Adonis Diaries

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The standoff between Britain and the State of Ecuador, which gave Julian Assange political asylum, in order not be extradited to Sweden has been making headlines around the world.

For the past two months, Julian Assange, the founder of the whistleblower website Wikileaks, has been taking refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. The U.K. courts ruled to extradite him to Sweden where he faces possible sexual assault and misconduct charges. 

Anonymous is a loosely affiliated international collective, composed of tech-savvy activists, which originated online on imageboards and forums.

 posted on Aug. 22 under “What/Who is Anonymous?

Photo by Enrique Dans (http://www.flickr.com/photos/edans/)

This story has caught the attention of the public because it is more than just news: it is a drama. Assange is a controversial figure for his role in publishing classified diplomatic cables on Wikileaks (for more about “Cablegate,” see here), but he is not the only one involved in this spectacle.

Although the U.S. is not directly involved, it casts a shadow over this standoff. Assange and his supporters fear that if the UK extradited him to Sweden, it would not be long before he would be delivered to the U.S.  It is feared that the US would charge Assange with espionage stemming from when his website published a trove of American secrets.

Another controversial player in this drama is the “hacktivist” group Anonymous. Anonymous has used Wikileaks to distribute information it acquired from its hacking endeavors. It has also supported the ideals of free information, freedom of expression and freedom of the press that Assange espoused.

The question people have been asking is, “who or what is Anonymous?” People have asked if members of this  hacktivist group are freedom fighters, vigilantes or terrorists.

Asking about members is not the way to get at the meaning of this group. The real question is, on a metaphysical level, what is Anonymous? On a fundamental level, what kind of entity or being is Anonymous?

In its early days, Anonymous was not an identifiable Internet entity, but was a large subculture of people who posted anonymously and played “pranks” on websites, popularized memes and defined aspects of Internet culture. The creativity and outrageous content on these boards attracted the media, which described this community as brilliant and insane.

In 2008, this boundless creativity developed a more focused shape and perspective on the world. It adopted the name “Anonymous” and often used the image of a suit without a head or a Guy Fawkes mask to symbolize that it had no leader and was the embodiment of an idea.

Since then, Anonymous has become known for its strong opposition to Internet censorship, human rights violations, privacy violations, government opacity, and big corporations. It has become a recognizable presence at protests because its members wear the symbolic masks to show that they are part of this international group.

Photo by Trowbridge Estate (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaggers/)

On August 15th, I became aware that Anonymous was following, and invested in, this standoff when Britain threatened to remove the Ecuadorian embassy’s diplomatic privileges and storm the building to arrest Assange. I was up late enough to see several Anonymous groups on Facebook post urgent messages in the early hours of the 16th.

According to the posts, police officers were entering the embassy. The messages were brief and conveyed a sense of anxiety that is rare on such pages. Although separate individuals maintain the various Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, within several minutes of each other, all were calling for available “Anons” to convene at the embassy and see what was going on.

More specifically, the administrators and people online who were not in London were asking others to take pictures and transmit a live video of what was happening.

Soon enough, a protester had a “livestream” feed up and others were taking photos and uploading them to Anonymous pages. In addition, several Anons were able to coordinate a demonstration where they wore Guy Fawkes masks and held signs proclaiming, “I am Julian” as an expression of solidarity.

This was not a risk-free endeavor on the part of the protesters. Police threatened to arrest the man who was filming and they arrested at least one person outside the embassy including a legal observer who was then “released” under the condition that he stay in a designated “protest pen.” (See here)

This remarkable display of efficient collaboration, communication and willingness to act for the good of the group is a large part of what makes Anonymous so remarkable. Anonymous describes itself as a “hive mind” and this could not be a more accurate description. Just as in a hive, each member contributes to the whole and brings his or her talents, abilities, and insights that benefits the community.

Although there are people within Anonymous who have skills in planning operations and working with technology, there is no leader. Each person who participates and contributes has the liberty to take the initiative and start a project on behalf of the collective.

There is no official way to become a “member,” so it is odd to speak of those who consider themselves to be part of Anonymous as such. It is more accurate to say that Anonymous is made up of people who have connected online over shared goals, interests and ideals, and also individually identify with whatever they perceive Anonymous as. (Check out this video)

On a fundamental level, Anonymous is an actualized idea of the potential for freedom, creativity and personal responsibility. It is an idea to which individuals can, and do, attribute their actions that they believe are in-line with the sentiments of the hive mind. 

One can see those who actively participate in Anonymous, or related groups, as parts of a giant brain or fragments of a self-aware collective consciousness. This loosely connected group acts on issues about which the majority of people participating on the Internet feel strongly.

Shared ideas evolve the way an individual’s thoughts evolve and this collective thought process directs the trend of Anonymous’ activity in the physical world. However, this entity does not have specific longterm goals that could potentially stifle the creative and organic way it interacts with the world.

Anonymous’ response to Britain’s threat to the Ecuadorian embassy was an example of this hive mind’s ability to focus on and respond to a specific situation in the physical world. Although the vast majority of Anonymous activity occurs online, this entity has the ability to manifest in the physical world with people acting as eyes or mouths.

