Monday, 28 April 2008, 10:38 am
Column: Toni Solo
by Toni Solo
Corporate globalization and its equally misshapen twin, the fake “war on terror”, look like the Western Bloc’s last crooked chance to sustain a few decades longer its member countries’ habitual global power and privilege. John Pilger has noted that seven months after the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York, Condoleezza Rice spoke of the “opportunity” that outrage presented. She and her Bush regime cronies subsequently imposed their imperialist agenda abroad and their fascist agenda at home.
Globally, corporate consumer capitalism now cannot even deliver minimal subsistence food security, let alone broader economic stability. The global crisis presents another opportunity for suave barbarian advocates of mass murder like Rice and similar-minded me-too’s like Hilary Clinton to help provoke and exploit conflict around the world in the service of their corporate plutocracy’s narcissistic greed. Accordingly, G7 leaders have recently gamed a streamlined variant of their endless hypocritical sadistic war on the world’s impoverished majority.
Still a shaky prototype at this stage, the “Clueless!” war-on-the-poor game builds on former versions like the “Offshore!” war-on-drugs game and “Un-Habeas!” the war-on-terror game. Rigged at the extra-superfluous end of the market, “Clueless!” – a completely predictable role-playing charade – is doomed to fail. Only corporate international bankers and chief executives and their majority shareholders will buy it. Only they can afford it.
Loneliness of the long distance hand job
Like a philanderer phoned up in flagrante by their spouse, “Clueless!” players bluff economic repair-work overtime in response to accusations of crimes against humanity of which they are unarguably guilty. In earlier versions, outcomes came too soon, amid froth and bubbles. New, improved “Clueless!” incorporates an esoteric central bank inflate-deflate sub-routine, the Extremely Visible Hand-job.
Designed to make “Clueless!” more stimulating but somehow less adventurous, the Extremely Visible Hand-job introduces dismal financial policy ejaculations and fantasy roleplays of excruciating tedium. Mervyn, King of Pawn, was top role favourite going through the motions for recent game trials in London’s louche, seen-it-all “City” district. For the US market, “Clueless!” has been adapted to take into account security considerations, financial constraints and perhaps, too, US prudery.
Ben Bernanke’s five-mile-high-club helicopter has been taken away. Its substitute is a range of poorly maintained, second-hand, possibly former Soviet bloc, inflatable term auction muckspreaders. This should significantly cut the cost of “injecting” (downmarket Rupert Murdoch News International analysts might use the more lubricious “pumping”) dollars into the world economy.
Wall Street Treasury tractor-driver Hank Paulson is gaming these inflatable muckspreaders right now in unlevel playing-field trials between Washington and New York. Everything flows to Wall Street. Hank and Ben are hoping their dollar manure will fertilize ground rendered sterile by decades of toxic GM (Greenspan Manipulated) credit. It reminds one of Eva Gabor in “Green Acres” doing the washing-up by throwing the dirty plates out of the window. Hank and Ben should weld a roll-bar onto their clunky dollar-spewing gizmos for when they finally turn over on top of them.
“Clueless!” corporate media
Global corporate media insist on confusing “Clueless!” with reality. “Clueless!” derived scripts comprise the bulk of corporate media uncoverage of international affairs. Perhaps most apparent in the Middle East, it prevails also in corporate and other anti-reporting of events in Latin America and the Caribbean. There, context for corporate disinformation on Venezuela or Cuba is created by anti-reporting noncoverage of countries like Colombia, Mexico, Haiti and Peru.
Western Bloc corporate propaganda media anti-reporting noncoverage constantly minimizes the murderous systematic global fraud practised by G7 countries and their allies. They accept G7 countries’ agricultural subsidies in tandem with hypocritical invocations of never-existed-nor-ever-will “free trade” for everyone else. They never effectively criticize the obscene futility of a US military budget greater than that of the rest of the world combined. All the time, they and their governments falsely claim to be concerned about world hunger.
They play down the long history of outright US and European government terror practised throughout Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Now that history has overtaken them with a vengeance in their own countries, G7 governments are implementing similar varieties of the repression they provoked in the countries they terrorized. Western Bloc corporate media accept as natural unjustly rigged international economic relations. They pass off as innocuous debt, aid and trade arrangements that channel massive net flows of capital to Western Bloc financial centres.
They support Western Bloc foreign policy in countries like Colombia and Afghanistan whose dominant political base depends on narcotics. Via their offshore banking associates, Western Bloc financial leaders knowingly launder hundreds of billions of illicit dollars from these and many other impoverished countries. Western Bloc propaganda media parrot faithfully the hollow slogans of the fictitious “war on drugs” which is operated deliberately and primarily to subvert security arrangements and manipulate political outcomes in target countries.
