Monday, October 25, 2010

Race and Immigration

The abusive racial dynamic inherent in U.S. relations with its peoples of color is apparent to any honest observer. U.S. territory is where human slavery was firmly institutionalized for over two centuries; where abolitionists were regarded as violent extremists by virtually all whites in the decades leading up to the civil war; where lynchings were thrilling communal celebrations for another century; and where a burgeoning incarceration gulag today holds more black Americans in bondage than ever were enslaved (in percentages far beyond their proportion of the general population).

It would be naive to expect that a racism so deeply entrenched didn't manifest itself in some way in every dimension of social policy, including immigration. However, this does not mean that Americans who object to mass illegal immigration of largely non-white populations are necessarily bigots. Those who dislike being swamped by non-English-speaking immigrants do not have to be racists to feel this way, and many are not. Competition for scarce jobs, resources, and government services is a perfectly legitimate concern that cries of "racism" do nothing to allay. In fact, they tend to drive people into permanent opposition.

The root of mass illegal immigration is not racism per se, but the uprooting of Third World and indigenous populations by capital in its relentless pursuit of profit and market share. While it is true that the beneficiaries of this exploitation are overwhelmingly white, it is not true that every white person who raises an objection to the practical consequences of mass illegal migration is guilty of racist apologetics. Immigration law is not the same as Jim Crow law, and it is far from clear that a desire to see such law fully enforced is a racist concern. (And let us recall as well that in 1999 Washington bombed a group of white Europeans - the Serbs - continuously for two-and-a-half months in a successful effort to establish a NATO protectorate over the formerly socialist Yugoslavia. Being white did not protect them).

As a practical matter, it would be far better to make it possible for Third World and indigenous populations to remain in their countries of origin than to cheer them on as they try to find a way to live in an alien culture that thrives on exploiting their cheap labor. This would also obviate the need to waste effort giving anti-racist tutorials to U.S. "nativists" whose fears of economic decline are hardly delusional. In short, since both illegal immigrants and "nativists" have reason to oppose the creation of large classes of economic refugees, why not engage the problem at its source, where capital denies democratic representation to the present and former victims of Western colonialism and imperialism. Governments that even mention the rights of these populations are routinely hounded and destroyed by Washington, which leaves illegal immigration as the only realistic option for millions of desperate people.

Many Central American and Mexican immigrants currently working in the U.S. (even those who have green cards), would return to their countries of origin if (1) there were an end to the drug violence, and (2) there were a ready supply of $2 an hour jobs to live on. It would be far better to arrange for this to happen than to declare amnesty every generation for huge groups of displaced workers migrating from Latin America to the United States, while crying "racist" at those who object to the continual flouting of the law.

The practical benefits of confronting the illegal immigration problem at its source are considerable. Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa has declared it a national tragedy that so many Ecuadoreans have been forced to migrate in search of employment. Why not teach "nativists" and immigrants alike about the popular movements in Latin America seeking to put an economic floor beneath the poor, which will make it unnecessary for them to migrate in the first place? That way, groups of workers currently pitted against each other can come to understand their mutual exploitation at the hands of capital, instead of continuing to allow themselves to be divided. Narratives of Western racism give important background information but lead nowhere in terms of solutions. (How many "reforms" of immigration law will be required to absorb all the people of color who see better prospects in the U.S. than where they currently are? Will the U.S. be better off for having "reformed"?)

Opponents of illegal immigration often declare that it is up to migrant populations to stay in their countries of origin and fight to make them decent places, not escape to the U.S. by violating established immigration laws. "What is it about illegal you don't understand?" they habitually ask. Liberals rarely answer the question directly, preferring to invoke tear-jerking testimonials about divided families and other hardships immigrants endure, which do not speak to the issue of legality. This gives right-wing demagogues the opportunity to masquerade as defenders of the law, when in fact they continually cheerlead for blatantly illegal U.S. interventions around the world.

