nettime's_conscientious_digestor on Sun, 16 Mar 2003 18:32:19 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> [IRAQ] digested conscience [recktenwald, wark, valdes]

Heiko Recktenwald <>
     Belgium - Keeper of the World's Conscience (fwd)
"McKenzie Wark" <>
     Military Globalism
Ana Valdes <>
     from Irak

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Date: Sat, 15 Mar 2003 21:42:53 +0100 (CET)
From: Heiko Recktenwald <>
Subject: Belgium - Keeper of the World's Conscience (fwd)

While we are waiting or not for this big bang in Bagdad,
reminds to Entebbe multimedia, some real people realy dead,
the Berlin TAZ last year had pictures of men eating men in
Africa, all in Adidas stripes, now this:

Dear list members,

I am a little bit 'fascinated' by the contemporary
efforts by Belgium to assert the efficacy of
international criminal law, not in the least by recent
references to Belgian statutes in that regard.

Although I have not seen any of the statutes, I cannot
but wonder aloud, in what ways do those statutes seek
to hold those Belgian contractors and agents
accountable for exporting thousands of matchets to
Rwanda between 1993 and 1994?

Was the Belgian Act(together with its amendments)
meant only to pursue and get hold of bratty dictators
and small fish alone?

Those who promote Belgian image-laundering through
this list should remind the authorities to revisit
those CAH etc that were aided by Belgians who still
walk free on the streets of Brussels.

So I think.

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From: "McKenzie Wark" <>
Subject: Military Globalism
Date: Sat, 15 Mar 2003 18:31:58 -0500

This is a useful little article that lays out the
contradiction between what i would call
the empire of commodity-space and that
of strategy-space. It doesn't get to the
dependence  of both on the same vectoral
capacities, but it has some juicy details
about the contracting-out of post invasion

Ken Wark

Military Globalism
by William Greider
The Nation 31st March 2003

One of the first casualties of war may be those
happy-talk forecasts of a robust recovery once
the bombing starts in Iraq, but a far more
momentous economic question accompanies
Bush's invasion plans: Can free-market
globalization survive in a world governed by
one nation's overwhelming military power? The
global economy has largely disappeared from
political discussions in recent months as
national leaders preoccupied themselves with
warmaking. But the boosters of corporate-led
globalization should understand that their
vision of a New World Order is fundamentally
imcompatible with George W. Bush's.

Who is to rule the world's future--global
markets or national governments? The regime
of globalization promotes an unfettered
marketplace as the dynamic instrument
organizing international relations. The other
regime relies on the old-fashioned military
power of the nation-state--the United States
alone in this case--to impose its will on others in
the name of global order. One system promises
the free flow of capital, goods and technologies
across national boundaries, largely exempted
from control by sovereign nations. The other
system sets out to intervene in the private
marketplace--by force of arms if it chooses--to
countermand any market transactions it
regards as threatening. In history, of course,
capitalism has often advanced arm-in-arm with
military interventions. But that system was
known as colonialism--the fusion of
commercial ambitions and military conquest. It
contradicts the principles claimed for free-
running globalization, or at least unmasks its
high-minded pretensions.

The outlines of this profound collision of
purposes are now visible though not yet widely
recognized, especially in Washington. Paul
McCulley, a managing director of PIMCO, the
world's largest bond investment fund, based in
Newport Beach, California, observes the
structural shift already under way in global
governance, driven by the weakened condition
of the global economy but also by the imperial
ambitions of Washington. "American
imperialism is, by definition, a retreat away
from global capitalism, a retreat from the
invisible hand of markets in favor of a more
dominant role for the visible fist of
governments," McCulley wrote.

This is a "regime change" the warrior crowd
may not have anticipated, but the
consequences are implicit in their insistence
that the United States will capture and take
control of Iraq's oil, the second-largest
petroleum reserves in the world. American
statesmen grumble about the mercenary
interests of the French, Russians and Chinese,
whose companies currently have contracts for
Iraqi oil production, but what of America's
mercenary interests? The Wall Street Journal
reports that the Pentagon has already tapped
Halliburton (the Vice President's old company)
to manage after-action cleanup of the Iraqi
oilfields. Industry analysts figure Halliburton
and other US firms could share $1.5 billion in
contracts. Meanwhile, the US Agency for
International Development is seeking
ambitious proposals from America's five largest
construction companies (including Halliburton)
to rebuild Iraq's roads and bridges, the
electrical grid, housing, schools and hospitals
after America's smart bombs finish their work
(no foreigners need apply for the contract).
American taxpayers will presumably pick up
the tab, unless Washington instructs the US
colonial general to seize Iraq's oil income as our

