Wake-up Call

Resist the Corporate State

Posts Tagged ‘Land-grab

Reality check: Time To Get Crazy- by Chris Hedges

leave a comment »

A friend just sent me this, and I admit to being moved by the pure nature of Hedges narrative. On this Memorial Day we may mourn our own troops but we should grieve without ceasing for our nations victims: those we have obliterated, enslaved and left bereft. The foundation of America is built on their bones.

and re-posted today by Common Dreams

Time To Get Crazy

Native Americans’ resistance to the westward expansion of Europeans took two forms. One was violence. The other was accommodation. Neither worked. Their land was stolen, their communities were decimated, their women and children were gunned down and the environment was ravaged. There was no legal recourse. There was no justice. There never is for the oppressed. And as we face similar forces of predatory, unchecked corporate power intent on ruthless exploitation and stripping us of legal and physical protection, we must confront  how we will respond.

The ideologues of rapacious capitalism, like members of a primitive cult, chant the false mantra that natural resources and expansion are infinite. They dismiss calls for equitable distribution as unnecessary. They say that all will soon share in the “expanding” wealth, which in fact is swiftly diminishing. And as the whole demented project unravels, the elites flee like roaches to their sanctuaries. At the very end, it all will come down like a house of cards.

Civilizations in the final stages of decay are dominated by elites out of touch with reality. Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth. Karl Marx was correct when he called unregulated capitalism “a machine for demolishing limits.” This failure to impose limits cannibalizes natural resources and human communities. This time, the difference is that when we go the whole planet will go with us. Catastrophic climate change is inevitable. Arctic ice is in terminal decline. There will soon be so much heat trapped in the atmosphere that any attempt to scale back carbon emissions will make no difference. Droughts. Floods. Heat waves. Killer hurricanes and tornados. Power outages. Freak weather. Rising sea levels. Crop destruction. Food shortages. Plagues.

Read the rest of this entry »

“Walking through walls” — Israeli IDF invasion of Nablus

with one comment

“Imagine it—you’re sitting in your living room, which you know so well; this is the room where the family watches television together after the evening meal. . . . And, suddenly, that wall disappears with a deafening roar, the room fills with dust and debris, and through the wall pours one soldier after the other…… The children are screaming, panicking. . . . Is it possible to even begin to imagine the horror experienced by a five-year-old child as four, six, eight, twelve soldiers, their faces painted black, submachine guns pointed everywhere, antennas protruding from their backpacks, making them look like giant alien bugs, blast their way through that wall? ”

Nakatomi Space

While watching Die Hard the other night—one of the best architectural films of the past 25 years—I kept thinking about an essay called “Lethal Theory” by Eyal Weizman—itself one of the best and most consequential architectural texts of the past decade (download the complete PDF).

In it, Weizman—an Israeli architect and prominent critic of that nation’s territorial policy—documents many of the emerging spatial techniques used by the Israeli Defense Forces in their high-tech, legally dubious 2002 invasion of Nablus. During that battle, Weizman writes, “soldiers moved within the city across hundred-meter-long ‘overground-tunnels’ carved through a dense and contiguous urban fabric.” Their movements were thus almost entirely camouflaged, with troop movements hidden from above by virtue of always remaining inside buildings. “Although several thousand soldiers and several hundred Palestinian guerrilla fighters were maneuvering simultaneously in the city,” Weizman adds, “they were so ‘saturated’ within its fabric that very few would have been visible from an aerial perspective at any given moment.”

Worthy of particular emphasis is Weizman’s reference to a technique called “walking through walls”:

Furthermore, soldiers used none of the streets, roads, alleys, or courtyards that constitute the syntax of the city, and none of the external doors, internal stairwells, and windows that constitute the order of buildings, but rather moved horizontally through party walls, and vertically through holes blasted in ceilings and floors.

Weizman goes on to interview a commander of the Israeli Paratrooper Brigade. The commander describes his forces as acting “like a worm that eats its way forward, emerging at points and then disappearing. We were thus moving from the interior of homes to their exterior in a surprising manner and in places we were not expected, arriving from behind and hitting the enemy that awaited us behind a corner.”

This is how the troops could “adjust the relevant urban space to our needs,” he explains, and not the other way around.

Indeed, the commander thus exhorted his troops as follows: “There is no other way of moving! If until now you were used to moving along roads and sidewalks, forget it! From now on we all walk through walls!” Read the rest of this entry »

Wikileaks Reveals Intel Efforts to Make Africa Safe for Monsanto

with 4 comments

Wikileaks: State Dept. wants intel on African acceptance of GMOs
By Tom Laskawy
Grist Magazine, Nov 29, 2010

The Wikileaks release of U.S. State Department classified diplomatic cables may be problematic, but it has been quite a trove of information on the workings of our diplomatic corps. For the most part, the dump has confirmed things that we already knew about U.S. policy — and that seems to be the case regarding the one mention of agricultural policy in these thousands of emails and documents (no doubt there are more) to which I was alerted.

