the enemy, that he was tough and gutsy--not afraid to spill blood for his country"

and thats just the beginning...

30.7.04



when Captain Cook came to Tahiti he was greatly surprised to find that the Tahitians had sexual intercourse in public and "gratified every appetite and passion before witnesses". Thus, he reported in his Account of a Voyage Around the World (1769):


A young man, nearly six feet high, performed the rites of Venus with a little girl about 11 or 12 years of age, before several of our people and a great number of natives, without the least sense of its being indecent or improper, but, as appeared, in perfect conformity to the custom of the place. Among the spectators were several women of superior rank who . . . gave instructions to the girl how to perform her part, which, young as she was, she did not seem much to stand in need of.
Sex, it turns out, is the key to the social life of the bonobo

29.7.04

Jeder Augenblick ist von unendlichem Wert, denn er ist der Repraesentant einer ganzen Ewigkeit

Goethe


also see:# 1
Pippi is untidy, wears mismatching stockings, and she loves her freedom.



The anarchistic protagonist was condemned by some authorities in the heated discussion of permissive upbringing. "She had no mother and no father," wrote Lindgren, "and that was of course very nice because there was no one to tell her to go to bed just when she was having the most fun, and no one who could make her to take cod liver oil when she much preferred caramel candy." In her articles from 1939 and 1949, Lindgren defended the right of children to be treated like human beings without being oppressed: if the children are given love, good behavior will look after itself.
Wired awake
Soldiers in the field go for days without rest. Now, a Guardian investigation discovers that the MoD has been buying a new stimulant in bulk. Ian Sample reports on the dangers of sleep deprivation, Thursday, July 29, 2004

war on drugs

28.7.04

POISON GAS IRAQ PAID WITH AID MONEY;

'Development Cooperation charged for sale of chemicals to Saddam' TROUW; Friday 23 July 2004By Marc Doodeman AMSTERDAM -

The Dutch government wants the ministry for development cooperation to pay for the raw materials for poison gas that the Dutch company Melchemie illegally supplied to Iraq in 1985. This emerges from data of a commission of the United Nations that processes claims of companies. The Dutch State has 41 claims on Iraq totaling an amount of Euro 245 million. The ministry of finance confirms the amount, but refuses to say whether this includes money of the Dutch chemical company Melchemie. This company however is mentioned explicitly in the UN-list. In 1985 Melchemie supplied Iraq for 1 million dollars of raw materials for mustard gas. The company from Arnhem received no money from Iraq, but was compensated by an export credit insurance with the State. The State then took over the claim on the Iraqi government. Currently the Netherlands wishes to cancel such claims on Iraq. In doing so this cancellation will be booked as "aid" at the expense of the budget for development cooperation. Due to the interest, the claim of Melchemie has increased to an amount of 2 million dollars. Melchemie was convicted in 1987 for the supply of four essential chemicals to make mustard gas. In March 1988 in the Iraqi town of Halabja more than 4.000 Kurds died due to lethal poison gas. A direct connection between the poison gas and the war materials of Melchemie was never proven. The MP Hans van Heijningen (Socialist Party) considers it 'completelyinsane' that the ministry for development cooperation has to pay for this debt. "The idea that not the Kurds, but rather the company that supplied the raw materials was compensated .... it is just scandalous". Last week, minister Van Ardenne (development cooperation), also on behalf of her colleague Mr. Zalm of Finance, informed parliament that she does not know exactly what kind of claims the Netherlands has on Iraq. "This is not correct", says Mr. Van Heijningen. "These data are already for two years available on a website. They have been provided to the UN by the ministry of finance itself". Aid organization Both ENDS considers the rescheduling of the debt of Iraq to be premature and calls it bitter that exactly this debt rescheduling is done at the expense of the budget for development cooperation.

26.7.04

23.7.04


The U.S. included so many nuclear weapons in its first missile-age plan for nuclear war that top military commanders called it a "hazard to ourselves as well as our enemy," according to newly declassified documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.


