Tue Feb 14, 2012, 03:12 PM
Judi Lynn (111,088 posts)
US-Colombia FTA still waiting for unionist violence to be addressed
US-Colombia FTA still waiting for unionist violence to be addressed
Tuesday, 14 February 2012 06:17
The United States said Monday Colombia had not yet met its obligations to protect labor unionists required for the Free Trade Agreement to come into effect.
The U.S.-Colombia FTA endured years of delay before being signed, due to Congressional concerns about labor rights in the Andean nation, which has long been one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a trade unionist. Colombia agreed to implement an action plan establishing benchmarks and timetables to strengthen labor laws and protect unionists -- but murders continue.
The action plan signed last April saw Colombia promise to take measures against the threatening and killing of unionists, prosecute suspected murderers of labor rights activists and take measures to combat the exploitation of laborers.
But dozens of trade unionists were still murdered in 2011 -- Colombian unions say 51, the government says 30 -- and several more have been killed in 2012.
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US-Colombia FTA still waiting for unionist violence to be addressed (Original post)
|Judi Lynn||Feb 2012||OP|
|Peace Patriot||Feb 2012||#2|
Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)
Wed Feb 15, 2012, 12:46 PM
Peace Patriot (24,010 posts)
2. To understand the world that is presented to us by the Corporate Press...
...and I don't include Colombia Reports (origin of this OP) as "Corporate Press" (they seem too honest and objective--don't know much about them; just guessing from their articles that they are a reliable, useful, alternative news source), we really have to think "outside of the box."
Successful "outside the box" thinking requires widespread reading from many sources, the ability to "read between the lines" (what are propagandists not telling you?), analytical skills that can suss out disinformation and propaganda, and a good sense of history, past and recent. It also requires a certain amount of intellectual bravery--being tolerant of seemingly wild hypotheses, in order to stretch your mind around a problem, achieving the broadest, deepest view, and then having the mental flexibility to "snap back" to the "real" world (where evidence may be scanty or even twisted into its opposite) to "test" various theories against what it is possible to know for sure.
A good example of "outside the box" thinking, regarding the world that is presented to us by the Corporate Press, is, for instance, to presume, upfront, that the Bush Junta was, indeed, a "junta" (seizure of power) by which a worldwide criminal organization (the most powerful mafia of all) got direct control of U.S. government mechanisms and resources, and, for one thing, bled our government dry, and, for another, used our government's powers and resources to expand and protect this "organization"'s criminal activities.
If you posit this idea--a criminal organization at the top--suddenly, quite insane things, like the U,S. "war on drugs" in the hands of the Bush Junta (and as presented by the Corporate Press) begin to make sense, i.e., it's not that the Bush Junta ever desired to stop the trillion+ dollar cocaine trade out of Colombia (as alleged by the criminal organization running the U.S. government, and promoted without thought by the Corporate Press); just the opposite is true--the Bush Junta was USING the U.S. "war on drugs" to GET BETTER CONTROL of that vast, illicit trade, for instance, by...
...eliminating rival or uncooperative drug lords,
...eliminating millions of tiny peasant farmers who grew coca leaves AND food (FIVE MILLION peasant farmers brutally displaced from their lands over the last decade, by the Colombian military, using $7 BILLION in U.S. military aid),
...better directing the huge cocaine revenue stream to certain beneficiaries (the Bush Cartel, the CIA, U.S. banksters),
...providing hand-picked mafia don president of Colombia (Alvaro Uribe) with the latest spying technology and other U.S. assistance so that he could protect these criminal operations (--he was spying on judges and prosecutors, with a direct liaison from his spying agency to the U.S. embassy--according to recent testimony--and was also colluding with the U.S. ambassador to get certain witnesses out of the country and out of the reach of Colombian prosecutors, according to the black holes where information should be ("between the lines") in Corporate Press "news" reports)...
The cocaine never stops flowing, after a decade of intense and very bloody "war" against it, at the cost of multi-billions. And guess who also ends up dead, at the hands of the Colombian military and its notorious paramilitary death squads (and, if the truth were known, probably at the hands of the U.S. military and its 'contractors' as well)? Thousands of labor leaders, human rights advocates, teachers, community activists, peasant farmer organizers, political leftists and other "enemies" of the mafioso regime at the top!
Which brings me to the subject of this OP: The U.S./Colombia "free trade for the rich" agreement, and the Obama administration's role.
First of all, TWO rightwing presidents of U.S.-dominated countries recently proposed legalizing all drugs--the new president of Colombia, Manuel Santos, and the new president of Guatemala, Otto Perez Molina.
This should be quite mind-boggling to anyone who relies solely on the Corporate Press for their understanding of the world and who can't "think outside the box." The major beneficiaries of the U.S. "war on drugs" (in addition to the favored, protected drug cartels--a more hidden reality) are rightwing politicians, who thrive on fear, who stoke up a "hard line" on crime, who promote fascist treatment of prisoners or any "accused," who love to imprison people--who love packed prisons and the rape and violence that occurs in them--who are hogtied to the "prison-industrial complex" as well as to the "military-industrial complex"--who favor security forces over human and civil rights, who are in turn supported by the most fascist elements within security forces and who thrive on doling out government funds to security agencies and to all the private contractor leeches tied to them.