The protesters who uploaded photos on the 16th potentially put themselves in harm’s way in order to serve as the eyes of the group. Perhaps one of the reasons people are willing to risk their safety is because no one told them that it was their duty to do so. Instead, it seems that this willingness originates authentically and organically within the individuals, which results in these people having a strong personal investment in their choice of actions, and therefore are willing to do more.

In these moments when someone chooses to act under the banner of Anonymous, the person not only acts for the benefit of everyone creating the hive mind; the individual surrenders his or her own personal identity and assumes that of the whole, becoming Anonymous – both one and many.

What do you think of Anonymous?

Note: Anonymous leaks are not the exclusive real of this group: Political systems adopt anonymous leaks: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/news-leaks-or-spoonfed-official-news/

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Memoirs of a Zionist Realtor who sold lands to Jewish Funds: Youssef Nehmani

The original Hebrew title is “Youssef Nehmani: The Man of Galilee“.  The diary chapter spans the period 1935-1949, and the letters cover the period from 1912 to 1964.

Youssef Nehmani was born in Russia in 1891 and immigrated to Palestine in 1907. He worked in the vignard in Jerusalem, in the colony of Zakhroun Yaacov, and got engaged in the party of Bou Aali Tessyoun (Zion workers).

Many Palestinians, particularly large landlord Lebanese who owned vast properties in north Palestine, sold their lands to Zionists and Jewish organization, decades before the UN decided to partition Palestine. The total private land that the Zionist Funds managed to acquire was 5.7% of Palestine, and yet the UN gave the minority Jews 53% of Palestine in 1947!

What follows is an account that the Palestinian peasants hardly sold their properties: It is the foreign landowners such as the feudal families in Lebanon and Syria who sold the most fertile lands to the Zionist Funds.

A few sources are available, but no serious extensive research studies have been conducted, strong with documents, on the mechanism of selling lands to Jewish settlers…

There are the books published in English such as of Saleh Massoud Abu Basir “The struggle (Jihad) of Palestinian people, 1968”; Hind Amine Badiri “Palestinian Lands, 1998”; Yaacoub Khoury “Arab properties and the tied up money in Palestine”; Sami Hannawi…Zionist sources in Arabic are almost inexistent, save Jacques Cato “The problem of land in the Palestinian/Israeli cause (1917-1990)”; Tamar Goujansky “Development of capitalism in Palestine, 1987”

Sources mention that Zionist Organizations bought till 1948 over two million donom, and barely 70 thousand donom from private Palestinian peasants.

In the early 1920, the Jewish settlers used cavalry to protect their colonies (Hayrden in Galilee)from the bedouin of Houran who descended on the colonies such as Dagania in Tiberias, and these bedouin were called “Arab”, instead of “E3rab”. The Palestinian peasants refrained from attacking the Jewish colonies in north Palestine until much later, as the British mandated power started waves of harassment against the Palestinian people.

The author wrote that the Jewish Yishouf started transforming their German rifles to be compatible with Turkish ammunition, and that “the daily life among the Jews was poisoned because they could not withstand one another, and work was totally disorganized in the colonies”.

In 1911, Youssef joined the  Hashomer organization (the Guardian) till 1920 and relied the Hebrew cavalry in Galillee. He was successful in Real Estates and sold many properties to Israel National Fund (Hakirn Hakimet Israel).

Youssef Nehmani was appointed manager of the Israel National Fund for East Galili region (Hula, north of Bissan, up to the environ of Safad). Nehmani could not grasp the reason why Ben Gurion was not hot in buying more lands. Actually, Ben Gurion had decided to conquer these lands by force, and free of charge, after the Bell Paper suggested the partition of Palestine in 1937.

Nehmani had tight connections with Palestinian authority figures such as Khalil Francis, Bishop Akil (right hand of Lebanese Patriarch), Elias Nammour from Beirut, Abed Hussein Bezi (from Bent Jbeil, south Lebanon), abed Ghani Mardini and Na3im Choukeir (from Meiss Jabal, south Lebanon), Nassib Ghabriel (from Hasbaya, south-east Lebanon), Ali Abdallah, Khalil Farhat, and 3adel Badir…who sold their properties to him…

In late April 1997, the Nazareth daily “Fasl Makal” listed the Palestinian landlords who sold their properties to Jews between 1918 to 1945, and based on British archives. You have Muhammad Taher Husseini (father of Amine Husseini), Moussa Kazem Husseini, Moussa Alami, Ragheb Nashashibi, Ibrahim Fahou, Youssef Fahoum, Toufic Fahoum, Yacoob Ghoussein, family of Rock, Awni Abd Hadi (leader of the Independence Party and who sold the lands in Wadi Hawareth (3amik Hawfar), Judge Kanaan…and all these people were the leading Palestinian politicians before the Nakba of 1948.

Nehmani relates how he bought Hrawi Mountain and the lands in the town of 3adaissi (south Lebanon), Jahoula, and Buwaysieh in 1938, and the lands in Meiss Jabal, Muteleh, Manara, malikeyeh and Awlam in 1945…

He bought Kherbet Sobh from Elias Katit where the two colonies of Hanita and Yaalon were settled. The Emir of the “Arab” Faghour (bedouin) sold the lands of the village Khassass in 1939, where the terrorist Zionist Hagana committed genocide in 1947.

