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The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/WRI506A.html
Text of author's presentation to:
OTTAWA Colloquium, : Canadian Values & Sovereignty Threatened by Continental "Defense" and "Deep Integration", 9 June 2005 (click for details)
“They hang the man and flog the woman
Who steals the goose from off the Common
—But let the greater criminal loose
Who steals the Common from the goose.”
— Old Sussex Nursery Rhyme
In the last half century, The Media have been increasingly singing from the “Corporate” hymnbook to the detriment of our values and our Cultures. Since the 1970s, we have been told that the New World Order envisages the disappearance of the Nation State.
As such, the broader and more fundamental issues of sovereignty, values, culture, sustainability, human rights, human security, and even democracy itself are regularly swept under the rug.
Worse, following the events of 9/11 and the U.S. War of Terror, governments, including the U.S., have been persuaded to agree to the removal of the presumption of innocence, the criminalization of dissent and the re-imposition of secret trials reminiscent of all totalitarian regimes where "Might is Right”.
This turns the clock back to before the Magna Carta in 1215.
If we in Canada, as in any other nation for that matter, wish to preserve domestic and local sovereignty over our land, stewardship of our resources, our Health Care, our rights to self-determination, our caring and compassion and our culture, it appears the time has come for a much broader review of the path we are being taken down.
Our values are the hallmarks of our civilizations. Let us take a closer look.
“Ethos: the fundamental spiritual characteristics of a culture.”
A societal ethos establishes and sets the boundaries of the moral, legal, environmental, social, economic and political norms which govern the core values of a society and thus the behaviour of all of its components.
These characteristics can be depicted as a spectrum with the sacredness of all life at one end, and profit maximization and corporate power and financial returns to shareholders at the other. For example:
- The First Nations Ethos, a spiritual bio-centric world view, holds that all life was created by the Great Creator, and is inter-connected and sacred. All decisions are taken with due regard to their impact on the biosphere and seven generations into the future; In the words of Chief Seattle
“Earth does not belong to us. We belong to the earth. What we do to it, we do to ourselves.”
- The Ethos of Democracy, — People Power began in Ancient Greece and became enshrined in the England with the Magna Carta in 1215 A.D. with the abolition of secret trials and curtailment of the power of the King.
|Democracy versus "Democracy"
Webster provides the following modern definition
The Ethos of the Nation State, essentially an anthropocentric world view, holds that Nation States are comprised of Government, Industry and People, who work together to compete with other Nation States. The Nation State formed the baseline structure for economists from Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations to Keynes’ General Theory.
The Ethos of Corporatism, at the other end of this spectrum, holds that, under the doctrine of fiduciary responsibility, quarterly monetary returns to shareholders are paramount.
People and the environment are thus viewed as “factors of production”. Any adverse effects on people or the environment are treated as “externalities” and ignored as being outside the corporatist world view.
With these vastly different models of cultures in mind, let us briefly examine the current global forces at play, together with their consequences.
The Evolution of the present Global Economic System
Let us pick up the threads of the current tide at the time of the 1929 Stock Market crash and Great Depression.
Germany under Adolf Hitler adopted the strategy of creating a totalitarian militaristic state creating employment by building up German armaments and armed forces which led to World War II
The US under Roosevelt took a different view as summed up in his inaugural address:
Roosevelt’s Inaugural Address March 1933
After World War II, GATT, The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the Bretton Woods Institutions — The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund came into being, initially in the post-war, with a mandate to prevent a recurrence of the Trade Wars which characterized the Great Depression.
The mandate of the Bretton Woods system evolved in relation to the original 1944 mandate. Since the debt crisis of the early 1980s, Bretton Woods largely operates as an International Corporate Bill of Rights. With subsequent multilateral and bilateral rounds of Trade talks under the World Trade Organization, including the Canada/US Free Trade Agreement, the MAI, NAFTA, FTAA, and now NAFTA +, the predominance of the multinational corporate interests, including financial services have steadily eroded the financial health and the sovereign powers of nation states to regulate their own affairs. This, curiously enough, applies not just to developing nations, but to the industrialised world itself.
Throughout the post war era, but more forcefully since the early 1980s, corporations have been tightening their grip on the Global Economy. The Money Changers are back in force
The key methods of increasing financial returns include:
- lending more money for “development purposes” than many nations can ever repay; and then lending even more money (Structural Adjustment) to assist with the repayment of already unmanageable debt burdens;
- removing a plethora of national and local regulations which inhibit the free movement of goods by creating "Free Trade Areas” and/or “Common Markets”;
- moving production from higher wage countries to lower wage countries, thus increasing offshore profit margins and sapping better paid jobs, the tax base and the economies of the higher wage countries;
- inhibiting governments from passing any legislation in the interests of their citizens (Health, Social Security) or their local ecologies (environmental protection, pollution clean-up) which might interfere with the multinational profits (Chapter 11).
