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Daily Archives: 17/01/2011

Blue Gold: World Water Wars(topdocumentaryfilms.com) In every corner of the globe, we are polluting, diverting, pumping, and wasting our limited supply of fresh water at an expediential level as population and technology grows. The rampant overdevelopment of agriculture, housing and industry increase the demands for fresh water well beyond the finite supply, resulting in the desertification of the earth. Corporate giants force developing countries to privatize their water supply for profit. Wall Street investors target desalination and mass bulk water export schemes. Corrupt governments use water for economic and political gain. Military control of water emerges and a new geo-political map and power structure forms, setting the stage for world water wars. >Playlist<

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(anonnews.org) transcript:

Ladies and gentlemen. Anonymous users of the internet. For better or for worse, we are at war. There are no bystanders. There are no safe havens. As long as draconian regimes and oppressive authorities exist, the freedom of information, and in turn, your freedom to do as you wish on the internet, is threatened. However, this is a war that Anonymous is winning.

Copyright holders tried to take down peer-to-peer file sharing sites. They failed and continue to fail. Self-important officials in the United States government attempted to silence Wikileaks. They failed on a colossal scale worthy of ridicule for many years to come. And, most recently, the dictatorship of Tunisia made the fatal mistake of denying the political and internet freedoms of the Tunisian people. They not only failed, they collapsed. The Tunisian government is in shambles. Their tyrant of over two decades has fled the country.

Behind all of these recent outstanding events lurked Anonymous, lending a helping hand when possible, causing problems where it mattered the most, and amassing lulz the entire time. Corporations and states continue to find themselves incapable of stemming the coming tide of social change brought about by the internet. Each and everyone of you are shaking the system to its core. Leaders are nervous and scared.

Anonymous is fighting a war. Whether you’re doing it for the good of mankind, doing it for the lulz, or a healthy balance of both, you’re bringing about change only dreamed of in fiction. Continue to fight for the freedom of information and you will continue to win the game. The consequences will never be the same. Yes, Anonymous. We are fighting a war. And we are winning. Expect us.

 

A single, humble Anon

(wlcentral.org) The mood on the day was convivial, despite the heavy police presence and the memory of the December 14th’s rally looming large, which saw some clashes between protesters and police as a result of the NSW police’s refusal to issue a demonstration permit.

The thousand-strong crowd began their march from Town Hall, stopping by the headquarters of the U.S Consulate General at the MLC Centre for some civilized but impassioned shouting, before descending upon Hyde Park.

Speakers at the event included David Shoebridge, the NSW Greens MP; Wendy Bacon, Director of the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism; Marcus Strom, reporter from the Sydney Morning Herald and member of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance; and Antony Loewenstein, independent journalist.

Unfortunately I didn’t take notes of the speeches as I was too busy taking pictures, but some of my recollections are as follows:

Bacon spoke of the need to place increased and continual emphasis on the contents of the cable leaks. Although the legal quandaries of Assange and Manning are of serious and global importance, she said , we should not let our focus slip from the scrutiny of those in power that Cablgegate allow us.

Antony Loewenstein pointed out that the hounding and prosecution of whistleblowers in the United States and Australia has increased exponentially during the Obama and Rudd administrations. Loewenstein also remarked on the hostile reaction to Wikileaks from traditional media quarters, noting that many in established media roles see themselves as ‘players’ and merely cosy up to power when they could be preventing unjust wars from gaining support instead.

The next rally is scheduled for 1pm Sunday February 6th, at Town Hall.
Please see our Global Rallies page for upcoming event details.

(wlcentral.org) Primary Resources for Cablegate

Wikileaks Official Cablegate Site
Wikileaks’ Cablegate site is well laid out and easy to navigate, using the metadata navigation links on the left sidebar. This is the most up to date place to search for Cablegate material.

Drawbacks:

  • No search function
  • Some cables are retracted in new updates, and are not retained on the official site

LeakyLinks Mirror Monitor
If the official site is ever down, LeakyLinks keeps an extremely useful list of all of the some 2000 mirrors of Wikileaks site – sites that have signed up for the Wikileaks mass mirroring programme. LeakyLinks monitors each mirror and compares it with the official site to determine which of the mirrors are up to date, and which have fallen behind in their mirroring of all of the cables.