Nehmani bought lands from the family of Farhat in 1944, Ahmad Al Assaad, Mahmoud Al Assaad, and Salib Sobh (from Safad), Kamel Hussein, Ahmad Mardini, and Zaki Rokabi in the village of Kyam al Walid. Kamel Hussein, leader of the tribe Ghawarina sold properties in Hula.

The Lebanese feudal lord, Khaled Chehab, had very strong ties with the Zionist movement and sold his properties in the village of Ghabissieh.

The Lebanese landlords of Sursok, Salam, Tayan, Tuweini, Khoury, Biham, Kabbani, Omran, Sabbagh, Keir Dine Ahdab,…sold the Zionist Funds the most fertile lands.

The same goes to famous Syrian families who owned vast fertile lands in Palestine…These feudal landlords sold prior to election campaigns and they ruled Lebanon and Syria for many decades, and still bear heavy influence in the social/political structure.

The Palestinian peasants barely sold his properties, and the few ones who did were executed during the first Palestinian Intifada of 1935-38.  The foreign lanlords were living away from Palestine and they could not be reached for exactions.

The total private land that the Zionist Funds managed to acquire was 5.7% of Palestine, and yet the UN gave the Zionist State 53% of Palestine in 1947!

Note 1: Review was published by Sakr abu Fakhr in the Lebanese Daily Al Safir.  The book was assembled and published by Youssef Faytz in Hebrew in 1969, and translated in Arabic byElias Shoufani in 2010.

Note 2: Below is the Arabic list of the Lebanese and Syrian landlords who sold their vast properties to the Zionist Funds, along with the size of the lands and when, as published by the daily Al Safir:

«» (  لقد حصلوا عليها، عدا البائعين الفلسطينيين، من بعض أفراد العائلات التالية
1- آل سرسق اللبنانيون (ميشال ويوسف ونجيب وجورج) وهؤلاء باعوا أراضي الفولة ونورس وجنجار ومعلول في سنة 1910، ثم باعوا مرج ابن عامر بين سنة 1921 وسنة 1925، وبلغ مجموع ما باعه أفراد هذه العائلة 400 ألف دونم.
2- آل سلام اللبنانيون الذي حصلوا في سنة 1914 على امتياز تجفيف مستنقعات الحولة من الدولة العثمانية، واستثمار الأراضي المستصلحة، لكنهم تنازلوا عنها للوكالة اليهودية. وبلغت المساحة المبيعة 165 ألف دونم.
3- آل تيان اللبنانيون (أنطون وميشال) الذين باعوا وادي الحوارث في سنة 1929 ومساحته 308 آلاف دونم.
4- آل تويني اللبنانيون الذين باعوا أملاكاً في مرج ابن عامر وقرى بين عكا وحيفا مثل نهاريا وحيدر وانشراح والدار البيضاء. وقام بالبيع ألفرد تويني.
5- آل الخوري اللبنانيون الذين باعوا أراضي قرية الخريبة على جبل الكرمل والبالغة مساحتها 3850 دونماً. وقام بالبيع يوسف الخوري.
6- آل القباني اللبنانيون الذين باعوا وادي القباني القريب من طولكرم في سنة 1929، وبلغت مساحته 4 آلاف دونم.
7- مدام عمران من لبنان التي باعت أرضاً في غور بيسان في سنة 1931 مساحتها 3500 دونم.
8- آل الصباغ اللبنانيون الذين باعوا أراضيَ في السهل الساحلي.
9- محمد بيهم (من بيروت) الذي باع أرضاً في الحولة.
10- أسوأ من ذلك هو أن خير الدين الأحدب (رئيس وزراء) وصفي الدين قدورة وجوزف خديج وميشال سارجي ومراد دانا (يهودي) والياس الحاج أسسوا في بيروت، وبالتحديد في 19/8/1935 شركة لشراء الأراضي في جنوب لبنان وفلسطين وبيعها. وقد فضحت جريدة «ألفباء» الدمشقية هذه الشركة في عددها الصادر في 7/8/1937.
11- آل اليوسف السوريون الذين باعوا أراضيهم في البطيحة والزويّة والجولان من يهوشواع حانكين ممثل شركة تطوير أراضي فلسطين.
12- آل المارديني السوريون الذين باعوا أملاكهم في صفد.
13- آل القوتلي والجزائرلي والشمعة والعمري السوريون وكانت لهم ملكيات متفرقة باعوها كلها.
هؤلاء هم مَن وضع مساحات كبيرة من الأراضي بين أيدي الصهيونيين، علاوة على الأراضي التي كانت بين أيديهم أو التي منحتها لهم سلطات الانتداب الإنكليزي مثل امتياز شركة بوتاس البحر الميت (75 ألف دونم)، وامتياز شركة كهرباء فلسطين أو مشروع روتنبرغ (18 ألف دونم)، وقبل ذلك ما نالوه من الدولة العثمانية (650 ألف دونم)… وهكذا. أما الفلاحون الفلسطينيون، ولا أقول المالكين الفلسطينيين الأثرياء الذين باعوا وقبضوا مثل غيرهم من المالكين العرب الغائبين، فقد جرى التحايل عليهم بطرق شتى، فسلبوهم القليل مما كان بين أيديهم من الأرض، وهو يتراوح بين 68 ألف دونم و150 ألف دونم.
في معمان ثورة 1936 جرى الاقتصاص من بعض بائعي الأرض ومن السماسرة العرب، فاغتيل عدد منهم، وامتنع الباقون عن الاستمرار في هذا العار. لكن الاقتصاص من المُلاّك الغائبين كان من المحال، فلم يقتص منهم أحد، بل باعوا أراضيَ ليست لهم في الأصل، بل آلت إليهم من خلال حق الانتفاع لا من ملكية الرقبة في العهد العثماني. ولعل فضح انحطاط أصحاب تلك الأسماء، وكشف اللثام عما فعلوه في فلسطين، هما نوع من القصاص الرمزي، وهو الأمر الوحيد الممكن في هذا الميدان.
كاتب وصحافي فلسطيني
[ جمع الكتاب وحرره يوسيف فايتس ونشره بالعبرية في سنة 1969. ثم أعده للترجمة العربية وقدّم له الياس شوفاني، وأصدرته دار الحصاد في دمشق سنة 2010.

