Published: June 1, 2013 in The New York Times
“THE New Digital Age” is a startlingly clear and provocative blueprint for technocratic imperialism, from two of its leading witch doctors, Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, who construct a new idiom for United States global power in the 21st century. This idiom reflects the ever closer union between the State Department and Silicon Valley, as personified by Mr. Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, and Mr. Cohen, a former adviser to Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton who is now director of Google Ideas.
The authors met in occupied Baghdad in 2009, when the book was conceived. Strolling among the ruins, the two became excited that consumer technology was transforming a society flattened by United States military occupation. They decided the tech industry could be a powerful agent of American foreign policy.
The book proselytizes the role of technology in reshaping the world’s people and nations into likenesses of the world’s dominant superpower, whether they want to be reshaped or not. The prose is terse, the argument confident and the wisdom — banal. But this isn’t a book designed to be read. It is a major declaration designed to foster alliances.
“The New Digital Age” is, beyond anything else, an attempt by Google to position itself as America’s geopolitical visionary — the one company that can answer the question “Where should America go?” It is not surprising that a respectable cast of the world’s most famous warmongers has been trotted out to give its stamp of approval to this enticement to Western soft power. The acknowledgments give pride of place to Henry Kissinger, who along with Tony Blair and the former C.I.A. director Michael Hayden provided advance praise for the book. Read more…
WASHINGTON — A nonpartisan, independent review of interrogation and detention programs in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks concludes that “it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture” and that the nation’s highest officials bore ultimate responsibility for it.
The sweeping, 577-page report says that while brutality has occurred in every American war, there never before had been “the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.” The study, by an 11-member panel convened by the Constitution Project, a legal research and advocacy group, is to be released on Tuesday morning.
Debate over the coercive interrogation methods used by the administration of President George W. Bush has often broken down on largely partisan lines. The Constitution Project’s task force on detainee treatment, led by two former members of Congress with experience in the executive branch — a Republican, Asa Hutchinson, and a Democrat, James R. Jones — seeks to produce a stronger national consensus on the torture question.
While the task force did not have access to classified records, it is the most ambitious independent attempt to date to assess the detention and interrogation programs. A separate 6,000-page report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s record by the Senate Intelligence Committee, based exclusively on agency records, rather than interviews, remains classified.
“As long as the debate continues, so too does the possibility that the United States could again engage in torture,” the report says. Read more…
Foreign Policy, the most highest American magazine about geopolitics and foreign policy, published its yearly Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2011.
For the second year in a row, Dr. Mohamed El Baradei is featured on the list (as if suddenly they discovered how brilliant el Baradei is) but this year he shares the 1st position with a list of 14 persons, whom FP calls “The Arab Revolutionaries”, the list includes:
Other dignitaries among the other”Top” 100 thinkers on the FP list include:
Barack Obama (11)
Dick Cheney (12)
Condoleezza Rice (12)
Mark Zuckerberg (17)
Hillary Clinton (20)
Nicolas Sarkozy (21)
Bernard-Henri Lévy (22)
Samantha Power (53)
Jared Cohen (83)
Quite a list! Seems like the list of Top American Imperialism Advancers, not Top Thinkers!
Notable to mention is that until the end of 2008, FP was owned by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, in September 29, 2008, The Washington Post Company bought it.
by Michel Chossudovsky
The cooptation of the leaders of major opposition parties and civil society organizations in anticipation of the collapse of an authoritarian puppet government is part of Washington’s design, applied in different regions of the World.
The process of cooptation is implemented and financed by US based foundations including the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Freedom House (FH). Both FH and the NED have links to the US Congress. the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and the US business establishment. Both the NED and FH are known to have ties to the CIA.
The NED is actively involved in Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria. Freedom House supports several civil society organizations in Egypt.
“The NED was established by the Reagan administration after the CIA’s role in covertly funding efforts to overthrow foreign governments was brought to light, leading to the discrediting of the parties, movements, journals, books, newspapers and individuals that received CIA funding. … As a bipartisan endowment, with participation from the two major parties, as well as the AFL-CIO and US Chamber of Commerce, the NED took over the financing of foreign overthrow movements, but overtly and under the rubric of “democracy promotion.” (Stephen Gowans, January « 2011 “What’s left“)
While the US has supported the Mubarak government for the last thirty years, US foundations with ties to the US State department and the Pentagon have actively supported the political opposition including the civil society movement. According to Freedom House: “Egyptian civil society is both vibrant and constrained. There are hundreds of non-governmental organizations devoted to expanding civil and political rights in the country, operating in a highly regulated environment.”