Leakfeed
Leakfeed.com provides a handy assortment of different feeds, in various languages, for those who want to keep as up to date as possible on the cables using a feed system. The feeds include the latest 50 releases, a feed for a specific cable, a feed based on search parameters, or a feed based on filter criteria.

Cablegate Database on Google Fusion Tables
While the cables are being released slowly, in batches, in collaboration with Wikileaks’ media partners, a database generated from the metadata of the entire cache was released in November by The Guardian. The database contains certain fields of metadata from all 251286 cables, including the Creation Date, the Source, the Address, and the Tags. (It does not contain the Reference IDs or the Subject Headers.) This resource is invaluable for seeing the spread of all the cables, how many are yet to be released from a certain embassy, whether there were cables at a specific time, etc. It is a good place to check claims about as yet unreleased cables, too.

Privetbank Cablegate Anomaly Monitoring Site
Privetbank’s site is unique and invaluable. The authors of PrivetBank site compare the contents of each successive release of batch torrents from the Wikileaks official site, and detect anomalies. It transpires that some torrents actually remove cables that had been released in earlier torrents, or that some cables appear with new redactions imposed on them. While there is little reason to regard this phenomenon with outright suspicion, since it may represent the detailed work of harmonizing redactions across an extremely sophisticated release operation, Privetbank documents this in painstaking detail, so that the practice can be subjected to proper scrutiny by the public. Privetbank also contains information about the “Unofficial Cables” – those cables that have been documented on the media partner sites, but that have not, as yet, been released by Wikileaks. The site is not always completely up to date, but is well made, has a sophisticated and pleasing interface, provides links to various mirrors for each cable, offers every torrent so far released for download, and offers a very useful tool for Wikileaks investigators.

Search and Archival Sites

The following sites address the lack of a search function on the main Wikileaks site, and also represent efforts by private individuals to present the data in a useful form that lends itself to investigative reading.

CablegateSearch
An excellent site. The search function is instant and intuitive, the cables are presented in an attractive and readable list, and can be expanded by clicking on the + button. A function is provided to add certain cables to a “cart” to be exported. Metadata is intelligently handled, expanded where abbreviations are used, and fully hyperlinked. The site also presents a fascinating tagcloud of the cables released to date.

CableSearch
Another excellent search engine for Cablegate, CableSearch also offers a tabbed interface whereby readers can explore and search within categories defined by metadata terms. The interface is clear and pleasant to use, and information is kept on how up to date the present database is. It is often easier to see what cables have been released most recently here than on the official site.

Dazzlepod
A neat and simple interface makes Dazzlepod a painless way of searching through the Cablegate material. Cables are also easily navigable by source using the links on the left. Dazzlepod offers a service whereby you can sign in to receive email and other alerts for specific releases. The tabs at the top provide some useful criteria for filtering the cables, one of which, indispensably, is the “Recently Updated Cables” where readers can see which already-released cables have been modified in latest releases, and compare these against their earlier versions.

Kabels
An aesthetically very pleasing site, Kabels also provides some innovative visual navigation options. Cables are navigable by source embassy, and searchable on the left. A clickable colour-coded mesh graph heads every cable, showing the rest of the cables from the same embassy, with the level of classification represented by colour. Clicking on each cell of the mesh graph brings the reader to the corresponding cable. Kabels also implements a crowd-rating system for the cables, offering readers the choice of tagging each cable they read as “Interesting” or not.

OWNI Statelogs Site
OWNI is the group which prepared the applications through which the Iraq War Logs were released. OWNI released their Statelogs site at the end of November in anticipation of the release of Cablegate. The site is straightforward enough, with a slightly clumsy interface. Interestingly, it provides a facility whereby readers can sign in, and comment on specific cables – an effort to combine archival and crowdsourced reading.