There simply is no need to evade the legality issue. Washington and the transnational corporations headquartered in the U.S. have long engaged in appalling illegality to maintain a secure global marketplace dominated by the United States, overthrowing democratically elected governments, assassinating political opponents, and crushing popular movements calling for basic human rights for all. These policies, not coincidentally, leave many of their victims with little alternative but to migrate to the United States in search of any work they can get. The "nativist" right scores a lot of points on the legality issue only because liberals do not confront their opponents with the facts of U.S. foreign and trade policy.

If the immigration debate is focused primarily on racism and how evil and racist "nativists" are in resisting large waves of illegal immigrants, attention is diverted from the overarching criminality of Washington's international policies, as well as the fact that the governments the U.S. most strenuously opposes in Latin America (that's where most U.S. immigrants are coming from) are doing the most to make mass migration unnecessary in the first place. Aside from the principled issue (legality is a value in itself), a fair number of Americans pre-disposed to antagonism towards illegal immigrants might be induced to support social democratic and socialist movements abroad if they knew that these movements stand the best chance of drying up illegal immigration flows by establishing basic economic security for vulnerable populations prone to migrate to the U.S..

Popular education along these lines seems a more promising strategy than constantly asserting that the unaddressed grievances of downwardly mobile U.S. workers are inherently racist.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

9/11 Bulletin: Nano-Termites, not Nano-Thermite !

 "Such explosions may be explained by prior placement of nanothermite or another suitable explosive in the towers, possibly mixed in paint or fireproofing or embedded in ceiling tiles. Nine scientists reported finding nanothermite (an explosive agent) in the tower dust collected from multiple locations in Manhattan . "

Legalienate’s investigative reporting team  recently interviewed Gunter Von Schmutz, the European scientist who revealed that “nano-thermite” was found in the powdered ruins of the Twin Towers, proving that explosives  had been planted in the buildings prior to the alleged terrorist attack. But further studies and typographical corrections at the Institute Detecting International Operations of Terrorism led to an even more shocking conclusion:

The tracings were actually of laboratory created specially bred steel eating “nano-termites” !

The Legalienate team questioned  Doctor Von Schmutz, from the London Institute of Applied Research, about the many new questions raised by these  astounding theories.

Legalienate: What do these further findings  tell us about the previous work you had done and conclusions you had drawn?

Dr Von Schmutz: Well, as you may know we were working  with scientists from Denmark who had brought some Strawberry Danish into the testing rooms. Some of the residue of the Danish pastry mixed in with the powder from the twin tower ruins and naturally, we thought they were traces of nano-thermite, an explosive which leaves red debris similar to strawberry concentrate such as was used in the danish pastry - which was very tasty, by the way.

Legalienate: So you thought the strawberry was thermite? But then how did you get to the termite conclusion?

Von Schmutz: Well, termites can eat through wood, as we all know, but these specially  bred red termites were laboratory created to  eat steel, such as the columns used in constructing the twin towers and the other building that collapsed that day. We had thought thousands of pounds of nano-thermite would have been necessary to destroy the buildings and it became impossible to arrange a scheme to get that much explosive planted in the buildings without anyone knowing it, unless we could prove that all who worked in or visited the towers were visually, audibly and mentally too disabled to notice, so we naturally came up with a far more understandable conclusion connected to termites.  Several million of the tiny creatures - they were nano-bred, you understand - could be planted by just one agent who could easily carry the few pounds necessary and not be noticed, even by people without any disabilities.

Legalienate: But how and where would that agent  place them so as to get within the steel structure and how long would it take for the termites to eat the steel?

Von Schmutz: We have thought of that and it’s quite simple. The termites were planted within the beams when the buildings were constructed and immediately began their work, which would take years to complete in timing with the 9/11 phony plane crash attack.

Legalienate: You mean the termites were there when the building went up and had been eroding the structure for more than thirty years?

Von Schmutz: Of course, as is obvious to anyone who repeatedly watches replays of the collapsing towers falling into their own footprints in a matter of seconds. Any scientist can tell you such things are not possible without pre-planted termites eroding the superstructure of the buildings, and coordinated with precision timing to wait until the plane crash to finally crumble from within. It’s obvious.

Legalienate: But who, or what, would have planned such an operation some thirty years before it would be completed?