"Since it was first created in 1960, the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP)--the U.S. plan for nuclear war--has been one of the most secret and sensitive issues in U.S. national security policy. The essence of the first SIOP was a massive nuclear strike on military and urban-industrial targets in the Soviet Union, China, and their allies. To make such an attack possible, U.S. war planners developed a complex organizational scheme involving the interaction of targeting, weapons delivery systems and their flight paths, nuclear detonations over targets, measurements of devastation, and defensive measures, among other elements, and successive SIOPs would become even more complex. Much of this information remains highly secret and may never be declassified; it is even possible that no civilian official has actually seen the SIOP."



Lieutenant General Thomas Power, Commander-in-Chief, Strategic Air Command, 1957-1964, and Director, Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff, 1960-1964, presided over the creation of SIOP-62.




Here seen later in his career amiably discussing the forthcoming nuking of japan with an obviously charmed british "ally"

22.7.04


"greetings from orange county"



the corporate- naked and sexless as god made it!

21.7.04

"Iyad Allawi, the new Prime Minister of Iraq, pulled a pistol and executed as many as six suspected insurgents at a Baghdad police station, just days before Washington handed control of the country to his interim government, according to two people who allege they witnessed the killings."

20.7.04



transgression:
"Controversial Kristopher Schau loves to shock his audience, and few knew what was in store for them as they went to his concert at the Quart music festival. In the middle of the concert, a young couple entered the stage. «How far are you willing to go to save the world?» asked the young man, and without much ado, the couple pulled off their clothes. Cumshots provided the background music as the couple had intercourse right in front of the audience. A banner was raised on stage informing the audience that the couple was having sex to save the rainforest. After completing the intercourse, the couple received applause from the audience and disappeared."

via dr. menlo.

19.7.04



mass murderer on 'crime crusade'


visual culture to create the impression of a spinning world - "the economy that's fake anyway" appears real. it would be hard to believe that an operator actually requiring the information speeding by on this quote bar, extracts any of it via this spectacle. what is left is an auratic feeling of elitist authority, keeping the uninitiated from questioning anything.



one world, one company, anywhere, anytime.
aljazeera:

"Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh said the Bush administration was holding the tapes of these acts. "The boys were sodomised with the cameras rolling, and the worst part is the soundtrack, of the boys shrieking. And this is your government at war," he told the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) earlier this month."

telling as ever: corporate media coverage on this.

18.7.04

certainly better for you than traditional chemotherapy...

17.7.04

Another spliff story

apparently helps you see in the dark now...

.. next it will enlarge your penis, do your homework, pay your bills and go to the dentist for you. Now that it has already been proved that marijuana is not only good for you, but mass consumption will also lead to world peace.

16.7.04

15.7.04

Schnews Iraq report...

“Desperately needed jobs have gone to Americans, Europeans and South Asians; roads are crowded with trucks shipping in supplies produced in foreign plants, while Iraqi factories were not even supplied with emergency generators. As a result, the reconstruction is seen not as a recovery from war but as an extension of the occupation, a foreign invasion of a different sort.” - Naomi Klein, journalist

Human Rights activist Ewa Jasiewicz and film maker Pennie Quinton, will be appearing in court soon, charged with ‘Aggravated Trespass’, following their protest against the Iraq Procurement Conference in London this April. Ewa, Pennie and others have been drawing attention to the fact that the corporate handover of Iraq to the multinationals is about more than just oil. The handover’s making millions for the members of a cartel of multinationals, dominated by the backers of George Bush. At the same time as millions of reconstruction dollars have gone missing, millions of Iraqi’s still live without electricity and water.

The old regime has left Iraq in serious debt. “The Paris Club” of creditor nations is owed $160bn, largely money borrowed by Saddam for his war against Iran, while other debts are reparations payments owed to countries he attacked. These payments, enforced by the UN Compensation Commission, have already cost Iraq $1.64bn since last April: more than its combined health and education budgets. On 23rd June, as the UN called for $259m to meet a shortfall in humanitarian relief, the Compensation Commission also announced that it would take another $600m in reparations this year.

But the US doesn’t seem that bothered by the Iraqi debt. John Snow, the US Treasury Secretary recently said, “The people of Iraq shouldn’t be saddled with those debts incurred through the regime of the dictator.” Is this a new angle on US foreign policy? Maybe John’s about to announce the cancellation of the Iraq’s debt - mostly owed to non-US companies - so Bush Inc can concentrate on the fat reconstruction contracts to boost its re-election coffers.