The ‘Trade’ rubric has become the multinational corporate Trojan Horse for entrenching corporate
rights over human rights
and thus dismantling democracy itself.
If all this was not enough, the US Military Industrial Complex is busy dominating Space and near Space under the Pentagon's Vision for 2020 and the doctrine of “Full Spectrum Dominance”.
This enhanced military capability with new generations of atomic and other weapons both supports the takeover of the rest of the Global Commons (oceans, land, water) by other multinationals (Halliburton, Suez, Vivendi, Monsanto etc.), and prepares for dealing with the massive social unrest and protests when local economies deteriorate to the point where their very survival is at stake.
This longer term trend has entered a new phase since the events of 9/11. The issue of "Security” in general and Continental Security in particular has become the overarching policy dictat.
The Bush Administration, aided and abetted by the Mainstream Media, would now have us believe that Al
Qaida is a large and pervasive global threat to our safety and security; that we should give up civil rights and liberties to assist in the identification of terrorists; and that the prime motivation for the invasions of
Afghanistan and Iraq have nothing to do with a grab for US$7 trillion of Caspian Oil, Global Real-Politik or “Corporate Kleptocracy”1 and are purely altruistic and humanitarian.
Maybe. Or again, maybe not. For this story to be true, it would have to be shown that it is entirely co-incidental that the Bush Cabinet has such close connections with Big Oil and the “Oil-igarchy” (George W.Bush - Harken Energy: Bush Senior -The Carlyle Group; Dick Cheney - Halliburton Oil; Donald Evans - Colorado Oil; and Condoleeza Rice - Chevron’s expert on Kazakhstan.
It would have to be shown that the bombing of Afghanistan and the replacement of the Taliban by the installation of Hamid Karsai as President — an ex-employee of Unocal which has the key stake in the Afghan Oil Pipeline — was coincidental.
It would have to be shown that the U.S. claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction were true.
It would also have to shown why over 100,000 Iraqis have been slaughtered, and why Paul Bremer, the Occupying Governor, passed over 100 orders, two of which are particularly noteworthy:
• Order # 36 which privatised over 200 Iraqi State Enterprises and gave multinational corporations permission to own 100% of those enterprises and to take 100% of the profits out of Iraq;
It should be noted that the Cheney
Energy Task Force map has been released into the public domain under the Freedom of Information Act
showing the Iraq Oil Fields carved up like a pork roast; and
• Order # 81 which prohibits Iraqi farmers from using the methods of agriculture that they have used for centuries. The common worldwide practice of saving heirloom seeds from one year to the next is now illegal in Iraq.
This order, shades of Monsanto and Percy Schmeiser, also suggests that the water from the Tigris and Euphrates, the major Middle Eastern source of water has fallen under the control of global Agribuisness.
As importantly, there is ample evidence from U.S. Congressional records that Al Qaida was created by the C.I.A. during the Soviet Afghan War and has been supported by successive U.S. Administrations right up to August 2001. No evidence has been found of massive installations in the Bora Bora mountains.
And the CIA has repeatedly said that there is no evidence that Saddam Hussein had any known
connections to Al Qaida.
Without going into too much detail here, the massive shortcomings in the 9/11 official story of the day itself render it less than credible:
- at 9 a.m. in the morning on September 11, 2001, they officially knew nothing; by 11 a.m. without investigation they officially knew who did it.
- there is no residual physical evidence that a Boeing hit the Pentagon;
- there is evidence that the third WTC skyscraper (Building 7) which collapsed in its own footprint, was demolished.
- the anthrax used in the attack on Senators Daschle and Leahey has subsequently been gene-sequenced (The Ames Strain) and its origins traced to the U.S. military where further investigation vanished under the National ‘Security Blanket’;
- the New York Firefighters were not invited to appear before the Official Inquiry; and none of the black boxes or videotapes have been released into the public domain;
- there are questions about the validity of the subsequent terror alerts. For example, the French Police reported that the supposed Al Qaida terrorists aboard the Air France flight into Los Angeles were found to be a five year old boy, an elderly Chinese lady who ran a restaurant in Paris, A Welsh insurance salesman, and three French nationals.
Suspending Civil Liberties
Patriot Act shredded the US Constitution and the mirror legislation in Canada, the U.K., Australia
and elsewhere, now suspends civil liberties, criminalizes dissent, and re-enables secret trials - all in violation of various Human Rights and related legislation which have been built up since the Magna Carta.