Von Schmutz: Well, as so few seem to understand, we are dealing with forces beyond human comprehension, unless the humans comprehending have scholastic background and credentials from various global correspondence schools which teach “out of the box” thinking. Conventional up-down day-night hot-cold reasoning will not serve in a perplexing dilemma like this one.

Legalienate: But it seemed pretty simple and clear that the hijacked airliners crashed into the towers, started fires stoked by thousands of gallons of jet fuel, weakened the steel beams of the structures, which, in a faster , cheaper and more profitable building technique were  not encased in protective cement, and gradually weakened them to collapse one floor on top of another, walls and windows to shatter and debris to fly out. How can you say that your theory , which seems to defy reason, is correct, and the event  witnessed by millions in real time and by hundreds of millions later on film and video, was a complete fabrication arranged long before the airliners were crashed into the towers?

Von Schmutz: Well, as I said, if you are unable to see the obvious illogical implications of such plots and conspiracies, there really is no use trying to explain them to you in a logical fashion. Had you been educated at the institutions from which those of us chosen to reveal these truths to you were  trained, it might be possible for you to see these things not quite visible to the naked eye or comprehensible to the fully clothed mind . Would you like  a brochure for the London Institute of Applied Research?

Legalienate: No, but thanks. And  now , back to our headquarters. On planet earth.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ingrid Betancourt, FARC, and Death Squad Democracy

"I cannot understand how a revolutionary organization can end up behaving worse than the very people it is fighting."

-----Ingrid Betancourt, Even Silence Has an End

"The starkest reality of war is that the enemy is never really a monster, never inhuman."

-----Retired U.S. Special Forces Master Sergeant Stan Goff

Few have sought to rationally evaluate Ingrid Betancourt's above claim in the wake of her rescue from six plus years of captivity in the Colombian jungle at the hands of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), a rebel group engaged in a half-century long war with Colombian security forces. Almost all discussion of Betancourt's harrowing experience as a prisoner takes it as an axiom that FARC violence is (1) evil, and (2) the principal cause of the war. It is apparently heretical to ask if - or even to what extent - this is really true.

Betancourt describes FARC members as full of class hatred, "with which they [are] brainwashed daily." She pronounces them "cowardly" and "cruel," dedicated to killing, lying, and betrayal, along with ritual humiliation of their captives.

Political figures like Betancourt, who was abducted while running for president, are treated as criminals, she says, for having voted to fund the war against FARC. All politicians are regarded as parasites, prolonging the war in order to profit from it. In Betancourt's judgment, "most of these (FARC) young people [do] not really understand the meaning of the word 'political.' They [are] taught that politics [is] an activity for those who managed to deceive and then amass wealth by stealing taxes." As a prisoner, Betancourt found it difficult to offer a rebuttal, since "for me the problem with their (FARC's) explanation was that to a large degree I shared it."

Nothing could convince the FARC members that their hostages were anything but bitter class enemies engaged in self-serving rationalizations of criminal conduct. "For them," writes Betancourt, "anyone who wasn't on the side of FARC was scum." When she tried to explain that she had gone into politics in order to fight corruption, injustice, and war, her captors replied dismissively: "You all say the same thing."

In short, what made FARC's belief system credible was the behavior of those who served the Colombian state, including Betancourt, a former Senator and presidential candidate.

Although Betancourt's book (Even Silence Has an End) is the story of her captivity, not an account of the civil war, it is impossible to make proper sense of a hostage's experience without some understanding of the wider war of which it is a part. In this respect, Betancourt's account of the Colombian civil war is disappointing, evidencing a distinct liberal bias, portraying the Colombian army as caught between right wing paramilitaries and FARC "terrorists." This is standard imperial apologetics for a vicious class war against the poor by the state and its affiliated death squads (backed up by Washington). The pretense is that the paramilitaries are independent of the state, which seeks to bring them under control, when in reality they are an expression of state policy that it is convenient for governing officials to deny. [Colombia's rulers play a major role in sustaining the death squads. Hundreds of FARC guerrillas have been dehumanized and tortured in Uribe and Bush's appalling high-security "special prisons."]