In short, the right feeds on the "war on drugs" in every way. The "war on drugs" is a major weapon in the rightwing arsenal (here and in LatAm) for oppressing and controlling the poor.
Two RIGHTWING presidents are calling for legalization of all drugs!
Also, a non-partisan commission of former presidents of Mexico has recommended legalization of marijuana and re-thinking the entire "war on drugs." (50,000 murders in Mexico connected to the Bush Junta-instigated "war on drugs" bloodbath there, among security forces and rival drug cartels.)
The Obama administration has issued some routine, pro-"war on drugs" statements in response to these astonishing proposals from the RIGHT (and, in Mexico, the center?) in LatAm. But with regard to Santos (and probably Perez Molina as well), we need to understand that Obama's CIA Director, Leon Panetta, put Santos in power and yanked the mafia don Uribe off the stage. (These are rightwing rivals of the same political party--Santos and Uribe.) The U.S. CONTROLS any country they give $7 BILLION in military aid to, and of course any country where they can engineer a U.S. "free trade for the rich" agreement. The leaders of such countries are ALWAYS rightwing politicians, who represent the rich few.
But in Colombia, as in Washington, there is an important difference between the outright criminal politician (Uribe, Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld) and the mere servants of corporate/war profiteer interests (Clinton, Obama). One of the roles of the latter is to protect the outright criminals from investigation and prosecution--and there is plenty of evidence that that is exactly what the Obama administration has done (no doubt with the help of the Bush Senior-connected Panetta). This DOESN'T mean that Obama is dirty. It means that Obama is in their power--in the power of his predecessor criminals. There are other in's and out's of the Obama administration's role--and lots of things we simply can't see, because our government is so secretive--but I think that this is the general truth about the situation, regarding what the Bush Junta was doing in Colombia and the Obama administration's bind: that the U.S. "war on drugs" was turned into a massive criminal operation that now provides TRILLIONS of illicit dollars to various U.S.-based entities that now have Obama boxed in.
One other vital component of this picture is Big Pharma which has been doing R&D on the legal manufacture and retail of "controlled substances" for some time now, and related entities like Monsanto or any transglobal corp that may have benefited from the huge land grab from the peasants in Colombia (for instance, Exxon Mobil). Now that the Bush Junta has consolidated the drug trade, it's time to "launder" it into the mainstream economy. At first blush, it doesn't seem like this would enhance profits from these drugs, but, long term, ANY powerful monopoly makes money--lots of money. Big Pharma likely intends to profit from all the addiction to the harder drugs that the Bush Junta fostered, and to control recreational drugs and mere herbs (marijuana, coca leaves) as well. As with all the prior legal, prescription-controlled drugs, Big Pharma will profit, big time--including profiting from one of their biggest looting venues, Medicare.
It's quite interesting that this same rightwing politician--Santos--also proposed universal medical for Colombians. That was as jaw-dropping as his support for legalization of illicit drugs. But it just occurred to me that what may be behind that medical care proposal is Big Pharma's plan to manufacture and sell addictive and recreational drugs (including the harmless herbs). Colombia will develop a system like ours, in which Big Pharma, Big Med and Big Insurance will loot the government/worker-funded system of medical care, with out-of-control pricing and now, with the addition of addictive and recreational drugs consumers. Addiction will decrease--as it has proven to do, with legalization--and recreational use will also decrease (proven). But the overall actuarial picture will greatly boost the profits of rich investors and CEO's, with legalization. The money will go them, rather than to drug cartels, or, rather, the drug cartels (the favored, protected ones) will be subsumed into the corporate monopolies.
While the Obama administration may not be dirty criminals, profiting from the drug trade, they are most certainly the servants of Big Pharma and other corporate interests. So what I think is happening here--thinking "outside the box"--is that this legalization of drugs proposal from rightwing, U.S.-connected politicians in LatAm, is an indirect, "run it up the flagpole" proposal FROM the Obama administration, which sees a number of benefits in it, including budget relief (billions and billions to the "war on drugs") and service to Big Pharma, Big Med and Big Insurance, which will take over and monopolize the drug trade.
What has this to do with Obama administration objections to on-going murders of trade unionists in Colombia (which have been carried out with U.S. "war on drugs" funding and occurred with the active support of the Bush Junta, which helped set up the rightwing paramilitary killers of trade unionists--a criminal network that has yet to be busted and probably CAN'T be busted because of its TIES to the Bush Junta)?
Taking the cynical view (almost always justified), Big Pharma's plan to gain control over addictive and recreational drugs is not ready yet, thus the Colombia/U.S. "free trade for the rich" agreement needs to be delayed.
