magazine for international cooperation - Global Perspectives

magazine for international cooperation - Global Perspectives

North America Edition


‘Fair Game' and Foul Players

New Study Finds Immigrants Vital for Canada

Dire Warnings Ahead of Presidential Poll in Nigeria

Developing Nations Alone Cannot Drive Global Recovery









Stoking an Asian Cold War?


Wide Income Gap Creating Two Americas

By Ernest Corea


Happy Days are Here Again for the 'Nobama' Crowd

By Ernest Corea

Canada's Endorsement of Indigenous Rights Significant

By J Chandler

New Study Finds Immigrants Vital for Canada

By Suresh Jaura


Arab Water Apocalypse, Now

By Salem Khalil


World Closer To Enforcing Treaty

Banning Nuclear Explosions

Interview of Tibor Tóth, CTBTO Executive Secretary

By Ramesh Jaura


Developing Nations Alone Cannot Drive Global Recovery

By Richard Johnson

Reform the Global Financial and Monetary System

By Yilmaz Akyüz


Dire Warnings Ahead of Presidential Poll in Nigeria

By J Chandler

Elections Point to Signs of Change in Tanzania

By Richard Whitehead


Reforms Needed to Avert Yet Another Food Crisis

By J Chandler


‘Fair Game' and Foul Players

By Ernest Corea

A Janus View of Guatemala

By Julio Godoy


The Irish Model Crumbles Like A House of Cards

By Julio Godoy



International Bureau:

Marienstr. 19‐20 | D‐10117 Berlin

Asia­Pacific Bureau:

2‐14‐10‐901 Chitose | Sumida‐ku | Tokyo 130‐0025 | Japan

Washington Bureau:

Mr. Ernest Corea

8512 Forrester Boulevard | Springfield, Virginia 22152 |


North America Bureau:


Division of 751061 Ontario Inc. | 33 Lafferty Street

Toronto, ONT M9C 585, Canada

















World Closer To Enforcing Treaty Banning

Nuclear Explosions

Interview of Tibor Tóth, CTBTO Executive Secretary

Almost 190 countries around the world

have reaffirmed the critical importance

of enforcing the Comprehensive Nuclear‐

Test‐Ban Treaty (CTBT) adopted by the

United Nations General Assembly in

1996. The treaty outlaws all atomic explosions

in all environments, for military

or civilian purpose.

Though the CTBT has yet to enter into

force, it has been ratified by 153 countries

and enjoys almost universal membership of 182 signatory

states. "Bringing the Treaty into force is the obvious and logical

next step to take and with adequate political leadership such a

step is virtually around the corner," says Ambassador Tibor Tóth of

Hungary, who is Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission

for the Comprehensive Nuclear‐Test‐Ban Treaty Organization

(CTBTO). More on pages 14‐15

Reform the Global Financial and

Monetary System

The current turmoil in the world economy

has demonstrated once again that the

international arrangements lack mechanisms

to prevent financial crises with global

repercussions. Not only are effective

rules and regulations absent to bring

inherently unstable international financial

market and capital flows under control,

but there is no multilateral discipline over misguided monetary,

financial and exchange rate policies in systemically important

countries despite their disproportionately large adverse international

spillovers, writes Yilmaz Akyüz. More on pages 17

Elections Point to Signs of Change in Tanzania

Tanzania's fourth multiparty elections on

October 30, 2010 were, in some ways,

not significantly different from the first

three, held in 1995, 2000 and 2005. As

before, the ruling party, the Chama Cha

Mapinduzi (CCM), routed the opposition

parties and emerged as the dominant

force in the country’s legislative and

executive branches. As in earlier elections,

the CCM's 2010 campaign theme centred on its status as the

'defender of the nation' against the 'disorder' and 'chaos', writes

Richard Whitehead. More on pages 19‐20

Unless specified otherwise

all articles in this edition are from



Stoking an Asian Cold War?

By Jayantha Dhanapala*

Proxy wars between countries was one of

the more tragic features of the Cold War

between the U.S. and the USSR. Both super-powers

fuelled the conflicts supplying

military materiel and political support

while they piously claimed that nuclear

deterrence worked so that they themselves

never went to war. The U.S. in particular

claimed that the George Kennan doctrine of the "containment"

of the USSR worked and ere long the Communist giant

imploded obligingly.

Fast forward two decades, and a declining U.S. super power,

trapped in economic woes of its own making, is groping for ways

to contain a rising China. Proxy wars are no longer possible especially

for a super power mired in the morass of Iraq and Afghanistan

and encumbered by the unending and ubiquitous "war

against terrorism" fighting an unseen enemy.

What better then than to outsource the task of the containment

of China to ambitious India and reluctant Japan? That,

essentially, is the subtext of the unusually lengthy Joint Statement

that came out at the conclusion of President Obama’s

recent visit to India and the rationale for his Asian tour. Unsurprisingly

both Japan and now India are the chosen candidates of

the U.S. for permanent member status in the UN Security Council.

The scenario has been a long time in gestation and operation

and spans the presidencies of Bush the Son and of Barak Obama

giving it the bipartisan support it needs as national security policy.

For India -- the world's most populous democracy unable to

match China's poverty alleviation record and bedevilled by

home-grown terrorism -- the opportunity to escape the stigma of

ostracism following the 1998 nuclear blasts was too good to be


The Nehruvian vision of Non-alignment and moral superiority

as the key to Great Power status had failed to unlock the door.

Now it was self-built economic muscle (and a clever manipulation

of the U.S. political system by the wealthy Indian lobby) and

a replay of the old "Yellow Peril" cry replayed as a "string of

pearls" theory that secured a place at the high table.

The sophistication of Indian diplomacy will ensure that the

new game will be played with finesse and without any of the

crudity of the earlier proxy wars. It will garner huge bilateral

trade and technology-transfer benefits for itself while maintaining

normal relations with China competing at the same time for

economic payoffs and political influence with China in Asia and

Africa with U.S. support.

Japan was settling into a low-key role after brief episode of assertiveness

under Koizumi and a succession of bland Prime Ministers

with little impact on the international political and economic

scene. But China's ill-conceived saber-rattling over the

Diaoyu Tai or Senkaku islands plus Medvedev's ill-timed visit to

the Kuril Islands has made her ready to question China on its

intentions in the East and South China Seas, recall its Ambassador

from Moscow and play hard ball in the Six Nation Talks over

North Korea's nuclear weapon programme.

It is a dangerous game to play especially since China is able to

revive old animosities against the Japanese with its domestic

audience and apply economic pressures as well. For the U.S. the

revitalization of its old alliance with Japan on the eastern flank of

China was long overdue and the rebuff over Okinawa was a sign

that Japan had to fall back in line.

While the speculation over the shift of the global centre of

gravity from the Atlantic to the Pacific goes on, the Atlantic powers

-- the U.S. and NATO militarily and the U.S. and the EU economically

-- are not ready to abdicate their role in global affairs.

The logical -- and inexpensive -- way to continue to exert influence

in the Pacific and the Indian Oceans is through allies justifying

their selection as a natural alliance among "democracies"

with a common allegiance to human rights, anti-terrorism and

nuclear non-proliferation (giving the Obama slogan of "a nuclear

weapon free world" a rest).

The side benefits are to break Non-aligned and G77 solidarity

in the UN and other forums like the World Trade Organization's

Doha Round of negotiations and the upcoming Climate Change

talks in Cancun isolating China at the same time. Possible irritants

in the newly forged U.S.-EU-Japan-India axis will continue

to be India's stance regarding Iran's nuclear programme, China's

human rights record and Myanmar or Burma's military junta. The

adroit management of this will be a small price to pay rather

than giving the Republicans the satisfaction of shredding

Obama's foreign policy as they have done with his domestic


*Jayantha Dhanapala is a former UN Under-Secretary-General and a former Ambassador of Sri Lanka. This contribution first appeared as

IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint on November 10, 2010 on

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Wide Income Gap Creating Two Americas

By Ernest Corea in Washington DC

Another day, another year. Thanksgiving, the national holiday celebrated on the

fourth Thursday every November, has come and gone once more. The rash of prethanksgiving

announcements heralding "sales" that offer great and sometimes dubious

bargains has ended. So have the sales. December is here, and early in the month

as it is at the time of writing, shopping malls have begun assuring anybody who

cares to listen that "it is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas." All this at a time

when some have much to be thankful for, and so many do not.

The U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics reports that the unemployment rate, having

remained unchanged for three months, rose to 9.8 percent in November. That

meant more deprivation, more disappointment, and increasing disquiet.

In the same month, a majority in Congress coalesced to vote down legislation that

would extend cash benefits for the unemployed into 2011. Frantic efforts to save

the unemployed from further deprivation is expected to yield agreement but not

without a Bush‐era bonanza for the rich as well.


Festivals during which men and women give thanks for their well‐being are pretty

well known in all cultures. In the U.S., Thanksgiving as a national holiday went

through many changes before it was established as the country's most celebrated

occasion for food, frolic, and family.

The state of Virginia traces the country's first Thanksgiving celebration to Dec.14, 1619, when a bunch of Brits reached America's

eastern seaboard carrying with them a charter that obliged them to celebrate their arrival in the "new world". Actually, the "new

world" was an "old world", already populated, but the celebration took place although its observance as an annual event lapsed. The

better known antecedent of Thanksgiving is claimed by the state of Massachusetts which held its festival for the first time in 1621,

after coming through a harsh winter.

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln decreed that the last Thursday of November should be observed as a national day of thanksgiving.

In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law a congressional proposal that the fourth Thursday in November should

always serve as the national Thanksgiving holiday.


The practice remains strongly entrenched in the U.S., with family members traveling many miles for reunions. It is also an event that

can be celebrated by adherents of all faiths, and by those who have none. It is usually a time of great hope, even optimism, for merchants

and their suppliers.

A gargantuan celebration of food takes place as well, among those who can afford it. Based on data from previous years, some 45

million turkeys would have been consumed on Thanksgiving 2010. They were bred for that.

Two turkeys were spared. In keeping with what has developed into a cherished and highly touted tradition, these two were taken to

the White House where President Barack Obama, like so many of his predecessors, gave them a presidential reprieve. A cornucopia of

other foods spread out across the country completed the food part of the celebration.

Then came the annual Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, a helter‐skelter eruption of shopping. Quite a mythology has grown

around the origin of the phrase. Currently, a widely accepted explanation is that increased business turnover on the day after Thanksgiving

enables merchants who were operating "in the red" (at a loss) to move into "the black", making an overall profit. The "colour

code" is derived from an old accounting practice where losses were recorded in red ink and profits in black.

Immediately after that came Support for Small Business Day, followed by Cyberworld Day when sales of computers and computerrelated

equipment were expected to go through the roof.


Sadly, nevertheless, it is also an occasion when the widening gap between rich and poor comes sharply into focus. New Census figures

show the income gap between America's richest and poorest has never been so wide. The Associated Press news agency has reported

that "the top‐earning 20 percent of Americans ‐ those making more than $100,000 each year ‐ received 49.4 percent of all income

generated in the U.S., compared with the 3.4 percent earned by those below the poverty line."

* The writer has served as Sri Lanka's ambassador to Canada, Cuba, Mexico, and the USA. He was Chairman of the Commonwealth's Select Committee on

the media and development, Editor of the Ceylon ‘Daily News’ and the Ceylon ‘Observer’, and was for a time Features Editor and Foreign Affairs columnist of

the Singapore ‘Straits Times’. He is President of the Media Task Force of Global Cooperation Council and on the editorial board of IDN‐InDepthNews.