At the time of her abduction in February, 2002 Betancourt was running for president as the candidate of the Green Oxygen reformist party, which had the aim, she said, of "establish[ing] dialogue simultaneously with everyone involved in the conflict, while maintaining strong military pressure to ensure that the illegal factions had an incentive to sit at the negotiating table." She claims that the Colombian army fought both "the FARC" and "the paramilitaries."

In fact, however, the paramilitary death squads are not fundamentally opposed by the Colombian army. Both are an outgrowth of the Colombian state and have class enemies in common, including labor organizations, popular movements, indigenous organizations, opposition political parties, peasant movements, intellectuals, religious currents, youth and student groups, even neighborhood associations. This means that FARC's claim that the state is fundamentally criminal can't simply be dismissed as Marxist dogma.

"During the 1980s," writes Betancourt, "the Colombian government offered a peace agreement to the FARC, and a truce was signed and political reforms were voted in Congress to support the agreement." She blames the FARC for the failure of negotiations. "But with the rise of drug trafficking, the FARC found a way to finance its war and the peace agreement collapsed." She adds that "The FARC brought terror to the countryside, killing peasants and rural workers who would not accept their rule. A rivalry between the drug traffickers and the FARC gave rise to a new surge of violence." Paramilitaries emerged as a defensive reaction to FARC terror: "The paramilitaries emerged as an alliance between the political far right - in particular the landlords - and the drug traffickers, striving to confront the FARC and expel them from their regions."

But was "peace" ever really offered? In the mid-1980s the FARC agreed to a cease-fire and many of its members joined the electoral process. Thousands of guerrillas and their sympathizers formed a political party, the Patriotic Union, fielding candidates at all levels of government. But during the entire period of its announced cease fire the paramilitary AUC carried out military actions against civilians. In less than five years, five thousand activists, candidates, and elected officials were murdered by the military and "private" death squads, including two presidential candidates, several members of congress, scores of mayors, hundreds of city council members and local politicians. The survivors rejoined the guerrillas, fled into exile or disappeared underground. Betancourt's account makes no mention of these events.

Only when the FARC managed to extend its control to within 40 miles of the capital of Bogota did the government of Andrés Pastraña agree to another round of negotiations in an extensive demilitarized zone under FARC influence (1999-2002). In these years FARC engaged in peace negotiations with the Pastraña government, which, incidentally, rejected the "terrorist" characterization of the group. Moreover, many prominent business leaders from Wall Street, London and Bogota, along with notables like Queen Noor of Jordan, met with FARC leaders in the demilitarized zone during the peace negotations, and came away impressed with their efforts.

The radicalization of the Bush Administration after 911 served as a convenient pretext to break off the peace talks. Under pressure from Washington and Colombia's right wing, the Pastraña government abruptly terminated negotiations in 2002, and in less than 24 hours dispatched the Colombian Army to the demilitarized area in an effort to capture the FARC negotiators. The surprise attack failed, but did manage to provoke an escalation of the war.

During the three years of negotiations, open debates organized by the FARC had covered fundamental social, economic and political issues. Land reform, public investment in job creation, foreign investment and public ownership, economic alternatives to coca farming, education and health care, all had been debated without fear of death squad retribution. Many formerly hostile observers from Europe, Latin America, and North America, had left the negotiations convinced that peace for Colombia could be reached at the bargaining table.

In the post-911 world, rhetorical overkill through applying the word "terrorism" has become nearly an addiction. The Uribe Administration (2004-2010), like its patron the Bush Administration, quickly developed the habit of smearing virtually all of its critics as "terrorists," an apparently irresistible way of disposing of political opposition. Leaving this vulgar political tactic aside, we can say that whatever else might be claimed about FARC, it is the longest lasting, largest peasant-based guerrilla movement active in the world today. Prior to 911, it was recognized as a legitimate resistance movement by most countries in Latin America and the European Union, with the European Union rejecting the Clinton Administration's 1997 designation of the organization as "terrorist." (The Clinton administration never considered the Colombian government terrorist, even in 1998 when pilots from Palanquero air base dropped cluster bombs on a civilian target, killing 17 civilians.)

