OH BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? – PT. 2: The Many Sides of Barack Obama, The TOO Many Sides by Mark S. Tucker

A few months back, in “From State Secrets to War to Wiretaps: Two Sides of the Same Coin”, former FBI language specialist and also the founder / director of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, Sibel Edmonds reflected upon the first leg of the Obama administration. It was not a settling pensivity.

She first noted the perpetual “rationalizing…defense …[and] illogical excuses [of] ‘He’s been in office for only 20 days, give the man a break!’ and ‘He’s had only 50 days in office, give him a chance!’ and currently, ‘be reasonable – how much can a man do in 120 days?!’” before asking if we mightn’t call it all a “swindling of the voters”. Her real gripe was the State Secrets Privilege statute because, appropriately enough, she was historically “the first recipient of this ‘privilege’ during the now gone [Bush] Administration”. Her use of “privilege” was, of course, a properly snide irony, and she was now targetting the slim black man who promised an end to Washington DC secrecy (“When I am president we won’t work in secret to avoid honoring our laws and Constitution” – candidate Obama, 2007). She also was irate that Obama was allowing his admin to use the act (statute, whatever) in three important judicial cases: “Al Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Obama, Mohammed v. Jeppesen Dataplan, and Jewel v. NSA”. More than a little outraged, she noted that “[i]n the Al Haramain case, Obama’s Justice Department has threatened to have the FBI or federal marshals break into a judge’s office and remove evidence already turned over in the case”, an explicit example of the old we have the might; thus, we have the right Mr. Obama pledged to exterminate in America’s legal affairs.

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COHA Responds to the UN World Drug Report

26 June, 2009 – Council on Hemispheric Affairs

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime released its 306-page annual World Drug Report on Wednesday, providing a mix of statistical findings and normative policy recommendations which hold implications for U.S. and international trade, security, and drug policy. While COHA applauds the report’s praise for rehabilitation over incarceration, the conclusions being drawn from the report and the policy recommendations included in it ought to be modified in light of historical precedent as drug-related experiences from which much can be learned.

A vast misconception circulating among media outlets is that the decline of drug use and production in the last year marks a significant victory for drug enforcement strategies. Ten years ago, the United Nations promised to bring about a significant decline, even a virtual elimination, of drug use by 2008. Yet consumption and production levels, even with last year’s decline, are almost exactly where they were ten years ago when this promise was made. All the report showed is that prevention efforts have led to virtually no substantial long term change in relevant figures.

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British Ecosocialists Plan ‘Climate & Capitalism’ Seminar

27 June, 2009 – Climate and Capitalism

Green Left and Socialist Resistance announce joint educational event in london, September 12. C&C editor Ian Angus to be keynote speaker.

[From Socialist Resistance] Planned for Saturday September 12, Climate and Capitalism is the first seminar organised jointly by Green Left and Socialist Resistance, the ecosocialist currents in two of Britain’s left parties, the Greens and Respect. This energetic and open day of discussion will bring experts, campaigners, radical activists and others together. The event will be in the Friends’ Meeting House, London, NW1 (at Euston).

The plan for the day

After registration at 10, the opening plenary will addressed by Romayne Phoenix, from Green Left, and Ian Angus, editor of The global fight for climate justice, a new book being launched next month. Romayne is a Green councillor: Ian is one of the Socialist Resistance advisory board.

Before lunch, at least three workshops will be held, all with plenty of time for questions and discussions, to give the context for the combined economic and ecological crises. Amongst those planned are:

  1. Crisis and the response: with Sean Thompson, author of new pamphlet on the Green New Deal, and the Scottish Socialist Party’s Raphie de Santos, co-author of ‘Socialists and the Capitalist Recession’
  2. Gender, ecology and ecosocialism: with Sheila Malone, co-editor of ‘Ecosocialism or Barbarism’
  3. Alternatives to the market: with a panel invited including Derek Wall, former principal speaker of the Green Party

The interaction and sharing of experience will deepen in the afternoon, where participants in major struggles for climate and social justice will be speaking. The discussions will include:

  1. Voices from the Global South: facilitated by Ian Angus
  2. Direct action and prefiguration; with speakers from British direct action campaigns
  3. Sustainable cities; with invited experts including the Campaign for Free Public Transport
  4. Alternative production: with speakers from the Swedish and British trade union movement struggles for sustainable manufacturing.

The closing plenary will provide an opportunity to see how anti-capitalists in Respect, the Green party and elsewhere on the left can deepen their co-operation – both in the run up to the Copenhagen demonstrations at the end of this year, and next year’s general election. ‘Socialist Resistance’ editor Liam MacUaid will discuss strategies for uniting reds and greens while Green Left’s Andy Hewett will discuss the tasks going forward to Copenhagen. The event will close at 5.30pm.

How to register

You can register in advance and make two savings: get one-third off the price of your ticket, and a further two pounds on the cost of the book being launched at the conference. Tickets cost 6 pounds unwaged (4 in advance) and 12 pounds waged (8 in advance). To register, make your cheque payable to ‘Resistance’ and post it to PO Box 62732 London SW2 9GQ.

Find out more

Visit http://ecosocialism.org for updates on the event. You can register on that site for updates, and to take part in the preparations of the event. If you have any questions or comments send an email to seminar at ecosocialism dot org.