The threat to globalization is not the wasted
American dollars but Washington's readiness to
mix US commercial interests with its self-
appointed role as global protector. At a time
when the US economy must borrow from
abroad to sustain its own domestic
consumption, this move is sure to deepen
distrust among trading partners and foreign
creditors--suspicions that will permeate every
forum of the trading system. Americans who
imagine that their government will manage
Iraqi oil to insure cheap gasoline may be
disillusioned too. As overseer of Iraq, the
United States would doubtless act like other
OPEC members, managing production to insure
stable oil prices at around $26 a barrel.
Anything less threatens oil-producing
countries--and oil companies. The Bush White
House, if it has any sense, will quickly pass off
this role to some sort of international agency.
Otherwise, it is going to be caught between the
interests of US consumers and its buddies in the
oil industry.

The far more substantial conflict with
globalization involves nuclear proliferation and
Bush's commitment to fight the spread of so-
called weapons of mass destruction on any
front, with armed force if countries don't
cooperate. It is good to see conservatives
finally embrace the cause of nonproliferation,
but they are about a generation late and used to
be on the other side--defending multinational
corporations against laws prohibiting export of
defense-sensitive materials and machinery.
Where did Saddam Hussein acquire his
dangerous toxins? He bought them from
European and American companies. Where did
India and Pakistan get starter kits to develop
nuclear weapons? Same place. For that matter,
how did Israel get its nukes? In other words, to
truly halt the spread of dangerous technologies,
Washington will need much more than
conquering armies. It will have to create an
effective and intrusive set of export controls--
worldwide--that can monitor a vast range of
industrial goods and prohibit many items from
entering into the "free trade" system.

A central quality of the globalizing economy is
how fluidly it disperses advanced technologies
from rich countries to poor countries--literally
sharing the industrial tools of the wealthiest
economies with many underdeveloped
societies. In the broad sweep of human
development, that aspect of globalization is
virtuous (though it does dilute the advantages
of the leading economies). Yet technology
transfer cannot easily proceed if subjected to
stringent regulatory controls by governments
searching for forbidden weapons components.
The controversies over Iraqi weapons illustrate
why such rules are fiendishly difficult to devise
and enforce. Was Saddam buying aluminum
tubes and industrial magnets for a nuclear-
bomb project or for standard uses in domestic
centrifuges? The United States charged bomb-
making motives; the UN inspectors endorsed
Saddam's claim of innocence. Multiply these
ambiguities and conflicting interpretations
across thousands of industrial chemicals,
hardware or software. Bush's desire to control
the terms of trade--only nice countries can buy
the dangerous stuff--sounds like Sisyphus on
the Potomac.

While Washington focused obsessively on war
with Iraq, it seemed to forget for the moment
that the global economy remains wounded and
groaning. When the war is over, these troubling
facts will return with brutal clarity. The worry
is not only the weakened US economy, which
props up global trade by playing the supportive
role as "buyer of last resort" for other nations'
exports. The global system itself has still not
recovered from the great financial crisis of
1997-98; bank lending to emerging economies
remains $177 billion below five years ago. Nor
has the United States shaken off the deep
wounds from its own bursting stock-market
bubble. The economic arrows are pointing
down again at present--even as the United
States absorbs record trade deficits. If this
White House understood what is at stake, Bush
would be launching major public-works
spending here in the homeland instead of
bombing, then rebuilding, Iraq. If
globalization's ardent advocates grasped the
deeper economic implications of Bush's war,
they too would be demanding to bring the
troops home.

                   ... we no longer have roots, we have aerials ...

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Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2003 08:24:43 +0100
From: Ana Valdes <>
Subject: from Irak

Date: Sat, 15 Mar 2003 13:54:33 -0500 (EST)
The following message was forwarded by Dave Berrian.  It is from Bettejo
Passalaqua of Omak, WA.

   Hello everyone. I hope things are well for all of you. I am well. I
   received the wonderful news today that students at PSIS wrote back to
   students here in Iraq. I can't believe that the studetn's responses
   were pulled together so quickly. Great job!!!

   I understand from phone calls we have received from the States that
   the number of protesters to the war is phenomenal and that there is
   much civil disobedience in an effort to bring attention to the plight
   of the Iraqi people. All of us here are so grateful and humbled by the
   efforts and sacrifices of all of you there. It is perhaps the only
   chance that war might be averted. We are definitely standing on an
   edge slanted toward the abyss of war and its consequences, but the
   strong cry for peace keeps us from slipping downward. While all of us
   here on the team hold out hope for peace, we are also practical in our
   preparations, in a physical sense and in the emotional realm.