Buried deep in a document that outlines priorities for intelligence gathering in the African “Great Lakes” countries of Burundi, the Republic of Congo, and Rwanda is a list (for the most part, very reasonable) of what the State Department would like to know about the region’s agricultural policy. Things like government policies on food security and food safety top the list, for example, along with information on the impact of rising food prices in these countries. Agricultural yield statistics, infrastructure improvements, data on deforestation and desertification, water issues, and invasive species are included as priorities for “reporting” as well.

But also getting its own line item on the intel priority list is this:

Government acceptance of genetically modified food and propagation of genetically modified crops.

Sigh.

Tom Philpott has reported on the State Department’s biotech-loving science adviser Nina Federoff and her industry ties — and certainly USDA Chief  Tom Vilsack believes that genetically modified foods are an answer to world hunger. So this revelation hardly counts as a surprise. But it’s still a shame to see that our spymasters are actively engaged in efforts to make the world safe for Monsanto. Aren’t there better things for them to do?

Tom Laskawy is a writer and a media & technology consultant who thinks that wrecking the planet is a bad idea. He twitters and blogs here and at Beyond Green about food policy, alternative energy, climate science and politics as well as the multiple and various effects of living on a warming planet.

For related articles and more information please visit Organic Consumers Association‘s Resource Center on Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, our Millions Against Monsanto Campaign, and our page on Politics and Democracy.

Israel Has No Intention of Granting a Palestinian State

with 2 comments

After the Flotilla attack by IDF on a NATO ally in International waters, at least nine dead, and the ceaseless snarl of the Israeli propaganda machine- this article from 2009 is refreshing.  All the usual bs is a cover for naked power. As Loewenstein writes: ”  The destruction of Gaza has nothing to do with Hamas. Israel will accept no authority in the Palestinian territories that it does not ultimately control.

We need to stop worrying about what Israel will accept. We need to change US policy!

If Hamas Did Not Exist

By JENNIFER LOEWENSTEIN   CounterPunch Jan 1, 2009

Let us get one thing perfectly straight. If the wholesale mutilation and degradation of the Gaza Strip is going to continue; if Israel’s will is at one with that of the United States; if the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and all the international legal agencies and organizations spread across the globe are going to continue to sit by like hollow mannequins doing nothing but making repeated “calls” for a “ceasefire” on “both sides”; if the cowardly, obsequious and supine Arab States are going to stand by watching their brethren get slaughtered by the hour while the world’s bullying Superpower eyes them threateningly from Washington lest they say something a little to their disliking; then let us at least tell the truth why this hell on earth is taking place.

The state terror unleashed from the skies and on the ground against the Gaza Strip as we speak has nothing to do with Hamas. It has nothing to do with “Terror”. It has nothing to do with the long-term “security” of the Jewish State or with Hizbullah or Syria or Iran except insofar as it is aggravating the conditions that have led up to this crisis today. It has nothing to do with some conjured-up “war” – a cynical and overused euphemism that amounts to little more the wholesale enslavement of any nation that dares claim its sovereign rights; that dares assert that its resources are its own; that doesn’t want one of the Empire’s obscene military bases sitting on its cherished land.

This crisis has nothing to do with freedom, democracy, justice or peace. It is not about Mahmoud Zahhar or Khalid Mash’al or Ismail Haniyeh. It is not about Hassan Nasrallah or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. These are all circumstantial players who have gained a role in the current tempest only now that the situation has been allowed for 61 years to develop into the catastrophe that it is today. The Islamist factor has colored and will continue to color the atmosphere of the crisis; it has enlisted the current leaders and mobilized wide sectors of the world’s population. The primary symbols today are Islamic – the mosques, the Qur’an, the references to the Prophet Muhammad and to Jihad. But these symbols could disappear and the impasse would continue.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by laudyms

June 10, 2010 at 4:38 pm

‘Land Rush’ as Threats to Food Security Intensify

with 2 comments

Biofuels policies and the 2008 financial and food crisis ignited  

a worldwide ‘land rush’ that’s increasing world hunger without addressing the underlying long term threats to world food security

“The foreign companies are arriving in large numbers, depriving people of land they have used for centuries. There is no consultation with the indigenous population. The deals are done secretly. The only thing the local people see is people coming with lots of tractors to invade their lands….People cannot believe what is happening. Thousands of people will be affected and people will go hungry.”