The Halliburton Corporation has been pretty coy about total value of its Iraq contracts, although the Pentagon has confirmed that an initial $90m was agreed to be paid to the Corporation before the fall of Saddam Hussein. Former Halliburton boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, has denied any wrongdoing. He says that he severed contact with the corporation when he got into the White House in 2000, but a French Press Agency report claims that a leaked Pentagon e-mail confirms Dick had a hand in huge Halliburton government contracts for Iraq, whilst in office and coordinating the war effort.

Up to the corporate-handover, White House Inc. had spent just 2% of the $18.4bn it had obtained from Congress for the ‘urgent’ reconstruction of Iraq. While Bush might be saving for a big spend at election time, some cash has just plain disappeared. Last October, Christian Aid revealed that $4bn of oil revenues were unaccounted for and even according to the coalition’s latest figures, $1.3bn has gone walkabout. Being investigated by Ronald Reagan’s Commission on Organized Crime for alleged links to gambling and prostitution, didn’t stop Richard Armitage becoming Deputy Secretary of State in 2000. Now he’s helping oversee the State Department as it nicks $184m, earmarked for drinking water projects, to boost the budget for a lavish new US Embassy in Saddam’s former palace. Ever honest Armitage admitted he might have to “rob from Peter in my fiefdom to pay Paul.”

And all that’s before the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been let loose in Iraq with a long-term IMF structural adjustment program in return for debt reduction. Rapid privatisation and an opening up of the Iraqi economy for foreign investors is the name of the game, leading to increased unemployment and Iraqi public assets falling into the hands of a “coalition” of foreign multinationals.

As soon as big business gets hold of the bargain-priced publicly owned companies up for grabs, they will shed jobs to make a quick profit. Already the Coalition Provisional Authority is making Iraq a great place to do business. Last September it signed Order 30 on Salaries and Employment Conditions, cancelling government subsides for public sector workers which had helped them pay for housing and living costs. The Authority has set the minimum wage at 69,000 Dinar ($40) per month, which is, according to Ewa Jasiewicz, less than half of the recommended salary of a sweatshop worker in one of neighbouring Iran’s Free Trade Zones.

Antonia Juhasz of the International Forum on Globalisation, says that the Bush administration is “using the military invasion and occupation of Iraq to advance a corporate globalization agenda that is illegal under international law, has not been chosen by the Iraqi people and may ultimately prove to be even more devastating than twelve years of economic sanctions, two U.S.-led wars and one occupation.”

One thing the new Authority sees eye to-eye with the Saddam regime over is draconian Trade Union Laws. Under the new boss, workers in the state oil industry are forbidden from organising a union, and harassment of union organisers is commonplace. But people are still joining workers groups, and as journalist David Bacon, who travelled to Iraq with US Labor Against the War said, “the thing that was really heartening was that under the most difficult conditions that you can imagine, workers were not waiting one minute before they started organising themselves.” Unemployment is still very high (30%), and the reconstruction process isn’t exactly the job frenzy it was supposed to be - having created only 15,000 of the 250,000 jobs promised.

Saddam was always heading for trouble, running one of the only state owned oil companies in the world and refusing to let Western oil companies in on the game. Remember two years ago when the US sponsored a coup against Hugo Chavez in Venezuela (at the time the main supplier of oil to the US - (see SchNEWS 345)? He had promised to use oil profits to pay for a minimum wage, rather than let all the money go abroad to the oil companies. But this is about more than just oil. They are flogging the whole country’s assets off, lock stock and barrel. The Middle East’s got a lot of state owned assets which western corporations are ready to buy up cheap. The pretext offered by terrorism to make a profit through invasion and economic colonisation isn’t worrying business friendly Saudi Arabia. But no doubt Iran and Syria with their state owned water companies, electricity plants and telecom systems are getting worried by cash-hungry Halliburton and friends.

More info: Jubilee Iraq
Iraqi Trade Unions
Ocupation Watch
Bellaciao.org
Kids sodomized at Abu Ghraib, Pentagon has the videos.

14.7.04



the ride is not to be identified.

the ride, is not to be identified.
the ride is, not to be identified.

12.7.04


"i'm sorry, i wasn't listening"

CHIEF
Mr. Treehorn tells us that he had to
eject you from his garden party,
that you were drunk and abusive.

