Russia, NATO and Afghanistan: High stakes Great Game By Eric Walberg

15 December, 2009 —

What did Medvedev have up his sleeve when he welcomed Obama’s new surge in Afghanistan, wonders Eric Walberg

US President Barack Obama’s now expanding war against the Taliban is garnering support from liberals and neocons alike, from leaders around the world, even from Russia. “We are ready to support these efforts, guarantee the transit of troops, take part in economic projects and train police and the military,” Russian President Dmitri Medvedev declared in a recent press conference with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Moscow and Washington reached an agreement in July allowing the US to launch up to 4,500 US flights a year over Russia, opening a major supply route for American operations in Afghanistan. Previously Russia had only allowed the US to ship non-lethal military supplies across its territory by train.

So far, Obama has all European governments behind him, if not their people. Despite a solid majority in all countries, from Canada to Europe East and West, who want the troops out now, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was able to deliver pledges from 25 NATO members to send a total of about 7,000 additional forces to Afghanistan next year “with more to come” with nary a dissenting voice. In a macabre statement, Fogh Rasmussen welcomed Obama’s surge: “The United States’ contribution to the NATO-led mission has always been substantial; it is now even more important.”

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Copenhagen spoof shames Canada; Climate Debt No Joke

15 December, 2009 — The Yes Men

Press conference: 1pm CET, Frederiksholms Kanal 4, Copenhagen
Contact: Margaret Matembe,, +45-23960186
Coverage: Click here, or click throughout press release for specific links
Canadian announcement (hi-res download)
Ugandan response (hi-res download)
Canadian retraction (hi-res download)
Climate debt agents take responsibility (hi-res download)

More dream announcements coming soon! Come make your own or stay tuned at

Copenhagen Spoof Shames Canada; Climate Debt No Joke

African, Danish and Canadian youth join the Yes Men to demand climate justice and skewer Canadian climate policy

COPENHAGEN, Denmark – “Canada is ‘red-faced’!” (Globe and Mail) “Copenhagen spoof shames Canada!” (Guardian) “Hoax slices through Canadian spin on warming!” (The Toronto Star) “A childish prank!” (Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada)

What at first looked like the flip-flop of the century has been revealed as a sophisticated ruse by a coalition of African, North American, and European activists. The purpose: to highlight the most powerful nations’ obstruction of meaningful progress in Copenhagen, to push for just climate debt reparations, and to call out Canada in particular for its terrible climate policy.

The elaborate intercontinental operation was spearheaded by a group of concerned Canadian citizens, the “Climate Debt Agents” from ActionAid, and The Yes Men. It involved the creation of a best-case scenario in which Canadian government representatives unleashed a bold new initiative to curb emissions and spearhead a “Climate Debt Mechanism” for the developing world.

The ruse started at 2:00 PM Monday, when journalists around the world were surprised to receive a press release from “Environment Canada” (, a copy of that claimed Canada was reversing its position on climate change.

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Undermining the American People’s Right to Privacy: The Secret State’s Surveillance Machine By Tom Burghardt

13 December, 2009 — Global ResearchAntifascist Calling… – 2009-12-10

Following the Money Trail: Telecoms and ISPs

“Follow the money.”

And why not. As the interface between state and private criminality, following the money trail is oxygen and combustible fuel for rooting out corruption in high places: indelible signs left behind like toxic tracks by our sociopathic masters.

After all, there’s nothing quite like exposing an exchange of cold, hard cash from one greedy fist to another to focus one’s attention on the business at hand.

And when that dirty business is the subversion of the American people’s right to privacy, there’s also nothing quite like economic self-interest for ensuring that a cone of silence descends over matters best left to the experts; a veritable army of specialists squeezing singular advantage out of any circumstance, regardless of how dire the implications for our democracy.

In light of this recommendation researcher Christopher Soghoian, deploying the tools of statistical analysis and a keen sense of outrage, reaffirmed that “Internet service providers and telecommunications companies play a significant, yet little known role in law enforcement and intelligence gathering.”

That the American people have been kept in the dark when it comes to this and other affairs of state, remain among the most closely-guarded open secrets of what has euphemistically been called the “NSA spying scandal.”

And when the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) posted thousands of pages of documents “detailing behind-the-scenes negotiations between government agencies and Congress about providing immunity for telecoms involved in illegal government surveillance” last month, they lifted the lid on what should be a major scandal, not that corporate media paid the least attention.

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The problem with politics By Jim Jepps

14 December, 2009 — The Morning Star

If we were to list the most hated professions in the nation we’d probably start with lawyers, journalists (not Morning Star ones obviously), Simon Cowell (who is so loathsome he has an employment category all to himself) and, of course, politicians.

Those with shorter memories put this down to the expenses scandal, but this is simply the current manifestation of a tendency that has been bubbling under the surface of society for decades, if not more.

Seen as a class apart, divorced from ordinary concerns, MPs have the misfortune to be one of the least trusted groups of people in politics.