Women And Seeds For Resistance

Gabriela De Cicco posted an article from AWID International Forum published on April 4:

FRIDAY FILE: The onslaught of transgenic food production, the advance of agribusiness driven single-crop farming, and the exploitative economic development model, are putting food sovereignty at risk.

Those supporting and reinforcing these practices, including transnational corporations, are more focused on profit than caring for food and natural resources.

Women and Seeds for Resistance[1]
AWID spoke to Chilean peasant activist Francisca Rodriguez[2]about a campaign to defend seeds as a resistance practice in the face of corporate power.

This article is part of a series examining some of the issues and discussions related to the theme of the 2012 AWID International Forum that makes connections between women’s human rights issues and economic power. More information on the private sector and corporate power is available here.

Gabriela De Cicco wrote:

“In 2001, women from Coordinadora Latinoamericana de Organizaciones del Campo (CLOC, Latin American Coordination of Peasant Organizations) met in Mexico for the 2nd Continental Assembly of Peasant Women “Peasant women sowing a millennium of life, justice and equality”.

Following this meeting, the women submitted the idea of launching a global campaign to defend autochthonous and indigenous seeds to the 3rd CLOC and La Via Campesina (LVC) Congress.

In 2002, during a Forum held in parallel to the World Food Summit, La Via Campesina and Friends of the Earth International together with other organizations launched the global campaign, initially called “Seeds as the Common Heritage of Humanity”.[3]

The Campaign is based on the multiple forms of indigenous and peasant knowledge about seeds, agriculture and biodiversity as valid in and of themselves, requiring no validation from outside sources, scientific or other. It seeks effective ways to involve and engage society as a whole, including requesting the support of technicians and scientists when the processes of biological and cultural erosion deem it necessary.

Leadership and final decision-making rests with LVC, peasant and indigenous organizations and communities. The Campaign is part of the struggle to defend, reinforce and/or recover peoples’ political, cultural, economic and food sovereignty, and its actions are framed within a broader struggle against the capitalist system and its neoliberal phase.

It is therefore also part of the search for alternative peoples’ projects and is closely linked to the defense of peasant and indigenous lands, territories and cultures.

In each country, the Campaign is conducted according to local realities, through biodiversity fares, local markets and seeds exchanges.[4]

AWID: Why did you choose seeds as the campaign?

Francisca Rodríguez (FR) said: “We were discussing food sovereignty (FS) in Mexico, and we reached the conclusion that we were doing food sovereignty in all its dimensions and while men were talking about it they were not fully taking it on.  We realised that FS was going to be at risk because even if agrarian reform happened, if we did not defend the seed, the reform was going to be left to the will of transnational seed corporations. It was therefore not an emotional, heart-driven identity; it was a political decision to propose the Campaign”.

AWID: Why did the name for the Campaign change?

FR: At Rio +10, in Johannesburg 2002, the transnational seed corporation Monsanto agreed that seeds were humanity’s heritage because in that case all of us would have a right to them, including the company. We almost had a heart attack! And we questioned our strategy, so it was in our second meeting in Caaguazu, south of Paraguay. We said: “No, they are not the heritage of humanity, they are the heritage of our indigenous and peasant people, of women who created and placed them for the good of humanity.”

The key to food sovereignty is in the seed – everything begins there. There can be no food sovereignty without the seed. There can be no agrarian reform without seeds. We cannot be sovereign people if we don’t have our own seeds.

We lost everything and now we are subjected to what the food industry – that took over our seeds – wants to offer and sell to us, influencing how we eat and also how we live.

AWID: How are women involved in the Campaign?

FR: With great conviction. We say the Campaign is magic because not only does it call us but it makes us visible again; it raises our self-esteem; we feel women are finally acknowledged as having wisdom.   To some extent we recovered the notion that we were the first farmers, the discoverers of seeds and we have kept taking care of them for centuries, reproducing them.

