Posts tagged foreign policy
NOTE: For the full report (US version):
U.S. tax dollars promote Monsanto’s GMO crops overseas: report
Reuters, May 14 2013
U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill for overseas lobbying that promotes controversial biotech crops developed by U.S.-based Monsanto Co and other seed makers, a report issued on Tuesday said.
A review of 926 diplomatic cables of correspondence to and from the U.S. State Department and embassies in more than 100 countries found that State Department officials actively promoted the commercialization of specific biotech seeds, according to the report issued by Food & Water Watch, a nonprofit consumer protection group.
The officials tried to quash public criticism of particular companies and facilitated negotiations between foreign governments and seed companies such as Monsanto over issues like patents and intellectual property, the report said.
The cables show U.S. diplomats supporting Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company, in foreign countries even after it paid $1.5 million in fines after being charged with bribing an Indonesian official and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in 2005.
One 2009 cable shows the embassy in Spain seeking “high-level U.S. government intervention” at the “urgent request” of Monsanto to combat biotech crop opponents there, according to the Food & Water Watch report.
The report covered cables from 2005-2009 that were released by Wikileaks in 2010 as part of a much larger release by Wikileaks of a range of diplomatic cables it obtained.
Monsanto spokesman Tom Helscher said Monsanto believes it is critical to maintain an open dialogue with government authorities and trade groups in other countries.
“We remain committed to sharing information so that individuals can better understand our business and our commitments to support farmers throughout the world as they work to meet the agriculture demands of our world’s growing population,” he said.
State Department officials had no immediate comment when contacted about the report.
Food & Water Watch said the cables it examined provide a detailed account of how far the State Department goes to support and promote the interests of the agricultural biotech industry, which has had a hard time gaining acceptance in many foreign markets.
“It really goes beyond promoting the US’s biotech industry and agriculture,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “It really gets down to twisting the arms of countries and working to undermine local democratic movements that may be opposed to biotech crops, and pressuring foreign governments to also reduce the oversight of biotech crops.”
But U.S. officials, Monsanto, and many other companies and industry experts routinely say that biotech crops are needed around the world to increase global food production as population expands. They maintain that the crops are safe and make farming easier and more environmentally sustainable.
PROMOTION THROUGH PAMPHLETS, DVDs?
The cables show that State Department officials directed embassies to “troubleshoot problematic legislation” that might hinder biotech crop development and to “encourage the development and commercialization of ag-biotech products”.
The State Department also produced pamphlets in Slovenia promoting biotech crops, sent pro-biotech DVDs to high schools in Hong Kong and helped bring foreign officials and media from 17 countries to the United States to promote biotech agriculture, Food & Water Watch said.
Genetically altered crops are widely used in the United States. Crops spliced with DNA from other species are designed to resist pests and tolerate chemical applications, and since their introduction in the mid 1990s have come to dominate millions of acres of U.S. farmland.
The biotech crops are controversial with some groups and in many countries because some studies have shown harmful health impacts for humans and animals, and the crops have been associated with some environmental problems.
They also generally are more expensive than conventional crops, and the biotech seed developers patent the high-tech seeds so farmers using them have to buy new seed every season, a factor that makes them unappealing in some developing nations.
Many countries ban planting of biotech crops or have strict labeling requirements.
“It’s appalling that the State Department is complicit in supporting their (the biotech seed industry’s) goals despite public and government opposition in several countries,” said Ronnie Cummins, executive director of nonprofit organization Organic Consumers Association.
“American taxpayer’s money should not be spent advancing the goals of a few giant biotech companies.”
(Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)
By Eric Blair
Two disturbing developments have occurred in the last couple of days that have gone relatively unnoticed compared to the recent IRS, AP, and Benghazi scandals.
First, the senate is debating an expansion of the already broad powers of the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) so the U.S. can essentially engage any area in the world in the war on terror, including America. Which brings us to the second development: the Pentagon has recently granted itself police powers on American soil.
Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Sheehan told Congress yesterday that the AUMF authorized the US military to operate on a worldwide battlefield from Boston to Pakistan. Sheehan emphasized that the Administration is authorized to put boots on the ground wherever the enemy chooses to base themselves, essentially ignoring the declaration of war clause in the US Constitution.
Senator Angus King said this interpretation of the AUMF is a “nullity” to the Constitution because it ignores Congress’ role to declare war. King called it the “most astoundingly disturbing hearing” he’s been to in the Senate.
Even ultra-hawk John McCain agreed that the AUMF has gone way beyond its authority.
“This authority … has grown way out of proportion and is no longer applicable to the conditions that prevailed, that motivated the United States Congress to pass the authorization for the use of military force that we did in 2001,” McCain said.