DUDE
That guy treats women like objects,
man.

CHIEF
Mr. Treehorn draws a lot of water in
this town, Lebowski. You don't draw
shit. We got a nice quiet beach
community here, and I aim to keep it
nice and quiet. So let me make
something plain. I don't like you
sucking around bothering our citizens,
Lebowski. I don't like your jerk-
off name, I don't like your jerk-off
face, I don't like your jerk- off
behavior, and I don't like you, jerk-
off --do I make myself clear?

The Dude stares.

DUDE
I'm sorry, I wasn't listening.

The Chief hurls his steaming mug of coffee at the Dude. It
hits him in the forehead with a thud, the scalding coffee
splashing everywhere.

identification

The Dude is hurled against the chief's desk, which he bounces
off of, to come to rest more or less seated in a facing chair.

His wallet is tossed onto the desk.

The chief leans forward, takes the wallet and sorts through
it with disgusted incredulity.

CHIEF
This is your only I.D.?

He is looking at the Ralph's Shopper's Club card.

DUDE
I know my rights.

CHIEF
You don't know shit, Lebowski.
zentralbegriff ist wohl "identität" oder "identifikation", im sinne einer begrifflich-symbolischen bestimmung - für adorno das erste positivistische element im denken. er sieht in der identifikation ein herrschaftsinstrument der vernunft in begrifflichkeit.

verhältnis begriff-vernunft: der begriff ist eine allgemeinbestimmung, eine generalisierung. er hebt also das universelle hervor, negiert also immer einen teil des ganzen, nämlich das konkret unmittelbare. der begriff steht als allgemeinbestimmung in unaufhebbarer spannung zum konkreten, zum individuellen, und ist somit vom gegebenen abhängig. eine identifikation hat also einen inhärent autoritären character, denn der begriff (als identitätsträger) steht meist in instrumentellem verhältnis mit der vernunft die diesen begriff universalisiert.

es geht adorno also darum das nicht-identische zu retten, denn das nicht-identische wird durch die begriffliche vermittlung (durch die identifikation) ins allgemeine negiert. begreifendes denken ist, so adorno, eine art herrschaftsdenken.

die negative dialektik ist die hervorhebung des nicht-identischen. adorno meint ferner, dass die aufhebung identität-nichtidentität in begriffen nicht möglich ist ("es gibt kein richtiges leben im falschen"), jedoch stelle die kunst eigentlich eine gestalt solcher nicht-identiät dar. oder besser, nur solches ist wirkliche kunst (kritische unterscheidung "kunst" / "kulturindustrie" negativ-dialektisch. die differenz, als avant-gardistische struktur).

der freiraum des nicht-identischen, jedoch im begrifflichen denken selbst dadurch entstanden. das nicht-identische schreit also förmlich danach ausgedrückt zu werden. und das ist wohl was wir zu tun haben.

jaja... hehe. das alles bildet die basis für seine ästhetische theorie, die hier implizit wohl schon vorhanden ist. werde die mal in angriff nehmen diesen sommer.

-----------------------------------

monster

"ästhetische barbarei hier besonders ausgeprägt. mit adorno's negativer dialektik gesprochen, ist die identifikation mit feudalem symbolismus hier als ausdruck der negierenden allgemeinbestimmung des selbst zu verstehen, die natürlich in unaufhebbarer spannung zum nicht-identischen, der inneren triebstruktur steht."

negative dialektik + triebökonomie -> monsterbaconkunst?
The Refugee Project

UK foreign policies and investment create refugees and asylum seekers

The vast majority of refugees and asylum seekers are fleeing from conflict, or from social or economic oppression. In many cases, the British government, companies and taxpayers are directly or indirectly responsible. Their overseas investment and foreign policies can force people to leave their homes and then their countries.

These investments and policies are not just the obvious ones – waging war or allowing the export of weapons. They also include construction of infrastructure projects, such as hydro-electric and irrigation dams, oil and gas pipelines, and mines, and support for policies that privilege free trade above food security, health or human rights.