Asked about the disparity, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said very

recently on the television program 60 Minutes: "It's a very bad development. It's

creating two societies. And it's based very much, I think, on educational differences;

the unemployment rate we've been talking about.

"If you're a college graduate, unemployment is 5 percent. If you're a high school

graduate, it's 10 percent or more. It's a very big difference. It leads to an unequal

society, and a society which doesn't have the cohesion that we'd like to see."

Continuing joblessness has widened the gap. For vast numbers across the country,

there would be nothing to be festive about, but for the concerted efforts of

civil society groups who reach out to the disadvantaged and disconnected. Many

but not all these groups are faith‐based, but the beneficiaries of their actions are

from a broad spectrum of faiths.

In 2010 as before, different forms of relief and support – cooked food, dry

goods, gift cards for the purchase of groceries ‐‐ were provided to those who

would otherwise have been unreached by the festive spirit. In the Washington

area, for instance, a consortium of civil society groups, including faith‐based organizations,

supported by a grocery store, provided food to 5000 indigent families

The First Family set an example. Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their

two daughters gave up their time and energy to join an "army" of volunteers who were putting together packages of food for the poor,

hungry and homeless. Many other groups stretched out their hands to help sustain the disadvantaged.


The most effective support for the unemployed is job creation that will put the jobless back to work. Despite the strenuous efforts of

the private and public sector to end the recession that the Bush Administration left behind, job creation has been a slow and agonizing

process, while other signs have pointed to a steady if slow upturn in the economy.

Home sales increased by some 10 percent in October/November, and retail sales were seen to be rising across the board with car

sales rebounding strongly. On the job front, however, non‐farm employment rose by a meagre 39,000 in November. The figure was

172,000 in October; higher, no doubt than it was in November but still inadequate to create a jobs‐based recovery. A generally accepted

estimate is that the U.S. will need to add 200,000 new jobs a month if unemployment is to recede below 8 percent over the

next two years.

Reaching that goal or getting somewhere near it is going to be tough and burdensome. While efforts are made to encourage job

creation, the solace available to the unemployment is through benefits that the government provides – augmented, of course, by

support from civil society groups.

Reacting to the November figure, Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said: "Today's numbers underscore

the importance of extending expiring tax cuts for the middle class and unemployment insurance for those Americans who lost

their jobs. Failure to do this would jeopardize hundreds of thousands of additional jobs, and leave millions of Americans who are out of

work through no fault of their own, on their own."


Leaving the unemployed uncared for, to get by as best as they can, even when that "best" is deplorable, cuts across the "spirit of

Thanksgiving" and makes a bad situation worse. As Vice President Biden, sitting in for Obama who was on a quick visit to Afghanistan,

said during the most recent weekly White House broadcast:

"What we've got to do is extend unemployment insurance for Americans who have lost their jobs in a tough economy. Without unemployment

benefits, families can't spend on basic necessities that are grown, made, and sold by other Americans….And, cutting

unemployment insurance is not only not smart, it's not right either.

"I just don't agree with the folks who've said we can't afford a lifeline for Americans who lost their jobs during the worst recession in

generations, but we can afford to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans

(a reference to concessions to the wealthiest in society provided by the Bush Administration) . That's bad economic policy and it's also

just simply wrong."

The tactic of making an extension of jobless benefits contingent on an extension of tax cuts for the fat cats already lapping up the

cream of wealth is equally wrong. That, however, is a likely course of action, and is currently one of the options included in negotiation

between Republicans and the White House.

Some Democrats insist that they will turn down any agreement that is weighted in favour of wealthy Americans who have benefitted

from their Bush‐eras concessions at the expense of those who, today, are really feeling the pain of recession.

So now, Consider This. Shortly before Thanksgiving, the New York Times published a commentary by Adam Goodheart on an illustration

of Thanksgiving drawn by Winslow Homer. The artist divided his illustration into two sections. One depicted the profligacy of

"those who have more dinners than appetite." The other showed the state of "those who have more appetite than dinners." That

depiction was first published on December 1, 1860. One hundred and fifty years on and, as the French like to say, the more things

change, the more they stay the same. – GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES

Image above: President Abraham Lincoln







duringtheNovember2 midtermcongressionalelectionshere.Nomatter.Theresult




conference on the day after the election, acknowledging that he felt bad personally,

and was saddened by the knowledge that some excellent public servants had been










For the "Nobama" crowd, whether they function outside Con




dancing, swaying men and women of all ethnicities gathered



He said: "If there is anyone out there who still doubts that





Just two years after the Grant Park event, less time than it




in effect, like a little boy without his security blanket. Yes, in


two more years but, absent congressional support, he will be

severely constricted in his efforts to pursue, let alone bring





reversals at "midterm" elections. Moreover, for voters to

switch caucuses from inpower to out, is a practice well in




"The argument that the two parties should represent op

posed ideals and policies, one, perhaps of the Right and the



almost identical, so that the American people can 'throw the






rently the two main parties do represent opposing viewpoints




that it is sometimes expressed in more picturesque prose as

"throw the bums out"meaning "idlers" or "worthless per


The process of throwing the rascals out, sometimes quite


instance, when Gingrich led a Republican takeover of the


years later (2006), the Senate and House both went to the






idle and worthless. Nor can that be said of the Obama White


In the brief space of two years, the houses of Congress


prevented the banking sector from plunging into collapse and




care reform that will give insurance coverage to over 30,000




Some of the institutions that would be affected by much


publicanswith majorsupport.Why,then,didvoters decideto

"throw the rascals out" despite the record of efforts and






Sarah Palin, it has been said, no longer

focuses her binoculars on Russia when she

looks out from her home in Alaska. She

sees, instead, the looming attraction of


President George W.

Bush inherited a surplus

and transformed it into a

debt with nothing to

show for it. His policies

made the wealthy richer

and placed burdens on

the less well off. Unemployment

began to rise,

reaching its current

brutal level of almost 10


All this was clearly understood

during the

election campaign of

2008. Voters do not

blame Obama for creating

the problems. They

blame him for not solving

them. Sure, the economy

has been stabilized, and is growing. Nobody considers it likely

that the country is on the brink of another great depression. All

that is small comfort to the unemployed and the underemployed.

They want solutions, now.

Breadwinners contemplating a reduced pay cheque or even no

pay cheques at all, retirees whose savings have even partially

evaporated, young folk who have really serious doubts now

about their own future, and families that have lost their homes,

are not comforted by happy talk about macro‐economics.

They want to be liberated from the need to carry heavy burdens.

Even Obama while arguing the case for, and the effectiveness

of, measures taken acknowledges that "voters are not satisfied

with the outcomes of the measures adopted."

There has also been a suggestion that Obama is not personally

affected by the suffering that a huge swathe of voters is experiencing;

in other words, that he "does not feel their pain." There

is enough and more textual evidence ‐‐ in his writing, speeches,

interviews, and so on – to counter this claim. He does not, however,

have his heart affixed to his sleeve.

A leader, or anybody else, cannot be blamed for his or her

manner. The fact that Obama shows great calmness under stress

is a virtue. In almost any other society, the fact that he has a

Nehruvian intellect would be honoured and he would not be

dismissed as an ice‐cold wonk.


In addition to encountering misgivings among those affected by

the state of the economy, Obama has also been the target of an

intensive effort over the past two years to malign him personally

and disparage his programs. His religion, his place of birth, and

his loyalty to the country, have all been falsely and unfairly questioned.

Hence, for instance, the rallying cry among tea party

goers that they want to "take our country back."

His critics have not resisted the impulse to base their condemnation

on lies. The former Alaskan Governor and unsuccessful

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin claimed on

her Face Book page that the Health Care Bill contained a provision

for Death Panels to decide whether patients deserved

health care. After meticulous fact checking, the Pulitzer Winning organization declared this claim the "Lie of the

Year" in 2009. Meanwhile, it had become received wisdom

among some segments of the voting public.

Obama, for his part, has fuelled the perception that he has

done little or nothing to fulfil his campaign pledge to "change

Washington." In fact, the August 2010 NBC/Wall Street Journal

poll found that 65 percent believed "Obama had fallen short of

their expectations to change Washington."

Interpreting this finding, Chuck Todd of NBC wrote: "Yes, the

Obama White House has been more transparent than its predecessors

and has implemented rules to discourage the revolving

door between public service and lobbying. And, yes, the Democratic‐controlled

Congress implemented unprecedented rules to

police ethical violations.

"But the partisanship ‐‐ as well as all the deals Democrats cut to

pass legislation over the last two years ‐‐ has made the public

believe that Washington hasn't changed under Democratic rule.

The perception is strengthened by the fact that several Obama

appointees are "old Washington hands" including some who

have been recycled from the Clinton administration.

For all these transgressions, real or imagined, Obama lost

many of his supporters who simply stayed home on November 2.

They included minority voters, young voters, liberals, and independents.

The majority of those who cast their voters were older

and more conservative. We now know how a majority of them



What, now? As at the beginning of his presidency, liberals want

him to "stand up and fight for progressive ideals." Others want

him to govern "from the center." Still others see him turning into

a "foreign policy president" for the next two years.

Obama is emphatic about how he himself views the immediate

future. First, he plans to be more directly engaged with supporters

and other voters who are located "beyond the White House

bubble." Pursuing this goal, he engaged his supporters in a conference

call just a few hours after his news conference.

Next, he will push for continued civility in Washington, so that

political discourse among those who disagree with each other

need not be disagreeable. This point was emphasized to him, he

said, by the owner of a "small business" tree care firm in Virginia

during a town hall meeting in that state.

Most of all, however, he will seek to sit down with Speakerelect

John Boehnor and Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell

as well with the Democratic leadership to seek areas of

public policy and legislation on which they can forge consensus

and move forward together. This exercise could involve new

legislation or adjustments to existing legislation.

He has already spoken to Boehnor and McConnell over the

phone, informing them of his desire to work constructively with

them. He acknowledges nevertheless that the process he has in

mind "will not be easy."

McConnell, it might be recalled, is on record as believing that a

major goal of Republicans should be to ensure that Obama will

be a one‐term president. Others, emboldened by election results,

might share that view. At least one of them has already

published his thoughts on how the country's economic problems

can be solved.

Palin, it has been said, no longer focuses her binoculars on

Russia when she looks out from her home in Alaska. She sees,

instead, the looming attraction of 2012. •



Canada's Endorsement of Indigenous Rights Significant

By J Chandler in Toronto

Canada's endorsement of the global treaty outlining the rights of

the world's estimated 370 million indigenous peoples has been

welcomed by the head of a United Nations body dealing with the


Carlos Mamani, Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous

Issues (UNPFII), described it as reaffirmation of the country's

commitment to the principles of respect, non‐discrimination and

good faith enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous


Mamani said the endorsement by Canada of the UN Declaration

is an "important step in the right direction towards building and

strengthening the relationship between Canada and indigenous

peoples within Canada and indeed with indigenous peoples

throughout the world."

Canada, along with Australia, New Zealand and the United States,

originally voted against the Declaration when it was adopted by

the UN General Assembly in September 2007 after more than

two decades of debate.

Australia and New Zealand later endorsed the treaty ‐‐ a nonbinding

text that sets out the individual and collective rights of

indigenous peoples, as well as their rights to culture, identity,

language, employment, health, education and other issues.

Mamani said in a statement on November 12 that he looked

forward to increased commitment by Canada and the world to

working towards the full implementation of the Declaration, and

encouraged other States that have not endorsed it to do so.

