A tribute to Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, who faces the prospect of extradition and a jail sentence in the United States for publishing confidential official documents. Here, we present a 2006 essay by Assange outlining his vision, select Wikileaks releases of secret policies related to the environment, and Mediastan, a documentary film on Wikileaks.
global trade deals
Displacing pastoralists, displacing smallholder farmers, arresting and charging them as terrorists if they protest–and the land is given away to foreign investors to grow what? Sugar and cotton. Imagine trucks full of food aid coming into Ethiopia, while trucks full of cotton and sugar are leaving the country. Hunger in Africa is a political problem.
Alberto Villarreal writes: Trade deals affect people’s everyday lives from the food we eat to the energy we use, and should not be discussed behind closed doors. And yet, this is exactly what is happening at this year’s upcoming World Trade Organization meeting in Buenos Aires from 10-13 December. Also, Noam Chomsky on the WTO.
Colin Todhunter writes: At a time when India commemorates the end of British rule, it finds itself under siege from international capital. Its not only on course to become an even weaker and more hobbled state permanently beholden to US state-corporate interests, but it is heading towards environmental catastrophe much faster than many may think.
Colin Todhunter writes in Countercurrents.org: A combination of debt, economic liberalisation, subsidised imports, rising input costs and a shift to cash crops (including GM-cotton) has caused massive financial distress to small farmers in India. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a trade deal now being negotiated by 16 countries across Asia-Pacific, could accelerate this process.
From The New York Times: …It is impossible to imagine a world without global connections: They have always existed, and no place has escaped their formative influence. But this does not mean that there is any inherent merit in interconnectedness, which has always been accompanied by violence, deepening inequalities and the large-scale destruction of communities.
Helena Norberg-Hodge writes: Today, banks and corporations run Europe. For big corporations and financial institutions, diversity is an impediment, whereas monoculture – in all aspects of life, from seeds, fast food and clothing, to architecture – is ‘efficient’. For them, a single Europe-wide market of 500 million people was an essential step to further growth:
Colin Todhunter writes: Without addressing the impacts and nature of corporate greed and a wholly corrupt neoliberal capitalism that privileges corporations and profit ahead of people and conservation, regardless of any success in the area of the trafficking of wild animals or plants, much of the world’s wildlife and biodiversity will remain under serious threat.
The Centre has proposed modification of green laws to impose a fine up to Rs 20 crore on major environment violators, who would also have to pay a daily fine of Rs 1 crore if the damage continues. Another green law will prevent violators from taking shelter under a legal cover for non-payment of fines.
With the formation of WTO, a new international economic world order came into being. This has greatly affected the fate of farmers in developing countries. Writer and policy analyst Devinder Sharma elaborates on the impact of the continuing agrarian crisis in India and calls for a concerted effort in arresting the escalation of the crisis.
Dr. M.S. Swaminathan writes: It’s unfortunate that industrialised nations are so inward looking in the area of agricultural trade, particularly since hardly 2 to 3% of their population depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Nairobi has paved the way for famines of the future. (Also read: Digest of articles on the recently concluded WTO talks)
Commentator Biraj Patnaik writes: Nirmala Sitharaman gave the world a good illustration of crocodile tears. She was at the centre of the negotiations and walked away with little more than assurances of pious intent, after conceding to the core US demand to drop the re-affirmation of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) from the ministerial declaration.