The Campaign empowers us. We are no longer mere housewives but those who take care of the vegetable garden, preserve the seed, reproduce the seed and reproduce life.

AWID: How is the Campaign contributing to women’s economic rights?

FR: It was a battle for recognition, but today they are much more visible. Nowadays, the very existence and survival of the peasant world has a woman’s strength, because many rural households are held together by women’s labour and agricultural practices.

This is why recovering and sharing our knowledge in the face of agro-ecology, not as a fad, but as indigenous and peasants’ own production systems, is integral to the campaign.

AWID: Why are you in disagreement with the notion of food security

FR: We are against it because the notion of food security, both that of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and of governments, is related to people’ ability to acquire food and not to their need to produce food or their ability to establish solidarity and horizontal relationships between peoples to guarantee the basic right to food.

We want healthy, culturally adequate food, produced by peasants themselves to be accessible to all. Food is a right, not a business. And so our claim is for governments to invest. That is where we need to have resources available, because it is their obligation and duty to guarantee people’s access to food.

Today people are not aware of what they eat and there is less access to information for most of those at the grassroots. This is why we are going to defend agro-ecology, so it does not become just another business. Urban agriculture is found at the middle classes, it is elitist, for those who can pay more for their health. We want to bring our production to people at the local markets; bring the country produce to town and get rid of the chain of intermediaries.

So that people know where their vegetables came from and who and what conditions produced them. To the extent that people in cities understand this, peasant agriculture will be saved. Agrarian reform is not a social process, it is a life process, guarding people’s right to food

AWID: Could you give us an example of a specific action that made a transnational company back down?

FR: In Chile, we demanded to be informed where the transgenic seedbeds were. By law, there can be no transgenic food production in Chile but still transgenic are all around. Monsanto argued they could not reveal it because there was a vandal organization, affiliated with La Via Campesina – that is, ANAMURI – that was ‘placing humanity’s advancements at risk’.

When the Tribunal ruled in our favour and Monsanto was forced to reveal the location of seedbeds, the company appealed but our claim against the UPOV Agreement was so strong that Monsanto withdrew the charges against us. In Paraguay, women along with the Agriculture and Plants Department went around plucking the clandestine transgenic fields of crops.

Having food sovereignty recognized as a right and the protection for our seeds included in the Constitutions of Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia is a step forward. As is having food sovereignty and security laws including the issue of seeds in Uruguay, Paraguay and Nicaragua!

The notion of food sovereignty and the concern about the seed is no longer the peasants’ only; it is also a concern for environmentalists and ecologists.  It is growing in the awareness of grassroots people and it will be discussed in Rio +20, it is already in international fora.

AWID: What are the future challenges?

FR: Today we need land and seeds, because the market has appropriated the seeds. Our campaign to multiply seeds is urgent. We don’t need a vegetable garden we need fields.  We are willing to take risks and break the laws that recriminalize the production of peasant seeds. This means resisting State agricultural policies to build sovereignty in our fields. Food sovereignty goes beyond merely preserving the seed or securing food; it is our rights that are at stake, it is peasant survival.

It is hard work, demanding strong commitment, because it is not only about recovering the seed but also everything associated with it. And those are the values: spirituality, solidarity and camaraderie among us. Those value elements behind the Campaign allow it to be well received by the people we can relate to and can reach out to.

And because we are an organization, there is a huge demand for women to go out and talk about this. And the more we do it, the more we get committed and passionate about it. You mention the seed and I lighten up. You mention women and the same happens. Because I think the seed comes together with us, and we come together with the seed; they are seeds of freedom, seeds of autonomy, seeds of justice and seeds of dignity; seeds of resistance and we are women in resistance.

Note [1] “Seeds: Heritage of the People for the Good of Humanity” Campaign. This is the name by which it is currently known; its earlier name, as stated, was “Seeds: Humanity’s Common Heritage”.

Note [2] Belonging to ANAMURI (National Association of Rural and Indigenous Women) and to Coordinadora Latinoamericana de Organizaciones del Campo (CLOC-VC, Latin American Coordination of Peasant Organizations)

Note [3] Final document, CLOC-V.C. Seed Campaign meeting, Quito, July 22-24, 2010, drafted by Francisca Ramirez. We thank FR for sharing this document with us.

Note [4] In Chile there are seed curators’ schools. The purpose of these schools is not to lose this ancient knowledge. “The curator is who watches over, who guards, who protects the seed”. In Ecuador, there are huge food sovereignty tables, held in parks.

Rebellious Spring, Murderous Winter

I didn’t yet read Arab Spring, Libyan Winter by Vijay Prashad, but Ron Jacobs did a short review.

” Arab Spring, Libyan Winter attacks the western interpretation of the transitions in Egypt and Libya and explores the actual events from a perspective that explains the players in terms of their allegiances, holdings and politics.

In Prashad’s work, the differences between the fighters on the ground and the suits on television are not only acknowledged, they are examined in terms of their meaning to the future.  In discussing Egypt, Prashad describes the conflagration of Washington’s imperial needs, Tel Aviv’s paranoiac perception of its security, and the Mubarak clique’s desire to maintain power.

