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wade tillett on Thu, 31 Jan 2002 05:49:09 +0100 (CET)

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   Re: <nettime> NYC Newspapers Smear Activists Ahead of WEF Protests              
     "wade tillett" <wade {AT} thefrictioninstitute.org>                                  

   FW: Reaching the parts other empires could not reach                            
     "wade tillett" <wade {AT} thefrictioninstitute.org>                                  


Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 12:31:33 -0600
From: "wade tillett" <wade {AT} thefrictioninstitute.org>
Subject: Re: <nettime> NYC Newspapers Smear Activists Ahead of WEF Protests

yeah, the spin is already built up into this:

the activists are terrorist anti-patriots who dare desecrate the sacred
post-911 new york cityscape and the image of a new unified america.

(never mind that it was the wef that picked nyc for the party.)

this will be a major media event in the united states. all the elements
are there for a massive confrontation. anyways, what my gut tells me is
that it is going to be very ugly. it seems that the press and government
are much more prepared than previously, and have been laying the
propaganda groundwork to villify the protestors for quite some time.

personally, i feel like the upcoming protests represent a critical moment
in the direction of the united states. especially since we are apparently
on the eve of more war-mongering. this event will define (and expose) how
dissent is handled in post-911 america. how the media spins it. how the
police handle it. and how the law affects the protestors after the patriot
act (especially non-citizens).

and yet there is another dread within me that this event represents no
possibility of direction change at all, but only an illustration of a
direction already decided upon... of the convergence of
media/state/military/police/economic force post-911 under the unifying
rhetoric of morality and the unitary concept of extending power.

see you there.


Near the end of that movie classic "The Wizard of Oz," the wizard stands
in the gondola of a hot-air balloon and bids farewell to the people of the
Emerald City. He is embarking on a journey, he explains, "to confer,
converse, and otherwise hobnob with my brother wizards."

That's nice, you say. But who cares?

Well, the City of New York, for one. This week, some 2,700 "wizards" from
around the world - government leaders and corporate executives, ministers
of state and of God, politicians and pundits - will gather at the
Waldorf-Astoria for the annual World Economic Forum, at which leaders
"think deep thoughts," as the Wizard of Oz might say. This year, for
example, they plan to focus on ways to restore worldwide economic growth,
reduce poverty, improve governance and thwart terrorism....

What's in an Economic Forum? Visitors, Police and Protests
January 27, 2002


Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 13:52:40 -0600
From: "wade tillett" <wade {AT} thefrictioninstitute.org>
Subject: FW: Reaching the parts other empires could not reach

Reaching the parts other empires could not reach
In return for security in the region, the US will snap up central
Asia's oil

Simon Tisdall
Wednesday January 16, 2002
The Guardian

The United States is engaged in a strategic power grab in central Asia
of epic proportions. In previous eras, this sort of expansionism would
have been called colonialism or imperialism. It would be portrayed as
a dutiful mission to civilise the less fortunate of the world or as a
legitimate expression, perhaps, of America's manifest destiny. Now it
is simply called the "war against terrorism".

If moral justification were required, there is no need, it seems, to
look beyond Ground Zero. Current American certitude of the rightness
of its cause is as unshakeable as that of any Victorian missionary
society or Palmerstonian gunboat skipper.

Ideologically, the US case appears - to many in the US, at any rate -
to be equally unanswerable. Freedom, democracy, security and free
trade are the supreme gifts bestowed upon those who acknowledge
Washington's tutelage. And are these not the great, universal
shibboleths of our time? Proselytising hawks within the Bush
administration and Republican party certainly believe so. They see no
good reason why any country should be denied such felicity and are
determined to extend these benefits to all.