The Refugee Project – a UK coalition of groups and individuals concerned with environmental, human rights and development issues – believes that freedom of movement for all is a fundamental human right. It welcomes voluntary migration, but is resolutely opposed to forced migration. It opposes development policies and projects that involve involuntary resettlement. It objects to policies that give people no option but to move if they are to escape political oppression or economic deprivation.

Despite being forced to move, many people are refused asylum or refugee status if they manage to come to the UK and are denigrated as “welfare scroungers” or “bogus applicants”. The US- and UK-led "War on Terror" is marginalising refugees still further as numerous legitimate political movements are labelled "terrorist". In the process, refugee communities in particular and dissent in general are being criminalised. Moreover, the UK government gives richer economic migrants, such as multinational employees, the privileged treatment, such as visas and tax exemptions, that it denies poorer migrants.
The Refugee Project focuses on the relationship between forced migration, and UK overseas investment and foreign policy. It aims to provide a platform on which refugees can voice their histories.

The Refugee Project aims to highlight:
·the social, political, economic and ecological causes of migration;
·how aid and development project and policies can create conditions which generate migration; and
·the discrimination and human rights implications of prevailing responses to such migration.

CREATING REFUGEES
Supporting repressive regimes, Conflict and political repression are major causes of asylum seeking and enforced migration. The major customers of many arms deals backed by the UK (through its Export Credits Guarantee Department) are generally acknowledged to be repressive governments. Such arms sales send a message of international political approval to the recipient government. Well-documented evidence indicates that weapons exported with ECGD support have been used to suppress dissent.

Collaborating with oppressive security forces,
UK investments or exports to areas of conflict may perpetuate or exacerbate violence. This is particularly the case when UK company operations depend on collaboration with local paramilitaries or government security forces. In Colombia, security operations along BP’s Ocensa pipeline have involved human rights abuses and generated refugees and asylum seekers.
Displacing people for “development”

Many UK-backed development projects have caused pollution or destroyed forests. In the process, they have often restricted access to and control over environments that poorer people rely on for their livelihoods. The environmental degradation caused by large-scale hydro-electric and irrigation dams, for instance, invariably triggers a downward cycle of dispossession, poverty and immiseration as people are forced to move from the flooded areas. In India alone, anywhere between 20 million and 50 million people have been displaced by dams. Many of these dams were built by UK companies or were financially supported by the UK through bilateral aid or through the World Bank and other multilateral development banks.

Creating environmental refugees, The UK’s support for oil and gas development has longer-term implications. Global warming is likely to generate millions of “environmental refugees”. Some 100 million people may be forced to move by the middle of this century because of sea level rises, drought and adverse weather conditions. Yet the UK does not require assessments of the potential climate-change impacts caused by the projects and programmes it supports with public money. For instance, the burning of the Caspian oil transported by the proposed Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, which is being built by UK oil company, BP, will add an estimated 160 million tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere over the project’s 40-year life-span. The UK government supported this pipeline (through loans from the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) without assessing its climatic impacts, nor the likely social and environmental impacts of any resulting climate change.

Increasing poverty, Inequality is often a significant and root cause of conflict. This in turn is a major cause of forced migration. Poverty alleviation is a central goal of UK development aid. But the structural adjustment programmes imposed on many developing countries by the International Monetary Fund (in which the UK is a shareholder) have cut public funding for health and other social programmes, and thus increased poverty. International trade policies required by the World Trade Organisation, particularly those in agriculture, have exacerbated this trend.

Creating 'terrorist suspects'. Through the 'war on terror', the UK has turned entire migrant communities into 'terrorist suspects'. Its so-called 'anti-terror' laws have broadened the definition of terrorism to encompass various political activities, including those carried out against oppressive regimes abroad. On this basis, it has classified numerous liberation movements as 'terrorist', as a basis for criminalising any association with them in this country. It has also authorised greater police powers to investigate and detain anyone suspected of such involvement. In this way, a racist culture of suspicion is deployed to silence refugees and to protect the security of the oppressive regimes from which they have fled.

An open Letter to Dr. Laura This is pretty funny - you don't have to know who Dr. Laura is to appreciate it.

11.7.04



"Hindert aber ein Mann seine Frau - sei es auch nur durch ein Merkenlassen von Eifersucht all ihre Wünsche nach Liebe zu stillen, so zerstört er in ihr die Besonderheit, auf der ihre Schönheit beruht."