Prashad gives lie to the West’s claim that it was interested in democracy (a relatively simple task to be sure), explaining that in the western mindset democracy doesn’t mean democracy, it means a guarantee that the interests and holdings of capital will not be upset.  The common term one hears is Stability.

Most of this book is about the battle for Libya.  Prashad’s text provides the most detailed description of the events both on the ground and in the office suites.  He exposes the humanitarian intervention by NATO for what it was.  That is, a means for the western powers to regain unfettered access to Libyan oil and rid themselves of an at best erratic client—Muammar Qadhafi.

Unlike many on the Left, Prashad does not take sides for or against the rebellion.  Instead, he explains the uprising as a popular and positive thing that was manipulated by the forces of the G7 and NATO.  Simultaneously, he discusses Qaddafi’s reign as one that began with many positive changes, yet ultimately was a victim of its own excess and greed.

If there are any good guys in his narrative, it would be the masses that risked their lives to overthrow the autocracy that had Qadhafi at its helm.  Their opposite would be the men on both sides of the battle whose only real interest was in keeping their bank accounts plush while serving their masters in the stock exchanges of the neoliberal world.

An interesting, and as yet not very closely examined, is the role of the  Jordan, Morocco, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates.

Prashad makes note of the fact that the western capitals have said very little about the harsh repression visited on the Bahraini uprising or the Saudi intervention there.  He also explores the military role played by Qatar in Libya, its current role in Syria, and the inclusion of some GCC States in a NATO adjunct.  Perhaps this adjunct of NATO will be able to stand in for NATO in future operations in the Arab world, thereby creating another shadow in the workings of modern imperialism.

Despite the millions of words written about the Libyan uprising and the NATO intervention, nothing written in English has come near the truth. After reading Arab Spring, Libyan Winter, it seems that when all is said and done, Prashad’s work will come the closest”.

What I know is that France and England had prepared detailed military plans for Libya, before the uprising in Tunisia and later in Egypt. Qadhafi decided to buy his weapon systems exclusively from Russia, and France and England had little oil investment in Libya, and they wanted to have their big share of the cake…

You may read https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/federal-libya-as-i-predicted/

Ron Jacobs wrote on Libya and the Arab Spring:

“The last twenty or so months have certainly been months of insurrection.  This is perhaps no truer anywhere on earth than in the Middle East and northern Africa.  Exactly what the phrase “Arab Spring” means is still open for discussion.

After the protests, the sit-ins and encampments, the armed assaults and the killings, the only thing certain is that four dictatorial autocrats are no longer in power in the countries they formerly ruled.  Ben Ali, Mubarak, Qaddafi, Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen.  What will stand in their stead is still being debated.

When the Egyptian people began to gather in Tahrir Square in February 2011, the embers of the immolation that consumed Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi had already sparked the prairie fire that overthrew the dictatorial ruler Ben Ali.  The protest in Tahrir Square was the first manifestation of that fire in Egypt but certainly not the last. 

Th fires of protest in Egypt tossed out their dictator less than two months after Mr. Ben Ali was deposed.  The feat of that overthrow was not only momentous within the borders of Egypt itself: Its repercussions were felt in the halls of Arabia, Asia, Africa and the Americas.

In Washington, Tel Aviv, London, Berlin, Paris, and Rome and on Wall Street, there was plenty of catching up to do.

Neither the eavesdroppers at the National Security Agency or the black ops managers of the Central Intelligence Agency predicted the end of the Mubarak regime.  Indeed, it wasn’t until the bitter end that the political powers in the aforementioned capitals began to side with (and subvert) the popular uprising in the streets of Egypt.

After Mubarak’s fall, the revolutionary fire spread like flames whipped by warm Santa Ana winds.  Bahrain to Libya.  Yemen to Syria.  London and New York.  Athens and Oakland, Occupy Wall Street protests.  The insurrectionist wave was in motion and nowhere was it more powerful than in the Arab world.

Nowhere was it met with more determined (and murderous) resistance from the powers that be, internally and externally.  Underlying the insurrectionary tide were the economic facts of neoliberalism’s struggle to maintain its global dominance.  When it became apparent that this goal could not always be accomplished by continuing to support the old regimes, the capitols of capitalism inserted their agents into the opposition and did their best to manipulate the rebellion into serving the agencies of those capitols.

For example, the IMF, World Bank and the rest of the usual suspects saw their moments in each instance and made their moves.  As I write, the entire insurrectionary wave is at a stalemate between the forces of popular social justice and just another new face for western imperialism.

Naturally, very little has been written about this aspect of the revolutionary upsurge of 2011-2012 in the organs of neoliberalism.  Instead, the fact of IMF arrangements with the post-Mubarak Egypt and the new Tunisia are interspersed with superficial analyses of the rebellions that would have the reader believe that it was social media that provoked them.