Local councillors are, wrongly, seen as too small-scale to be genuinely corrupt and no-one knows who their European regional MEPs are so they can go about their dark business undetected by those armed with eggs or miniature cathedrals.

Of course this has always been terribly unfair. Most politicians did not enter politics for the brown envelopes, even if they stay in it for them.

As a class they’ve not helped themselves. When the previous speaker of the house resigned it was not simply because he had failed to tackle the expenses regime – he was making vigorous use of it and was taken down in the very scandal he should have prevented in possibly one of the first cases of a poacher turned gamekeeper turned pheasant.

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Veterans Group Calls on Soldiers to Refuse Orders to Deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq By Dahr Jamail

14 December 2009 — t r u t h o u t | Report

In response to President Barack Obama’s announcement on December 1 to deploy 30,000 additional troops to the occupation of Afghanistan, the organization March Forward!, with comprising both veterans and active-duty members of the US military, has called on all soldiers to refuse their orders to deploy.

“March Forward! calls on all service members to refuse orders to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq,” reads a press release from the group from December 3. “We offer our unconditional support and solidarity. Join us in the fight to ensure that no more soldiers or civilians lose their lives in these criminal wars.”

Michael Prysner, a former corporal in the Army who served from 2001-2005 and a veteran of the occupation of Iraq, co-founded the group with another Iraq war veteran, James Circello.

Truthout asked Prysner how he responds to those who believe a soldier should always follow orders, no matter what.

“In my experience the majority of people joining the military today join out of necessity, like money, jobs, help for their family, etc., so most don’t join for ideological or patriotic reasons. Most are driven into the military by economic conditions. We see this playing out now, as people are joining in droves because of the economy.”

Prysner added, “Yes, people do sign a contract to follow orders, but those orders are wrong and unlawful. We want to educate people to the fact that these are immoral orders, and they [soldiers] are being used as muscle for corporations, to colonize the developing world, and it’s not legitimate. People who join and take this oath seriously who think they are in [the military] to defend the US, this is not what we are being used for in the military today.”

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Interview with Bolivia’s Climate Change Ambassador By Robert Eshelman

9 December, 2009 — Climate and Capitalism

For the capitalist system everything, nature – even other humans – is considered an object that you can use to obtain a profit. What we are seeing is the consequence of this vision

The Nation, December 9, 2009

On day three of COP15, I spoke with Bolivian Climate Change Ambassador Pablo Erick Solón Romero Oroza about his delegation’s position at COP15, how negotiations are proceeding, and why Bolivian president Evo Morales has called for a Universal Declaration of Rights for Mother Earth.

What are the demands of the Bolivian delegation at COP15?

We are asking, first, to discuss the main issue, which for us is Mother Earth. We think that is the key issue.

Second, we are asking for a goal that will allow that will save all of humanity. We think the goal that they have put on the table is going to save probably only half of humanity because a two degree Celsius increase and a rise in carbon levels in the atmosphere to 450 parts per million means a 50% chance that there will be severe ecologic failure.

Third, we want that climate debt be paid. It should be paid in terms of reduction of emissions, but real reductions, in terms of a transfer of technology, and in terms of finance – and that brings me to our fourth point. We see the numbers when it comes to finance are really too small. Ten billion dollars when you compare it to what they have spent in terms of military budgets or to save Wall Street they spent trillions of dollars. But to save the future of mankind, they are saying only $10 billion.

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Copenhagen eyewitness: The rising tide of climate justice By Lauren Carroll Harris

14 December, 2009 — Green Left Weekly

A first-hand report from the largest climate protest ever

(Copenhagen) One hundred thousand protesters braved near freezing temperatures and took over the Danish capital, Copenhagen, on December 12 to crank up the heat on world leaders at the United Nations Climate Summit (COP15) and demand climate justice.

The protest, in a carnival-like atmosphere, brought together a broad range of groups — from the explicitly anti-capitalist to the lobbying NGOs — and was led by a group of indigenous activists on a 4.5 kilometre march to the Bella Center, where the COP15 is taking place.

The demonstration was the main focus of a fortnight of climate justice protests, and was proceeded by a 5000-strong ‘flood’ of Copenhagen, organised by Friends of the Earth.

The protest involved mainly youth. The many groups included Jubilee South and Action Aid (who both call for reparations from the First World to repay their ecological debt and aid sustainable development in the Third World), the French New Anti-capitalist Party (NPA) and the Danish group Attac, which carried a banner saying ‘Don’t let corporate lobbying destroy our climate’.

An Australian contingent highlighted the issue of global dependence on fossil fuels for power, chanting ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, quit coal now!’

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My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story By Ramzi Baroud

14 December, 2009

Told from the perspectives of the refugees, My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story is a comprehensive chronicle of the tumultuous history and the struggles of the people of Gaza.

more about “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza…“, posted with vodpod