Die Erziehung der Frau zur Monogamie und Ehe würde ihre persönliche und gesellschaftlich Entrechtung, ihre Degradierung zum Besitzobjekt des Mannes stabilisieren. Das "Recht zu uneingeschränkter Selbstbestimmung" und "freier Verfügung über ihre Person" werde ihr vom Manne nicht zugestanden:

"Ihr erzieht sie zur Monogamie, weil ihr eurer Frau auch noch dann sicher sein wollt, wenn ihr euch vor ihr gehen laßt. Ihr seid eifersüchtig aus Bequemlichkeit. Eifersucht, die infamste Form des Besitzneides, ist die erbärmlichste Ausflucht eurer Feigheit, denn euch bangt vor der fähigeren Konkurrenz solcher Männer, die einer Frau das Recht zu uneingeschränkter Selbstbestimmung zuerkennen"

9.7.04

transgressing the male gaze

following photo by krista beinstein, photographer and performance artist. her work aims to transgress norms of female sexuality as defined by impotent little men [i] through the centuries.



through sadean imagery, she presents women as embracing their sexual desires by crossing boundaries.

also worth a look in the context of french sextheory from de sade via bataille to foucault, is the french filmmaker catherine breillat.

sexuality is the key theme of her work, usually centred around a young woman surrounded by objectified men. it's in this scenario where breillat shows the young womans sexual transgression, breaking taboos via naturalistic and pornographic imagery. as you can imagine, the notion of censorship is never far from this.

gary sauer-thompson has more on her newest film.

5.7.04

SHUT YOUR CAKE-HOLE latest SchNEWS

“The new global order has condemned people to death. They don’t care if people live or die.”
Joseph Stiglitz, The World Bank’s former Chief Economist

Sixty years ago this month, Western leaders got together at Bretton Woods to redesign the world’s financial systems, creating the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Although there is plenty for them to celebrate, SchNEWS warns readers to read on before sending them a birthday card.

Whilst the IMF and World Bank lend cash to ‘developing’ countries to help them run construction projects and meet budget deficits, their real role is to ensuring that the international economy is geared to boosting the profits of Western corporations. By the 1970s troublesome unionised workers in Europe and the US started making big wage demands to state owned and private sector companies. Paying to meet the cost of the huge rise in oil prices in 1973, governments no longer had the cash to meet these demands and corporations found it harder to increase profits. Solution? Get rid of the unions, flog off the state companies and relocate to the Third World where wages were smaller and governments weren’t too fussy about worker and environmental protection.

An example of this philosophy in action was The North American Free Trade Agreement signed in 1994 between America, Canada and Mexico. This enabled company bosses to dump 800,000 unionised US auto workers earning around $17 per hour, in favour of 700,000 Mexican workers on $5 a day. 400,000 of these jobs are now off to China for $2 a day. Size matters too. Small, local businesses are no match for the likes of Wal-Mart, Coke and Nike. Home-grown industries are quickly bought out or pushed aside. With the competitors out of the frame, international firms then use their monopoly position to raise prices and profits.

Not that the countries of the South were that cheap, for the multinationals, at least to start off with. Some governments subsidised basic necessities like food, health care and housing. Governments also added tariffs to imports to protect their farmers. If a US firm exported maize to Mexico, a percentage was added to the cost to make sure that Mexican grown maize was cheaper. This helped guarantee a basic wage for farmers and gave local companies time to develop technologies so they could compete with international firms: a standard policy followed by all European and US countries during most of the 20th century.

Most countries in the ‘developing’ world had their wealth plundered by Europe during colonial times. Take Bolivia, once the richest country in Latin America because of its vast silver mines. The Spanish drained the mines, killing 8 million indigenous people in the process and now it’s the poorest country in mainland Latin America. With no assets of their own, countries have to borrow cash, but loans from the World Bank and IMF are conditional upon countries ‘structurally adjusting’ their economies. This entails: cutting wages, axing pensions, social security and workers benefits and also hacking away at subsidies on food and housing.