Even more revealing of the mainstream media’s allegiance to the imperial regime in the insurrection is its lack of coverage of the continuing popular resistance in the Pentagon’s shipyard Bahrain.  Instead, we are presented with an ongoing litany of unconfirmed atrocities committed by the Syrian military and a portrayal of the resistance there as essentially untainted by its affiliation with outside governments and military.” End of quote

Note 1: Ron Jacobs is the author of The Way the Wind Blew: a History of the Weather Underground and Short Order Frame Up. Jacobs’ essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch’s collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden.

His collection of essays and other musings titled Tripping Through the American Night is now available and his new novel is The Co-Conspirator’s Tale. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, forthcoming from AK Press. 

He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

Is Earth exhausted? Is mankind immune to “endangered specie” category?

I attended a local TEDx meeting in Awcar (Lebanon), and two talks, seemingly contradictory, were shown, and a heated intelligent discussion ensued.

Paul Gliding said that mankind is currently consuming 1.5 times what earth can sustain and regenerate naturally, and that by the year 2020, mankind will consume twice what nature is able to naturally deliver. By the year 2050, when mankind has reached 9 billion, the cycle will be irreversible if no serious actions are implemented at a global scale.

The global problems for the ecological disaster (CO2, polluted water sources,…) have been known for 3 decades, but political actions have been delayed and the problems are steadily deteriorating.

Gliding said “EARTH IS FULL and fear should get us acting strongly. It takes a good crisis to get us going. When we feel fear and we fear loss, we are capable of quite extraordinary things”

The other speaker was Peter Diamandis. Peter said: “Creating abundance is not about creating a life of luxury for everybody on this planet; it’s about creating a life of possibility.” Diamandis view is that current technology can feed every single one, cloth every single one of us, cure all kinds of diseases, provide potable water to every one, generate plenty of energy to every one of us. Peter is forecasting that in 2020, 3 billion individuals will be directly connected to internet and sharing knowledge, information, pieces of intelligence, alternative resolutions, new technologies…

Think of this vast network of interaction among people, this powerful force for change among very learned and engaged people…

My reaction is:

1. If current technologies can extend all these feats and miracles, then why a kid die of famine every 7 seconds? Why million die of curable diseases and can be cured with effective 3-decade old antibiotics?  Why epidemics that we thought were eradicated are returning with savage vigor and new antibiotics are helpless to fighting them?

2. If nanotechnology is showing good prospect of cleaning up contaminated soil and water sources, how much scientists know of the long-term effect of nano particles on human and living species?  Didn’t pesticide use follow the same process of heavy applications, only to discover that it is lethaly harming the living species?

The amiant based products, used in insulated product for many generations and labelled the “white gold” in Canada (first producer in the world) harvested million upon million of users in lung cancer before the authorities banned it.  And yet, the current Canadian government is reopening the excavation fields and exporting the product to India …

3. If current technology can recycle polluted water, how much can it recycle for irrigation purposes? And the list is long and stretching in length by the year…

Suppose we have 3 billion well-connected in the internet and sharing ideas, you can bet that 95% of them will never generate any profit for their “ingenious” ideas and will suffer the “trickle-down” effect before they enjoy any relief.

It is the kinds of people in TED, members owning companies, registering their patents, and enforcing the “capitalism patent rights” with the support of their powerful government, and enjoying the necessary funding to executing the ideas that will reap all the benefits…

Those 3 billion well-connected in the internet will not even be able to cross the physical borders to get physically in touch with the potential movers and shakers. If they surmount the indignities and humiliations of obtaining a lousy visa, they’ll have to submit to colon search at airports…And their expenses in the hundred of dollars will not be refunded if visa is denied…

The technology is there.  The insurmountable problem is political in nature.  Thinking global will be much easier to reach, but how acting locally is to be executed?

The main task of the 3 billion well-connected on the internet will be to educate the “most advanced citizens” on what is feasible and possible to activate in their local communities. Otherwise, the “advanced NGO’s” , ignorant of the sociopolitical structures in the third world, will be exporting what they think is most modern, efficient, and promising technologies and methods, and out of context,  for the third world people…

Well-connected internet users must be politically oriented and engaged, and they must read local dailies to pinpoint local difficulties.  Comprehending the multiple interactions of a problem is a first step, and selecting what is possible and feasible is another serious endeavor in order to applying good ideas and methods on the ground.

Most probably, when earth experience cataclysmic periods, it is the third world people who will survive: They have acquired their natural survival kit.  They can share a piece of bread, pick fruits from trees, slaughter a bird, extend help among their small closed-net communities…

On social platforms I read: “What is more efficient for mankind: Fear or hope?” I think this dichotomy is out of the subject matter.  Of course, hope is far more effective is sustaining survival, given that the sociopolitical environment tend toward equitable deals among communities and class structure.  Is it the inequity and blatant discrimination among classes that ruins confidence in development and the re-starting of a sustainable economy.

