AFRICOM: Not the Peace Corps by Mark P. Fancher

9 December 2009 — Black Agenda Report

not_the_peace_corps.jpgThe U.S. military’s AFRICOM forces pretend their mission on the continent is humanitarian. In reality, AFRICOM is the sharp edge of U.S. imperialism, a killing force eager to impose American dominance. The military command ‘locks Africa into a state of dependency and maintains favorable political and social conditions for U.S.-based corporations that exploit Africa’s natural resources.’This is not a bug in the system. It’s a defining feature of it.

‘AFRICOM downplays its military projects and instead presents itself as a Peace Corps type operation.’

Mention the words ‘Peace Corps’ to folks who associate that agency with the idealism of the 1960s and in their minds’ eye they will probably see a dynamic young president who dispatched a virtual army of gentle, denim-clad, pony-tail wearing young Americans into the world’s most poverty-stricken villages to carry out a simple mission – to lend a neighborly hand.

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Will the Last “Progressive for Obama” Please Turn Out the Lights?

9 December, 2009 — Black Agenda Report

Will the Last “Progressive for Obama” Please Turn Out the Lights?
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

obamaland.jpg

Black Agenda Report heartily endorses this Saturday’s Emergency Anti-Escalation Rally in front of the White House. Having said that, we turn to the subject of the legions of Obama-smitten activists that abandoned confrontation with Power for the past several years, for fear of harming their hero’s presidential prospects. How wrong they were, as subsequent events have shown.

Iran: Anatomy of a Nuclear Breakthrough Gone Backwards by Farideh Farhi By Farideh Farhi

8 December, 2009 — Middle East Report Online

(Farideh Farhi is an independent researcher and an affiliate graduate faculty of political science at the University of Hawai’i-Manoa.)

For background on the Iranian politics surrounding uranium enrichment, see Farideh Farhi, ‘Ahmadinejad’s Nuclear Folly,’ Middle East Report 252 (Fall 2009).

According to the headline writers at the hardline daily Keyhan, October 2 saw ‘a great victory for Iran’ in Geneva. That day, Iran’s nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili had sat down with representatives of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany, the contact group known as the ‘P5+1,’ as well as the European Union, and the hardliners were in a mood for self-congratulation. Arch-conservative Keyhan editor Hossein Shariatmadari titled his commentary, ‘We Did Not Back Down; They Were Cut Down to Size.’

Shariatmadari wrote that in Geneva Jalili had cleverly diverted inquiry into Iran’s nuclear research program, managing to keep the participants focused on regional security, energy, trade and global nuclear non-proliferation. In fact, Jalili had discussed the nuclear topic in great depth, agreeing in principle that Iran would transfer approximately three quarters of its low-enriched uranium (LEU) to Russia for further enrichment, and then to France for processing into fuel rods to power the Tehran Research Reactor, which manufactures medical isotopes. But the Keyhan editor insisted this agreement was no impingement upon Iran’s rights. To the contrary, he argued, Jalili had gained an implicit acceptance of the enrichment program by the P5+1, including Iran’s nemesis, the United States, something the hardliners’ opponents within the Islamic Republic had failed to do over years of ‘concessions.’

Declarations in the West were less triumphal but nevertheless quite positive. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs described the Geneva talks as a ‘constructive start.’ A few commentators used the word ‘breakthrough.’

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Leaked Document Shows Rich Nations Plan Climate Coup in Copenhagen By John Vidal

8 December, 2009 — The Guardian

Developing countries react furiously to leaked draft agreement that would hand more power to rich nations, sideline the UN’s negotiating role and abandon the Kyoto protocol

The UN Copenhagen climate talks are in disarray today after developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN’s role in all future climate change negotiations.

The document is also being interpreted by developing countries as setting unequal limits on per capita carbon emissions for developed and developing countries in 2050; meaning that people in rich countries would be permitted to emit nearly twice as much under the proposals.

The so-called Danish text, a secret draft agreement worked on by a group of individuals known as ‘the circle of commitment’ – but understood to include the UK, US and Denmark – has only been shown to a handful of countries since it was finalized this week.

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The Devil and Mr. Obama By Joe Bageant

8 December, 2009 — Joe Bageant

Barack promised change — and sure enough, things changed for the worse

(Note: Patrick Ward, associate editor of the UK’s Socialist Review asked Joe to write a piece for the party publication. This is the unabridged text of Joe’s submission.)

bageant-3.jpgWell lookee here! An invite from my limey comrades to recap Barack Obama’s first year in office. Well comrades, I can do this thing two ways. I can simply state that the great mocha hope turned out to be a Trojan horse for Wall Street and the Pentagon. Or I can lay in an all-night stock of tequila, limes and reefer and puke up the entire miserable tale like some 5,000 word tequila purged Congolese stomach worm. I have chosen to do the latter.

As you may know, Obama’s public approval ratings are taking a beating. Millions of his former cult members have awakened with a splitting hangover to find their pockets turned inside out and eviction notices on the doors of their 4,000 square foot subprime mortgaged cardboard fuck boxes. Many who voted for Obama out of disgust for the Bush regime are now listening to the Republicans again on their car radios as they drive around looking for a suitable place to hide their vehicles from the repo man. Don’t construe this as support for the GOP. It’s just the standard ping ponging of disappointment and disgust that comes after the honeymoon is over with any administration. Most Americans’ party affiliations are the same as they were when Bush was elected. After all, Obama did not get elected on a landslide by any means; he got 51% of the vote.

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