Glenn Greenwald wrote an excellent piece describing how this hearing reveals the not-so-secret plan to make the war on terror a permanent fixture in Western society.
It is hard to resist the conclusion that this war has no purpose other than its own eternal perpetuation. This war is not a means to any end but rather is the end in itself. Not only is it the end itself, but it is also its own fuel: it is precisely this endless war – justified in the name of stopping the threat of terrorism – that is the single greatest cause of that threat.
A self-perpetuating permanent war against a shadowy undefinable enemy appears to be the future of American foreign policy. How convenient for the war machine and tyrants who claim surveillance is safety.
But perhaps most disturbing of all of this is the military’s authority to police American streets as if it was in civil war. For all those still in denial that America is a militarized police state, this should be the ultimate cure to your delusion.
Jeff Morey of AlterNet writes:
By making a few subtle changes to a regulation in the U.S. Code titled “Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies” the military has quietly granted itself the ability to police the streets without obtaining prior local or state consent, upending a precedent that has been in place for more than two centuries.
The most objectionable aspect of the regulatory change is the inclusion of vague language that permits military intervention in the event of “civil disturbances.” According to the rule: “Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances.”
A law from 1878 called the Posse Comitatus Act was put in place to prevent the Department of Defense from interfering with local law enforcement. But now, the DoD claims they’ve had this authority for over 100 years.
By Judy Morris
Ron Paul on Monday dismissed both Republican and White House claims about Benghazi as a “sideshow” and said GOP criticisms on the issue politically motivated.
“Republicans smell a political opportunity over evidence that the Administration heavily edited initial intelligence community talking points about the attack to remove or soften anything that might reflect badly on the president or the State Department,” Paul, a libertarian-leaning former Republican congressman and presidential candidate, charged in a column posted on Monday.
His comments came as reports indicated that official talking points about the deadly Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya, had been stripped of references to terrorism. President Barack Obama, for his part, on Monday rejected criticism over the talking points as a “sideshow.” Paul, too, used that word — but in a very different context.
“The real lesson of Benghazi will not be learned because neither Republicans nor Democrats want to hear it,” he concluded. “But it is our interventionist foreign policy and its unintended consequences that have created these problems, including the attack and murder of Ambassador Stevens. The disputed talking points and White House whitewashing are just a sideshow.”
Is Gov’t Response to Terror, Terror? – Prof. Beau Grosscup (Video Interview)
Next News Network interviews Prof. Beau Grosscup regarding the governments response to terror threats and terror attacks.
The recent opening of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity was a watershed moment in American history. There has never been anything quite like it. Ideologically diverse, the Ron Paul Institute reaches out to all Americans, and indeed to people all over the world, who find the spectrum of foreign-policy opinion in the United States to be unreasonably narrow. Until Ron Paul and his new institute, there was no resolutely anti-interventionist foreign-policy organization to be found.
Neoconservatives have not responded warmly to the announcement of Ron’s new institute. Whatever their particular gripes, we can be absolutely certain of the real reason for their unhappiness: they have never faced systematic, organized opposition before.
The Democrats would see Lincoln pried out of his temple before supporting nonintervention abroad, so they pose no fundamental problem for the neocons. Ron Paul, on the other hand, is real opposition, and he can mobilize an army. The neocons know it. What’s Tim Pawlenty up to these days? Where are his legions of well-read young fans who seek to carry on his philosophy? You see the point.
For the first time, strict nonintervention will have a permanent voice in American life. It is another nail in the neocon coffin. The neocons know they are losing the young. Bright kids who believe in freedom aren’t rallying to Mitt Romney or David Horowitz, and, like anyone with a critical mind and a moral compass, they are not going along with the regime’s war propaganda.
At this historic moment, I thought it might be appropriate to set down some thoughts on war – a manifesto for peace, as it were.
(1) Our rulers are not a law unto themselves.
Our warmakers believe they are exempt from normal moral rules. Because they are at war, they get to suspend all decency, all the norms that govern the conduct and interaction of human beings in all other circumstances. The anodyne term “collateral damage,” along with perfunctory and meaningless words of regret, are employed when innocent civilians, including children, are maimed and butchered. A private individual behaving this way would be called a sociopath. Give him a fancy title and a nice suit, and he becomes a statesman.
Let us pursue the subversive mission of applying the same moral rules against theft, kidnapping, and murder to our rulers that we apply to everyone else.
(2) Humanize the demonized.
