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Analysis & Polemic

Observatory on the State of Democracy in Italy


Since the coming to power of the right-wing coalition Italy has witnessed a
serious undermining of legality, civil rights, freedom and political

Silvio Berlusconi, the current Prime Minister of Italy, won his seat as head
of government by channelling enormous sums of money into electoral
advertising. And since, over the last 30 years, he has succeeded in building
up a financial empire with the support of both the mafia and secret
associations such as the P2 freemasons' lodge (of which he was a member),
funds have certainly not been lacking. Furthermore, given the magnitude of
the Berlusconi-owned media empire, he has also been able to enjoy a massive
communications advantage that is, in a Western democracy, without precedent.

This enormous dominance of the media constitutes an enormous peril for
Italian democracy. Yet no less dangerous than Berlusconi and his
party-cum-business enterprise are the other parties that bolster it. One is
a direct derivative of the fascist regime, while another is openly racist,
has been advocating the secession of northern Italy for years, and supports
the expulsion of foreigners.

http://www.earthfirstjournal.org/feature.cfm?ID=96 &issue=v21n7

The Criminalization of Ecology

by Warcry

As the assault on the environment intensifies, so does
the criminalization of the resistance to that assault.
Crafted under pressure from various right-wing
elements and the corporate lobby, recent
"eco-terrorist" legislation seeks to neutralize all
forms of direct action that interfere with industry

As the assault on the environment intensifies, so does
the criminalization of the resistance to that assault.
Crafted under pressure from various right-wing
elements and the corporate lobby, recent
"eco-terrorist" legislation seeks to neutralize all
forms of direct action that interfere with industry
production. Additionally, Congress has steadily
fattened the FBI's counter-terrorism budget from $78.5
million in 1993 to $301.2 million in 1999.

Louis Lingg writes: "Culture Jammers and Media Mavericks--a new challenge has been placed before you: cryptome.org has posted the U.S. DoD's Defense Science Board Task Force report on The Creation and Dissemination of All Forms of Information in Support of Psychological Operations (PSYOP) in Time of Military Conflict (May 2000). Can the 'culture of opposition' develop 'strains of resistence' to counter these techniques as they are applied to the domestic population as well?

An excerpt: 'The Task Force is persuaded that a considerable foundation must be laid well in advance of the actual need to deliver a PSYOP product to a particular audience. In general, the
distribution channels need to be acquired in advance and a suitable "brand identity" needs to be established. Both need to be exercised with sufficient periodicity that good will and
market penetration are ready when needed. Such channels and brand identities are at least as important as any technical dissemination platform such as Commando Solo, and their
operations and maintenance are no less important. This will be increasingly the case as the diversity of programming choices available to target audiences continues to expand. Cable and
satellite TV and radio, and especially the public Internet, offer far more choices than over-the-air networks did formerly. The development of channels and identities will be particular, in
some cases, to geography and, in other cases, to transnational affinity groups -- Islamic Fundamentalism, for example -- or to more universal demographics, like teenagers. Of course, the
development of brand identities must be tightly integrated with ongoing, broad public diplomacy initiatives and themes.'"

hydrarchist writes: "

Freedom or Power?

by Bradley M. Kuhn and Richard M. Stallman

"The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves." -- William Hazlitt

In the Free Software Movement, we stand for freedom for the users of software. We formulated our views by looking at what freedoms are necessary for a good
way of life, and permit useful programs to foster a community of goodwill, cooperation, and collaboration. Our criteria for Free Software specify the freedoms that a
program's users need so that they can cooperate in a community.

We stand for freedom for programmers as well as for other users. Most of us are programmers, and we want freedom for ourselves as well as for you. But each of
us uses software written by others, and we want freedom when using that software, not just when using our own code. We stand for freedom for all users, whether
they program often, occasionally, or not at all.

However, one so-called freedom that we do not advocate is the "freedom to choose any license you want for software you write". We reject this because it is really
a form of power, not a freedom.

Read the rest of this story at openflows.org."

Anonymous Comrade writes: "I just read this great piece on indymedia.org. It is by Carl Davidson, a serious organizer from the Vietnam-era anti-war and student movements.

Terrorism and the Present Danger:

A Perspective for the American Left

By Carl Davidson

Osama bin Laden's al-Quaida committed an atrocious crime against humanity on September 11, 2001. In addition to slaughtering thousands in New York City and Washington, DC , this organization of theocratic fascists is campaigning for the destruction of Western "infidel" civilization generally, with special emphasis on Americans and Jews. To do so, it is trying to rally and mobilize the one-fourth of humanity that makes up the Islamic world for the reactionary "jihad" or holy war it has declared.

The horrendous attack of Sept. 11 has thus thrown out a challenge to everyone--to the U.S. ruling class, to the American public, and to the international community.

It has also thrown down a challenge to the American left. For if we are to present ourselves as an alternative to the current leadership and policymakers of our country, then it is incumbent upon us to define how we would do things differently, not only strategically, but also in the face of the immediate present danger. In doing so, we must also be willing to take responsibility for the consequences of our ideas, proposals and actions.