"I also congratulate the Canadian representatives of Indigenous

Peoples who patiently exerted extraordinary efforts for this Declaration,

which embodies the most important rights we and our

ancestors have long fought for; our right of self‐determination,

our right to own and control our lands, territories and resources,

our right to free, prior and informed consent, among others,"

UNPFII head said.

Mamani added: "I look forward to seeing increased commitment

of Canada as well as the whole international community to work

towards the full and effective implementation of the Declaration

and to protect, respect and fulfil indigenous peoples collective

and individual human rights."

He asked those states that have not yet done so, to endorse the



The endorsement by Canada of the UN Declaration followed in

the footsteps of a remarkable report by an independent United

Nations expert, published on October 18, which revealed that a

lot remains to be done to improve the situation of indigenous


The report says indigenous people are entitled to their own institutions

and self‐governing structures to enable them to manage

their own affairs and ensure that the development process is

aligned with their own cultural patterns, values and customs.

"In the light of the extreme disadvantages that indigenous

peoples have typically faced across a range of social and economic

indicators, there are particular concerns… that must be taken

into account with regard to development initiatives that affect

them," says James Anaya, the Special Rapporteur on the situation

on the freedom of human rights and fundamental freedoms of

indigenous people in a report to the General Assembly.

The report explains that policies and initiatives aimed at the

development of the economy or infrastructure, which are apparently

purported to benefit citizens on the whole, can have negative

effects on indigenous peoples.

"These include, inter alia, development programmes involving

the extraction of natural resources and mega‐projects such as the

construction of dams and transportation facilities on indigenous

peoples' territories.

"Such development programmes and projects, despite their

specific effects on indigenous peoples and their territories, are

often undertaken without adequate consultation with them or

without their free, prior and informed consent," Anaya says in his


He also notes that development projects targeted specifically at

reducing the disadvantages experienced by indigenous people

and improving their social and economic well‐being often fail to

properly incorporate their specific needs to advance their selfdetermination

and their rights to maintain their distinct cultural

identities, languages and connections with their traditional lands.

"Within both of these areas of concern, there is a need for governments

to decidedly fold into development programmes the

goal of increasing indigenous self‐determination," Anaya writes

in his report.

According to UN News, the report calls for enhancing indigenous

peoples' education and skills to empower them to engage and

participate in the various elements of development programmes

and projects that affect them.

The independent expert says that the participation of indigenous

peoples in the broader public life of the State is often inadequate

and not proportional to their numbers, recommending special

measures to ensure that they participate on equal footing in

public and political life.

"It is evident that throughout the world, indigenous peoples are

not adequately consulted, nor is their consent obtained, when

decisions affecting their rights or interests are made," the UN

Special Rapporteur writes.

On indigenous people's participation in decision‐making at the

international level, Anaya points out that continued efforts need

to be made to ensure their active involvement in the development

of all international standards and programmes that concern


"Potential reforms within international institutions and platforms

of decision‐making that affect indigenous peoples' lives should be

closely examined, and measures should be taken or strengthened

to provide financial and other support to enable indigenous

peoples to participate effectively at the international level,"

Anaya writes.

Anaya welcomes the adoption by the General Assembly of the

Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as recent

statements of support or movement towards support, by the few

States that originally voted against the adoption.

"Today, the Declaration serves more as a reminder of how far

there is to go in bringing justice and dignity to the lives of indigenous

peoples than a reflection of what has actually been

achieved on the ground," he says. •



New Study Finds Immigrants Vital for Canada

By Suresh Jaura in Toronto

Immigration and innovation are closely linked, and because

innovation is the sine qua non of competitiveness in the twentyfirst

century world, immigrants as innovators play a critical role

in boosting Canada's global competitiveness.

This is the main thrust of a new research report by the Conference

Board of Canada released in October 2010. The 60‐page

study by Michelle Downie is intended to help government and

business recognize the potential value of immigration to innovation

performance, which would make Canada a more innovative

country. Underlying the report is a comprehensive approach to

understanding and quantifying the relationship between immigration

and innovation.

In an attempt to find a convincing reply to whether immigrants

are making Canada more innovative, Downie argues, "immigrants

are by definition seekers of a better way ‐‐ the very embodiment

of innovation". The purpose of the research report, he

adds, is to test this presumption.

Therefore,it examines different dimensions of innovation across

areas such as research, the culture sector, business, and global

commerce, as well as at the level of the individual immigrant, the

firm, and the national and international economy. "At every level

of analysis, immigrants are shown to have an impact on innovation

performance that is benefiting Canada," concludes Downie.

The report titled 'Immigrants as Innovators: Boosting Canada’s

Global Competitiveness' also highlights actions that Canada can

take to develop the innovative capacities of immigrants and

harness the benefits of immigrant‐driven innovation.

The report comes at the right point in time. According to the

latest Global Competitiveness Report 2010‐2011, released by the

World Economic Forum, Canada has slipped from ninth to tenth

place. The United States is fourth behind Switzerland, Sweden

and Singapore.

Until recently, Canada topped for having minimum procedures

for starting a new business and held a respectable ninth position

for the time required to start a business.

Canada has indeed the potential to be higher than its present

position with the second largest territorial mass in the world, rich

with natural resources, including the increasingly scarce resource

of clean water and a low population density at 34 million people.

More immigrants per capita than any other country in the world

move to Canada every year. In 2006, Canada welcomed 251,511

immigrants, most of them highly skilled, through its doors. Yet

there is a pressing need for more immigration, the Conference

Board estimates that 375,000 new immigrants are required

every year in order to stabilize the workforce and ensure economic


At present, however, Canada is a consistent below‐average performer

in its capacity to innovate: ranks 14th out of 17 industrialized

countries in the Board's report card.

The Conference Board is an independent, not‐for‐profit applied

research organization in Canada, affiliated with, The Conference

Board, Inc. of New York, which serves nearly 2,000 companies in

60 nations and has offices in Brussels and Hong Kong.

The conclusions of the Conference Board's report are indirectly

backed by Steven Johnson's latest book 'Where good ideas come

from: The natural history of innovation'. The renowned author

takes a look at how some of the world's greatest thinkers came

to the conclusions that changed our world. He argues that the

lone genius is the exception rather than the rule, and that innovation

is usually a far slower, more collaborative process.


Johnson defines innovation as occurring when "we take ideas

from other people ‐‐ from people we've learned from, from

people we run into in the coffee shop, and we stitch them together

into new forms, and we create something new. This

means that we have to change some of our models of what

innovation and deep thinking really looks like."

He calls this the "liquid network" ‐‐ an environment that enables

the coming together of ideas, in sometimes unpredictable but

satisfying combinations.

"Job creation, the success of our entrepreneurial class and our

economic vitality here in Canada depends on the creation of

these liquid networks," said Gordon Nixon, president of the

Royal Bank of Canada at a conference on innovation.

"Earlier this month (October 4, 2010) the Globe and Mail announced

the findings of a C‐Suite survey, which puts the blame

for this country's poor track record on innovation squarely on C‐

Suite executives. According to my peers who were polled for this

study, the two top factors important in explaining weak Canadian

productivity is business leaders' risk aversion and a culture

of complacency... This is a country that to a large degree has

been built by newcomers willing to take risks," he added.

He said those attitudes should now help Canada shift to a culture

of innovation at a time when many established executives are

complacent and risk‐averse.

Immigrants face too many "onerous and unnecessary" obstacles

which limit their potential to inject life into the country's flailing

innovation performance and full participating in the economy.

"Innovation, R&D, Venture Capital ‐‐ that is the equation we

must solve for and they are all interrelated.

"I say this because Canada's labour productivity level in the business

sector has been lower than that of the US for almost 50

years. And a recent report by the Institute for Competitiveness

and Prosperity shows that if the GDP per capita gap between the

US and Canada were closed, Canadian families would have

$12,200 more in annual personal disposable income," Nixon

pointed out.

He said those attitudes should now help Canada shift to a culture

of innovation at a time when many established executives are

complacent and risk‐averse.

Immigrants face too many "onerous and unnecessary" obstacles

which limit their potential to inject life into the country's flailing

innovation performance and full participating in the economy.

"Innovation, R&D, Venture Capital ‐‐ that is the equation we

must solve for and they are all interrelated.

"I say this because Canada's labour productivity level in the business

sector has been lower than that of the US for almost 50

years. And a recent report by the Institute for Competitiveness

and Prosperity shows that if the GDP per capita gap between the

US and Canada were closed, Canadian families would have

$12,200 more in annual personal disposable income," Nixon

pointed out.



"Canada cannot continue to ask immigrants to sacrifice their

short‐term success in the interests of future generations. The

impact of this lost productivity on our collective prosperity cannot

be overstated. As the country begins to climb out of the

recession, the government needs to engage Canadians, both

new and old, and begin a discussion on our future and our immigration

program," writes Ratna Omidvar, president of the

Toronto‐based Maytree Foundation, an agency promoting

workplace diversity and author of Canada's Immigration Score:

Recommendations for a Win‐Win, published in the July‐August

issue of Policy Options.

There is a lack of recognition of international experience and

qualifications which leads to discrimination or underutilization

of their skills.

According to research by Naomi Alboim, Ross Finnie and Ronald

Meng published by the Institute for Research on Public Policy

(IRPP), Canada should provide more points for young people

and fewer for work experience. As it is, international experience

is discounted by a factor of almost 70 per cent by employers in

labour market. To continue to allot points for international work

experience is disingenuous at best. Younger people, even those

with little work experience, have long careers ahead of them to

contribute to the Canadian economy.

Business leaders must take a stronger lead in addressing these

challenges. Employers can start by conveying a strong message

to new Canadians that they value them as creators, innovators

and highly skilled workers whose performance improves results.

They should also take advantage of the fact that immigrants can

open doors to investment opportunities overseas and help

attract foreign investment in Canada.

According to an OECD study, diversity has also been associated

with an increase in patents. More than a quarter of patents in

Canada have foreign co‐inventors.

Two prime examples of how integrating immigrant workers can

bolster innovation are:

Xerox Canada, with half of its staff who are immigrants from 35

different countries, credits immigrants with boosting its innovation

rate, which has reached about 130 patentable ideas a year.

It says its staff are also helping the company better compete in a

global market.

Toronto‐based Steam Whistle Brewing, the beer maker with

more than half of the management team as immigrants, says

the composition means a stronger work ethic, while foreignborn

workers bring new techniques and fresh perspectives to

the job. It also helps them understand a diverse marketplace.

"I absolutely believe that ongoing immigration is going to turbocharge

this economy going forward," said Loudon Owen, managing

partner of venture capital firm McLean Watson Capital.

Immigrants have a fresh view of Canada, and bring ideas from

their country of origin that may be new to Canada, he said.

"They are often driven to succeed in ways that Canadians

aren't," he added. •



Arab Water Apocalypse, Now

By Salem Khalil in Beirut

"Water Apocalypse, Now" is the title that Najib Saab, secretary

general of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development

(AFED), chose for his recent analysis on regional water stress, in

an attempt to wake up Arab regimes to the imminent water

crisis their people are about to face. Saab is not however the

sole horseman of such an apocalypse.

In fact, this has been the very conclusion reached by over 500

delegates from 52 countries, among them 30 ministers and

heads of regional and international organisations, as well as 70

and Arab reporters, who gathered at the AFED annual meeting

in Beirut on November 4‐5, 2010.

A not‐for‐profit regional non‐governmental organisation,

grouping experts together with civil society, business community

and media, to promote sound environmental policies and

programmes across the region, AFED presented in the meeting

its annual report on water, edited by former head of the Global

Environment Facility (GEF), Dr. Mohamed El‐Ashry.