We must encourage all efforts to humanize the populations of countries in the crosshairs of the warmakers. The general public is whipped into a war frenzy without knowing the first thing – or hearing only propaganda – about the people who will die in that war. The establishment’s media won’t tell their story, so it is up to us to use all the resources we as individuals have, especially online, to communicate the most subversive truth of all: that the people on the other side are human beings, too. This will make it marginally more difficult for the warmakers to carry out their Two Minutes’ Hate, and can have the effect of persuading Americans with normal human sympathies to distrust the propaganda that surrounds them.
(3) If we oppose aggression, let us oppose all aggression.
If we believe in the cause of peace, putting a halt to aggressive violence between nations is not enough. We should not want to bring about peace overseas in order that our rulers may turn their guns on peaceful individuals at home. Away with all forms of aggression against peaceful people.
(4) Never use “we” when speaking of the government.
The people and the warmakers are two distinct groups. We must never say “we” when discussing the US government’s foreign policy. For one thing, the warmakers do not care about the opinions of the majority of Americans. It is silly and embarrassing for Americans to speak of “we” when discussing their government’s foreign policy, as if their input were necessary to or desired by those who make war.
But it is also wrong, not to mention mischievous. When people identify themselves so closely with their government, they perceive attacks on their government’s foreign policy as attacks on themselves. It then becomes all the more difficult to reason with them – why, you’re insulting my foreign policy!
Likewise, the use of “we” feeds into war fever. “We” have to get “them.” People root for their governments as they would for a football team. And since we know ourselves to be decent and good, “they” can only be monstrous and evil, and deserving of whatever righteous justice “we” dispense to them.
The antiwar left falls into this error just as often. They appeal to Americans with a catalogue of horrific crimes “we” have committed. But we haven’t committed those crimes. The same sociopaths who victimize Americans themselves every day, and over whom we have no real control, committed those crimes.
(5) War is not “good for the economy.”
A commitment to peace is a wonderful thing and worthy of praise, but it needs to be coupled with an understanding of economics. A well-known US senator recently deplored cuts in military spending because “when you cut military spending you lose jobs.” There is no economic silver lining to war or to preparation for war.
Those who would tell us that war brings prosperity are grossly mistaken, even in the celebrated case of World War II. The particular stimulus that war gives to certain sectors of the economy comes at the expense of civilian needs, and directs resources away from the improvement of the common man’s standard of living.
Ludwig von Mises, the great free-market economist, wrote that “war prosperity is like the prosperity that an earthquake or a plague brings. The earthquake means good business for construction workers, and cholera improves the business of physicians, pharmacists, and undertakers; but no one has for that reason yet sought to celebrate earthquakes and cholera as stimulators of the productive forces in the general interest.”
Elsewhere, Mises described the essence of so-called war prosperity: it “enriches some by what it takes from others. It is not rising wealth but a shifting of wealth and income.”
(6) Support the free market? Then oppose war.
Ron Paul has restored the proper association of capitalism with peace and nonintervention. Leninists and other leftists, burdened by a false understanding of economics and the market system, used to claim that capitalism needed war, that alleged “overproduction” of goods forced market societies to go abroad – and often to war – in search for external markets for their excess goods.
This was always economic nonsense. It was political nonsense, too: the free market needs no parasitical institution to grease the skids for international commerce, and the same philosophy that urges nonaggression among individual human beings compels nonaggression between geographical areas.
Mises always insisted, contra the Leninists, that war and capitalism could not long coexist. “Of course, in the long run war and the preservation of the market economy are incompatible. Capitalism is essentially a scheme for peaceful nations…. The emergence of the international division of labor requires the total abolition of war…. The market economy involves peaceful cooperation. It bursts asunder when the citizens turn into warriors and, instead of exchanging commodities and services, fight one another.”
“The market economy,” Mises said simply, “means peaceful cooperation and peaceful exchange of goods and services. It cannot persist when wholesale killing is the order of the day.”
Those who believe in the free and unhampered market economy should be especially skeptical of war and military action. War, after all, is the ultimate government program. War has it all: propaganda, censorship, spying, crony contracts, money printing, skyrocketing spending, debt creation, central planning, hubris – everything we associate with the worst interventions into the economy.
“War,” Mises observed, “is harmful, not only to the conquered but to the conqueror. Society has arisen out of the works of peace; the essence of society is peacemaking. Peace and not war is the father of all things. Only economic action has created the wealth around us; labor, not the profession of arms, brings happiness. Peace builds; war destroys.”
See through the propaganda. Stop empowering and enriching the state by cheering its wars. Set aside the television talking points. Look at the world anew, without the prejudices of the past, and without favoring your own government’s version of things.
Be decent. Be human. Do not be deceived by the Joe Bidens, the John McCains, the Barack Obamas and Hillary Clintons. Reject the biggest government program of them all.