With the election of Alvaro Uribe, the FARC was officially branded a "terrorist" organization, with the EU deferring to Washington in accepting this label. In short order FARC negotiators and international representatives were arrested in Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela and Ecuador. Protected by Washington's "War on Terrorism" President Uribe savagely repressed trade union general strikes and massive rural protests by major agricultural organizations opposed to his promotion of a "free trade" agreement with the U.S. Impunity was the order of the day.

In the midst of government sponsored butchery, the FARC pursued a policy of tactical retreat to jungle and mountain strongholds, and made offers of mutual prisoner releases as a confidence building step toward future peace negotiations. Washington opposed any prisoner swap and Uribe took the same position.

Meanwhile, the U.S. extradited two FARC prisoners held by the Colombian government and put them in solitary confinement, shackled 23 hours a day. Simon Trinidad was corralled into a show trial for "drug trafficking" and "terrorism" as well as "kidnapping." What are the chances that Trinidad will be allowed to write about the cruelty of his captors to a world-wide audience receptive to the idea that Washington's violence is inherently terroristic? There is plenty of evidence to substantiate this point of view, but few are likely to ever hear about it.

When Andrés Pastraña ran for president Betancourt supported him, and upon her release praised his successor, Alvaro Uribe, a rightwing politican with a history of ties to Colombian death squads. Uribe's victory inaugurated one of the bloodiest campaigns of state terror in the history of Colombia, with the paramilitaries committing about 80 percent of the human rights violations, compared to 16 percent by guerrillas. As mentioned before, the death squads are not independent of the state, but an outgrowth of it: police even patrol side by side with the paramilitaries.

In the Uribe years U.S. military officials and their Colombian partners funded a 31,000 member strong death squad force which sowed terror throughout the country, killing thousands of peasants in areas where FARC was influential. Hundreds of trade union activists were assassinated by hit men in broad daylight in towns and cities occupied by the army. Human rights workers, as well as journalists and professors who dared to report on the military's massacres, were kidnapped, tortured, and killed. It was not a rare occurrence for them to be beheaded or disemboweled, in order to spread the kind of paralyzing terror that renders resistance unthinkable. Millions of peasants were driven off their land into wretched urban slums, their lands taken over by prominent paramilitary chiefs or large landowners. The purging of political undesirables from the countryside was strictly in accordance with Pentagon counterinsurgency training, which counseled the Colombian military to destroy the "social infrastructure" of the FARC, which had longstanding and extensive family, community and social ties with the peasantry. [The guerrilla moves among the people, said Mao Tse Tung, as the fish swims in the sea. U.S. counterinsurgency doctrine therefore calls for "draining the ocean." Without water (i.e., social support networks) all the "fish" (i.e., guerrillas) inevitably die. Not without reason Colombia has been called the "genocidal democracy." Ninety-seven percent of its human rights abuses go unpunished.]

Although few now seem willing to concede the point, the long political history of the FARC, its longstanding ties with a wide swathe of the Colombian rural population, its program of social reforms, its targeted use of force in its conflict with the Colombian military and security forces, its continued pursuit of peace negotiations based on the need for social and military reform, all militate strongly against any simple-minded designation of the organization as merely "terrorist." They are an army fighting a war, and war is always cruel. Which is not to justify the specific abuses Betancourt describes in her book. But let us not forget the thousands of mutilated corpses produced by Colombian security forces. Betancourt, at least, emerged with her life.

The real origin of the Colombian civil war is not FARC "evil," but savage poverty. In a country of roughly 45 million people, about 11 million people cannot afford even one nutritious meal a day. Close to two-thirds of the population is unable to regularly meet its most basic subsistence needs. In rural areas the poverty rate rises to as high as 85 percent. There is no way of maintaining such a status quo without major applications of state violence, which is to say, death squads.

Betancourt has praised Uribe as a "great president," though before her abduction she was harshly critical of him, and in her latest book she accuses him of a do-nothing hostage policy designed to "let time pass, hoping that our lives would become less valuable, forcing the guerrillas to release us without obtaining anything in return."