AFED stresses the "urgent need for policy reforms," while

stating water availability and needs, taking foremost facts into

account, mainly that the Arab region is among the waterscarcest

in the world.


"Due to increase in population growth and bad management,

the average annual per capita share is declining from below

1000 cubic meters now, already below the level of water scarcity,

to below 500 cubic meters as early as 2015, defined as

severe water stress", says the AFED report.

World average is 6500 cubic meters.

AFED recalls the fact that major water sources are from outside

Arab borders or shared, and most available water resources

are already developed. "As needs exceed availability, it is urgent

to apply rational use of available water resources, and develop

new sources, such as innovative desalination technologies."

To give an idea of the relevance attached to the imminent water

crisis, world known experts, such as Egyptian American scientist

Dr. Farouk El‐Baz, actively participated in the event. He

talked about locating possible ground‐water sites in the desert

by use of satellite images.

El‐Baz worked with the U.S. National Space Agency (NASA) to

assist in the planning of scientific exploration of the Moon,

including the selection of landing sites for the Apollo missions

and the training of astronauts in lunar observations and photography.

Currently, El‐Baz is Research Professor and Director of

the Centre for Remote Sensing at Boston University.


Impacted by the scientific findings regarding the water situation

in the Arab region, participants in the Beirut conference endorsed

a set of conclusions and recommendations (full text at

First of all, they agreed with the AFED report that the state of

water in Arab countries "is critical and demands immediate


"Prospects of severe water shortages are serious" under a business‐as‐usual

scenario, which would contribute to reduced

agricultural production, increased poverty, adverse public

health outcomes, and more environmental degradation, all of

which would gravely undermine the human development

agenda that is the stated priority of every government in the


They also recognised that despite large sums of investments

in Arab water infrastructure over the past few decades, the

water sector in Arab states continues to suffer from a crisis,

which manifests itself in multiple forms.

Some of these forms are the fact that safe sanitation and reliable

water supply services are still lacking for millions, and overextraction

of groundwater has left aquifers depleted and at a

risk of contamination, urban water supply and irrigation infrastructures

perform poorly and inefficiently.

Other forms are that the average water availability is projected

to continue its decrease below the severe water scarcity

threshold of 500 cubic meters per capita per year by 2015,

dropping below 100 cubic meters in some countries, compared

to a world average exceeding 6,000 cubic meters.

Due to high rates of population growth, freshwater availability

per capita will continue to decrease, which demands more efficient

use of water, cutting losses, increasing the ratio of water

treatment and reuse, securing more crop per drop, and achieving

a breakthrough in desalination technology to make it more

widely accessible.

The conference also concurred with the AFED report that at

the root of the Arab water crisis is a set of political and management

shortcomings: water institutions are fragmented,

water legal systems are deficient, public water budgets are

constrained, and water policies are divorced from sound science.

At the same time, they said, water investments are poorly

targeted, funding and regulations for pollution control are insufficient,

controls over proper aquifer use are lacking, and water

prices are artificially low.


"For the Arab water crisis to be dissipated, water reforms must

address these and other shortcomings," they said.

Then the conference called upon Arab governments to take a

series of measures.

One of these is to make a sustained effort "to introduce policy,

institutional, and legal reforms to enable a shift from a culture

limited to securing more supplies through expensive water

development, to one which manages demand, by improving

efficiency, cutting losses, and protecting water from overuse

and pollution."

Another measure is to adopt "economic criteria" for enabling

water efficiency and prioritising the allocation of the available

supply of water resources among competing sectors.

"Governments are urged to introduce water tariffs that rationalise

water use, achieve cost recovery in a gradual manner,

and promote equity through targeted subsidies."



Decision makers were also called to "support new agricultural

policies by offering economic incentives, research assistance,

training, and public awareness campaigns to persuade farmers

to improve irrigation efficiency, change cropping patterns, improve

irrigation scheduling, and shift toward higher‐value adding

crops and agricultural activities."


The Beirut conference also recommended governments to develop

adaptation policies to climate change predicated on using

saline water in agricultural production, developing new local

crop varieties tolerant to aridity and drought conditions, and

rehabilitating water harvesting systems.

The conference further stressed the importance of reorienting

the role of state water authorities from that of a water provider

to that of an effective regulator and planner, including establishing

legal frameworks that enable private investments and public‐private

partnerships to provide clean water and safe sanitation,

while maintaining transparency and accountability.

It urged the need for promotion, through a mix of economic

incentives and publicly sponsored research programs, of opportunities

for the private sector to assist in developing locallybased

competitive desalination technologies, while encouraging

the application of solar energy, was another reclamation.


The recommendations included commitments to national strategies

for tapping the under‐utilised potential of wastewater

reclamation as well as grey‐water recycling to augment Arab

countries' water supply; investing in scientifically credible and

policy‐relevant research that addresses the practical problems

of water management in Arab states, and enacting comprehensive

national water legislation to address existing gaps in current


The need to establish mechanisms to control and regulate water

access, promote water use efficiency, enable pollution control

regulations, establish protected areas vital to water resources,

provide for land use planning, and institute enforceable

penalties for violations that cause damage to water resources,

appeared among the key recommendations, among several



The Beirut recommendations, however wise, do not differ much

from similar expressions of goodwill and wishes to act, that

usually come out of all and each world, regional or national

conference dealing with human issues.

They seem, above all, not to alter the facts and contribute to

heeding the warning that the AFED secretary general issued as

recently as last June, in a critical analysis titled "Water Apocalypse,


Najib Saab took the case of the Nile and the recent recurrent

attempts to alter its water sharing historical accords. "Taking

advantage of astounding Arab apathy, African countries of the

Nile Basin met in the absence of Egypt and Sudan to agree on a

plan for sharing the Nile water."

Ethiopia, Saab added, which is the source of 85 percent of the

Blue Nile, is only able to utilise a small portion of this water for

irrigation. Nevertheless, it is demanding the right to construct

dams on the Nile for the generation of electricity, to be in turn

exported to Europe.

"What is precarious is the notion of asking for a "fair share"

from Nile water with the rights of selling it to other countries,"

the author asks.

"This move was instigated by Israel's offer to buy water from

the source countries. Whereas the construction of the hydroelectric

dams does not impact the quantity of water flowing to

Sudan and Egypt in real terms, offering the Nile water on the

market for sale as a commercial commodity would result in an

indisputable disaster," Saab stressed.

The Nile crosses 10 countries before its downstream

reaches the Nile Delta Mediterranean estuary.

The White Nile originates from Lake Victoria

between Kenya and Uganda while the Blue Nile

originates from Ethiopia.

The two rivers meet in Sudan to merge in one large stream to

Egypt. Around 90 percent of Nile water currently reaches Sudan

and Egypt, which both have been given the right to veto any

projects for the construction of dams or alteration of water use

in upstream areas, through an agreement that was signed in


The countries that have met in Uganda (May 2010) have decided

to establish a new joint authority for the management of

the Nile, based on new guidelines.

"We do not have to wait for the implications of the Uganda

agreements nor the impacts of climate change as Arabs are

already in the heart of the water catastrophe," Saab alerts.

Official figures have until recently estimated the per capita

share of water in Egypt to be 750 cubic meters per year in 2010,

based on the assumption that the Nile flow is 55 billion‐cubic


However, "the amount of water actually reaching Egypt today

does not exceed 44 billion cubic meters, reducing per capita

share to no more than 600 cubic meters annually, 20 per cent

lower than the official figure."


Then AFED secretary general also referred to another key water

source in the region, recalling that both "Iraq and Syria are subject

to a drastic water deficit, due to sharp reductions in the

flow from Turkey, where the Tigris and Euphrates originate."

In Jordan and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Saab reports,

"water scarcity has reached dangerous levels, after Israel

strengthened its grip on the Jordan River waters and stole a

major portion of groundwater resources."

And Lebanon is losing its water due to mismanagement, pollution

or simply wasting it in the sea.


The most recent water reports indicate that three Arab countries

are the poorest in water availability in the world amongst

180 countries. Not only: there are 13 Arab countries in the list of

the 19 water‐poorest

Najib Saab warns "any delay to formulate and implement serious

response to the water challenge corresponds to mass

suicide. The water apocalypse is knocking on Arab doors, right

now." •




InterviewofTiborTóth,CTBTOExecutiveSecretary byRameshJaura

Almost 190 countries around the world have reaffirmed the critical impor

tance of enforcing the Comprehensive NuclearTestBan Treaty (CTBT)



Though the CTBT has yet to enter into force, it has been ratified by 153

countries and enjoys almost universal membership of 182 signatory states.



says Ambassador Tibor Tóth of Hungary, who is Executive Secretary of the

Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive NuclearTestBan Treaty








reliable verification system since the CTBTO was established in 1997 with



editor Ramesh Jaura in an exclusive interview. When North Korea tested a

nuclear device in October 2006, the CTBT member states received exact



Question: What would you describe as the highlights of CTBTO



Tibor Tóth: Today, the Comprehensive NuclearTestBan Treaty









and in actual fact have established the Treaty as a universal


Thepolitical landscapetoday looks vastlydifferentaswell. A

number of key high level events in recent years have demon

strated that multilateralism is not a relic of the past and fur






nalDeclarationcallingonthe holdoutStatestosignandratify


United States, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran and Israel joined

ratifying States in this call. Also at last year's United Nations



the CTBT resolution. More recently the statement launched at




the CTBT has so far been endorsed by Ministers from over 70



TestBan Treaty Organization (CTBTO) has built a verification



anucleardeviceinOctober2006,theCTBT MemberStatesre

ceived exact information about the magnitude, location, depth





CTBTOdatacanalsohelpmitigatedisasters andprovidecivil





generating earthquakes and provide vulnerable communities














Q: Has your task become easier since President Obama's famous

Prague speech in April 2009? Or was that speech just a drop in

the ocean with detractors of nuclear disarmament or abolition

all around?

TT: The Obama administration's support for the CTBT, articulated

not only in his Prague speech but in various other forums

has certainly created positive impetus for realizing the Treaty's

entry into force. As one of the remaining nine among the 44

nuclear technology‐capable states (so‐called Annex 2 States)

whose ratification is needed for the Treaty's entry into force,

the significance of U.S. ratification cannot be overstated.

Having said this, I cannot stress enough that it is of utmost

importance that all of the 44 countries whose ratification is

required for the entry into force provide leadership and not use

as an excuse that they are waiting for the United States to ratify.

The announcement by Indonesia in May that it had initiated the

ratification process of the Treaty is another positive step in the

right direction. While the remaining Annex 2 States bear special

responsibility to fully commit themselves to the CTBT, the signature

and ratification of all States that have not yet done so will

provide important momentum towards bringing the Treaty into


Q:. How would you describe the present situation in terms of

ushering in a world free of nuclear weapons being achieved in

the foreseeable future?

TT: Renewed optimism exists today for nuclear disarmament

and the total elimination of nuclear weapons. In May, the 2010

NPT Review Conference overcame the failure of 2005 breathing

new life into the multilateral disarmament process. Its nearly

190 Member States reaffirmed the vital importance of the

CTBT's entry into force as a core element of the nuclear

disarmament and non‐proliferation regime in its final document.