Combined Google Custom Search – War Logs, Cables, & WLCentral
Our own dredeyedick created a custom search tool which uses Google to search both the Afghanistan War Log and Iraq War Log releases from 2010, and the Cablegate archive to date, as well as the WL Central site, for any entered terms. The search is quite useful, and raises the interesting question of whether it will ever be possible to search the combined coverage of all of the media partners on Cablegate along with the original source material. It is also accessible on dredeyedick’s Twextra site, here.

Crowd-sourced Cablegate sites

The following sites are crowdsourced citizen journalism efforts to give Cablegate the attention and treatment it deserves by the internet community. The communities around them are still in development and appear to be seeking dedicated contributors.

CableWiki
CableWiki is a crowdsourced attempt to archive and document each cable that is released in an internationally amenable way. The central mandate of the CableWiki site is summarization and translation into languages other than English to facilitate the accessibility of key information by non English speakers.

CableGateWiki
CableGateWiki’s stated mandate is to document, summarize and analyse each Cabelgate document in full, using methods similar to those through which Wikipedia was created. The site is facilitating a merger with CableWiki.

CrowdLeak
CrowdLeak is a successor project of Operation Leakspin, which was a project towards which the swarm moved after worldwide ambivalence about Anon’s Operation Payback. CrowdLeak’s raison d’etre is to scour the Cablegate releases for the most interesting and urgent revelations contained there, and to document them in a manner that is accessible to the public, and which is likely to activate individuals politically. The site engages in the summarization, translation and publication of cables, in German, Dutch, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian. The site uses an innovative collaborative review process for publication of articles.

WikiSpooks
Wikispooks is a crowdsourced project designed to build a credible and comprehensive knowledge of “deep political structures and events.” The use of Cablegate material takes a central role in this effort, and an editorial policy designed to arbitrate political disagreements as to source material is implemented. An interesting concept, using the MediaWiki engine, with some potential for good material.

(infoshop) Sunday, January 16 2011 @ 06:03 PM UTC

There is much more to the Wikileaks cables than their entertainment value, because the inner workings of capitalist diplomacy have been revealed. In the case of Afghanistan, what is revealed is the discrepancy between what the governments of the occupying powers say amongst themselves and what they say in public. In short, they tell the public lies.

Out of Afghanistan

The Anvil Vol. 2 #7
Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group (MACG)

There is much more to the Wikileaks cables than their entertainment value, because the inner workings of capitalist diplomacy have been revealed. In the case of Afghanistan, what is revealed is the discrepancy between what the governments of the occupying powers say amongst themselves and what they say in public. In short, they tell the public lies.

For several years, knowledgable commentators and the occasional journalist of the capitalist press have spoken about the problems of the Afghan War. President Karzai is corrupt and duplicitous and his writ hardly runs further than Kabul. The regional governors are brutal warlords, drug dealers and reactionary ideologues whose major feature distinguishing themselves from the Taliban is their relative lack of discipline.

The Afghan army is an illiterate rabble, riddled with Taliban sympathisers ready to desert once they are armed & trained. And the Afghan National Police are worse – an illiterate and cowardly rabble who go to water at the mere prospect of facing the Taliban.

These, of course, are the problems of the occupiers. The problems of the occupied are somewhat different. Apart from the violent and fanatical Taliban and the violent and repugnant warlords, they have to put up with an occupation force whose violence is an order of magnitude greater than anything the Taliban can perpetrate. Air strikes kill family members as well as Taliban militants – that is, if any of the dead are Taliban at all.Ignorant and oafish occupation soldiers rampage through homes, humiliating parents in front of their children. And trigger-happy sentries at road blocks kill hundreds of people, at least 80% of whom are later identified as non-combatants.

All the while, the governments of Australia, the US and the other powers occupying Afghanistan have kept to an up-beat series of public statements about the war. They’re killing important Taliban leaders. They’re clearing the Taliban from this province, or winning hearts and minds in that one. They’re training the army &/or the police. And they’re funding reconstruction efforts. There’s no mention of the crimes either of the occupation or of the regime that they are propping up.