How "great" does his record show Uribe to be? His name is in the files of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the C.I.A. as a narco-trafficker, one of the most wanted international drug traffickers, in fact. A declassified National Security Archives report dated September 23, 1991 accuses him of being a collaborator of the Medellin cartel and a personal friend of the notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar, whom Betancourt describes in a previous book as "a monster who had showed his fourteen-year-old son how to dig out a victim's eyeball with a red-hot spoon." The D.E.A. report states that Uribe was one of the "more important Colombian narco-terrorists contracted by the Colombian narcotics cartels for security, transportation, distribution, collection, and enforcement of narcotics operations in both the U.S. and Colombia. These individuals are also contracted as 'hit men' to assassinate individuals . . . and to perform terrorist attacks against Colombian officials, other government officials, law enforcement agencies, and groups of other political persuasions."

When he was governor of the Department of Antioquia, Uribe was one of the ideologues and financiers of the paramilitaries. He was responsible for the massacre of tens of thousands of peasants and for chemical contamination of the Amazon, which has spread cancer and other diseases among the people of Putumayo and Caqueta, leaving vast tracts of once fertile land unusable. He was George Bush's staunchest ally in Latin America, and cooperated with him in converting Colombia to a semi-colony of the U.S., armed to the teeth with high technology weaponry and nearly 400,000 troops, necessary for carrying out policies of unrestrained state terrorism against labor organizers and the rural poor.

A complete bill of indictment against Uribe would take considerable time to draw up. He collaborated in the crimes of the paramilitary death squads; caused massive forced displacement (over 4 million Colombians have been uprooted from the land); ignored structural problems in the rural economy linked to high unemployment and under-employment; allowed funds for the poor and social sectors to be systematically transferred to drug lords, paramilitaries, rich industrialists, and personal friends; pursued a high-growth economic strategy at the expense of creating jobs; denationalized companies in the telecommunications, oil, and mining sectors; closed down some of Colombia's biggest public hospitals, eliminating over 4000 medical jobs; carried out a policy of systematic murder of trade union organizers; sponsored an illegal invasion of neighboring Ecuador, carried on a childish confrontation with Hugo Chavez, costing Colombia dearly in trade with Venezuela; used the judicial system to attack civilians and political opponents; bought votes in Congress to amend the Constitution (in order to allow him to run for an illegal second term); illegally assigned contracts to personal relatives; approved "free trade" treaties and other legislation to advance the interests of a tiny few at the expense of the many; and violated Colombian sovereignty by permitting seven U.S. military bases in Colombia (the Colombian constitution does not allow the stationing of foreign troops on Colombian soil). In short, he has worked long and diligently to convert the Colombian state into a major criminal enterprise. If all this is the work of a "great" president, perhaps we would be better off with failures.

Upon her release Betancourt embraced and praised General Mario Montoya, who commanded the clandestine Anti-Communist Alliance that murdered thousands of Colombian dissidents, almost all of them hideously tortured beforehand. Betancourt, who repeatedly emphasizes the cruelty of her FARC captors, has had nothing to say about the ferocious barbarity of the Colombian security forces, and continues to endorse the Colombian army's prosecution of the war in order to achieve "peace" (through negotiations). But she offers no proposal for how to reign in the state terrorists who have shown no interest in peace.

Betancourt nowhere makes mention of the pronounced role of the United States in creating and maintaining the war. Colombia is the largest recipient of U.S. aid in the hemisphere, and, not coincidentally, is also the worst human rights violator in the Americas. Much of the blame goes back to the Kennedy Administration, which went to great lengths to convert the Colombian army into counterinsurgency brigades that would fight "Communism" via death squads. This ushered in the National Security Doctrine that labeled all political resistance a form of treason, justifying making war on the Colombian people (the "internal enemy") with large doses of state terror. In 1966 the field manual U.S. Army Counterinsurgency Forces specified that while anti-guerrilla efforts should not employ mass terror, selective terror against civilians was justified.

The liberation of Betancourt strengthened Uribe's terrorist regime and lent it renewed credibility, assisting its increasing militarization of the countryside while covering up ongoing murders of trade unionists and peasants. While regrettable, her suffering is nothing in comparison to what the Colombian poor have been forced to endure for fifty years at the hands of the butchers who set her free.


