DEVELOPING COUNTRY UNITY FOIL THE GLOBS
CENTROS DE MEDIOS INDEPENDIENTES, CANCUN - Developing countries, who make up the majority of the membership of the WTO, formed an alliance and walked out of the fifth ministerial meeting Sunday afternoon. Kenyan delegate George Odour Ongwen, who spoke on behalf of the alliance, announced that there was no consensus and that the ministerial had come to an end.
Rafidah Aziz, Malaysia's trade minister, blamed the failure on the refusal of rich countries to heed the objections of the developing world. "They kept demanding things that others couldn't deliver," she said.
Green room meetings were called in the early afternoon, where rich countries sought to divide the unprecedented alliance of developing countries that have banded together under the banner of fair agricultural trade.
The WTO Ministerials, which became notorious in Seattle, in the past found developing countries without the help of their trade experts being shuffled into meetings with rich countries who sought to pressure last minute deals. . .
Developing countries have said for weeks that they were already overburdened and hurt from previous concessions, and were not prepared to negotiate until the issues of agriculture was sufficiently addressed. . . In a statement made after the walkout, a South African trade minister said, "We were very well prepared. We made very concrete proposals on agriculture issues We were all very impressed across our countries that the capacity we had. We said that it was our impression that this was the first time that by combining the technical expertise we were able to sit as equals."
Protestors, many of whom
who spent the day inside the hotel zone blocking roads near the
convention center, are trickling back into the city where impromptu
parties are breaking out in celebration of the collapse of the
ministerial. The beer and tequila will flow tonight - but the
celebration is not likely to last long. Today Zoellick again
threatened that if the US did not get what it wanted at the WTO,
it would concentrate on bilateral and regional agreements like
the Free Trade Area of the Americas. ´Globalcriticos´
everywhere are already gearing up for the Miami FTAA Ministerial.
This is the second failed WTO conference since the world body was created in 1995. Talks also collapsed at the third ministerial meeting in Seattle, Washington, in 1999, amid massive street protests by the so-called "anti-globalization" movement. "This is a triumph of reason, a triumph of the poor countries and civil society, because we could not allow the rich countries to once again impose their views and their pressure," Alberto Villareal, the head of the environmental group Friends of the Earth International's trade campaign, told IPS. . .
Huge discrepancies between rich and poor countries, and among developing countries, persisted up to the end, said the source. . . Phil Bloomer, with the British relief group Oxfam, said the WTO talks would never be the same again. Cancun failed due to the power and cohesion of developing countries, he maintained.
You know there are some people who are just losers. There are some countries that are just losers. And if you forgive them the debt, it doesn't make a lot of difference. - James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank:
AUSTRALIAN IT Websites protesting against November's World Trade Organization meeting in Sydney could be secretly banned under proposed laws. Several websites that call for violent disruption of the informal WTO summit have been targeted by NSW Police Minister Michael Costa, who has referred them for possible banning under federal internet censorship rules designed to rein in online pornography. Suggestions to bring flares, marbles and slingshots, and how to set fires with electrical timers and lob smoke bombs at police lines have been promoted on some sites. In addition to pornography, the Broadcasting Services Act allows the banning of material refused classification by the Australian Broadcasting Authority if it contains "detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug use". But such bans - which could take the form of either forced removal, or adding the sites' addresses to internet-filtering software - are likely to remain secret thanks to upcoming changes to the Freedom of Information Act. Cracking down on attempts to access the list of banned sites, Canberra has slipped in changes to the act to specifically exempt such information from FOI requests. The Government is moving to put the secrecy of the list "beyond doubt." . . . EFA chairman Kimberly Heitman said: "If the Government doesn't say what it's censoring, we'll never know."
[JOSEPH STIGLITZ chief economist and vice president of the World Bank. This is from an April 2000 edition of the New Republic]
||| JOSEPH STIGLITZ, NEW REPUBLIC - When the IMF decides to assist a country, it dispatches a "mission" of economists. These economists frequently lack extensive experience in the country; they are more likely to have firsthand knowledge of its five-star hotels than of the villages that dot its countryside. They work hard, poring over numbers deep into the night. But their task is impossible. In a period of days or, at most, weeks, they are charged with developing a coherent program sensitive to the needs of the country. Needless to say, a little number-crunching rarely provides adequate insights into the development strategy for an entire nation. Even worse, the number-crunching isn't always that good. The mathematical models the IMF uses are frequently flawed or out-of-date. Critics accuse the institution of taking a cookie-cutter approach to economics, and they're right. Country teams have been known to compose draft reports before visiting. I heard stories of one unfortunate incident when team members copied large parts of the text for one country's report and transferred them wholesale to another. They might have gotten away with it, except the "search and replace" function on the word processor didn't work properly, leaving the original country's name in a few places. Oops.
It's not fair to say that IMF economists don't care about the citizens of developing nations. But the older men who staff the fund-and they are overwhelmingly older men-act as if they are shouldering Rudyard Kipling's white man's burden. IMF experts believe they are brighter, more educated, and less politically motivated than the economists in the countries they visit. In fact, the economic leaders from those countries are pretty good in many cases brighter or better-educated than the IMF staff, which frequently consists of third-rank students from first-rate universities . . .