In a bitter irony, Washington supports the Mubarak dictatorship, including its atrocities, while also backing and financing its detractors, through the activities of FH, the NED, among others. Read more…
Freedom House publishes an annual report assessing the degree of perceived democratic freedoms in each country.
Freedom House is supposedly an international non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Washington, D.C. which conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights, but it is accused by a lot of analysts and activists to be a front for the American Council on Foreign Relations and its British counterpart the Royal Institute of International Affairs.
Noam Chomsky has criticized Freedom House for receiving funding from and allegedly furthering the interests of the U.S. government.
In it’s annual report, titled “Freedom in the World”, Freedom House claims to evaluate the state of global freedom. The report is published with illustrated maps, titled the “Freedom Maps”.
Here are the maps of the last 3 years alongside their charts:
As you can see from the maps above and charts below, according to “Freedom House” most of the Middle East countries are labeled as NOT FREE, while three countries only (Morocco, Lebanon and Kuwait) are labeled as PARTLY FREE, and ONE Country only is FREE, and that’s ISRAEL! Read more…
AYMAN NOUR REQUESTS THE SECRETARY PUSH GOE FOR AN
Ref ID: 06CAIRO6171
Date: 2006-10-02 15:55
Origin: Embassy Cairo
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RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1781
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 CAIRO 006171
JEDDAH FOR THE SECRETARY’S TRAVELING PARTY, NEA A/S WELCH,
AND NSC SENIOR DIRECTOR MIKE DORAN; NSC FOR RICK WATERS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/02/2016
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SUBJECT: AYMAN NOUR REQUESTS THE SECRETARY PUSH GOE FOR AN
OCTOBER 6 AMNESTY
REF: CAIRO 6105
Classified By: Minister Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs
William R. Stewart, for reasons 1.5 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Summary: In a letter to the Secretary, imprisoned Al Ghad Party leader Ayman Nour requests that during her upcoming visit to Cairo, the Secretary advocate for his release as part of the traditional prisoner amnesty granted by President Mubarak on the October 6 national holiday. He notes his hope to be granted clemency by President Mubarak under constitutional Article 149, under which Mubarak could exempt Nour from the lengthy ban on political activities that would otherwise be in force following a release from prison. In an October 1 meeting, Gameela Ismail (Nour’s wife) told poloff that, while Nour would prefer to be pardoned under Article 149, he would not turn down a health-based amnesty (as some in the GOE have alleged). End
2. (C) In an October 1 meeting, poloff queried Gameela Ismail about Nour’s willingness to accept a health-based pardon, versus amnesty granted by President Mubarak under constitutional Article 149. (Note: As reported reftel, with amnesty under Article 149, Nour could potentially be exempted from a ban on political activities that will otherwise be in place following his release. End Note). Ayman Qaffas, the new State Information Service chief (and son-in-law of EGIS director Omar Soliman), had alleged to Ambassador on September 28 that Nour refused to sign a petition for clemency based on his poor health. Ismail denied that claim, and asserted that just the opposite has occurred ) over the past few months, Nour’s lawyer has reportedly filed three separate health-based pardon requests, at Nour,s urging, to
President Mubarak, the Prosecutor-General, and the Tora Prison doctor (the three officials who reportedly have the right to grant such a pardon). Ismail noted that, while “of course” Nour would prefer a full pardon under Article 149, to include a provision for him to continue his political activities upon his release, he would still “most definitely” accept a pardon based on his poor health, or any other basis.
3. (C) Ismail said that the “Committee for Forensic Medicine” (under the Prosecutor-General’s Office) had visited Nour a month ago, in response to his request for a health-based pardon. They reportedly did not conduct a medical exam during their visit ) “just spoke to him for 5 minutes” ) and Nour subsequently sent a complaint to the Prosecutor-General about the lack of a rigorous medical check. The Prosecutor-General agreed to send the committee to Tora Prison again; the new exam is scheduled for October 5. Nour and Ismail are hopeful that Nour might be released on the October 6 national holiday (when the President traditionally grants many prisoners amnesty).
4. (C) Ismail gave poloff a letter from Nour to the Secretary (text of Embassy translation at para 6), in which he requests the Secretary advocate for his release (under constitutional Article 149) as part of the October 6 prisoner amnesty. Ismail visited Nour on September 30, and told poloff that he asked Ismail to seek a meeting with the Secretary during her visit to Cairo. Ismail said, after “serious deliberation,” she has chosen not to do so, because she is afraid that such a meeting, which would inevitably become public, would be more harmful than helpful. Read more…
Jared Cohen, an American Jew, (born November 24, 1981 in Weston, Connecticut) is the Director of Google Ideas, an Adjunct Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Previously he served as a member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff and a close advisor to both Condoleezza Rice and later Hillary Clinton. Initially brought in by Condoleezza Rice as the youngest member in history, he was one of the few people kept on under Hillary Clinton. In this capacity, he focused on counter-terrorism, counter-radicalization, Middle East/South Asia, Youth, and Technology.