The Wikileaks cables, however, expose the lies. The governments of the US, Australia, etc aren’t in possession of information justifiying a better story than told by the analysts back home. Rather, they’re as pessimistic themselves as the pundits who get in the papers, but they keep going because they think it would court disaster to admit defeat. So they lie to the electorates to whom they are supposedly responsible, conjuring up victories and spinning an optimistic line they don’t believe themselves.. And the deaths continue, adding to the over 2,000 dead of the occupying forces and the tens of thousands of Afghans killed by them.

The lies about Afghanistan are no mistake. Capitalist diplomacy and policy- making are permeated with them, because the acquiesence of the working class to imperialist war, austerity at home and the destruction of democratic rights could usually not be secured if the public statements of governments were always the unvarnished truth. The lie is an essential part of the armoury of the capitalist class and Wikileaks has performed a vital service by demonstrating just how widespread and systematic the dishonesty of States is.

The Afghan War is an imperialist one. The people of Afghanistan, who have never been successfully subjugated by a centralised State, have no intention of starting now, and certainly not to one run by a corrupt and duplicitous US puppet. The occupying forces should just get out.

No negotiations, no conditions, no residual bases – just pack up & go. Now. Certainly the people of Afghanistan would continue to face both the Taliban and Karzai’s warlords, but at least their best-armed enemy would be gone.

It is in the interests of the working class for the imperialist occupation of Afghanistan to be defeated. This will not be achieved by the Taliban (and, indeed, would create its own problems if it was), but by the withdrawal of support for the war by the working class of the occupying countries and the spread of open opposition. The United States, Australia and the other imperialist countries must be beaten by their own working classes. We must impress upon them that we won’t fight their dirty wars.

US, AUSTRALIAN & ALL OCCUPYING FORCES OUT OF AFGHANISTAN NOW!

Workers Solidarity Network
Grassroots picket line supporters
www.workerssolidaritymelbourne.org

(wlcentral.org) Algerian man Mohsen Bouterfif died on Saturday. He had doused himself in gasoline and set himself on fire on Thursday after a meeting with the mayor of the small city of Boukhadra who was unable to provide him a job and a house, according to El Khabar news. His death has been followed by protests in Boukhadra and reportedly, the firing of the mayor.

“Several Algerian towns, including the capital Algiers, have experienced riots in recent weeks over unemployment and a sharp rise in the prices of food staples.

Official sources say two people have been killed and scores were injured during the unrest, which unfolded in parallel to street violence in Tunisia and demonstrations over high food prices in other North African and Middle Eastern countries.

To calm the protests, Algeria has cut the cost of sugar and cooking oil.”

(Food Freedom Blog) By Working Villages International ; Swadeshi, or “localized economics,” is a concept developed by Mahatma Gandhi. At the beginning of the 20th century, India began importing cheap factory-made cloth from England, which forced thousands of local weavers and spinners out of work. The result was dire poverty and social chaos. Gandhi’s response was to throw away all articles made of English mill cloth, and wear only cloth which he spun himself. The image of him spinning on his charka became instantly famous; thousands followed his lead, and the result was India’s independence.

Fifty years after India’s independence, we find these problems all over the world due to the corporate globalized economy. In standard modern-day economics, the goal is to maximize profit at any cost. To this end, corporations will use many techniques to relentlessly pursue the bottom line.They will often:

  • Seek to maximize output per worker, regardless of health and safety concerns
  • Seek areas of the world where wages are low and human-rights laws are lax
  • Seek to ensure low wages by maintaining sufficient unemployment in the worker pool
  • Disempower communities through lobbying, policies and legal action
  • Use economies of scale to reduce per-unit costs, regardless of how much of a product is actually needed
  • Orient production towards the buyers who can pay the most
  • Concentrate capital due to winner-take-all competition and unfettered “free” markets
  • Pump money into advertising to create an imagined need
  • Promote the myth that happiness lies in consumption

It is hard to overstate the social problems that are caused by this corporate paradigm. Many countries now struggle with:

  • Widespread unemployment and plummeting wages
  • A dwindling middle class and a growing income gap between rich and poor
  • An impoverished working class
  • Dangerous or mind-numbing manufacturing work
  • Exploitation of child labor
  • A disenfranchised populace that’s easily incited to fanaticism, violence or terrorism
  • Demographic upheaval and ruptured families due to lack of local work
  • Widespread hunger and accompanying disease
  • Erosion of democracy, human rights, and worker rights
  • Environmental damage due to manufacturing and shipping

As if this were not enough, a globalized economy depends on cheap oil for manufacturing and transportation. This is becoming more and more untenable, for both environmental and political reasons, and is already impossible for countries in the global South. In Congo, for example, gasoline is $12 per gallon and the average person makes $100 per year, making any kind of oil-based manufacturing or transportation impossible for a local business.

The solution is clearly not to be found in globalized economics. A new paradigm must be created, which emphasizes sustainability and quality of life as opposed to mass production and bottom lines. Gandhi’s idea of Swadeshi provides that paradigm, though it can sound deceptively simple. As Gandhi said, “My definition of Swadeshi is well-known: I must not serve my distant neighbor at the expense of the nearest.” This is the heart of Swadeshi, though it encompasses much more than that.

In stark contrast to the bottom-line mentality of standard modern corporate economics, Swadeshi promotes:

  • Full employment
  • Local production to meet local needs
  • Humane working conditions and human rights
  • Simple living and reduced consumption
  • Work as a means of expression and fulfillment
  • Work that is compatible with family, community and spiritual life
  • Sufficient compensation
  • Community input and empowerment
  • Protection for small business
  • Protection for the environment and local living conditions
  • Many small-scale producers with a more equitable distribution of wealth
  • Pursuing happiness through meaningful production, intention, and community

Satish Kumar, the founder of Schumacher College, summarizes Swadeshi as follows:

“According to the principle of Swadeshi, whatever is made or produced in the village must be used first and foremost by the members of the village. Trading among villages and between villages and towns should be minimal, like icing on the cake. Goods and services that cannot be generated within the community can be bought from elsewhere.

“Swadeshi avoids economic dependence on external market forces that could make the village community vulnerable. It also avoids unnecessary, unhealthy, wasteful, and therefore environmentally destructive transportation. The village must build a strong economic base to satisfy most of its needs, and all members of the village community should give priority to local goods and services.”

Gandhi spoke at length on his principles of Swadeshi. “My definition of Swadeshi is well known. I must not serve my distant neighbor at the expense of the nearest…Swadeshi is that spirit in us which restricts us to the use and service of our immediate surroundings to the exclusion of the more remote – I should use only things that are produced by my immediate neighbors and serve those industries by making them efficient and complete where they might be found wanting…

“If we follow the Swadeshi doctrine, it would be your duty and mine to find our neighbors who can supply our wants, and teach them to supply them where they do not know how to proceed, assuming that there are neighbors who are in want of healthy occupation. Then every village of India will almost be a self-supporting and self-contained unit, exchanging only such necessary commodities with other villages which are not locally producible…a votary of Swadeshi will carefully study his environment, and try to help his neighbors wherever possible by giving preference to local manufactures, even if they are of an inferior grade or dearer in price than things manufactured elsewhere.”

In another context, Gandhi spoke more forcefully: “It is sinful to eat American wheat and let my neighbor, the graindealer, starve for want of customers. Similarly, it is sinful for me to wear the latest finery of Regent Street when I know that if I had but worn the things woven by the neighboring spinners and weavers, that would have clothed me, and fed and clothed them.”

Village Self Reliance uses Swadeshi to protect small village economies. In Village Self Reliance, a system of economic incentives is used to protect the local economy until it’s strong enough to thrive on its own. We produce for the needs of the community first, creating a local economy instead of relying of globalization and external markets. We measure our progress in standards of living, as opposed to GDP or other measurements of economic growth that can fail to accurately assess the well-being of the population. Our aim is to create meaningful employment to raise the quality of life in real terms, by building a foundation of humane values as well as a functioning economy.