Welcome to The Identity State:

Convergence and Encirclement (Endocolonization)

The department of justice strategy mirrors the global strategy. The
strategy involves the decentralization of executive enforcement and
information gathering while simultaneously providing a centralization of
identity: a singular identity constructed from each apparatus contributing
using a similar communication protocols. The territorialization of all
spaces is accomplished through pervasive decentralized mechanisms which
delimit the individual as an identity already within the territorialized
space. If possible, existing networks of subjection are utilized: local
territory based governments, currencies, banks, licenses, etc. are
converted to identity based systems. This allows subversion and conversion
without alarm, under the guise of bureaucratic efficiency and security.
Identity is the exchange currency of the global network of subjection.

Faith and Knowledge -- An Opening

Juergen Habermas

Speech by Juergen Habermas accepting the Peace Price

of the
German Publishers and Booksellers Association

Paulskirche, Frankfurt, 14 October 2001

Sueddeutsche Zeitung, 15 October 2001

[translated from German by Kermit Snelson]

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/aktuell/sz/artikel86740 .php

When current events become so overwhelming that they rip the choice of topic
out of our own hands, so to speak, the John Waynes among us intellectuals
are of course greatly tempted to compete instead as to who can be the
quickest to shoot from the hip.

Only a short time ago the spirits moved us to discuss the question of
whether and how far we should subject ourselves to genetic technology for
self-instrumentation or even for pursuing the goal of self-optimization.
Our first steps along this path were beset by controversy between the
advocates of those two great rival faiths: organized science and organized
religion. One side feared obscurantism and the revival of atavistic
suspicion against science. The other accused the scientistic belief in
progress of a crude naturalism that undermines morality.

But after 11 September, the tension between secular society and religion
exploded in an entirely different way. As we know from Atta's testament,
these suicidal murderers, who turned civilian means of transport into living
missiles against the capitalist citadels of Western civilization, were
motivated by religious convictions. For them, those symbols of globalizing
modernism were the embodiment of the Great Satan.

Anonymous Comrade writes: "http://www.stopcarnivore.org/threeproblems.htm

The Backdoor, the Rogue Agent, and the Mishap:

The Hidden Dangers of Carnivore


Most of the discussion about the F.B.I. spy tool
Carnivore has focused on the 4th Amendment. By its
nature, Carnivore violates the 4th Amendment, but many
people have seemed willing to overlook that,
especially in recent weeks, as long as it will make
them safer.

This paper is written for the people who believe the
"4th Amendment argument" is not sufficient to justify
prohibiting Carnivore. Make no mistake, we at
StopCarnivore.org still firmly hold that Carnivore is
in clear and disturbing violation of the 4th
Amendment, but there are clearly those who believe
that is not a good enough reason to prevent its use.
This paper is intended to provide convincing reasons,
beyond the 4th Amendment argument, why Carnivore is a
law enforcement tool that we all should reject.

This paper is also designed to provide a response to
those who say, "If you're not doing anything wrong,
you don't have anything to worry about." The following
are things that affect everyone, innocent people

polo writes:

"The New Imperialism"

By Pepe Escobar

ISLAMABAD -- Joseph Conrad was the first modern
writer to fully understand
that in extreme situations the distinctions and
nuances between civilization
and the "heart of darkness" collapse with a bang.
Conrad showed how the
sublime heights of European civilization could fall
into the pit of the most
barbarous practices -- without any sort of preparation
or transition (no
wonder that Belgium still has not officially
acknowledged the genocide of
millions during King Leopold's possession of the

Now more than ever it is rewarding to re-read
Conrad - and as an added bonus
to watch Francis Ford Coppola's reading of Conrad
in the recently released
director's cut of Apocalypse Now. The New Afghan
War increasingly runs the
risk of being configured as The New Vietnam.
Washington has said from the
beginning this is not Gulf War II. But now, deeply
frustrated because they
are unable to break the Taliban -- those medieval
architects of a pan-Islamic
utopia -- the Pentagon is contemplating a Desert
Storm-style invasion the
next Afghan spring. This won't be Gulf War II: this will
be Vietnam II.

Anonymous Comrade writes:

"Historian and author Howard Zinn talks with AGR"

By Nicholas Holt, AGR

Howard Zinn is one of the most well known American
historians. In the introduction to a later edition of his
revolutionary work, A People's History of the United States,
Zinn wrote that his focus as a historian "is not on the
achievements of the heroes of traditional history, but on
all those people who were the victims of those achievements,
who suffered silently, or fought back magnificently."

Soon after the September 11th attacks on the World Trade
Center and the Pentagon, Zinn concluded an essay entitled
"Retaliation" with these remarks: "We should take our
example not from our military and political leaders shouting
'retaliate' and 'war' but from the doctors and nurses and
medical students and firemen and policemen who have been
saving lives in the midst of mayhem, whose first thoughts
are not violence, but healing, not vengence, but


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