The issue is not technology or economy, but mainly political in nature. Occupy movement should be kept alive and spread again, with new pragmatic feasible programs that politicians can associate with and promote…

Note: You may read on the Singularity University club of elites https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/projects-to-live-700-years-what-is-singularity-university/

Revisiting hilarious “acts of violence” in history: Divide all “facts” by a hundred

You read “facts” in history books about armies, one million strong, facing in battlefields. You read of warlords massacring 100,000 civilian inhabitants in cities. You read all kinds of fictitious “facts” that makes you feel disgusted of mankind specie…

You would rather watch armies of ants, each carrying a twig in his powerful mandible, and hitting another ant silly until death…

Fact One: In the middle of 1800, mankind was less than one billion. If you factor out China and India, maybe mankind was less than 300 million, barely surviving, committing genocides in colonies and at home, chopping hands in the Congo, about 5 million hands, for failing to produce the requisite quota of rubber, or harvesting thousands in India to “set examples”, or displacing entire race of “Red Indians” thousand of miles away to “settlements”  so that the land can be developed…

How come thousand of years ago, any empire, however vast it was, however the power was absolute, could any empire regiment one million soldiers? It is not possible.

Fact Two: No battlefield could hold one million warriors. It is not a matter of logistics for feeding these hordes. It is not lack of enough parcels to sleep upon.  It is how all that crowd find enough spots to shit! It is not feasible. Period.

It is recounted that the Arabic General Tarek bin Ziad burned all the ships after landing his troops in Spain and said: “Ahead of you is the enemy. Behind you is the vast sea. You deal with these facts…” There are not many imaginative army generals.

If I were a general, I would space-out my army half a yard away, order the soldiers to dig a small hole and pond their shit in. I would then harangue them: “Ahead of you is the enemy. Behind you is a mined-shit field. You deal with these facts, if you care to retreat…”

Fact Three:  Why you see in movies Greek and Roman soldiers wearing skirts? It is not that they had no concept of pants or underwear.  How can any dignified warrior engage in war, feeling less than half a man, having “dirtied” his pants before the battle even started?  The soldier in skirts, legs and buttocks heavily ventilated from below, would simple spread their legs and do the little or the big ones where he stood.

It stand to reason that a couple thousand Greek or Roman soldiers would easily defeat a million-strong army of Parthians or Persians wearing pants, however loose the pants are. Ancient empires exaggerated their feats, and the sane person should divide by a hundred any number offered as “facts”

Fact Four: How long do you think any healthy and experienced soldier, fighting with swords, daggers, or something of somewhat sharp implement, body to body, at very close range, can hold his ground before taking a resting break from the “fight”?

These kind of close range fights with short hand weapons didn’t permit any experienced soldier to neutralize more than four enemies in an hour…Suppose the battle lasted 8 long hours with frequent breaks, before sundown…

I bet you most of the dead soldiers on the battlefield were slit while stooping, catching their breath, or sprawled, faking death…

I bet you most casualties slipt on their shit or the adversary shit, and the enemy also slipt and his weapon happened to be extended forward, or inward and committed suicide accidentally, collateral damage kinds…

I bet you most victims died of asphyxia, stampede style, one slipping and toppling on the other…This is not war. This is soccer game event.  This is not even mass gladiators show-off ceremonies: The fighters were not that fit.  Most soldiers lacked one sandal, the other sandal was lost, stuck somewhere, irremediably unretrievable…The remaing sandal was just glued, under a heap of something…

I bet you the smart General kept a sizeable reserve of soldiers to engage during “break time”…to slice the rotten, fallen tomatoes…

I bet there were countless gentleman agreement among the warriors.  For example: “Hey man, I feel like going. How about you?”  “Fine with me. The pressure is killing me. Let’s fake the fight. Our congested and red faces would suggest that we are archenemies…”

Fact Five:  There is this story of warlord Tamelan butchering 60,000 men in the Iranian city of Isfahan.  That was in 1400.  How could any city at the time hold more than 100,000 men, women, and kids? Every soldier was assigned a quota to slaughter Asfahani men, every day, for an entire month… I have questions:

First: When a soldier sliced a victim and the blood drenched his military tunic…would he wipe his slippery hands on the ground and rub his sword with dirt, before moving to the next waiting victim?

Second: Did Tamerlane issued red butcher overhaul to his quota-engaged soldiers so that they save time on washing and shining their military outfit? Did they wear boots? That would be a much time-consuming endeavor to keep shining…

Three: Did the soldier have breakfast before or after the first round of slaughterhood? In any case, most breakfasts were vomited. What a waste.

It pains me to watch action movies of ancient wars, exhibiting tall, vigorous, ferocious warriors.  Fact is, people were short, skinny, malnourished humanoids…They barely lived to be 30 of age. I am not talking of rotten death and eating on gums and suffering from hemorrhoids…

Those who survived the infantile phase, had already taken a severe beating before the age of twenty: They barely lived through small pox, malaria, dysentery, yellow fever…Wretched fighting wretched.  

The noblemen warriors mounted horses, decked in metal outfits, holding a sword too heavy to manipulate, peacocks leading wretched men for the show in the killing fields…

Most dead were the result of infections from rusty and dented weapons: Dying the slow and painful death, abandoned on the field, devoured by vultures and wild dogs…Humanoids fighting humanoids.

This illusionist of modern man wants to invent glorious ancestors.

Who is the more violent? The archaic warrior or the modern soldier, sitting tight, thousand of miles away from the battle field, bored, playing with his balls, pressing a stupid button, launching a missile, from a drone?

Those were the good old times…


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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