Thursday, 19 January 2006 (Revised version of a speech delivered at the Conference on Globalization, War, and Intervention sponsored by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, German Chapter, Frankfurt, Germany, January 14-15, 2006)
“Humanitarian intervention,” defined simply, is military action taken to prevent or terminate violations of human rights that is directed at and is carried without the consent of a sovereign government. While the main rationale for the invasion of Iraq by the United States was its alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction, an important supporting rationale was regime change for humanitarian reasons. When it became clear that there were in fact no WMD, the Bush administration retroactively justified its intervention on humanitarian grounds: getting rid of a repressive dictatorship and imposing democratic rule. The show trial of Saddam for human rights violations now taking place in Baghdad is part of this retroactive effort to legitimize the invasion.
Backyard or free-range poultry are not fuelling the current wave of bird flu outbreaks stalking large parts of the world. The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu is essentially a problem of industrial poultry practices. Its epicentre is the factory farms of China and Southeast Asia and — while wild birds can carry the disease, at least for short distances — its main vector is the highly self-regulated transnational poultry industry, which sends the products and waste of its farms around the world through a multitude of channels. Yet small poultry farmers and the poultry biodiversity and local food security that they sustain are suffering badly from the fall-out. To make matters worse, governments and international agencies, following mistaken assumptions about how the disease spreads and amplifies, are pursuing measures to force poultry indoors and further industrialise the poultry sector. In practice, this means the end of the small-scale poultry farming that provides food and livelihoods to hundreds of millions of families across the world. This paper presents a fresh perspective on the bird flu story that challenges current assumptions and puts the focus back where it should be: on the transnational poultry industry.
"What was at stake in Hong Kong was the institutional survival of the World Trade Organization. After the collapse of two ministerials in Seattle and Cancun, a third unraveling would have seriously eroded the usefulness of the WTO as the key engine of global trade liberalization. A deal was needed, and that deal was arrived at. How, why, and by whom that deal was delivered was the real story of Hong Kong."
This report compares the ETC’s findings from 2003 to the current situation to reveal the dramatic increase in corporate concentration in 2005. Furthermore, it demonstrates how what looks like buying and selling between countries is very often the redistribution of
capital among subsidiaries of the same parent multinational corporation.
An introduction guide to some of the major issues which will be battled out during the WTO meetings in Hong Kong this December. As well as suggesting ways disrupting the meetings and explaining why it feels this action is necessary, the guide also presents an idea of what the alternatives to the current make-up might be.
This briefing examine how the US government uses USAID to actively promote GM agriculture, as part of a multi-pronged strategy to advance US interests with GM crops. This is effected by the use of bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements, high-level diplomatic pressure, and of course lobbying and funding by biotech networks.
Despite the introduction of the Cartagena Protocol in 2000, countries are increasingly facilitating the entry of GM crops. According the international NGO GRAIN and many other civil society groups, GM crops are completely incompatible with the principles of food sovereignty. This text argues (...)
In the beginning of the 1990s, Samuel Huntigton argued that the "third wave of democratization" would free the world from dictators, and spread the model of Anglo-American democracy worldwide. However, history took another path. Analyzing the recent democratic trends in countries like the Philippines, Brazil and Argentina, this article warns that "capitalism and democratic deepening are no longer compatible."