Peace builds. War destroys.
May 1, 2013
Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. [send him mail], former editorial assistant to Ludwig von Mises and congressional chief of staff to Ron Paul, is founder and CEO of the Mises Institute, executor for the estate of Murray N. Rothbard, and editor of LewRockwell.com. See his books.
Copyright © 2013 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
Ron Paul Institute Launch (Full Video)
The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity is a project of Dr. Paul’s Foundation for Rational Economics and Education (F.R.E.E.), founded in the 1970s as an educational organization. The Institute continues and expands Dr. Paul’s lifetime of public advocacy for a peaceful foreign policy and the protection of civil liberties at home.
The Institute mobilizes colleagues and collaborators of Dr. Paul’s to participate in a broad coalition to educate and advocate for fundamental changes in our foreign and domestic policy.
A prosperous America is profoundly linked to a foreign policy rooted in peaceful relations and trade with all. With peace, comes real prosperity.
Ron Paul’s real legacy in his writing, teaching, and in politics is his success bringing people of very different backgrounds and perspectives together under the common cause of peace, individual liberties, and prosperity. His institute energetically continues this kind of “coalition-building” in all aspects of its work. The Institute board is itself one of the best examples of how broad a coalition can come together and work for the same shared goals and values.
Ron Paul has been retired from Congress for only a few months, but he’s certainly not shying away from politics. The former US representative has already announced his new project: the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.
In a press release sent to the media Friday afternoon, the Ron Paul camp confirms that the long-time Texas representative will launch a think-tank of sorts in order to carry on his ideologies after his time in office has ended.
“After decades in and out of the US House of Representatives leading the call for a non-interventionist foreign policy and the protection of civil liberties, Dr. Paul is launching a revolutionary new vehicle to expand his efforts. The Institute will serve as the focal point of a new coalition that crosses political, ideological and party lines,” the statement begins.
According to the press release, the Ron Paul Institute will focus mainly on two issues: education and coming generations.
“It will fill the growing demand for information on foreign affairs from a non-interventionist perspective through a lively and diverse website, and will provide unique educational opportunities to university students and others,” his office says.
“The neo-conservative era is dead. The ill-advised policies pushed by the neo-cons have everywhere led to chaos and destruction, and to a hatred of the United States and its people. Multi-trillion dollar wars have not made the world a safer place; they have only bankrupted our economic future. The Ron Paul Institute will provide the tools and the education to chart a new course with the understanding that only through a peaceful foreign policy can we hope for a prosperous tomorrow.”
Ron Paul, 77, says he will formally unveil his latest endeavor next Wednesday at a conference in Washington, DC, only a stone’s throw from the congressional office he occupied for nearly three decades. Slated to attend the conference are the members of the Institute’s board of advisors, which contains a number of high-profile names including noted economist Lew Rockwell, the CEO of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and a longtime collaborator of Paul’s — he served as the congressman’s chief of staff from 1978 to 1982, and later advised the politician as he vied for the presidency.
Also on the Institutes board is Rep. Walter Jones, Jr. (NC), Rep. John Duncan, Jr. (TN), former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (OH) and Judge Andrew Napolitano.
Just earlier this month, Ron Paul unveiled his own homeschooling curriculum for students, which he describes as a program aimed to provide “education in liberty like no other.”
“Students will be exposed to thinkers they would never encounter in a government school. They will know history and economics better than anyone their age,” Rockwell wrote in an editorial announcing the start of the “Ron Paul Curriculum” published in The Daily Bell.
Photo source: http://rt.com
Published on Jan 26, 2013 by Eduardo89rp
Ron Paul giving the Carl Davis Distinguished Lecture on “The Libertarian Future”
Why We Are in Afghanistan: What’s hidden below Afghanistan soil? (video)
As 2012 draws to a close, it’s hard not to be reminded that 2013 will begin with Ron Paul retired from Congress. For all those years he was a fearless truth-teller, who exposed and denounced the horrors, domestic or foreign, of the regime. His farewell address – something practically unheard of for a congressman in the first place – will continue to be read years from now, as future Americans look back with astonishment that such a man actually served in the US Congress.
For most of his career, those speeches were delivered to a largely empty chamber and to audiences of modest size around the country. A man of Ron’s intelligence could have grown in stature and influence in no time at all had he been willing to play the game. He wasn’t. And he was perfectly at peace with the result: although he wasn’t a major political celebrity, he had done his moral duty.