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

The Institute of Science in Society April 28, 2010

Grabbing the world’s ‘unused land’

In the past three years, foreign governments and investment companies have been buying or leasing vast tracts of farmland in Africa and elsewhere for producing biofuels or food for their own use [1].

This ‘land rush’ was triggered by the demand for biofuels, and accelerated [2] with the financial and food crisis of 2007/8 (see [3] Financing World Hunger, SiS 46).

Government policies promoting biofuels are based on the mistaken belief that fuels made from plants are ‘carbon neutral’, in that burning them would simply release the carbon dioxide fixed by photosynthesis and would not increase greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The European Union is aiming for10 percent of its transport on biofuels by 2020 [4] (Europe Unveils 2020 Plan for Reducing C Emissions, SiS 37). George W. Bush, for his part, proposed to cure the US’ “addiction to oil” by increasing federal budget 22 percent for research into clean fuel technologies including biofuels to substitutes for oil to power the country’s cars [5] (Biofuels for Oil Addicts, SiS 30). The hope is to replace more than 70 percent of oil imports from “unstable parts of the world” – the Middle East – by 2025.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation helpfully identified immense areas of ‘spare land’ in developing countries that could be used for planting ‘bio-energy’ crops to be turned into biofuels. The World Bank’s recent report on the 2008 commodities price hike includes a diagram entitled [6] “The stock of unused but potentially arable land is enormous”, depicting more than 700 million hectares of ‘unused’ land in sub-Saharan Africa, and more than 800 m ha in Latin America and  the Caribbean.

Corporate farming for the rich

International agribusinesses, investment banks, hedge funds, commodity traders, sovereign wealth funds, UK pension funds, foundations and ‘individuals have been snapping up some of the world’s cheapest land, in Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Malawi, Ethiopia, Congo, Zambia, Uganda, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Mali, Sierra Leone, Ghana and elsewhere. Ethiopia alone has approved 815 foreign-financed agricultural projects since 2007. Any land investors can’t buy is leased for about $1 per year per hectare. In many cases, the contracts have led to evictions, civil unrest and complaints of “land grabbing”, John Vidal reports in UK’s Guardian [1].

Nyikaw Ochalla, an indigenous Anuak from the Gambella region of Ethiopia now living in Britain but in regular contact with farmers in his region, told Vidal [1]: “All of the land in the Gambella region is utilised. Each community has and looks after its own territory and the rivers and farmlands within it. It is a myth propagated by the government and investors to say that there is waste land or land that is not utilised in Gambella.

Read the rest of this entry »

Israel Plans 21st Century Mass Expulsion

leave a comment »


Palestinians inspect house  after it was demolished by Israeli troops

“This military order is part of a series of steps implemented by Israel to empty the West Bank of Palestinians, especially by removing them to Gaza. It will cause tens of thousands of Palestinians to be deported from the occupied West Bank.”

By Nasim Ahmed 22 April, 2010
The Palestine Telegraph

Briefing on the Israeli Order regarding Prevention of Infiltration (Amendment No. 2) and the Order regarding Security Provisions (Amendment No. 112) passed on Tuesday, April 13 2010.

Behind the euphuism, ‘prevention of Infiltration’ lies a horrible truth which Israeli officials are trying desperately hard to conceal. This simple truth is a truth that has been cardinal throughout Israel’s existence and continues to do so. It’s a truth that connects the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948 and the recent military order that would result in the forced expulsion of many thousands of Palestinians. It’s the truth that Israel was founded on a policy of systematic population transfer and it has been committed to this policy ever since its inception.

This simple fact is a natural outcome of Israel’s central creed, ‘redemption of the land with as few of the indigenous people as possible’. Since its inception its central creed has been efficiently carried out through modern methods of population transfer and land appropriation. This explains why, even as rhetoric and politics change, expulsion and dispossession continue through various methods.

Its strategy commenced with a total denial of Palestinian as a people. Since than over many decades, Israel has developed and refined policies to disperse imprison and impoverish the Palestinian people, in a relentless effort to destroy them as a nation. It has industrialized Palestinian misery through ever more sophisticated systems of curfews, checkpoints, walls, permits and land grabs. It has transformed the West Bank and Gaza into laboratories for testing the infrastructure of confinement, human resolve and the limits of human despair.

Read the rest of this entry »

For Israel, a reckoning

leave a comment »

John Pilger           New Statesman Jan 14, 2010

A new global movement is challenging Israel’s violations of international law with the same strategies that were used against apartheid

The farce of the climate summit in Copenhagen affirmed a world war waged by the rich against most of humanity. It also illuminated a resistance growing perhaps as never before: an internationalism linking justice for the planet with universal human rights, and criminal justice for those who invade and dispossess with impunity. And the best news comes from Palestine.

Read the rest of this entry »