There are so many examples of piss poor policy making, greed and corruption that it’s difficult to pick a birthday example, but the way they sucked the cash out of Argentina is worth a mention. The country followed the fundamentalism of the ‘Washington Consensus’, beginning by ‘pegging’ the Argentinean currency to the dollar. This meant that for every Peso spent the government had to have a dollar to back it up in its coffers. Of course Argentina didn’t have any dollars and needed to borrow, but the banks lending the cash, thought that doing so was risky business, so they charged 16% interest on such loans.

But the rip off didn’t stop there. When the economy looked like it was about to collapse, the IMF offered the government $20bn in return for further reducing wages and cutting pensions. Despite following instructions the Argentineans never got their hands on the $20bn. It lingered in New York bank vaults and was used to pay the interest on loans made by firms like Citibank. During the crisis, poverty in Argentina affected 58% of the population and over a quarter earned too little even to feed themselves. It total $130bn left Argentina for Western banks. During each day in 2001, 20,000 Argentineans slid below the poverty line.

BIRTHDAY BASH

Although Citibank lost some $2bn during the Argentinean crisis, it was but a small blip, with profits rising 36% during 2003 (they also bunged the US Republican party $4m between 1999 and 2004). Oh and there’s some corruption too. Using a series of “offshore banks” (which only do business with customers outside the country where they are licensed), well-connected Argentines laundered millions of dollars in bribes and drug money through Citibank, which in turn made little effort to stop them.

Since it got a bashing at its fiftieth birthday celebrations, the IMF and World Bank have been keen to show how much they’ve reformed. But don’t believe the hype. As ex World Bank’s Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz said “I was very naive and I am not pleased to have discovered a confused world where money takes priority over the life of people.”

Although it says its reports are now released after five years, instead of thirty, most of the information is in English, and very little of it translated into the languages spoken by the people most likely to be affected by a dam, power plant, or road-building project. Nor does the re-labelling of ‘Structural Adjustment Programs’ to ‘Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility Programs’ hide the fact that ‘poverty reduction’ in Nigeria has seen the country pay over $16bn for an original loan of $5b - and they still owe another $32 billion!

The World Bank and IMF are used by the powerful financial elite to carve up the global economy to suit their own needs. Votes are based on cash, with the G8 countries alone controlling almost half the votes. The US will not allow its voting power in the IMF to drop below 15%, which gives it a veto over all key decisions. At the same time Bush talks about free trade and breaking government intervention, the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 chucked US farmers a cool $249bn. And don’t forget the World Bank is a bank! It’s made a profit every year since it came into existence - over $3 billion in 2003.

‘IMF riots’ have often ravaged Latin America’s cities from Buenos Aires to Caracas, leaving hundreds of dead and wounded and losses of millions of dollars in damaged property. People are supposed to retire at 60, SchNEWS reckons its time the IMF and World Bank did just that.

* 60 glorious or notorious years? Saturday 10 July 5-7pm Speakers include Rudolf Amenga-Etego, winner of this year’s Goldman Environmental Award for his work with the Ghanaian National Coalition who successfully stopped a $400bn water privatization project, which was backed by the World Bank.
Discussion organised by the World Development Movement at the Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London, NW1 2B. 020 7737 6215

* 50 years is enough network

* Joseph Stilgitz “Globalisation and its Discontents” (Penguin)
sexual repression, sadism and the spectacle

from bataille's story of the eye (pdf):

"Sir Edmund deployed his ingenuity at providing us with obscene spectacles at random, but Simone still preferred bullfights. There were actually three things about bullfights that fascinated her: the first, when the bull comes hurtling out of the bullpen like a big rat; the second, when its horns plunge all the way into the flank of a mare; the third, when that ludicrous, raw-boned mare gallops across the arena, lashing out unseasonably and dragging a huge, vile bundle of bowels between her thighs in the most dreadful wan colors, a pearly white, pink, and gray. Simone's heart throbbed fastest when the exploding bladder dropped its mass of mare's urine on the sand in one quick plop.
She was on tenterhooks from start to finish at the bullfight, in terror (which of course mainly expressed a violent desire) at the thought of seeing the toreador hurled up by one of the monstrous lunges of the horns when the bull made its endless, blindly raging dashes at the void of colored cloths. And there is something else I ought to say: when the bull makes its quick, brutal, thrusts over and over again into the matador's cape, barely grazing the erect line of the body, any spectator has that feeling of total and repeated lunging typical of the game of coitus. The utter nearness of death is also felt in the same way. But these series of prodigious passes are rare. Thus, each time they occur, they unleash a veritable delirium in the arena, and it is well known that at such thrilling instants the women come by merely rubbing their thighs together.
Apropos bullfights, Sir Edmund once told Simone that until quite recently, certain virile Spaniards, mostly occasional amateur toreadors, used to ask the caretaker of the arena to bring them the fresh, roasted balls of one of the first bulls to be killed. They received them at their seats, in the front row of the arena, and ate them while watching the killing of the next few bulls. Simone took a keen interest in this tale, and since we were attending the first major bullfight of the year that Sunday, she begged Sir Edmund to get her the balls of the first bull, but added one condition: they had to be raw.
"I say," objected Sir Edmund, "whatever do you want with raw balls? You certainly don't intend to eat raw balls now, do you?"
"I want them before me on a plate," concluded Simone."
unofficial fahrenheit 9/11 transcript