They repeatedly echo attacks on Iran’s legitimate nuclear programme but never criticise Israel’s blatant flouting of international nuclear proliferation controls. They faithfully repeat the lie that Western Bloc countries are committed to democracy and human rights while G7 countries facilitate Israel’s genocide against the Palestinians. These countries work closely in league with Egypt and Saudi Arabia and prop up other tyrannies like Jordan, Uzbekistan, Uganda and Equatorial Guinea.
They mounted vociferous campaigns against alleged electoral fraud in the Ukraine but played dumb about outright fraud in Mexico. Above all one is faced with the genocidal mass murder sanctioned by G7 countries in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan and the crushing barbarism of their continuing occupation. The main reason to peruse Western Bloc propaganda media like the BBC, the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais or Le Monde is certainly to inform oneself, but mostly about the latest corporate elite propaganda line.
Colombia – US funded corruption factory
Recent corporate media news on Latin America actually included minimalist bursts of real coverage with a sprinkling of negative references to US-Colombia relations, a worm-ridden corruption factory readily comparable to the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan. This coverage happened thanks to King Juan Carlos W. Bush’s stalled Colombia free-trade-in-your-sovereignty deal, Queen-Isabella-wannabe Clinton’s Colombia connections and also thanks in part, perhaps, to President Sarkozy’s recent failed efforts to help Ingrid Betancourt.
But it is still almost impossible to learn from mainstream media the likely current extent of Colombian narco-terror President Alvaro Uribe’s undeniable identification with the paramilitaries, of his narco-gangster power base and of his system of political subornment. Uribe’s gangsterism almost never figures in mainstream Western Bloc media noncoverage of Colombia. Their focus tends to be on alleged narcotics dealing and terror attacks by the Colombian Armed Revolutionary Forces (FARC).
The Colombian guerrilla forces act within the terrifying circumstances of mass rural population displacement and systematic massacres created by the Colombian government and its Western Bloc backers for over twenty years. It is the Colombian ruling oligarchy and the paramilitaries they created, along with Western Bloc covert action and corporate criminal networks that have dominated and developed the narcotics business in Colombia. Human rights violations by the Colombian government’s army and security services are many times greater than those of the guerrillas. So far this year over 20 Colombian trades unionists have been murdered either by government armed forces or police or by their paramilitary proxies.
This week, President Uribe’s cousin, Senator Mario Uribe, faced arrest on charges relating to his paramilitary connections. He fled Colombia to seek asylum in Costa Rica. Costa Rica turned him down. Mario Uribe will join dozens of Uribe-associated politicians either already in jail awaiting trial or indicted on charges relating to illegal paramilitary activity. The extent to which Colombia’s justice system is being used to work out conflicts and turf wars within the country’s oligarchy is not clear.
The Uribe narco-terror regime recently declared their willingness to help secure release from captivity for Ingrid Betancourt. The announcement was completely hypocritical. The murder of FARC negotiator Raul Reyes back in March had three obvious objectives. It eliminated the then-imminent likelihood of Ingrid Betancourt’s release, destroyed the groundwork towards peace negotiations laid by Hugo Chavez together with Colombian politician Piedad Cordoba and tested reaction to the use of US-Israeli preventive war doctrine in the Andes.
Unreporting Mexico, Peru, Haiti
That interpretation is commonplace across a wide band of political opinion in Latin America. But it is one readers of Western Bloc corporate media are unlikely to encounter. Likewise, corporate media noncoverage and anti-reporting on Mexico make it impossible for its consumers to get a realistic perspective on Mexico’s place in the current Latin American context. The UN Human Development Index places Mexico, after over a decade of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), just below Cuba, the victim of nearly fifty years of US economic blockade and terror attacks.
Mexico’s agricutural economy has been destroyed by NAFTA, leaving completely inadequate employment alternatives for the millions of people displaced from their former rural livelihoods. Mexico’s experience proves decisively that the wealth-concentrating neoliberal economic model represents a thorough betrayal of the needs of the impoverished majority in favour of a corrupt, already wealthy elite. The story of that betrayal and the repression applied to enforce it is another issue consumers of Western bloc corporate media consistently fail to encounter.
By contrast, quotes from President Bush or Condoleezza Rice or John Negroponte and misleading analysis to the effect that Venezuela’s redistributive economic model has failed are prominently quoted and circulated. Most Western Bloc news consumers very likely think Venezuela is a failed State tyranny, a kind of Andean Zimbabwe only propped up by its oil. In fact, Venezuela’s economy is among the most successful in Latin America. While poverty levels fall in Venezuela, they get worse in Mexico. (1)
Similarly, Western Bloc media invent non-existent government human rights violations in Venezuela like the RCTV affair or misreport events like last year’s minority student unrest but unreport murders of rural workers leaders by Venezuelan landowners. Human rights violations in Mexico, like the ferocious repression in Atenco and Oaxaca in 2005 and 2006 or this year’s murder of two local media-workers in Oaxaca are anti-reported, falling victim to standard corporate media noncoverage. Consistent government repression in Peru, for example of last year’s protest strikes, and continuing repression by police and UN mercenaries in Haiti are likewise generally left unreported.
