Wednesday, January 9, 2008

'You are being sold'

From: 'Private security contractors look to Africa for recruits'

" ... Over the past few years, in Namibia and Uganda, Mozambique, and Burundi, and scores of other impoverished, war-torn countries, American private security companies have increased efforts to hire former fighters for work in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other global hot spots, according to researchers, human rights activists, and those in the private security industry.

Companies and their supporters say this recruitment drive is simply globalization – a way for businesses competing for lucrative security contracts to get talent at a lower cost. They point out that they are bringing jobs to struggling countries and are helping boost developing economies.

"You need to compete against other companies that are going to third-country nationals," says Doug Brooks, president of the Washington-based International Peace Operations Association, an industry organization for private security companies. "And you're giving a Namibian 100 times his national salary."

But Nangolo and other human rights activists believe this new trend is exploitative as well as destabilizing in a region that is trying to move beyond its violent past.

"I told them [Namibia's former fighters], 'You are being sold,' " Nangolo says. " 'This is a type of human trafficking because of the socioeconomic condition you are in.' "

The Namibian government seemed to agree with Nangolo, who filed a legal protest saying SOC-SMG was violating Namibian laws against mercenary activity. On Oct. 12, the Namibian government expelled from the country two top SOC-SMG officials, and ordered the company to shut down all of its Namibian business operations. ... "

 

Using the 'war on terror' as a policy cornerstone


" ... ABC News anchorman Charles Gibson asked a question which he called “the central one in my mind on nuclear terrorism.” He continued:
“The next president of the United States may have to deal with a nuclear attack on an American city. I’ve read a lot about this in recent days. The best nuclear experts in the world say there’s a 30 percent chance in the next 10 years. Some estimates are higher. Graham Allison, at Harvard, says it’s over 50 percent. Senator Sam Nunn, in 2005, who knows a lot about this, posed two questions that stick in my mind. And I want to put them to you here. On the day after a nuclear weapon goes off in an American city, what would we wish we had done to prevent it? And what will we actually do on the day after?”
The “probability” estimates cited by Gibson have zero scientific credibility, since they come from “experts” associated with the US military/intelligence apparatus, who have a professional interest in terrorizing the American people with the prospect of nuclear annihilation in order to intimidate opponents of American military aggression around the world. But none of the Democratic candidates challenged Gibson for echoing the scare-mongering tactics of the Bush administration.
[ ... ]
There is a more fundamental issue, however, than the efforts of the Democrats to take up the mantle of the “war on terror.” That issue is what the very posing of the question says about the state of American democracy.
Ever since the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration and the main repressive agencies of the federal government—the Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA, the FBI—have been developing plans for the suspension of constitutional rule and the establishment of an executive branch dictatorship.
Nearly six years ago it was revealed that the Bush administration had assigned hundreds of federal officials to ensure “continuity of government” in the event of a terrorist attack on Washington DC. This was to be an openly dictatorial regime, drawn solely from the executive branch. No judges or elected legislators were to be included in the “shadow government,” and top legislators were not even aware of its existence.
As the World Socialist Web Site observed at the time these plans became public: “The greatest threat to the American people comes, not from foreign terrorists or Islamic fundamentalists, but from the behind-the-scenes machinations of the American government itself... The ‘war on terrorism’ has become the foundation on which the Bush administration has begun to erect a military-police dictatorship...” (See: “The shadow of dictatorship: Bush established secret government after September 11” )
In the years since, a definite modus operandi has emerged. Whenever the Bush administration feels under siege politically, the threat of terrorism is used to spread fear and anxiety among the American people, distract them from the deepening social and economic crisis of the capitalist system, and intimidate political opponents of the administration’s program of endless war. ... "

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