part i
part ii

4.7.04

"a few bad apples"

take a look at page 12 onward for the nitty gritty
an interesting source of information;

"Kavkaz-Center is a private independent agency. It does not reflect viewpoints of any states, governmental structures or the Chechen government. Along with that, the Kavkaz-Center Agency has set the goal to cover the real events in Ichkeria under the conditions of total informational blockade, and bring to the world community the truthful information about the war, war crimes, the facts of genocide of the whole nation by the invading state and the position of the defending side - the Chechen Mujahideen."

consider their opinion on the israel-palastine conflict, and it sounds rather like NC;

«Necessity to solve the conflicts, especially Israeli-Palestinian conflict»

[a G8 resolution]

"Israeli politicians claim that the very fact of existence of Arab population on the territories occupied by Israel is standing in the way of settling the conflict.

There is yet another point of view, but the US has been blocking any resolutions that are against the opinion of the Israeli politicians on this particular issue. 80 draft resolutions proposed for the settlement have been blocked by the US for one single reason: they are not corresponding with the plan of building of 'Great Israel'."

3.7.04

2.7.04

Interplanetary “Day After Tomorrow?” Part 2 This is just fun for your brain - assuming you enjoy astrophysics. The series basically claims that the entire SOLAR SYSTEM is undergoing a climate shift, all related to a larger theory of hyperdimensional physics (basically, an energy coming from another dimension and affecting our three - which, interestingly, is the same general theory emerging in the mainstream in an attempt to explain Einstein's constant and the speeding of universal expansion, although the two theories don't appear related to me. That could just be a difference in the details tho - this one goes into great detail, whereas the Einstein's Constant theory is still young and nebulous). Do with the overall theories what you like, but at the least the series is a tremendous summation of the solar system's weather... and I personally like to bend my brain in new ways. You'll need an EXTREMELY open mind to follow this one tho - for instance, it breaks some of the laws of thermodynamics (or it could be argued it doesn't break them, but merely extends them into other dimensions ;)) Anyway, expect to see lots of theories like this in the coming years, as the 10/11 dimension model of the universe gains greater prominence and acceptance outside the world of quantum physicists and people begin to apply it to other fields, with greater and lesser success...
Is NASA Sending the Cassini Mission to its Doom?! Here's some very interesting science - some looking legit, some not, tho I'm not really qualified to judge. Cherry-picked or not, the science portrayed does stir the imagination...
Moore v. Hannah Entertaining.
Telegraph | News | Attack Iran, US chief ordered British Wow, this is fascinating. Maybe Blair was right - Britain can have more influence as the lapdog than as another outsider...
Cheney booed at yankee stadium I just love this.
Steve Quayle News Alerts A financial look at Wilsongate. When the investment banker types are talking about it, you know it's well and truly here. I've done a few articles on this issue, and I can tell you this is, quite likely, bigger than Watergate. I mean, look how far America has come: the Republicans got caught red-handed the past year doing the exact same thing as watergate (spying on democratic email regarding court nominations) yet that hardly made the news. This story, however, has some serious legs... someone's going down hard, and even if it ain't Bush, he's probably not capable of surviving this...

1.7.04

* achbar (manufacturing consent) makes new documentary - "the corporation".

* chomsky, zinn plan to vote for nader.