Latin America’s deep historical cycle
This year will most probably see the Latin American Right and their US government sponsors recoup some of the ground they have lost so spectacularly over the last four or five years. The unconstitutional separatist referendums in Bolivia, municipal elections in Venezuela and in Nicaragua may all result in gains for the right wing opposition in those countries. Certainly, the Bush regime and its European allies will exploit the current economic crisis for all it is worth in terms of weakening the appeal of progressive governments in Latin America.
Latin America’s oil, gas, mineral, water, forestry and biodiversity resources remain priceless targets for Western Bloc imperialist powers. Both Western Bloc media anti-reporting of Latin America and its social-democrat style fence-sitting sub-varieties – all that glib “pink tide” nonsense – underestimate the depth of the changes in play. Latin America is undergoing a profound historical correction of injustice and oppression that has been checked and set back time and again ever since the independence struggles of the 19th century.
That correction coincides with a relative decline in the power of the imperialist centres, Europe and the United States, in relation to global actors. Russia and China are obvious rivals for resources and markets along with India and Brazil. But regional blocs too have finally worked out that unless they work together, the imperialist powers will pick them off one by one. Central American countries recently decided to negotiate a “free trade” deal with the European Union as a bloc rather than individually. They have wised up after getting worked over good by Robert Zoellick and his US trade team heavies during the Central America Free Trade Agreement negotiations.
Venezuela’s development relationship with Iran has meant a reconfiguration of forces within a different kind of bloc, OPEC. There, Iran partners Venezuela, accompanied now by Ecuador. These South-South alliances are detested by the US and Europe as are Latin America’s sovereign regional integration processes, especially the Cuban and Venezuelan led Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas – ALBA.
It may be worth noting that the Venezuela-Iran coalition counteracts the US-promoted Colombia-Israel axis – another reason for the US government to gnash their teeth and pull their hair out. Venezuela and Iran have just agreed a packet of food and energy agreements. No wonder John Negroponte and his sidekick Thomas Shannon are going bald.
Dud delayed reaction
While the US promotes crisis in Bolivia, in Central America governments are working together on the looming food security crisis. In May, a meeting is scheduled to agree strategy for preventing widespread hunger in the region provoked by price rises and scarcities with an initial proposal for joint investment in food security of around US$100m. Venezuela, which recently sent hundreds of tons of food to Haiti, has been invited. The meeting will follow up the recent ALBA country summit on food security in Caracas. Central America is acting to mitigate its food security crisis. Mexico’s impoverished majority has the cold comfort of NAFTA.
Currently, US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Thomas Shannon is talking softly about a desire for dialogue with Venezuela while a powerful US carrier force engages in military manouevres offVenezuela’s Caribbean coast. Combined with Colombia’s trial provocation run, attacking Ecuadoran territory in March, that soft talk from the State Department probably means another US supported military provocation by Colombia against Venezuela will take place this year.
Such moves, like the US government-instigated separatist power play in Bolivia, go against the current tide of Latin American integration. For that reason, whatever short-term confusion they may foment, they are unlikely to prevail. In the case of Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina will not accept insecurity in Bolivian gas supplies on which their own industrial and domestic consumption depend. Brazil and Venezuela have already agreed in principle to create a common regional defence council. President da Silva of Brazil has made clear to the US government that it is not invited.
The Bolivian constitutional crisis is about to blow up. A centre-left president will shortly take power in Paraguay. Food and energy prices are putting unprecedented pressure on regional economies. The mix is right for Western Bloc propaganda media to continue anti-reporting Latin America in support of US and European efforts to roll back regional moves towards sovereign solidarity-based integration. That will certainly be overall policy in the run up to Latin America’s next electoral round in 2010-2011.
Obvious questions suggest themselves about Western Bloc policy in Latin America. Why do the US and its allies support Colombia’s murderous narco-terror regime while attacking Venezuela’s redistributive humanitarian welfare state? Why do they support corrupt oligarchic regimes in Mexico and Peru while seeking to undermine positive social and economic reform in Bolivia and Ecuador? The self-evident answer is that the Western Bloc countries and their media too are controlled by a similarly corrupt vicious elite, one totally absorbed in a game of “Clueless!”.
1. “Poverty Rates in Venezuela: Getting the Numbers Right”, Mark Weisbrot, Luis Sandoval, and David Rosnick, Center for Economic and Policy Research – https://www.rethinkvenezuela.com/downloads/ceprpov.htm
and “La pobreza una bomba de tiempo” Diario Monitor, 12 de julio 2008 – (https://www.diariomonitor.com.mx/hemeroteca/1153546150/tema-04-22072006.pdf) cited in
“Evidence of more Poverty in Mexico” – https://machete2006.wordpress.com/2006/07/23/evidence-of-more-poverty-in-mexico/