Even if such considerations are set aside, the war in Afghanistan has
presented regional political, economic and defence opportunities that
the US has long sought and which are now within its grasp. In
September 2000, for example, General Tommy Franks - the man who made
his name running the Afghan war - was already touring central Asia,
waving a military aid chequebook. But on the whole, during the Clinton
years, keen US interest in beating a path to central Asia's oil and
gas riches remained largely stymied - especially after the 1998 cruise
missile strikes on Afghanistan which followed the al-Qaida embassy
bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

Only a brief 18 months ago, indeed, the geo-strategic chit-chat was
still all about a reassertion of Russian power in former Soviet
territories such as Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan,
and Kazakhstan. Moscow's newly-installed president, Vladimir Putin,
was particularly interested in the destabilising impact of
Taliban-backed fundamentalists (whom he linked to Chechnya). "The
actions of Islamic extremists in central Asia give Russia the chance
to strengthen its position in the region," said a memo from the then
Russian defence minister, Igor Sergeyev.

China, worried about unrest among its own western Muslim Uighur
minority and alive to central Asia's strategic and economic potential,
also moved in June last year to extend its regional influence through
a new Shanghai pact.

But in the wake of September 11, and as the US-Russian dynamic in
particular changed, Putin agreed (against the advice of some senior
generals) to allow the US to negotiate the first, limited base and
operational facilities with Afghanistan's neighbours. China, too,
while objecting in principle to US intervention, in practice
recognised the serious consequences of trying to thwart the US. Both
countries hoped to benefit in other ways from helping the Americans -
and have done so to a limited degree. The US has begun to treat Putin
as a partner, even suggesting a closer relationship with Nato. Rows
with Beijing over human rights and trade, after last spring's Hainan
spy plane fracas, have been avoided. China's WTO membership has gone
through without a hitch.

All the same, both countries increasingly have good reasons to regret
their accommodating stand. Having pushed, cajoled and bribed its way
into their central Asian backyard, the US clearly has no intention of
leaving any time soon. Romantics who believe this demonstrates a
commitment to rebuilding shattered Afghanistan can dream on.

The US's top priority remains, as ever, the pursuit and destruction of
al-Qaida. That focus is now shifting elsewhere, into Pakistan,
Somalia, even Iran. What is left behind in Afghanistan is for
"coalitions of the willing", such as the under-powered security
assistance force led by Britain, or aid agencies, or UN diplomats, or
anybody but the Bush administration to deal with. In short, the former
can build nations; the US builds empires.

The task of the encircling US bases now shooting up on Afghanistan's
periphery is only partly to contain the threat of political regression
or Taliban resurgence in Kabul. Their bigger, longer-term role is to
project US power and US interests into countries previously beyond its

Thus Uzbekistan now finds itself home to a permanent American base at
Khanabad, housing 1,500 personnel; Manas, near Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan,
is described as a future "transportation hub" housing 3,000 soldiers,
warplanes and surveillance aircraft; more airfields are under US
control in Tajikistan and Pakistan; and the Pentagon has begun regular
replacement and rotation of troops, thereby instit-utionalising what
were at the outset temporary, emergency deployments.

The temptations for the host governments are plain enough. Military
cooperation typically works both ways. With the bases comes US
agreement to provide training and equipment for local forces. Economic
aid packages and trade agreements then follow. Thus previously
neglected Uzbekistan received $64m in US assistance and $136m in US
Export-Import Bank credits in 2001. In 2002, the Bush administration
plans to hand over $52m in assistance to Kazakhstan, some partly for
military equipment. The US security umbrella provides shelter from
other predatory powers and effectively entrenches a group of mostly
unpopular incumbent regimes.

According to Human Rights Watch, in its annual report published this
week, these deals have been cut despite well-documented concern about
authoritarian governance, a chronic lack of democracy and respect for
human rights - torture of political prisoners is endemic in
Tajikistan, for example - and often non-existent press freedoms across
central Asia.

For US empire-builders, like imperialists through history, the answer
to such contradictions is that exposure to superior values and
standards will have an ultimately positive, uplifting effect.
Meanwhile, the potential benefits for the US are enormous: growing
military hegemony in one of the few parts of the world not already
under Washington's sway, expanded strategic influence at Russia and
China's expense, pivotal political clout and - grail of holy grails -
access to the fabulous, non-Opec oil and gas wealth of central Asia.
If the Afghans behave themselves, they even may get to run the

s.tisdall {AT} guardian.co.uk


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