By providing a firm legal barrier against nuclear testing,

thereby curbing the qualitative improvement and development

of new types and new designs of nuclear weapons by possessor

states, the Treaty's entry into force would be a milestone in the

global endeavor to rid the world of nuclear weapons. In addition,

the CTBT is a valuable instrument for nuclear nonproliferation

in that testing is necessary for establishing technical

and scientific confidence in any developing programme on

the part of would‐be nuclear possessors. Bringing the Treaty

into force is the obvious and logical next step to take and with

adequate political leadership such a step is virtually around the



Q: How do you see your relationship with NGOs and civil society


TT: The role that citizens and civil society worldwide play in

ensuring and putting pressure on their governments ‐‐ and their

parliaments ‐‐ to act on commitments made is indispensable to

promoting the entry into force of the CTBT. The International

Test Ban Campaign, the Nevada‐Semipalatinsk movement, and

Greenpeace action in the Pacific to mention but a few examples,

were all instrumental in achieving the CTBT in the mid‐1990s.

Today, we need NGOs and civil society in the remaining holdout

states to hold their governments accountable. We need to see

much more grassroots movement and action by citizens and

civil society to raise awareness and rally support for the Treaty's

object and purpose. Active NGO and civil society participation

can push their governments to go the final mile in delivering on

their commitments.

Q: Does the NPT Review Conference open up new realistic possibilities

for a CTBT?

TT: The fact that the most recent NPT Review Conference

adopted a final document, which for the first time recognized

the CTBT entry into force as a core element of the international

nuclear disarmament and non‐proliferation regime attests to

the international community's strong support for the Treaty's

entry into force. I believe that the CTBT ‐‐ more than any other

measure at our disposal ‐‐ bridges the divide between State

Parties as it serves to promote all three pillars of the NPT. It

signals commitment to disarmament, strengthens nonproliferation,

and facilitates peaceful uses.

The CTBT in force would be a critical confidence and security

building measure in regions such as the Middle East and Asia. It

is a practical tool where progress can be achieved in a relatively

short time since the Treaty already exists and enjoys nearuniversal

support. It has a strong verification regime that has

been tried and tested. It is the norm that there is no more nuclear

testing and political will by the international community to

ban nuclear testing is evident. What we need now is tangible

progress in bringing the CTBT into force thereby taking the first,

most importance step towards the complete abolition of nuclear


Q: Will the International Monitoring System and the verification

regime when complete be without any loopholes?

TT: The CTBT boasts an extensive verification system that is

transparent, democratic and non‐discriminatory and, the verification

regime is already operational. Despite being only partially

complete the system was able to detect the North Korean nuclear

tests in 2006 and 2009 in a timely and accurate fashion.

Upon completion there will be 337 facilities in the International

Monitoring System employing seismic, hydroacoustic, infrasound

and radionuclide technologies to detect any nuclear

explosion regardless of yield. While it may be inevitable that

cheaters will attempt to challenge the system and exploit loopholes,

the verification regime will provide a strong deterrence

against noncompliance with the Treaty's provisions.

Q: Would it be appropriate to describe your organisation as THE

body paving the path toward nuclear abolition?

TT: Permanently banning all forms of nuclear testing is a necessary,

though not sufficient condition toward realizing a world

free of nuclear weapons. As the body mandated to promote

such an important objective, the CTBTO plays an instrumental

role in ushering in a world free of nuclear weapons. The nuclear

non‐proliferation and disarmament regime cannot be strengthened

without a CTBT in force and the CTBT will become a more

powerful tool within a more robust overall nuclear nonproliferation

and disarmament regime.


External link:



Developing Nations Alone Cannot Drive Global Recovery

By Richard Johnson

Developing countries continue to drive the global recovery but

are not in a position to make up for slowdown in the advanced

countries. Consequently, 2011 does not hold out much hope for

the world economy, says a new report by the United Nations.

The UN report, titled 'World Economic Situation and Prospects

2011' (WESP), finds that because of the slowdown in the advanced

countries and the phasing out of stimulus measures,

output growth in the developing countries is expected to shrink

to 6 per cent during 2011‐2012, down from 7 per cent in 2010,

Painting a gloomy picture of the performance of the global

economy next year, WESP projects worldwide growth to be a

meagre 3.1 per cent, followed by 3.5 per cent in 2012. These

rates are insufficient to spur the recovery of the jobs that were

lost during the financial crisis.

"We are not out of the woods yet and still major risks are looming,"

says Rob Vos, the Director of the Development Policy and

Analysis Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social

Affairs (DESA), who led the team of UN economists that prepared

the report.

"The road to recovery ‐‐ we expect to be long and bumpy still.

The speed of the recovery as we have seen starting in the middle

of 2009 has started to decelerate in the middle of this year particularly

owing to weaknesses in the major developed economies,

but we also expect that to drag down the growth in developing

countries," Vos told a news conference at UN Headquarters

in New York on December 1.

The lack of employment continues to put a damper on economic

recovery, according to the report prepared by the (DESA), the UN

Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the five

UN economic commissions.

The report says that serious risks to the global economy include

waning cooperative spirit among major economies, which has

weakened the effectiveness of responses to the crisis. It notes

that uncoordinated monetary responses have become a source

of turbulence and uncertainty in financial markets.

The United States has been on a recovery trajectory, yet the

pace of that rebound has been the weakest in the country's postrecession

experience, says to the report. At 2.6 per cent in 2010,

growth in the U.S. is expected to decline to 2.2 per cent in 2011

before improving slightly to 2.8 per cent in 2012.

That sluggish pace of growth is unlikely to make much of a dent

in unemployment rates, and recovering the jobs lost in the U.S.

during the crisis would take at least another four years.

Prospects for Europe and Japan are even dimmer, the report

notes. Assuming continued, albeit moderate, recovery in Germany,

the gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the Euro area

is forecast to virtually stagnate at 1.3 per cent in 2011 and 1.9

per cent in 2012.

According to the report, Japan's initially strong rebound, fuelled

by net export growth, started to falter in the course of 2010 as a

result of persistent deflation and elevated public debt. The Asian

country's economy is expected to grow by a meagre 1.1 per cent

in 2011 and 1.4 per cent in 2012.

Among the economies in transition, GDP (gross domestic product)

of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) ‐‐ comprising

the former Soviet Union ‐‐ and Georgia rebounded by

about 4 per cent on average in 2010, up from the deep contraction

of more than 7 per cent in 2009. In 2011 and 2012, the pace

of recovery in South‐Eastern Europe is expected to be rather



Though developing countries in Asia, led by China and India,

continue to show the strongest growth performance, it is expected

to moderate to around 7 per cent in 2011 and 2012,

according to the report.

Growth in Latin America is projected to remain relatively strong

at around 4 per cent, though less robust than the GDP (gross

domestic product) growth of 5.6 per cent estimated for 2010.

Brazil, the engine of regional growth, continues with strong domestic

demand to boost export growth of neighbouring countries.

The sub‐region also benefits from strengthened economic

ties with the emerging economies in Asia, says the report.

In the Middle East and other countries in Western Asia, recovery

is also expected to decline from 5.5 per cent in 2010 to 4.7 per

cent in 2011 and 4.4 per cent in 2012. The average annual output

growth will be lower than the pre‐crisis rate.

"Recovery has been solid in most of Africa, where the rebound is

expected to continue at about 5 per cent per year in 2011 and

2012, but this is well below potential, and conditions vary across

the region," the report points out.

"The economies in East Africa are showing strong growth, but

several of the poorest countries, especially those in the Sahel

region, have suffered from droughts and conditions of insecurity,

which is causing hunger and hampering the recovery of their

economies," it adds.

The report offers some suggestions that might lead to sustainable

recovery. These include providing additional fiscal stimulus

and redesigning the stimulus and other economic policies to lend

a stronger orientation towards measures that directly support

job growth, reduce income inequality and strengthen sustainable

production capacity on the supply side.

Other options include finding greater synergy between fiscal and

monetary stimulus, while counteracting damaging international

spill‐over effects in the form of increased currency tensions and

volatile short‐term capital flows; ensure that sufficient and stable

development finance is made available for developing countries;

and finding ways for credible and effective policy coordination

among major economies.

The findings of the new report do not come as a surprise: "The

recovery from the current economic downturn is fragile," speakers

at a UN event in Geneva said on September 16, warning that

a second downturn may occur if countries do not coordinate

their responses, if economic stimulus plans are phased out too

quickly and if unemployment is not reduced."

Efforts to rejuvenate the banking and financial sector to stimulate

the broader economy have not had the desired result, Supachai

Panitchpakdi, UNCTAD Secretary‐General said. Banks are

turning healthy profits, he said, but mostly through trading. The

institutions are not lending to businesses that might use funds to

expand production or hire more workers.

Supachai was addressing this year's high‐level segment, focusing

on the theme 'Towards sustainable recovery' of UNCTAD's Trade

and Development Board, which guides UNCTAD's activities from

year to year. .


Reform the Global Financial and Monetary System

By Yilmaz Akyüz* in Geneva


The current turmoil in the world economy has demonstrated once again that the international arrangements lack mechanisms to prevent

financial crises with global repercussions. Not only are effective rules and regulations absent to bring inherently unstable international

financial market and capital flows under control, but there is no multilateral discipline over misguided monetary, financial and

exchange rate policies in systemically important countries despite their disproportionately large adverse international spillovers.

Yilmaz Akyüz | IICD.CA

Both national and international policy makers are preoccupied

primarily with resolving crises by opening the faucets and spigots

to support those who are at the origin of predicaments,

rather than introducing institutional arrangements to reduce

the likelihood of their recurrence. Through such interventions,

they are creating more problems than they are solving, and

indeed sowing the seeds for future difficulties.

For the first time in the post‐war era, widespread economic

difficulties are seriously threatening to disrupt whatever order

the international economic system may have, by giving rise to

beggar‐my‐neighbour policies in major economies, largely because

of absence of multilateral disciplines over exchange rate

policies and orderly and equitable adjustment to global trade


The international monetary and financial arrangements need

a fundamental reform. The primary objective should be to deliver

"the global public good of financial stability." The missing

components should now be evident after persistent instability

and recurrent crises in emerging and mature economies.

There is need to establish credible and effective surveillance

over national monetary and financial policies with global repercussions.

This very much depends on introducing enforceable

commitments and obligations regarding exchange rates of major

currencies and adjustment to imbalances by deficit and

surplus countries.

The world economy should move away from the current reserves

system centered on a single national currency, the US

dollar. This is essential not only for reducing global trade imbalances

and greater international monetary stability, but also for

the scarce resources of poorer countries to be put into a better

use for investment and growth, rather than being transferred to

the reserve issuer enjoying the exorbitant privilege of being able

to live beyond its means without encountering serious costs and


There should be a serious rethinking of the approach to international

capital flows. The international community should

firmly establish that controls over capital flows are legitimate

tools in the arsenal of policy measures needed for macroeconomic

and financial stability and they should be effectively used

as such.

Crisis intervention should not undermine market discipline

and distort the balance between debtors and creditors. Private

creditors and investors should be involved in the resolution of

payments crises through both voluntary and mandatory mechanisms.

With mounting sovereign debt with international

dimensions in several emerging and mature economies, it is no

longer possible to deny or ignore the need for impartial sovereign

insolvency procedures.

These issues are discussed above and some specific solutions

are proposed. However, the objective pursued here is not to

provide blueprints, but to draw attention to the causes of international

monetary and financial instability and how they relate

to shortcomings in multilateral arrangements in money and


Genuine reforms in these areas no doubt require considerable

reflection and debate in the international community in search

of viable and effective solutions. This presupposes recognition

of problems and shortcomings in the first place. However, the

agendas of the IMF and the G20 still miss some of the most

important issues that need attention.

Developing countries have a particular stake in this endeavour

given their vulnerability to adverse spillovers from Advanced

Economies (AEs) and limited capacity to respond.