Geraldo, Javier, S. J., Colombia: The Genocidal Democracy, (Common Courage: 1996)

McClintock, Michael, Instruments of Statecraft - U.S. Guerrilla Warfare, Counterinsurgency, Counterterrorism, 1940-1990, (Pantheon, 1992)

Goff, Stan, Full Spectrum Disorder - The Military in the New American Century, (Soft Skull: 2004)

Betancourt, Ingrid, Even Silence Has an End - My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle, (Penguin: 2010)

Betancourt, Ingrid, Until Death Do Us Part - My Struggle To Reclaim Colombia, (Harper-Collins: 2002)

Morgan, Nick, "Colombia Elections,"

Petras, James, "An Open Letter to the People and Government of the U.S. (and a reply to the FARC)," November 20, 2006,

Rodrigues, Miguel Urbano, "Reaffirmation of Solidarity With FARC-EP, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia,"

Petras, James, "Fidel Castro and the FARC: Eight Mistaken Thesis of Fidel Castro," July 7, 2006,

Petras, James, "Colombia, Laboratory of Witches: Democracy and State Terrorism," August 12, 2008

Petras, James, "Leader of Deathsquads Wins Colombian Election," June 27, 2010,

Petras, James, "Colombia: State Terror in the Name of Peace," May 4, 2010,

Pimiento Susan and John Lindsay-Poland, "U.S. Base Deal for Colombia: Back to the Status Quo," October 8, 2010,

Lindsay-Poland, John, "Army Commanders Fired For Killings," November 21, 2008,

Bennett, Hans, "Neoliberalism Needs Death Squads in Colombia," September 3, 2009,

Rozental, Manuel, "The Circle Opens Out: New Evidence of Criminality in Colombian Regime," May 25, 2010,

Carroll, Rory, "Why the war on drugs in Colombia may never be won," February 16, 2010,

Betancourt, Ingrid, September 27, 2010, Democracy Now,

Friday, October 15, 2010

Democracy: The Cure For Depression

This is written before the November elections but it’s easy to predict their outcome;  the minority owners of the USA  will win . Finance capital, corporate wealth and Israel will still dominate  America and  people will still live under a government purchased by that minority . This is a democratic system  the way terminal cancer is a healthy organism. In fact, our social disease - capitalism -  is a terminal condition.

The 20th century  crisis called the Great Depression was survived by putting the economic cancer in remission with a primitive form of social democracy. It minimized the worst outrages of private fundamentalism with public spending which  lightened  burdens on at least some of the people. Its real purpose was to insure that  minority wealth  remain in control . Better informed capitalists understood that a complete breakdown might bring revolution and some kind of economic palliative was needed. Enter the “New Deal” which  made it possible for taxpayers to subsidize  the socially needed stimulants that profit seeking private capital would not finance. This introduced the novel idea of government spending to  prop up the private economy with public money, as  now. The point then and now was to protect  the dominance of private capital  by sanitizing the worst aspects of its fundamentalist fanaticism while  placing  the cost of social needs on the backs of the general public.

The protections for the corporate rich  have grown even worse  since then and we now have “recession” with greater inequality in wealth than  during that “depression”. The disease which was  in remission for a generation has returned to  terminal condition and now  threatens far more than the American people. In  pandemic global form it menaces the entire planet. The human and ecological destruction caused by manic pursuit of private profit at public expense has never been more obvious even with consciousness control attempting to hide its reality.

Whether  labeled a military industrial complex , climate change , media mind abuse,or corrupt government , the system  rewarding minorities that live comfortably while much of humanity goes hungry, is murdered in wars and lives in debt, poverty or colonized misery is no longer tolerable . This  election will hardly bring   change in that global condition nor even advance  democracy in the USA save in isolated cases . But democracy means  more than periodically  marching  to the polls and selecting from a pre-chosen group of professional employees of the ruling minority. It should involve  citizens in the everyday life of the national community but that’s something we have only entertained in theory . Elections like the present  fiasco make it more urgent we put that theory into practice.