According to New York Times Magazine, Cohen was one of the principal architects of what became known as “21st century statecraft.” Prior to his work at the State Department, Cohen received his BA from Stanford University and his M.Phil in International Relations from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. Read more…
An international relations theory professor once compared President Woodrow Wilson’s approach to democracy with that of President George W. Bush. Post-World War I, Wilson advocated for the self-governance of the peoples that were liberated from Ottoman rule. His approach could be compared to planting a tree: You introduce the seed of democracy, nurture it, and then watch it flourish. On the other hand, Bush’s post-9/11 approach to democracy was to remove any existing autocratic governing system that harbored hostility toward the U.S.—using force if needed—and replace it with a democracy. This is analogous to digging a hole and then planting a full-grown tree in it. Recent events in Tunis and Egypt, however, show how much better Wilson’s approach to instating democracy was Bush’s approach. Although the damage in Iraq and Afghanistan has been done, there still needs to be a change in policy concerning other autocratic regimes in the area.American foreign policy had little to do with the Jasmine revolution in Egypt. In fact, the American government was caught off guard and had barely any time to assess the situation. Joe Biden first expressed that he wouldn’t call Mubarak a dictator, but an ally;he later called Mubarak’s resignation a pivotal moment in history. The ambivalence of the American position might just have been the best thing that happened to the revolution. The movement was relatively peaceful—except for violent stunts instigated by Mubarak’s henchmen—and showcased the power of the people to initiate change.As with Tunisia, the events in Egypt are inciting other grassroots movements toward democracy in the Arab world, and the American government should welcome that. Demonstrations are taking place in Jordan, Bahrain, and Yemen, just to name a few. The State Department should pressure its autocratic allies into instituting fundamental changes to their oppressive regimes. If true democracy were to flourish in the Middle East, U.S.-friendly dictators cannot count on their Western allies to keep them in power, but need to become responsible toward their people.
The main excuse that kept Mubarak—and countless others—in power for three decades was that he was the lesser of two evils. Americans feared the rise of an Islamist fundamentalist regime in Egypt that would undermine the Camp David Accords. Although the U.S. did lose a major ally in the region, there are no indications that any democratically elected government would be hostile toward the U.S. Even the widely feared “Muslim Brotherhood” has worked to alleviate such fears by announcing that it will not field a candidate for presidency. The Brotherhood, a non-violent conservative Islamist movement, aims to create an Islamist state, but whether it has enough popular support has yet to be determined. If all goes well, Egypt should have a democratically elected government within six months.
Such apprehensions should not stop the U.S. from pushing toward reforms in other Arab nations that are witnessing peaceful protests calling for reforms. Arabs are calling for legitimate rights that include freedom of speech, better standards of life, and a fair judicial system. If the U.S. genuinely wants to spread democracy in the world, it should start by pressuring their allies into making concessions to their oppressed peoples as a first step to long-term change.
Condoleezza Rice once explained to Arabs that “the birth pangs of a new Middle East” was Israel’s anti-Hezbollah war on Lebanon. However, the 2006 war failed to change the status quo between the two countries, and her “new Middle East” was stillborn. New birth pangs now seem to have hit that region, but they don’t include missiles, bombs, and tanks. They are the dead and injured of Tahrir Square, Pearl Square, and all pro-democracy protests, and they will bring in the birth of a new Middle East.
Source: The Harvard Crimson
When the US decided that its backyard would in future be a greater Middle East –from Pakistan to Morocco –it imagined that it could rearrange the region to suit itself. The results have been disastrous and will be long-lasting.
The United States undersecretary of state, Nicholas Burns, said this year: “Ten years ago Europe was the epicentre of American foreign policy. This was how things stood from April 1917, when Woodrow Wilson sent one million American troops to the Western Front, through to President Clinton’s intervention in Kosovo in 1999. For the better part of the 20th century, Europe was our primary, vital focus.” But, he added, everything had changed and the Middle East was now, for President George Bush and his successors, “the place that Europe once was for the administrations of the 20th century” .
President Bush had said much the same a while earlier: “The challenge playing out across the broader Middle East is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time. On one side are those who believe in freedom and moderation. On the other side are extremists who kill the innocent, and have declared their intention to destroy our way of life” . Read more…