* POST-WAR CONSTITUTIONS: PRIVATIZATION AND EMPIRE BUILDING
By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Global Research
The following is a 2011 article by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya for the Italian journal Eurasia about the manipulation of national constitutions as a neo-colonial means of modern empire-building. The article presents an important overview of the U.S. empire-building process. The original print version was published in the Italian language and translated by Pietro Longo.
ABSTRACT: The U.S.A. has re-written the constitution of vanquished nations since the Second World War. In the last two decades, however, Washington has managed to totally restructure vanquished states economically and politically by de-centralizing them and legalizing foreign tutelage over their political structure and their national economies. From the former Yugoslavia to Afghanistan and Iraq, this process has gone hand-in-hand with war and both an immediate and extended foreign military presence. In this regard the new national constitutions of these countries have been central to the process and opened the door for the integration of these states into Washington’s empire-building project.
The geography of a nation is also fixed in its national constitution, such as the state’s definitions of its own national and internal borders. Taking this observation one step further, it has to be said that constitutions can also be utilized and redefined to meet specific geo-political objectives. This is where an important and very relevant modern geo-political issue comes into the forefront of analysis when looking at countries that have been at war with the United States of America and its allies. Looking back at the Second World War, the constitutions of Japan and Germany were re-written after their defeats either directly by Washington or under Allied supervision. The Pentagon also erected military bases in both Germany and Japan that began to alarm Soviet leaders. The reconfigured of both Germany and Japan served Washington’s geo-political interests. This is evident when studying the Japanese Constitution, which was written by the U.S. military. Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution renounces Japan’s sovereign right to declare war or to maintain a standing navy, air force, and army. Japan was effectively neutralized by its new national constitution as a potential military rival or threat in East Asia and the Pacific. The last two decades have seen an even more profound interplay between new national constitutions and the geo-political and strategic objectives of Washington.
Nation-Building and Nation-Breaking: A Vital Ingredient for Empire
Roughly speaking within the last two decades the U.S.A. and its allies have been engaged in the practice of what can be called “nation-building.” National constitutions have been re-written within the dynamics of this so-called “nation-building” process in the countries that are “re-built” under the political and military supervision of Washington. This “nation-building” process is not some benign process, but part of a strategy to direct the countries that are being “re-built” to serve global empire and the process of modern-day empire building. In this regard constitutions are re-written to: (1) subordinate countries into vassals or colonial territories; (2) create a niche for these vassal states in the global imperial system of modern empire; and (3) fit Washington’s geo-political objectives of empire-building or expansion. […]
* TERRORISTS CONTROL THE WHITE HOUSE
* CREEPING AUTHORITARIANISM ON CAPITOL HILL
What we can learn from one congressman’s convoluted defense of the NDAA
By John Knefel, Salon
On the day Occupy Congress came to Washington, I tagged along with seven Bard College students who went to talk to their representative, first-term Republican Chris Gibson from the 20th Congressional District of New York. Listening to Gibson defend his vote for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which President Obama signed on New Year’s Eve and which allows for the indefinite detention of American citizens, I had a rare glimpse into the contemporary authoritarian mind-set in all its banality. It illustrated how the slow erosion of civil liberties manifests itself in the halls of power in Washington.
Gibson is a retired Army colonel, and it shows. From the Airborne division name plate on his desk, to the photographs of camouflaged soldiers that adorn his walls, to the “Beat Navy” button on his desk, his military background is on display. He spoke about serving in the military to defend American’s rights – rights that he claims to take very seriously. To his credit, Gibson joined 26 other House Republicans in voting against the extension of the Patriot Act in February 2011. But his written record, and his NDAA vote, indicate he is a politician more concerned with waging war than preserving liberty.
He believes “the West” faces an existential threat from al-Qaida. On Page 4 of his book ”Securing the State,” published in 2008, he wrote:
The US is engaged in a difficult struggle against a determined enemy who publicly declares his strategic aim the establishment of a caliphate in the Middle East and the ultimate destruction of the West. […]
* KENTUCKY GOVERNOR CUTS EDUCATION FUNDING WHILE PRESERVING TAX BREAKS FOR BIBLICALLY-THEMED AMUSEMENT PARK
By Travis Waldron, Think Progress
When Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) proposed his 2012-2013 budget this week, he admitted that it was “inadequate for the needs” of the state’s people. “We should be making substantial investments in our physical and intellectual infrastructure to bring transformational change to our state,” Beshear said. “This budget does not allow us to do enough of that.”
Beshear’s assessment of his own budget is, unfortunately, correct. The budget makes $286 million in cuts, including a 6.4 percent cut to a higher education system that has been plagued by funding cuts and rising tuition for years. And though it attempts to preserve K-12 education funding, it will result in less spending on Kentucky’s students and schools, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports:
Although the main funding formula for K-12 schools wouldn’t be cut, population growth means spending per student would decline. Also, education officials say the current year’s population estimate was low, resulting in a cut of more than $50 million to that funding formula.