If major countries do not support the establishment of an orderly

and equitable international monetary and financial system,

Developing and Emerging Economies (DEEs) should find

ways and means of protecting themselves and looking after

their interests through regional cooperation.

These include arrangements regarding regional currencies and

exchange rate mechanisms, intra‐regional provision of international

liquidity, policy surveillance and regulation of financial

markets and capital flows. There can be little doubt that in many

of these areas, regional arrangements are generally inferior to

those that could be established at the global level. But they

definitely are better than a "non‐system" pulled and pushed

around by major economic powers.

*Yilmaz Akyüz is the Special Economic Adviser of the South Centre. This article is taken from the conclusion of the South Centre’s forthcoming

paper on the reform of the IMF and International Monetary System. It was published in the South Bulletin Issue No. 51 dated October 29,




Dire Warnings Ahead of Presidential Poll in Nigeria

By J Chandler in Toronto

The creeping collapse of Nigeria, Africa's most populous country and one of the world's largest oil producers, would threaten the interests

of the United States and the international community in the region, a veteran U.S. diplomat has cautioned.

The warning from former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, John

Campbell, comes three months in run‐up to the presidential

elections scheduled for January 2011, who has also urged the

Obama administration not to appear too supportive of the government

led by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Jonathan was sworn in as president when his predecessor,

Umaru Yar'Adua, died after a long period of illness in May 2010.

He was hand‐picked to be Yar'Adua's running mate in the 2007

election, amid allegations of widespread vote‐rigging.

Campbell urges the Obama administration to seek greater ties

with Nigerian civil society, while warning of the possible negative

political consequences if the United States is viewed as too supportive

of the Abuja (Nigeria's capital) government.

"The people of Nigeria distance themselves from government as

much as they can. There is the risk that many of them will distance

themselves from the United States if they perceive Washington

to be an uncritical supporter of the Abuja status quo."

Campbell maintains that "the Obama administration should take

into greater account what the Nigerian government is doing

domestically before embracing Abuja too warmly."

Campbell, says: "Governance, let alone democracy, faces grievous,

structural challenges in Nigeria," adding: "Popular alienation

and a fragmented establishment have contributed to Nigeria

becoming one of the most religious and, at the same time, one

of the most violent countries in the world."

In his new book titled 'Nigeria: Dancing on the Brink' Campbell

offers a history of Nigeria from colonialism through independence

to the flawed elections in 2007, which undermined the

credibility of the current government and left Nigeria's conflicts


"Ubiquitous patronage and corrupt behavior fueled by oil money

is a root cause of Nigeria's political and economic sclerosis,"

explains Campbell, who is Senior Fellow of the Council on Foreign

Relations (CFR). "The federal government has failed to provide

basic security for its citizens and has lost its monopoly on

violence, two basic attributes of a sovereign state."

Notwithstanding the challenges, Campbell argues that Nigeria is

important to the United States and the international community.

He points to a history of shared interests, including efforts to

promote African regional stability and conflict resolution, economic

cooperation in the region's petroleum resources, and

tackling public health challenges, especially HIV/AIDS and malaria.

"Though the international community would pay a steep price

for Nigerian state failure and the likely humanitarian calamity,"

Campbell acknowledges that "it can do little except at the margins

to prevent it." He argues that state failure is not inevitable,

but change must come from inside Nigeria. He encourages the

Obama administration to "assist those in Nigeria working to

establish a democratic culture," in hope that a complete collapse

of the state can be forestalled.

Campbell calls on the United States to employ a strategy of "soft

diplomacy," which includes "facilitating more exchanges and

providing more grants to those actively working to create a

democratic culture." He encourages U.S. support of the National

Assembly, the court system, and carefully vetted state governments

that are practicing good governance through targeted

assistance programs.


Nigeria is a Federal Republic modelled after the United States,

comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, with

executive power exercised by the president and with overtones

of the Westminster System model in the composition and management

of the upper and lower houses of the bicameral legislature.

The president presides as both Head of State and head of

the national executive and is elected by popular vote to a maximum

of two four‐year terms.

The president's power is checked by a Senate and a House of

Representatives, which are combined in a bicameral body called

the National Assembly. The Senate is a 109‐seat body with three

members from each state and one from the capital region of

Abuja; members are elected by popular vote to four‐year terms.

The House contains 360 seats and the number of seats per state

is determined by population.

The three largest and most influential ethnic groups in Nigeria

are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. In terms of religion Nigeria is

roughly split half and half between Muslims and Christians with a

very small minority who practice traditional religion.


The importance of Nigeria lies in the fact that it is the eighth

most populous country in the world, and the most populous

country in the world in which the majority of the population is

black. It is listed among the 'Next Eleven' economies, and is a

member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

According to International Monetary Fund (IMF), Nigeria is the

third fastest growing economy in the world after China and India,

as a result of the growth of the nation’s economy from 6.9 per

cent in 2009 to 7.4 per cent in 2010.

Moreover, it is the third largest economy in Africa, the largest

exporter of oil in Africa and a regional power that is also the

hegemon in West Africa.

Several studies point to prevalent ethnocentrism, tribalism,

religious persecution, and prebendalism ‐‐ a term used for patrons

using state resources in order to secure the loyalty of

clients in the general population, and describing informal patronclient

relationships that can reach from very high up in state

structures down to individuals in say, small villages.

All these have played a significant role in Nigerian politics both

prior and subsequent to independence in 1960. Kin‐selective

altruism has made its way into Nigerian politics and has spurned

various attempts by tribalists to concentrate Federal power to a

particular region of their interests.











while the opposition parties for their part attacked the CCM's poor



elections were evaluated by international and domestic observers as




Tanzania has managed to reproduce its dominantsome might say

hegemonicposition, while escaping the sort of international con

demnation levelled against some of the continent’s other longtime



Yet this election was also radically different from those held in 2000


opposition party the Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo


While the CCM's presidential candidate, Jakaya Kikwete, was re








Slaa, has managed to 'reinvigorate' an otherwise waning opposition

party and change the political landscapes throughout many of the







competitive polity. However, these developments, along with the


ily be taken as an indication that Tanzania might be en route to a

deeper democracy with the potential for broader citizen empower


The first developmentone potentially challenging to the CCM's

prospects in the 2015 electionis the growing significance of the

youth vote. Indeed, according to data from the National Bureau of




account for approximately 68 per cent, versus the 18 per cent old


enough to remember the euphoria of independence in

1961, brought about by the CCM’s antecedent parties,

the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) and the


As recently pointed out by Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala, a

high youth turnout could easily be responsible for




disadvantage of having to deal with an internal power


Secondly, and related to this, is the increased use of


Jamii Forums, Facebook and Twitter have grown into


and information about the elections. And this widening

social media sphere has proven to be a world far more



poll where respondents favoured Dr Slaa by a 60 per

cent margin over President Jakaya Kikweteparticipa


overwhelmingly dominated by opposition supporters.


are generally more tech savvy and also more likely to

back an opposition party. Moreover, folks with profes

sional backgrounds living in urban areas are both more








ening of those mutually beneficial exchanges that sustain the

CCM's rule and enrich the fortunes of a budding commercial



multiparty elections is found in the party's ability to pair its


that trades political support in exchange for favourable treat


Simultaneously, the massive levels of corruption that accom

pany these exchanges serve as opposition focal points that are


Richmond and Central Bank scandalsprovide powerful evi



certain, commercial elites will undoubtedly try to hedge their

bets by diversifying their political networks. This might explain

the July 2010 decision by Mustafa Jaffar Sabodo, a prominent




These three developments might strengthen the capacity for

opposition parties to pair winning messages with the financial,


the growing strength of the opposition may provide the incen



as to why recent election developments should not necessarily


First is the fact that voter turnout (as a percentage of regis

tered voters) in this election was an appalling 42.8 per cent,

compared to 76.7 per cent in 1995, 84.4 per cent in 2000 and


are unclear, one Jamii Forum post speculates that low voter





toward democracy, especially if this decline is a reflection of



and multiparty elections specifically, parties throughout Africa





cultivate durable connections with those that lack the financial


Thisofcourse,isnotjustaproblem inAfrica.But,thesheer

level of poverty throughout the continent, coupled with the

disproportionate influence that powerful international actors



nent's largely poor majorities on the other hand, more pro


In reality, this disconnection plays out during election cam

paigns as well, where competition requires parties to play the

game according to the tune of those that hold the keys to the




plightsfacedbypoorpeople,whiletakingtheinterestsof eco





ises of democracy are fulfilled for the majority of the citizens.

While ruling parties like the Movement for Multiparty Democ






can, which essentially depicts the political environment in Tan


the vast majority of Tanzanians are completely sidelined in the



The disconnect between broader citizen empowerment on one

hand, and the terms of conflict in multiparty politics on the

other, is also manifest in the widely celebrated digital social

networking venues. Without a doubt, social media forums can

serve as a democratising force by facilitating the exchange of





cial media throughout much of Africa represents a small and

significantly affluent segment of the population. In Tanzania,

data from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)


lation, managed to use the internet at least one time during



scriptions, only a small margin of these are likely to be those

devices capable of connecting to these internetbased fora.









erty and asymmetries in wealth and education, might act as a

force for broader participation and empowerment. Likewise,

competition between political actors might facilitate the inclu

sion of society's poorer members. However, where poverty is




metries in Tanzania, paired with the tendency for resources to

determine the amplitude of political voice, recent election de


with the movement toward a democracy that meaningfully re













rising food prices to a combination of hike in energy prices;


various trade shocks related to export restrictions, panic pur



tute (IFPRI) points out that the crisis eventually receded, but



Global Food Crisis' identify the key causes of the food price

surge, its consequences for global poverty, and the challenges


As part of their analysis, the authors also provide the first

comprehensive review of both the macroeconomic and micro




able resource for policymakers, development specialists, and


it comes amid renewed volatility in and concern about food



"Future food price crises can be prevented," says Shenggen





addressing climate change, resource degradation, and other




encouraging agricultural production in at least some of the





China and India did not trigger the crisis, although China’s de


"On China and India, the evidence is now unequivocal: they

weren't buying up the world's grains," notes Derek Headey,







"Rice is a particularly small market internationally, so the

shocks were large relative to the volume traded," explains


surges in demand for U.S. wheat and maize exports in late











Estimates of the number of people who were pushed into


millionto133 million.The greatestconsumptionlosses fellon


Countries were particularly vulnerable to rising prices when



However, other countries were protected by strengthening





"Poor people face a perpetual food crisis,” Headey stressed,








The report also exhorts donors to honor their financial


“To their credit, many aid donors have said they would in

crease agricultural aid,” says Fan. "In 2009, the G8 nations

madeUS$20billionincommitmentstofood securityandagri




‘Fair Game' and Foul Players

By Ernest Corea in Washington DC

"Fair Game," the film, delivers the George W. Bush Administration to viewers as fair game for condemnation

and scorn. The film was released for public viewing around the same time that the Bush

memoir "Decision Points" (Deception Points said a cynic) reached bookstores. The juxtaposition has

engrossed political junkies, giving them much to think about and talk or write about.

(Pause for an aside. Bush was never known as a literary president, and his entry into the field of authorship

has caused shock among his critics and awe among his followers. Late night comedians have

made a feast of his role as writer‐in‐chief. One of them insisted that the Bush memoir is a very useful

publication. "It is so thick that you can keep it on the ground and stand on it to reach for a better book

on a high shelf." Actually, as such memoirs go, a 497‐page book ‐‐ including acknowledgements and

index ‐‐ is about average. Not talking substance here.)

