Sunday, 30 October 2011

To Control Dissent, Lead It....

The uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt in the first months of this year came out of the blue, catching power centres everywhere by suprise. The remainder of this year has seen a scramble to catch up with events in order to regain and retain control. Centres of power undestand very well that in order to control dissent it is necessary to lead it, and with this reality in mind it is instructional to look at the Tea party movement in the United States as well as the NTC's success in Libya.
In describing themselves as the 'NTC' the new government in Libya insults our intelligence, and we should be rightly asking why they dont just call themselves 'Another TNC Enabler' and be done?
The NATO attack on Libya was an abomination initiated on false pretexts, organised so as to converge with a genuine people's rebellion.
According to the official narrative, NATO's intervention was undertaken in order to prevent a bloodbath; with Gadaffi said to be murdering the citizens of Benghazi; some reports suggesting that 6000 people had already been killed. The assertions of a looming slaughter originated in the Geneva offices of the 'Libyan Human Rights Group', represented by Dr Sliman Bouchuiguir. The accusations were listed in a letter sent from Dr Bouchuiguir's office, and signed by a group of dissidents and seventy NGO's, and delivered to heads of state worldwide.
The reports about Benghazi now appear to have been a fabrication, and it is the rebel forces themselves who today are suspected of carrying out massacres of loyalist troops and burying them in mass graves.
For the new Libyan regime to enjoy good relations with the West, we can be certain that our masters will require far more than cooperation in the 'war on terror' and a willingness to 'trade freely' with Western oil companies.
Phyllis Benning of the US based Institute For Policy Studies has pointed out that “....Libya’s oil wealth is massive enough — especially in light of the country’s small population — that Libyans enjoyed national systems of health care, education, and other public services that were relatively good by developing-nation standards.”
Former MI5 employee Annie Machon concurs:
They’ve had free education, free health, they could study abroad. When they got married they got a certain amount of money. So they were rather the envy of many other citizens of African countries. Now, of course, since NATO’s humanitarian intervention the infrastructure of their country has been bombed back to the Stone Age. They will not have the same quality of life. Women probably will not have the same degree of emancipation under any new transitional government. The national wealth is probably going to be siphoned off by Western corporations. Perhaps the standard of living in Libya might have been slightly higher than it perhaps is now in America and the UK with the recession,”
Trans-National Corporations will demand that Libya's health care, education system and other essential public services such as water be privatised at the earliest opportunity, and the only type of new Libyan administration that will be acceptable is one compliant to this agenda.
Western business interests will exploit the new divisions that the civil war has created to further this agenda.
AFRICOM will eventually oversee this militarisation of commerce from Libya all the way down to the Gulf of Guinea, itself an increasingly important source of oil and gas to the US.
An oil tanker takes three weeks to travel from West Africa to the US. It takes eight weeks to arrive from the Persian Gulf, having negotiated the Straits of Hormuz; a narrow waterway that Iran is able to sever with very little effort, and currently with every justification for wanting to do so.
US foreign policy therefore will increasingly be to look to the East side of the Atlantic Basin for it's energy requirements, and the Gulf of Guinea will become central to future needs.
In one of those ironic twists of history, this is the same part of the world that provided for an earlier energy demand of the United States when it was still a British colony.
That energy was the human muscle of the slave trade, and that period of history is known as the Black Holocaust.
European produced guns were frequently traded for slaves in West Africa, and in the 1750's the going rate was 16 guns for each captured person. Figures show that in these years 283,000 to 399,000 such weapons entered the area annually.
The arms which continue to pour into Africa today then are part of a tradition going back over 250 years.
The NATO supported mayhem in Libya which led to widespread looting throughout the country mirrors exactly what happened in Iraq after it had fallen to the US led invasion forces in 2003. Once again, arms storage depots have been ransacked by mobs, but this time the consequences are likely to be even more calamitous than what transpired in Iraq. Among the weapons recently 'liberated' are 20,000 surface to air missiles, prompting Human Rights Watch emergencies director in Libya Peter Bouckaert, to comment: "We are talking about some 20,000 surface-to-air missiles in all of Libya, and I've seen cars packed with them. They could turn all of North Africa into a no-fly zone."

In addition to its overseas adventures, Empire is using the strategy of 'divide and rule' at home also, and in this instance the scapegoats will likely continue to be Muslims, people of colour, the unemployed, the working poor and economic refugees. Most of us in fact. This should be a major issue for any genuine populist movement to take on board, but there has been no evidence of any momentum in this direction from the Tea Party; the reality being that their rallies have by and large been displays of reactionary and frequently illogical sentiments. Tea Party people are very angry, and they have much to be angry about, but their focus has been exclusively anti government, with zero attention paid to the role of the corporations.
We are however reminded of the observation of John Dewey's that “ long as politics is the shadow cast on society by big business, the attenuation of the shadow will not change the substance.
If Obama has taught us anything it is that John Dewey's words have never been more relevant, and until the system itself is changed then only the terminally naïve can continue to believe that replacing one figurehead with another is going to make any substantial difference to US foreign or domestic policies.
The 2010 G20 summit in Toronto concluded with a declaration that living standards in the US and Europe need to be reduced by 25% to 33% over the coming ten years. We can assume that this 'structural adjustment' will not be across the board: last year for example the number of millionaires in the US rose by 16%. This then is what a 'jobless recovery' looks like.
Totalitarianism is being achieved in the US by stealth, and the Tea Party was created to control the rebellious dissent certain to occur anywhere a nation finds its economy 'structurally adjusting' in a radically downwards direction.
These past two years have until recently been marked by a striking absence of any genuine popular dialogue, and filling the gap caused by its absence is a narrative which until recently people seemed willing to accept unquestioningly. That this narrative has been rigidly controlled by those who clearly do not have the interests of the people of the US at heart is indicative of a deeply dysfunctional system. Now that the elites of the trans-national corporations and financial institutions alone decide the peoples fate, it would appear that those who have worked so relentlessly in degrading democracy are ready and willing to push the country still further towards totalitarianism.
The fight back in the US however has begun in earnest. It began with the Maddison Wisconsin occupation of the State Capitol, and is now manifesting itself in the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement centred around Zucotti Park in New York. In just four weeks it has grown from being a small group of fifteen or so people into what is now becoming a global phenomena of historic proportions.
Back at the begining of 2009 when Obama became President, his message of change had resonated strongly among people, but in retrospect it was merely another slogan. When it became clear to all that any changes were going to be for the worse, the word was that Obama was waiting for the popular movement to emerge that would 'hold his feet to the fire'. That popular movement is clearly with us now, and if Obama can't feel the heat on his toes, then somebody needs to check his pulse. Whether he is in any position to reach out and respond remains to be seen.
Meanwhile a US marine showed up in Zucotti park the other day wearing his full dress blues and carrying a sign which read: "This is the second war I've been called to fight in, but it's the first time I've known who my enemy is." 

Michael Perry Monday October 31.