Friday, January 26, 2007


May 16 2005

By Greg Palast

By Greg PalastImage

[Quito] George Bush has someone new to hate. Only twenty-four hours after Ecuador's new president took his oath of office, he was hit by a diplomatic cruise missile fired all the way from Lithuania by Condeleeza Rice, and then wandering about Eastern Europe spreading "democracy." Condi called for? a constitutional process to get to elections? this came as a bit of a shock to the man who'd already been constitutionally elected, Alfredo Palacio.

What had Palacio done to get our Secretary of State's political knickers in a twist? It's the oil--and the bonds.

This nation of only 13 million souls at the world's belly button is rich, sitting on at least 4.4 billion barrels of oil in known reserves, and probably much more. Yet 60 percent of its citizens live in brutal poverty; a lucky minority earns the "minimum" wage of $153 a month.

The obvious solution--give the oil money to the Ecuadorians without money--runs smack up against paragraph III-1 the World Bank's 2003 Structural Adjustment Program Loan. The diktat is marked "FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY," which "may not be disclosed" without World Bank has obtained a copy.

The secret loan terms require Ecuador to pay bondholders 70 percent of the revenue received from any spike in the price of oil. The result: Ecuador must give up the big bucks from the Iraq War oil price surge. Another twenty percent of the oil windfall is set aside for "contingencies" (i.e., later payments to bondholders). The document specifies that Ecuador may keep only 10 percent of new oil revenue for expenditures on social services.

I showed President Palacio the World Bank documents. He knew their terms well." If we pay that amount of debt," he told me, "we're dead. We have to survive." He argued, with logic, "If we die, who is going to pay them?"

We met two weeks ago in the Carondelet Palace where, on April 20, his predecessor had disappeared out the back door to seek asylum in Brazil. A crowd of 100,000 protesters had surrounded the building, seeking the arrest of fugitive president Lucio Gutierrez.

"Sucio Lucio" (Dirty Lucio, as the graffiti tags him) had won election in 2002 promising to break away from the supposedly voluntary austerity plan imposed by the World Bank. Then, within a month of taking office, Gutierrez flew to Washington. There he held hands with George Bush (a photo infamous in Quito) and US Treasury officials instructed him in the financial facts of life. Lucio returned to Quito, reneged on his campaign promises and tightened the austerity measures including raising the price of cooking gas. The public, after a dispirited delay, revolted.

Last month, once Lucio fled, the nation's congress recognized the vacancy in Ecuador's Oval Office and filled it with the elected vice president, in accordance with the Constitution.

Given the oil windfall, Palacio sees no need to follow Gutierrez' path to economic asphyxiation. "It is impossible that they condemn us not to have health, not to have education," he told me. He made it clear that handing over 90 percent of his nation's new oil wealth would not stand.

That's not what the Bush Administration wanted to hear.

Outside the presidential palace, indigenous women in bowler hats and pigtails chanted, "FUERA TODOS! FUERA TODOS!" Everyone out. As far as they are concerned, every one of the seven presidents who have entered office in the past nine years has sold them out to the bondholders, to the oil companies, to the World Bank and its austerity punishments. To them, Palacio is bound to be just another in a long line of disappointments.

I asked the president what he would do if the World Bank and the Bush Administration nix his request for Ecuador to keep an extra tiny percentage of its oil money. Mindful that no Ecuadorian president since 1996 has served out his term, Palacio told me simply: "There is no way. There is no other way. These people have to listen to us."

This article first appeared in The Nation Magazine and was republished with Mr. Palast's permission.
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller 'The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.'
Greg Palast is an investigative reporter for BBC Television and Harper's Magazine. Visit to view his readings and see his reports.

See link.
chapter on ITALY, the elections of 1947-8, from the
New WILLIAM BLUM book, " U.S. MILITARY AND CIA Interventions SINCE World War II"

Monday, January 22, 2007

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

TO REMEMBER SPAIN by Murray Bookchin

This is an excellent analysis of the Spanish Anarchist/Syndicalist movement
in a couple essays that outline the organic agrarian origins of the movement in Spain,
and paint the context for us. Spain's civil war was not merely a prelude to World War II, because besides the armed conflict with Franco's forces there was an extensive and spontaneous collectivization process occurring throughout the country. There was, in fact, a real social revolution occurring in the countryside.

This book has some discussion of the liberals' fear of the working class and the treachery of the Communist Party and Comintern.
The late Mr. Bookchin also characterizes Spain's revolution as the last of the great, classical worker-peasant revolutions.
A small book worth looking at.

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XEX: "Group: XEX" CD (a review)

Long ago in the late 70's/early 80's there were synth bands using electronics
(the Casio,I guess? anyway, this was later than the time of the m00g) as well as conventional electric guitar/ drums/bass and producing a kind of antsy,agitated type of pop that was sometimes labeled as avant garde or 'alternative'. well, here in America we always need a label for everything. Anyway, this stuff was a lotta fun in small doses.
Some great outfits that spring to mind now are VOICE FARM, the MONDELLOS, LOS MICROWAVES, and PINK SECTION. At the time I thought of much of this genre as very..West Coast.
At around this same time there was a band, XEX, that had a cassette circulating called "Steel Negro Music". I never hear this tape, but the mail -order house that was carrying it had a lot of San Francisco music, so I must be forgiven for assuming that this was a west-coast band.
Much time passed and the Frisco underground of 1979-1983 passed into legend.
Now I get this CD in my mailbox, from WFMU as part of last-year's Marathon.
It's an excellent collection of tracks from the 1980's, with some very topical subject matter,
such as Red Brigades and kitty-cats. To call this avant-garde now would really be a mistake,
although clearly at least one reviewer has done so. It's pop, or at least a kind of pop.
Certainly, the sound suggests the West Coast to me , even now. Something about the vocals, with the understated, near-deadpan quality, and the synth lines.
These people were from New Jersey, it says here. Worth checking out anyway. well, the world is getting smaller, and here is something you can put on your bookcase next to the Pink Section singles, and the Voice Farm stuff..
recommended, so go check it out.


Monday, January 08, 2007

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BOOKS ON TAPE - Live at the King CLub {C/O ARCHIVE.ORG}

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