To consider the political aspects of "Fair Game" is not to write the film off as just another polemic. It is

based on two politically‐oriented books, Fair Game by former CIA employee Valerie Plame and The

Politics of Truth by Joe Wilson, her husband, a former U.S. diplomat. They were both directly and

deeply affected by events dramatically encapsulated in the film.

The film deals with themes and plots ‐‐ yes, indeed, plots ‐‐ that

are quintessentially political. As Washington Post reporters Walter

Leahy and Richard Leiby who covered the politics of that

period have written: "watching ‘Fair Game' is like unsealing a

time capsule……" Yet, it is first and foremost a film.

Director Doug Liman and his scriptwriters have taken the skeins

of partisan politics, espionage, warmongering, as well as the

emotional tensions of a marriage under strain, and woven them

into a rich cinematic tapestry. "Fair Game" is some 105 minutes

of enjoyment, and it should surprise nobody when Liman, the

scriptwriters, Naomi Watts (Plame) and Sean Penn (Wilson) are

nominated for Oscars.

It is a captivating film, but it also provides insights beyond the

film world that cannot be ignored or forgotten.


We are dealing here with a saga that has many beginnings. Perhaps

a suitable point to jump in would be the post‐9/11 reference

to the Bush Administration and Iraq by Richard N. Haas,

currently president of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations. Haas

wrote in "War of Necessity, War of Choice" that "the first instinct

of the president (Bush) was to push the bureaucracy to find a

connection between Saddam and the (9/11) attacks.

"Paul Wolfowitz, then deputy secretary of defense, argued at the

Camp David meeting convened on September 14 that the attack

was too grand for al‐Qaida to have accomplished on its own and

that the US should go after Iraq."

Thus, long before Plame and Wilson became, overtly, part of the

narrative, the Bush administration considered Saddam Hussein

the villain that needed taking down. Confirmation comes from

Bush who writes:

"Befor 9/11, Saddam was a problem America might have been

able to manage. Through the lens of the post‐9/11 world, my

view changed. I had just witnessed the damage inflicted by nineteen

fanatics armed with box cutters. I could only imagine the

destruction possible if an enemy dictator passed his WMD to

terrorists . . .

"The lesson of 9/11 was that if we waited for a danger to materialize,

we would have waited for too long. I reached a decision.

We would confront the threat from Iraq, one way or another."

In the context of that decision, it was not surprising that when

rumors surfaced in political and intelligence circles that Iraqi

representatives had attempted to buy uranium ore known as

yellowcake from Niger, the White House wanted corroboration.


In February 2002, Plame was asked by CIA colleagues whether

her husband, who had experience in Africa, would undertake a

mission to check out the yellowcake story in Niger itself. He


On returning from Niger, he confirmed what at least two others

(civilian and military) from the U.S. Government had reported.

There was no evidence of any such purchase, although there

were indications that Iraqis had expressed an interest in increasing

their commercial relations with Niger.

No matter. On January 23, 2003, Bush said in his State of the

Union address: "The British Government has learned that Saddam

Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium

from Africa."

That claim was debunked on March 7, 2003, when Mohamed El

Baradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy

Agency (IAEA) reported to the UN Security Council (UNSC) as

follows: "The IAEA has made progress in its investigation into

reports that Iraq sought to buy uranium from Niger in recent

years. The investigation was centred on documents provided by

a number of States that pointed to an agreement between Niger

and Iraq for the sale of uranium between 1999 and 2001 . . .

"Based on thorough analysis, the IAEA has concluded, with the

concurrence of outside experts, that these documents ‐‐ which

formed the basis for the reports of recent uranium transactions

between Iraq and Niger ‐‐ are in fact not authentic. We have

therefore concluded that these specific allegations are unfounded."

Bush refers to the Butler Report (from a five‐member committee

appointed by Prime Minister Tony Blair, chaired by Lord Butler of

Brockwell) as having concluded that the yellowcake allegation

was well‐founded. In the UK, the report's findings were described

as a "whitewash" and as a "lifeline" thrown to Blair.

Image above in left column is the cover art for Fair Game (2010 film) and is

taken from Wikimedia Commons.




Those assertions covered only the speculation about Iraq's alleged

purchase of yellowcake from Niger. There was, however,

even more compelling testimony, from Hans Blix, the highly

respected head of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection

Commission (UNMOVIC). He is a distinguished academic

from Sweden who served as Sweden's foreign minister before

heading the IAEA and then UNMOVIC.

On Feb. 14, 2003, Blix formally addressed the UNSC and

through it the world. UN officials like to hedge their bets and

their reports are sometimes equivocal. Neither El Baradei nor

Blix was cast in that mold. Blix, like El Baradei, was direct, unequivocal,

and left no room for misinterpretation.

He said: "How much, if any, is left of Iraq's weapons of mass

destruction (WMD) and related proscribed items and programs?

So far, UNMOVIC has not found any such weapons, only a small

number of empty chemical munitions, which should have been

declared and destroyed."

With that, two serving officials of the U.S. Government, a

former U.S. ambassador, and the head of an international

agency had said that there was no proof of Iraq having entered

into an agreement to buy yellowcake from Niger, and the head

of another international agency had declared that meticulous

inspections had found no WMD in Iraq.

On March 19, 2003, nevertheless, Bush launched the invasion

of Iraq.

In the White House Situation Room, with service chiefs as

witnesses via video conference, he said to Defence Secretary

Donald Rumsfeld: "Mr. Secretary, for the peace of the world and

the benefit and freedom of the Iraqi people, I hereby give the

order to execute Operation Iraqi Freedom. May God bless the


Later that day, he wrote an intensely personal letter to his father

President George H. W. Bush in which he said, in part: "In

spite of the fact that I had decided a few months ago to use

force, if need be, to liberate Iraq and rid the country of WMD,

the decision was an emotional one."


Wilson was clearly offended by the Bush Administration's rejection

of his findings in Niger, although they were confirmed by

other sources. He had served as a career foreign service officer

for 23 years, had served as an ambassador, and had built a reputation

for himself as a reliable consultant. He obviously decided

that he could not lie down and shame dead when his credibility

was assailed.

On July 6, 2003, the New York Times published an article by

Wilson under the headline: What I Didn't Find in Africa. Wilson's

tone was one of indignation. His central argument challenged

the rationale on which war was launched. He wrote:

"If my information was deemed inaccurate, I understand

(though I would be very interested to know why). If, however,

the information was ignored because it did not fit certain preconceptions

about Iraq, then a legitimate argument can be

made made that we went to war under false pretenses."

That's when the debris hit the fan.

Just eight days after Wilson's article appeared in the New York

Times, the late Robert Novak, a senior Washington and Chicago

journalist who fervently espoused conservative causes and

revelled at being known among friends and foes alike as the

Prince of Darkness, "outed" Plame. He wrote:

"Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame,

is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two

senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested

sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA

says its counter‐proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked

his wife to contact him. ‘I will not answer any question about my

wife,' Wilson told me."

With that, Plame's career, well established through years of

painstaking effort, was up in smoke. Wilson's adversaries had

decided that the best way to get at him was by hitting at his

wife. A White Houise official is said to have commented that

Plame, as Wilson's wife, was "fair game." Hence, the title of her

book and, now, the title of Liman's film.

Plame's outing did more than damage her. It placed several

lives in jeopardy. As she said in spyspeak when interviewed by

CNN about the consequences of her "outing", her "network of

assets was compromised." This does not mean simply that her

carefully nurtured agents were no longer of service to the U.S. It

could also mean that several of them could have been rounded

up by their governments and "terminated with extreme prejudice."

In personal terms, as well, the "outing" and subsequent

events imperilled the Wilson‐Plame marriage, stretching taut

emotions almost to breaking point. After much soul searching

they decided to hit back, narrating their version of events.


The Justice Department named a skilled special prosecutor to

investigate Plame's "outing" and related matters. (Under the

Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, leaking the name

of an undercover agent is a federal offence.) The investigation

lasted two years and the result of his labours was one conviction

against Scooter Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of


Libby was found guilty on four of the five counts against him:

two counts of perjury, one count of obstruction of justice in a

grand jury investigation, and one of the two counts of making

false statements to federal investigators. The sentence was a

fine and 30 months in jail.

In the face of requests that he be pardoned, Bush decided on

a compromise which he described as follows:

"I respect the jury's verdict. But I have concluded that the

prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am

commuting the portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required

him to spend thirty months in prison."

The requests for a full pardon continued in the waning days of

the Bush presidency, until he delivered his final "no" to Cheney.

Cheney, writes Bush, stared at him with an intensity he had

not previously encountered, and said: "I can't believe that

you're going to leave a soldier on the battlefield."

Other soldiers were less fortunate. Over 4000 U.S. troops died

in the Iraq war and over 30, 000 were injured. Estimates of Iraqi

civilians who died have not been confirmed by but estimates are

staggeringly high. All of them were "fair game"?

Blix, like El Baradei, was direct, unequivocal, and left no room for misinterpretation.

He said: ". . . So far, UNMOVIC has not found any such

weapons, only a small number of empty chemical munitions, which should

have been declared and destroyed."



A Janus View of Guatemala

By Julio Godoy

Something extraordinary happened in Guatemala City on December 2: Jean Marie Simon's historic photos of the crimes committed by

the Guatemalan army during the civil war's peak years that exsanguinated the Central American country between 1979 and 1983,

were shown in a unique exhibition in what used to be the Guatemalan government's headquarters, the so-called National Palace,

downtown in the capital.

The exhibition is unique, because Simon's photos,

irrefutable proof of the indescribable brutality of the

Guatemalan army's operations against civilians, including

children and women, are now being shown in what

used to be the centre of military power in Guatemala.

Generals ruled Guatemala in those bleak dictatorial

years from that very palace -- a dictatorship that killed

more than 200,000 people, including children and

women, kidnapped more than 40,000 civilians, forced

some one million into exile, out of a population of less

than six million at the time, and transformed the country

into an unfathomable nightmare. The National

Palace was then the heart of Guatemalan darkness.

One horrendous, memorable photo of the exhibition

shows the tortured body of Beatriz Barrios Marroquín,

a 26-year old school teacher kidnapped on her way to

the airport. Army death squads captured her on December

10, 1985, just while she was trying to flee to

Canada, where she had found asylum. Her body, discovered a couple of days later, had no hands -- her killers had amputated them.

The body shows also numerous slices and burnings wounds. Her killers had tortured her to death. The teacher had also been sexually


Simon remembers that a piece of cardboard was found near Barrios' mutilated body, with her name written on it and the words

"more to come".

Simon adds: "When security agents arrived to take fingerprints from her severed hands, Captain Armando Villegas, head of the

Honor Guard G-2 (military) intelligence office was already there. When they asked him, 'Hey man, what happened?' Villegas responded

by taking out a card on which he had written Barrios' name, and told them that it was she. The writing on Villegas's card matched that

on the cardboard message."

A couple of months later, Villegas was named director in the official personal guard of Vinicio Cerezo, who had been elected civilian

president. Cerezo was the first civilian president Guatemala had since 1952. Villegas never faced any charge.

The photo, which Simon shot in a morgue near Guatemala City, is now being shown as an overdue homage to Beatriz in the very corridors

where her death was decided and planned. Another grim detail of the exhibition -- the U.S. government, allegedly a mentor of

the criminals who killed the teacher and thousand others and converted Guatemala into the inferno it is now, was represented in the

opening of the exhibition by its current ambassador, Stephen McFarland.