* MOYERS AND COMPANY SHOW 102 CRONY CAPITALISM
By Bill Moyers,vimeo
VIDEO @ http://vimeo.com/35372114
* CHRIS HEDGES OCCUPY THE COURTS NYC JANUARY 20, 2012
Filmed January 20, 2012. Chris Hedges, Lawrence Lessig, Virginia Rasmussen on the eve of the 2nd Anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision “Citizens United v. F.E.C.”. The video begins with a march from Liberty Plaza aka Zuccotti Park to the rally point at Foley Square across the street from Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse at 40 Centre St. The Rude Mechanical Orchestra plays their “Smash a Bank Polka” followed by Chris Hedges giving an update to his lawsuit against Barack Obama and Leon Panetta. Virginia Rasmussen offers a historic perspective on the Citizens United decision. Laurence Lessig gives an inspirational speech on restoring democracy. Other speakers: Alexis from Occupy Wall Street, Camille Rivera, and Amy Muldoon. The video ends with the Rude Mechanical Orchestra finishing of their song.
* COULD ECUADOR BE THE MOST RADICAL AND EXCITING PLACE ON EARTH?
By Jayati Ghosh, CommonDreams.com
Ecuador must be one of the most exciting places on Earth right now, in terms of working towards a new development paradigm. It shows how much can be achieved with political will, even in uncertain economic times.
Just 10 years ago, Ecuador was more or less a basket case, a quintessential “banana republic” (it happens to be the world’s largest exporter of bananas), characterised by political instability, inequality, a poorly-performing economy, and the ever-looming impact of the US on its domestic politics.
In 2000, in response to hyperinflation and balance of payments problems, the government dollarised the economy, replacing the sucre with the US currency as legal tender. This subdued inflation, but it did nothing to address the core economic problems, and further constrained the domestic policy space.
A major turning point came with the election of the economist Rafael Correa as president. After taking over in January 2007, his government ushered in a series of changes, based on a new constitution (the country’s 20th, approved in 2008) that was itself mandated by a popular referendum. A hallmark of the changes that have occurred since then is that major policies have first been put through the referendum process. This has given the government the political ability to take on major vested interests and powerful lobbies. […]
* THE WOMAN BEHIND THE RECALL OF WISCONSIN SENATE MAJORITY LEADER SCOTT FITZGERALD
By Rebecca Kemble, The Progressive
Yesterday afternoon’s announcement in front of the Government Accountability Board by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin that more than one million signatures to recall Governor Scott Walker had been gathered eclipsed a smaller, yet very significant event that took place hours earlier at the same location.
Lori Compas and her band of a couple dozen volunteers delivered three boxes full of petitions to recall Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald into the Government Accountability Board just before noon. The boxes were emblazoned with red hearts inked around the tops, and each bore one word: “We” “Love” “Wisconsin.” Compas’s announcement consisted of one sentence: “These boxes contain our hopes, our hard work, and 20,600 signatures!” That’s 3,858 more than the number required to trigger a recall election.
After the announcement, she fumbled around in one of the boxes amidst cheering, tears, and embraces of the sixty well-wishers who gathered in the snow and finally came up with what she was looking for: a trophy. The election “trigger” award was given to Sam Cooper, an organizer with We Are Wisconsin who, unsolicited, showed up to help for the final push in the beginning of January. […]
* RICK FALKVINGE: THE SWEDISH RADICAL LEADING THE FIGHT OVER WEB FREEDOMS
The tech entrepreneur launched the Pirate party to fight online censorship. Now, it is Europe’s fastest growing political group
By Carole Cadwalladr, Guardian UK
With his polished shoes, and formal three-piece pinstriped suit, Rick Falkvinge looks like the kind of man you might meet to discuss your tax affairs, or the finer points of your investment portfolio.
Not radical politics. Or illegal file-sharing. Or revolutionary e-currencies that may destroy the global banking system. Because, although sipping a soy latte in the Stockholm cafe that he calls his office, Falkvinge has the air of a successful corporate lawyer, he’s actually the founder and chief ideologue of Europe‘s youngest, boldest, and fastest growing political movement: the Pirate party.
The Pirates are a political force that have come out of nowhere. Dreamed up by Falkvinge in 2006, they’re an offshoot of the underground computer activist scene and champion digital transparency, freedom and access for all. In three years, they gained their first seat in the European parliament (they now have two) and became the largest party in Sweden for voters under 30. Since then they’ve gained political representation in Germany and swept large parts of Europe.
What they’ve done is to use technology in new ways to harness political power. Falkvinge describes how “we’re online 24/7”, how they operate in what he calls “the swarm” – nobody is in charge, and nobody can tell anybody else what to do – and how, essentially, they are the political embodiment of online activist culture.
The Pirates are geekdom gone mainstream and Falkvinge is the Julian Assange-style figurehead. A leading player in a fight for digital freedom that last week came to a dramatic head when the US Congress prepared to vote on the Stop Online Privacy Act (Sopa), and Wikipedia, supported by the likes of Google, led a 24-hour blackout of the internet.
The controversial legislation has, temporarily at least, been shelved, but Falkvinge is unequivocal about the gravity of the threat. The law would have given American courts the right to crack down on internet sites anywhere in the world and to monitor anybody’s private communications. It is, he claims, nothing less than an attack on fundamental human rights.
“We’re at an incredible crossroads right now. They’re demanding the right to wiretap the entire population. It’s unprecedented. This is a technology that can be used to give everybody a voice. But it can also be used to build a Big Brother society so dystopian that if someone had written a book about it in the 1950s, it would have been discarded as unrealistic.” […]
* SAY NO TO ACTA
Learn more and take action about ACTA @ http://lqdn.fr/ACTA