Little did he know that those thankless years of pointing out the State’s lies and refusing to be absorbed into the Blob would in fact make him a hero one day. To see Ron speaking to many thousands of cheering kids, when all the while respectable opinion had been warning them to stay far away from this dangerous man, is more gratifying and encouraging than I can say. I was especially thrilled when a tempestuous Ron, responding to the Establishment’s description of his campaign as “dangerous,” said, you’re darn right – I am dangerous, to them.
Some people used to tell Ron that if only he’d stop talking about foreign policy he might win more supporters. He knew it was all nonsense. Foreign policy was the issue that made Ron into a phenomenon. There would have been no Ron Paul movement in the first place had Ron not distinguished himself from the pack by refusing to accept the cartoonish narrative, peddled not only by Rudy Giuliani but also by the luminaries of both major political parties, accounting for the origins of 9/11.
How many bills did he pass, right-wing scoffers demand to know. A successful Republican politician, in between his usual activity of expanding government power, is supposed to have rearranged the deck chairs on the Titanic five or six times, by means of bills with his name on them. At best, the bills these politicos boast about amounted to marginal changes of momentary significance, if even that. More commonly, even the bills they trumpeted turned out to be ambiguous or actually negative from a libertarian standpoint.
What is Ron’s legacy? Not some phony bill, of zero significance in the general avalanche of statism. For his legacy, look around you.
The Federal Reserve, an issue not discussed in American politics in a hundred years, is under greater scrutiny now than ever before. Austrian economics is enjoying a rebirth that dwarfs the attention it received when F.A. Hayek won the Nobel Prize in 1974 – and when you ask people how they heard about the Austrian School, the universal answer is Ron Paul. One man brought about this intellectual revolution. How’s that for a legacy?
And that’s not to mention how many people Ron introduced to libertarian thought in general, or how many hawks reconsidered their position on war because of Ron’s arguments and example.
Even the mainstream media has to acknowledge the existence of a whole new category of thinker: one that is antiwar, anti-Fed, anti-police state, and pro-market. The libertarian view is even on the map of those who despise it. That, too, is Ron’s doing.
Young people are reading major treatises in economics and philosophy because Ron Paul recommended them. Who else in public life can come close to saying that?
How many bills did he get passed? Talk about missing the point.
Where are the hordes of students dying to learn from Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, or Mitt Romney?
Remember, too, that in politics there’s always some excuse for why the message of liberty can’t be delivered. I have to satisfy the party leadership. I have to keep the media off my back. The moment is inopportune. My constituents aren’t ready to hear it – so instead of explaining myself and persuading them, I’ll just keep my mouth shut, or minimize my position to the point where I sound like any old politician, except ten percent better.
And all the while, would-be donors are assured that this is all a facade, that the politician is really one of us and not what he appears to be. For the time being, you understand, he has to contradict his core beliefs in order to ingratiate himself into the favor of those whose support he will one day need.
Once elected, he still cannot really say what he thinks. Don’t you want him to get re-elected?
Ron never acted this way. At times he would explain the libertarian position in ways likely to resonate with a particular audience, but he never compromised or backed away.
It’s been said that if you ask Ron Paul a question, he gives you a straight answer. That’s an understatement. All through his presidential campaigns he sent the guardians of opinion into hysterics. Why, he can’t say that! That wasn’t even one of the choices! To the gatekeepers’ astonishment, his numbers kept on growing.
No politician is going to trick the public into embracing liberty, even if liberty were his true goal and not just a word he uses in fundraising letters. For liberty to advance, a critical mass of the public has to understand and support it. That doesn’t have to mean a majority, or even anywhere near it. But some baseline of support has to exist.
That is why Ron Paul’s work is so important and so lasting.
Ten years from now, no one will remember the men who opposed Ron in the GOP primaries. Half of them are forgotten already. But fifty years from now (and longer), young kids will still be learning from Ron: reading his books, following his recommendations for further study, and taking inspiration from his courage and principle.
With Ron’s Congressional career drawing to a close, we should remember that we have witnessed something highly unusual, and exceedingly unlikely to be repeated. And we should also remember Ron’s parting advice: the real revolution is not in Washington, DC. It’s in the world of ideas.
That’s what Ron is devoting the rest of his life to, and it’s one more thing he has to teach us. So watch for news of his institutionalized work for peace, his homeschooling curriculum, his homepage, and his TV network. Far from retiring, Ron Paul is stepping up his work for liberty. And in this work, there is a place for all of us.
December 21, 2012
Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. [send him mail], former editorial assistant to Ludwig von Mises and congressional chief of staff to Ron Paul, is founder and chairman of the Mises Institute, executor for the estate of Murray N. Rothbard, and editor of LewRockwell.com. See his books.
Copyright © 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.