This  campaign of political pornography had more billions spent than ever before and  candidates with no message  but that their opponents were criminals, bigots, nazis or psychopaths , while they were sent  to liberate us from such fiends. One wing of the ruling party claimed the other was using  foreign millions to elect its slate of monsters without mentioning the American  billions being spent on the whole sordid process. And while screeching about foreign influence on American politics it said nothing  about Israeli control exercised over national government and major media, since any mention of this can mean instant unemployment or a new career of public appearances to apologize for daring to say what many people think. The result of this hypocrisy and  treachery is that the people lose and the disease gets worse.

In order to move from a terminal condition and go beyond remission to a healthy  democracy we have to stop depending on representatives who not only carry the illness but spread its malignancy . Not an easy task in a society partitioned into competing individuals with occasional minority group cohesion, but  powerless  when up against the minority with trillions of dollars and massive weaponry at its disposal. Not easy, but hardly impossible and given the  worsening conditions we experience, absolutely necessary. Moving from identifying simply as self  or member of a minority to an identity as part  of an American majority is absolutely necessary.

Groups working for peace whether in the middle east or in local communities need to come together since none  will succeed without unity among all who want a  peaceful and socially just world. Those who demand government insured health care  need to join  with all workers, not just minorities, and form coalitions to bring a shorter work week which will enable small  businesses to hire more employees without fear of horrendous health care expense. We need to raise the minimum wage  for all and create a maximum wage as well and  an  economic stimulus  that devotes hundreds of billions to public job creation rather than to private financial forces  responsible for the present  near collapse. Public banks are an obvious way to help  finance what society  really needs rather than continuing the  obsessive and masturbatory economic focus on our nation’s private parts.

And foreign policy needs to be taken away from rich minorities operating for war profits  and to  benefit a foreign nation at the cost of  American tax payers  manipulated into supporting success for others which guarantees their own failure. The control of private capital over public minds  must be fought and the propaganda  countered with unbiased and respectful exchange of information that promotes understanding, unity and peace. That is in complete opposition to the  competitive, disrespectful and bigoted model we live under which defies logic by calling itself democratic freedom in action.

The terminal  system is economic but the potential victim is life itself and the cure for the disease is democracy, in politics , economics and morality. That is the work of the present in order to create a future. This election only makes it more imperative that we do that work.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Why Unemployment Is Good Business

“Business is business. The objective of industry is to make money. We are determined to make money. We concentrate solely on that aim. If we are satisfied that a billion-dollar merger will mean greater profits, we go ahead and engineer it.

“One of the easiest ways to cut down expenses being to cut down salary and wage rolls, we of course lay men off right and left. If elderly workers have become less nimble because of their long years of service, they are the logical ones to be dropped first. Naturally, the greater resources at the command of the enlarged combinations are unstintedly used to acquire the very latest labor-saving machinery, enabling us to dismiss still more wage-earners.

“In our eyes the most valuable executive is the one who can produce the most with the least amount of labor—the smallest number of workers and the smallest payroll. Our up-to-the-minute methods make it feasible for us to dispense with enormous numbers of workers—it is not uncommon for us to install one machine which enables half a dozen men to do what formerly took half a hundred or even a hundred men.

“Yes, we know that through our creation of gigantic enterprises—manufacturing, distributing, retailing, and every other kind—and through our vast expenditure on research, on invention, on machinery, we have caused grave dislocation of employment; but instead of being criticized for all this technological unemployment, we should be commended, since it is conclusive proof of our mastery of the science of management. What happens to all the hordes of workers we release is not our concern. Our responsibility begins and ends with running our business with surpassing efficiency, which means with a minimum of human labor.

“No, the unemployment thus created does not enter in any way into our calculations. Our bounden duty is to exercise every ounce of ingenuity we possess to do away with jobs, not to create them. Our objective is money, not more and more men, but fewer and fewer men.

“We are much too engrossed in increasing profits to give a thought to what happens because of our reducing the number of workers. How to take care of unemployment is a problem for others to solve. Let George do that.... We haven’t the time to bother with it. It isn’t our worry.”

------Forbes Magazine, April, 1930, "Are U.S. Business Leaders Morons?"