The present Canadian legislation, inter alia, extends the definition of terrorism into the economic arena and criminalises dissent, makes provision for landed immigrants to be stripped of Citizenship by Secret Trial, legalises search without warrants, and enables the creation of Military Judges.
Is all this justified? How real is the Terrorist threat? Or, is the “Official Story” fuller of holes than Swiss Cheese without the cheese?
There are historical precedents for massive civilian casualties being organised to sway public opinion in favour of a war. These include the U.S.S. Maine in Havana in the 1860s; the Reichstag Fire; Pearl Harbour; the alleged PT Boat attack which triggered the Vietnam War; the alleged baby crib deaths for Desert Storm. Today, the Kean Commission not withstanding the weight of evidence suggests the events of 9/11 may fall into the same category.
The U.K. House of Lords has found recently (December 2004) that the supposed threats from Iraq and Al Qaida are far less serious than the dangers facing Britain in the darkest days of World War II, and the lack of evidence about the Iraq weapons of mass destruction suggests that arrests and holding suspects without charge are not warranted.
The recent BBC documentary “The Power of Nightmares” raises more questions about the reality of the terrorist threat. It has been reviewed as follows:
“This revealing BBC documentary digs deep into the roots of the war on terror, only to find that much of the widespread fear in the post 9/11 world has been fabricated by those in power for their own interests. The intrepid BBC team presents highly informative interviews with top officials and experts in combating terrorism who raise serious questions about who is behind all of the fear-mongering.
“This eye-opening documentary shows that, especially after 9/11, fear has been used to manipulate the public into giving up civil liberties and turning over ever more power to elite groups with their own hidden agendas.
“The Power of Nightmares clearly demonstrates that the nightmare vision of a powerful, united terrorist organization waiting to strike our societies is largely an illusion. Wherever one looks for al-Qaeda, from the mountains of Afghanistan to the "sleeper cells" in America, they find that the British and Americans are chasing a phantom enemy. ”
There is thus growing evidence in the international public domain that the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq are far less altruistic and humanitarian than the official story would have us believe. Herman Goering’s dictat comes to mind:
“But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship....
Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they're being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.It works the same in any country."
— Hermann Goering (Hitler's Minister of Propaganda, convicted of war crimes at Nuremberg)
The Ministry of Truth
The entire global situation is a far cry from the Webster definition of Democracy given above.
Rather, it bears all the hallmarks of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, with Big Brother and the Ministry of Truth, (a.k.a Homeland Security):
“WAR IS PEACE” (MIGHT IS RIGHT)
“FREEDOM IS SLAVERY” (THE FREEDOM OF THE RICH IS THE SLAVERY OF THE POOR)
“IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH” (OUR IGNORANCE IS THEIR STRENGTH)
Several further questions then come immediately to the table:
- did all those, who gave their lives in World War II that we might live in freedom, die in vain?
- are all those serving today serving their country and the public interest or are they really serving the unprincipled interests of the multinationals?
- is this the future we want?
It would appear that we can no longer rely on Governments, the Multinationals or the Media to reflect
our values or our interests and see us safely on the next leg of our human journey.
Another NEW DEAL is urgently required where, in the words of Roosevelt:
“The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.”
“Seeds Beneath The Snow”
On a personal note, snowdrops are my favourite flower. In a seemingly miraculous way each year, they force their way up though the frozen ground deep in melting snow and ice; and suddenly there they are, and it is spring.
How much greater and more powerful are each one of us than a snowdrop?
So, what can we do singly and together? There are many small solutions, and we each have our path of service.
We can begin by rejecting Margaret Thatcher’s mantra “There is no alternative” (The TINA principle); and adopt the U.N. Social Forum’s view “Another world is possible” and “There are thousands of alternatives” (TATA).
We have to scrutinize the bias in all new legislation that favour Corporate Security (a.k.a. profiteering as in P3s, Health Care, Drugs, Water, Energy, criminalization of economic dissent, etc.) over Human Security.
We can come together in discussion groups and begin to develop the guiding principles for a sustainable tomorrow — both from the perspectives of local geographic communities and communities of interest. (Small really is beautiful.)
We can return to the basic Canadian values of democracy (in the Webster sense of democracy) and the rule of law; insisting on the the principles of Peace, Order and Good Government in the Lester Pearson tradition.
We can hold our elected representatives fully accountable for their decisions.
The Choice is up to all of us.
Let us begin again together.
The author is a writer and film producer based in Ottawa. For details on his most recent video Celsius 9-11, click here
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization.
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