Am I saying that the Obama administration is hypocritical about the murders of trade unionists? Yes. They couldn't care less about such murders. In fact, such murders aid all the corporate interests whom they serve. Cynical? Yup. The truth? Very likely. THEY are the cynics, not me.
BEHIND their hypocritical concern over the murders of trade unionists, something else lurks. What is it? WHY do they want to delay implementation of this "free trade" agreement? I mean, why really?
These U.S. supported, rightwing presidents (of Colombia and Guatemala) may have supplied the answer: legalization of drugs is coming, as soon as Big Pharma, et al, are ready, and our people and others are prepped for the plunge. Not everything is in place. U.S. "free trade for the rich" agreements are a vital component of this plan and the one in Colombia is especially important. (Interesting note: Santos promised universal medical care to Colombians by the end of this year. I thought that was a rather sweeping and precipitous promise, but if Big Pharma, et al, are designing it, it could happen very swiftly.)
Also, there is some unfinished business to the Bush Junta consolidation of the drug trade--for instance, Mexico, where the "war" still rages. Honduras (Bush Junta-designed rightwing coup; Obama legitimization of the coup) may also still be in the "consolidation" stage. In Guatemala, I think that the drug cartels have put their president in place (Perez Molina) and are awaiting legalization. His legalization proposal was sweeping--it includes legalization of drug traffic THROUGH Guatemala, as well as legalization of ALL illicit drugs.
Obama and his government are not outright criminals (not "made men" like Bush and Uribe). Santos (Uribe's successor) and his government are probably not outright criminals. But both are having to deal with a criminal SITUATION, in which both of their predecessor governments WERE outright criminals and Obama in particular feels obliged to protect them. But underneath EVERYTHING is this other reality--that the very powerful drug cartels are about to go legit.
You'd think it would be the left, here and in LatAm, that would be pushing for legalization--for instance, to dismantle the police state that enforces the "war on drugs" and to curb the huge collateral damage (murders of trade unionists and other leftists; criminalization of the poor, etc.)
But no. It's coming from the RIGHT. WHY?. How does legalization serve the interests of the right, there, and the interests of U.S. transglobals whom the Obama administration serves and who are closely tied in with the right in LatAm? And how does a delay of the Colombia/U.S. "free trade for the rich" agreement fit into this picture--if, as I cynically presume, it's not really about the murders of trade unionists?
My "outside of the box" thinking helps. I don't know if I've hit upon the truth, but I think I've hit upon some bits of the truth and maybe a plausible outline--a general hypothesis--that helps makes some sense out of the lies that we are fed and of insane policies like the "war on drugs" and of crazy inconsistencies, such as Obama (in a turnabout) supporting this "free trade" agreement, which WILL grievously harm labor unions in Colombia, as such trade agreements have done everywhere else (it's the nature of the "free trade" beast), while avidly supporting the U.S. "war on drugs," which is BEING USED TO murder trade unionists, but having ALLIES--rightwing politicians in LatAm--advocate legalization of drugs. (Rightwing politicians in U.S. client states simply don't DO this--take such a huge policy leap without authorization from Washington.)
Big Pharma and brethren are about to end the "war on drugs" and profit from all that has gone before. The Bush Cartel has positioned itself for this move. As soon as some loose ends are tied up, the Obama administration will begin implementing the legalization plan. This all seems like it could be beneficial, in a weird, crooked sort of way. (God knows I want to see the "war on drugs" ENDED!) But Obama will have to mollify "war on drugs" profiteers at home --big bad police state-industrial complex. How will he do that? Some other kind of "war"? Using the big boost in tax revenues from legalized drugs for war on Iran (or Venezuela)?
Lots of complex in's and out's to this. We'll see what happens. Once sufficient numbers of trade unionists have been eliminated, and the labor movement's back entirely broken, in Colombia (and Honduras)*, perhaps we will see the rest of "the plan" unfold.
*(A word about Mexico. Unions have a lot of power in Mexico, and so the plan there may have been to bust the entire society and country. The Bushwhacks tossed billions into that effort, on their way out of the White House. I think one of their goals was privatization of Mexico's constitutionally protected oil resource, something they were not able to achieve even with their installed president, Felipe Calderon. But other goals may have been to select and favor certain drug cartels, for immediate profit and looking forward to the legalization plan, and also to create vast murder and mayhem, the Bushwhack method of gaining control of the drug trade in Colombia and of boosting fascist/corporate interests. We have not YET seen specific "war on drugs" targeting of union leaders in Mexico--that I know of--as we've seen in Colombia and Honduras. The mayhem in Mexico is a more generalized assault on civil society, with probably several goals, as mentioned above (control of oil and the drug trade, etc). You first have to bust democracy to make really big profits. Corrupt though it may be, Mexico has a long, tough democratic tradition--a "power to the people" revolutionary tradition--that is hard to bust. Kind of like our own. A long, difficult, devious, treasonous, multi-front battle against civility itself needs to be mounted.)