   We are very frugal with the money we have, as there is no telling how
   long our resources might need to stretch if there is some kind of
   seige. Prices raise daily, especially for the most essential items.
   The price of water went from 4250 dinar for 6 bottles to 8000 dinar in
   one day; the following day it increased to 10,000 dinar. Luckily, we
   have a large store of water already. But the average Iraqi couldn't
   afford to plan ahead like we have, and will not be able to pay the
   current prices. The cost of rides out of the country has also
   increased, and (if I understand correctly) there is a tax imposed on
   plane fares even if the tickets were purchased in advance. The other
   day I drive past the agency that grants passports to Iraqis, and there
   were a throng of people there. Mothers who are able to get passports
   and visas head for the borders with their children (and without money)
   while their husbands remain behind to protect their home.

   Every morning that I wake up I am grateful that the bombing has not
   begun yet, as none of us know when we go to bed whether tonight will
   be the night. I really can't imagine what it is like for the people of
   Iraq. I am choosing my presence here, and I think it is a totally
   different psychological dynamic than to have no choice in the matter.

   The bombing in Basra and the surrounding areas has increased. Jameel,
   who works here at the hotel, just returned from Basra and he said
   things are very bad. His family is there. Jameel always has a smile
   for everyone, but his smile cannot hide his sadness these days.

   For the most part, life goes on as though everything is normal. (As I
   have said many times, the people are used to dealing with great
   hardship and constant threat). But the effects of such an imminent
   threat is taking its toll in many ways. Pregnant women who can afford
   it are having cesarian sections so there babies will not be born
   during the bombing. Women are afraid they will not be able to make it
   to a hospital, or if they are the hospital staff will be overwhelmed
   with war casualties and will not have medical personnel to assist with
   deliveries. But the birth just gives cause for a different set of
   fears. Will there be clean water to care for the new child, will there
   be food available, will there be gas for cooking and sterilization,
   electricity??? And the most likely answer is no.

   I spoke with the assistant director at the hospital I visit yesterday
   and he said that these c-sections births are very dangerous for mother
   and child. To begin with, the babies are not ready to be born yet, so
   they are at greater risk for health problems. They are less immune to
   disease, less able to absord nutrients, and are likely to have
   breathing difficulties. And of course, the mothers are at greater risk
   for post operative problems such as infections and bleeding.

   He also said that many of the mothers who have children undergoing
   cancer treatments will stop the treatments and take their children
   home now. Most of the women have other children at home and feel they
   must return home to care for them during war. They feel it is better
   to allow their sick child to die rather than risk their other children
   being killed in a bombing. Can you imagine being forced to make such a

   From what I have seen, these children in the hospital don't stand much
   of a chance anyway since all the needed medications are rarely
   available, but being forced to discontinue the treatments that are
   available is simply obscene.

   Something very special happened at the hospital yesterday. Mohommed is
   one of the four taxi drivers who most frequently provide
   transportation and other assistance to IPT. Mohommed is especially
   helpful-he knows everything there is to know about the city, where to
   find things, how to get done what needs to be done, etc... I really
   don't know what we would do without his help. He is also street savvy
   and there is a toughness about him, originating perhaps from his
   experiences in the war. (He was badly wounded in the war; he spent
   nearly a year recovering from his wounds. He went down the to Kuwait
   border with us and it was something of a pilgrimage of reconciliation
   with those bad times for him). Tough as he may seem, the first time he
   took us to the hospital for our program of arts and crafts with the
   young patients there, he was so saddened by their suffering that I
   avoided asking him to take us again. He asked to drive us and serve as
   interpreter, but I have told him no because it makes him too sad. But
   2 days ago none of the other drivers was available and he insisted to
   take us. He remained pretty quiet and was anxious to leave once the 90
   minutes we usually spend with them was up. Then yesterday he asked to
   take us again. (It is a good paying job and right now everyone is
   trying to earn as much extra money as possible). So he took us again.

   There were 3 children in the room we were working in, and it was only
   Kathy Kelly and I, so I just gave one of the children (Ali) some
   materials and he was more or less on his own. Soon enough, Mohammed
   was painting with the Ali and when the medicines which are injected
   into the ports (very painful) came around and Ali started crying,
   tough Mohammed got out the finger puppets and diverted Ali's attention
   by playing a finger puppet game with him. It was very moving to see.

   The other day in prayer I had the strongest desire to in some way wrap
   my arms around all the people of this city and protect them from the
   dangers of the days ahead. Of course, I can do nothing of the sort.
   But yesterday in prayer I had a sense that there were the spirits of
   angels all about us and all of them were crying upward in
   intercession. I could almost here the sweet though mournful sound of
   their sighing and weeping. It was a powerful experience and a feeling
   comes to me that prayer is the best arms of protection I can offer
   just now.

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