The photo of the tortured teacher's body is but one of the numerous proofs Simon collected of the atrocities committed by the Guatemalan

army in those years, and had been published before, in a book printed in the U.S. in 1988.

During the more than 20 years that have gone past since, Simon's book, 'Guatemala: Eternal spring, eternal tyranny', a photo essay

accompanied by a written account of the atrocities the photos documented, circulated in Guatemala in its original English version only

among very restricted circles. But this year, Simon could publish a first Spanish edition, printed in Guatemala by a courageous publisher,

supported by international institutions such as the Foros Foundation and New York-based human rights groups.


A victim of death squad © Jean Marie Simon

The very fact that the book is now available in Spanish to Guatemalan readers is already a significant step in the writing of country's

modern history in Guatemala itself. It offers local society the irrefutable evidence of the crimes committed by the army.

This proof is necessary, for Guatemala has never openly discussed its recent history, least of all the involvement of the ruling oligarchy

in the army's campaign of scorched earth in the countryside and of systematic killings of political opponents, students and unions'

leaders in the cities.

The few attempts to debate modern history -- such as the report by the Catholic Church's office of human rights, published in 1998 --

were smothered to silence by more ruthless violence. The church report's leading author, Juan Gerardi, was assassinated only a few

days after the document was made public.

Furthermore, army officials still justify these crimes arguing that the Guatemalan military during the civil war only fulfilled its constitutional

role and was protecting the rule of law. To begin with, the Guatemalan army started manipulating elections and killing annoying

political opponents as early as 1954 -- long before the war reached its infernal heights of the 1980s.



The army's manipulations of elections continued throughout the

1960s and 1970s and until the early 1980s, accompanied by

corruption of the military, unparalleled in Latin America. To

pretend that the army, by killing civilians and manipulating

elections and illegally amassing fortunes, was defending the

country's constitutional order is simply absurd, not to speak of

hypocritical. Guatemalan rulers obviously seriously suffer from


The recent publication of Simon's photos in Guatemala has

triggered a heated debate on memory and justice in a society

not accustomed to discuss any national matter in a civilised


Expectedly, the oligarchy and the army condemned the publication

as a provocation only aimed at resurrecting the country's

past, and thus contribute to reopen the unhealed wounds left

by the civil war.


Some exhibitions and lectures had to be cancelled, under terror

threats. Some even accused Simon of being French ‐‐ comments

addressed at Simon were published, in incorrect French, in the

local newspapers. Jean Marie is actually a U.S. citizen ‐‐ although

she might be a Guatemalan at heart. Obviously, some members

of Guatemalan upper class are so irrational, that accusations of

being European is the worst insult they can think of for those

whom they see as their class enemies.

Jean Marie Simon first came to Guatemala in 1981, as an unofficial

observer for the human rights group Americas Watch.

She had worked as photographer in New York, and she continued

to do so in Guatemala. As reporter for Americas Watch,

Simon was pivotal in formulating the group's yearly reports on

Guatemala, the first to denounce the genocide the army was

committing against the Mayan Indian population, and also the

infernal cadence of killings against civilians in the cities.

But Simon was more than an observer and a reporter. She became

a close witness to the suffering of widows and mothers

and sisters who had lost husbands, children and siblings at the

hands of the army death squads.

Simon would visit every morgue in the country ‐‐ and come

back with photos of the dead and shocking testimonies of what

human beings can inflict upon their fellows. She would offer

emotional comfort to the relatives, be their friend and protector,

and sometimes even financial patron.

Simon also helped people under death threats to safely leave

the country. Surely it is not an exaggeration to say that in those

disastrous days, Simon alone made a larger contribution to the

defence of human rights in Guatemala than all the diplomatic

corps and organisations active in the country. For that reason,

the publication of her book and the exhibition of her photos in

Guatemala is also a modest homage to her uncompromising


But, in a way, the release of Jean Marie's book in Guatemala

and the exhibition of her photos at the very heart of darkness

are both a proof of how much the country has changed since

the late 1980s, and also an irrelevant exercise in civil courage.

Guatemala is today disposing of the better press it has ever

had. Freedom of speech, something undreamt of in the late

1970s, early 1980s, when journalists would be killed every day,

is today taken for granted. Numerous newspapers and other

media also give room to a variety of voices, though journalists

may still be harassed.

Also, some subjects remain a tabu ‐‐ for instance, the involvement

of leading economic and military personalities in illegal

cocaine dealing, in money laundering, and in other forms of

international organised crime. But still ‐‐ compared to the climate

of repression and self‐censorship three decades ago, Guatemala's

is on the whole a country with freedom of speech.

And yet, this civil virtue might help to conceal the unchanged

undemocratic, corrupt, brutal nature of Guatemalan society.

Some 6,000 people are killed every year in the country ‐‐ related

to its population, this crime rate makes of Guatemala the most

violent country in Latin America.

Women are a preferred target of crime. Every year, some one

thousand women are killed, in what local activists have dubbed

feminicide. Sexual violence against women and children occurs

on a daily basis.


Furthermore, today's random violence is somehow worse than

the political motivated sadism of the 1970s and 1980s. In those

years, even if terror was palpable in everyday life, you knew

who could be target of a hit squad. Even if you were a political

activist, if you were cautious enough, you could survive.

Today, crime is omnipresent, and it hits where you expect it

the least. This randomness of crime has transformed former

idyllic neighbourhoods and regions into high security tracts ‐‐

not only in the old gated communities of the rich, where oligarchs

and military and their servants hide away their incommensurable

wealth, but also in the most modest districts,

where poor dwellers are forced to live behind bars lest that

ruthless gangs attack them and take their last possessions.

Corruption continues to be rampant, and goes up to the highest

echelons of political, military and economic elite. Poverty is

as dramatic as ever, despite the enormous wealth amassed by

army officials and oligarchs.

Thousands of Guatemalans still die of hunger every year, in a

country endowed with natural resources, from gold to oil and a

potentially rich agriculture. To make crime worse, impunity is all

but absolute. Less than two percent of crimes are ever elucidated.

This impunity has led international observers to dub

today's Guatemala a paradise for assassins.

In a nutshell: Guatemala might now have a freer press and

hold regularly free elections, than it ever did since independence

from Spain in 1821. But the other, ugly, ruthless face of

Guatemala is unlikely to change.

Oligarchs have been threatening to carry out a coup d'état

against the powerless, incapable elected government of President

Alejandro Colom, only because he has been trying ‐‐ rather

unsuccessfully ‐‐ to introduce a modest tax reform. They even

orchestrated a seemingly perverse complot involving the suicide

of one of their own, and raised unfounded charges of assassination

against Colom. Meanwhile public schools and hospitals

decay into ruins and in prisons inmates kill each other as if they

were protagonists of a Hollywood horror movie.

Obviously, oligarchs have learned that freedom of speech and

free elections is a price they can afford, even if they keep complaining

about it. What they won't let happen are the fundamental

social and economic changes Guatemala needs to survive

as a functioning state and perhaps become a civilised society.

Background image: © Jean Marie Simon



The Irish Model Crumbles Like A House of Cards

By Julio Godoy

Already two years ago, it was conventional wisdom among European economists that the Irish economy was at the brink of a collapse

and that the solutions the government in Dublin had chosen to halt the expected failure of the country's economic model following the

international financial meltdown, were far from appropriate.

Prime Minister Brian Cowen

had then decided to unconditionally

bail out practically all

Irish banks, regardless of the

sheer endless amounts of

junk papers stacking in their


Those among the European

economic and political

analysts who remained resistant

to the siren songs of

neoliberalism had known

even earlier, that the much

touted Irish model in practice

since the late 1980s ‐‐ of very

low corporate taxes, extreme "flexibility" of the labour market,

and undisputed hegemony of enterprises over labour unions ‐‐

was not at all a model, at least that it could not work forever.

But the short‐term results of the so‐called Irish miracle were

for a while dazzling argument to thwart any criticism. During

almost 20 years, the "Irish miracle", especially the rising real

estate prices and the banks' uncontrolled wheelings and dealings,

produced the illusion of wealth, and the illusion appeared

so real, that ever more people believed in it.

Warnings that such an economy was similar to a casino were

dismissed as ideological prejudices of incorrigible protagonists of

class struggle and of anachronistic leftists. Add to that the boom

of tourism and the traditional charm of Irish popular culture ‐‐

and you could easily believe that the old Irish rainy days were

forever gone. The Irish cat, once believed to be ill and dying, was

now growing to become a Celtic tiger.

Now everybody knows better. The low corporate taxes attracted

only low added value industries. The deregulation of

financial markets and the tacit state bailout guarantee tempted

banks and investment funds to embark on highly risky transactions

‐‐ what financial theorists for more than 150 years have

acknowledged as moral hazards.

The boom of real estate was the cherry on the top of this illusory

Irish cake ‐‐ house prices went up and up, making their

owners, otherwise poor, believe that they actually were very

rich. When the crisis came, the allegedly immune Irish economic

system proved to be rotten.

Ireland is now in its third year of recession. Since 2007, income

per capita has declined by more than 20 percent, und unemployment

more than tripled to 14 percent. Do you remember

those Irish rainy days of a not‐so‐distant past? Well, they are

back again. And they are here to stay.


But who is going to foot the bill? Not the banks ‐‐ mainly responsible

for the mess ‐‐ in Ireland or in the rest of the European

Union, which is now hurrying to rescue the once envied Celtic


As in Ireland, during the last 30 years the European tax structure

has changed to the benefit of corporations, and is being fed

mostly by indirect taxes ‐‐ such as the valued added tax (VAT) ‐‐

and the taxes on salaries. That is, the state's bailout for banks

and investment funds is actually being paid for by the lower and

middle classes.

A recent survey by the Swiss auditing company KPMG finds,

this general downward trend in corporate taxes continues unabated

this year: "In the current economic environment, authorities

around the world are focusing on adjusting their tax systems,

whereby indirect taxes are playing an increasingly important


The survey concludes that many governments are using the

economic crisis triggered by unregulated financial markets as a

pretext to restructure their tax systems. "While maximum corporate

income tax rates around the world have fallen … to 24.99

percent on average, the focus is shifting increasingly to indirect


As throughout the 1990s, indirect taxes, with VAT making up

the lion's share, hiked globally to a small extent: on average from

15.41 percent in 2009 to 15.61 percent this year. Meanwhile,

managers and traders at banks and hedge funds are again pocketing

gigantic sums of money ‐‐ as bonus for their supposedly

pristine achievements.

But the bailout goes beyond the tax structure. The economic

and budget crisis gives governments the perfect excuse to also

intensify the neoliberal task of dismantling the welfare state and

increasing the transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top of

the social pyramid.

The arguments of the kind "we can no longer afford the welfare

state", repeated during the 1990s and early 2000s, are

rather commonplace now: The Irish people must tighten their

belts, and so also Spaniards, Greeks, Portuguese, Germans, Italians

and French. The problem with this collective punishment,

except its sheer lack of social justice, is that it is likely to worsen

the crisis rather than solve it.

This process, which economists euphemistically dub "internal

devaluation", leads to further forcing the economy to shrink,

unemployment to rise, and wages to fall. On such a basis, the

Irish economy is expected to become competitive again and its

exports to increase.

But because everybody else is doing the same in Europe, who

are supposed to increase their imports of Irish goods and services?

Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain, which together comprise

the so‐called PIGS? Or the eternal champions of mercantilism,

Germany and France?

Are there other alternatives to our plan? Government officials

across Europe may ask. Yes, there are. They only need the courage

look for them, and the willingness to get rid of their ideological









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