WIRED - London police are planning to register children who exhibit criminal potential in an effort to prevent them from developing into full-fledged lawbreakers. Kids who tag buildings with graffiti, skip school, or even talk back to adults run the risk of being entered into a database program that will be used to monitor their behavior as they grow up, according to police sources. Law enforcement officials say the measure is needed to combat rampant juvenile crime, but critics condemn it as an extreme form of police profiling. MORE
EUROPEAN UNION ATTACKS FREE SPEECH
[This may be the first time it has been suggested making a fear - xenophobia - a crime]
AMBROSE EVANS-PRITCHARD, TELEGRAPH - Racism and xenophobia would become serious crimes in Britain for the first time, carrying a prison sentence of two years or more, under new proposals put forward by Brussels. Holocaust denial or "trivialisation" of Nazi atrocities would be banned, along with and participation in any group that promotes race hate. The plans, drafted by the European Commission, define racism and xenophobia as aversion to individuals based on "race, colour, descent, religion or belief, national or ethnic origin". Ordinary crimes would carry heavier penalties if they are motivated in any way by racism or xenophobia, or if the culprit is carrying out "professional activity", such as a police officer . . . But the list also a covers a wide range of activities that sometimes fall into the sphere of protected political speech, such as "public insults" of minority groups, "public condoning of war crimes", and "public dissemination of tracts, pictures, or other material containing expressions of racism of xenophobia" - including material posted on far-Right internet websites . . . The law could potentially cover many stand-up comedians, and even Anne Robinson, who, during an appearance on BBC television this year, described the Welsh as "irritating". MORE
JEFF MADRICK, YORK TIMES - Despite glowing optimism 20 years ago, the rich nations' record in raising the developing world to a minimal level of material well-being has been nothing short of disaster. In 1983, the World Bank predicted that developing nations' average gross domestic product would grow 3.3 percent a year over 15 years. In fact, it barely grew at all. The extent of poverty remains shocking. There has been a modest decline in the portion of those who are poor, but in absolute numbers, they have risen sharply. About a third of the world lives on the equivalent of about $2 a day. In 1820, the richest country had only three times as much income per person as the poorest; today, the richest nation has 30 times the income. Rich nations are shamefully stingy about aiding the poor, but none more so than the United States. In 1999, the World Bank reported that the States gave 0.1 percent of its economic output for development, or $9.1 billion, the lowest proportion among the 30 or so wealthiest nations . . . Moreover, America stipulates that about two-thirds of the $9 billion must be spent on American products. . . .
GREG PALAST: Three confidential documents from inside the World Trade Organization Secretariat and a group of captains of London finance, who call themselves the "British Invisibles," reveal the extraordinary secret entanglement of industry with government in designing European and American proposals for radical pro-business changes in WTO rules. One set of documents, minutes of the private meetings of the Liberalization of Trade in Services committee, obtained by BBC television's Newsnight program and Corp Watch, record 14 secret meetings, from April 1999 and February 2001, between Britain's chief services trade negotiators, the Bank of England and the movers and shakers of the Euro-American business world. Those attending the closed LOTIS include Peter Sutherland, International Chairman of US-based investment bank Goldman Sachs and formerly the Director General of the World Trade Organization . . . The minutes indicate that the government officials shared confidential negotiating documents with the corporate leaders as well as inside information on the negotiating positions of the European community, the US and developing nations. At the meeting held on February 22nd of this year, Britain's chief negotiator on the General Agreement on Trade in Services made reference to the European Commission's paper on industry regulation which had been privately circulated to LOTIS members for their comment. GATS is a far reaching agreement that would affect every public service from healthcare and education to energy, water and transportation. It would challenge national environmental, labor and consumer laws as barriers to trade making these and other critical services totally unregulated, say critics. Barry Coates, director of the WTO watchdog organization the World Development Movement, said he was surprised to learn that the LOTIS industry members received documents which the British government had refused to give his organization, even papers "which they told us did not exist." MORE
*** PAUL MELLER - The 43-nation Council of Europe is trying to ban racist and hate speech from the Internet by adding a protocol, or side agreement, to its cyber-crime convention, which was stamped for ratification on Thursday. The convention is scheduled to be formally ratified at a meeting in Budapest Nov. 23. The main text of the convention defines as cyber-crimes activities like online child pornography, online fraud and electronic vandalism or hacking, and it sets rules for signatory nations on how the Internet should be policed. The protocol would add racist Web page content and hate speech over computer networks to the list of cyber-crimes, the Council of Europe, a club of European democracies that aims to protect human rights, said. The United States, which is a signatory to the convention, resisted European moves to include the issue of racist Web sites in the main agreement, because doing so would conflict with the free-speech protections in the First Amendment. To keep the disagreement from holding up ratification of the cyber-crime convention, the council decided to cover the issue in a side agreement, which the United States and others could choose not to sign, said Angus Macdonald, a spokesman for the council. MORE
WTO TERRORIZED BY PARODY SITE
*** WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION: A fake WTO website - www.gatt.org - has been created to deceive Internet users by copying the entire official WTO website. While the design is identical, the texts have been distorted. The fake site also uses the email address email@example.com The use of WTO designs, logos and materials is strictly unauthorized. Worse, some pages on the fake website could cause unsuspecting visitors to reveal their email addresses and other information to the site's operators. The fake site could also be picked up by search engines, a nuisance for serious users looking for genuine information. The only official WTO site is www.wto.org.
*** HERE IS SOME OF THE MATERIAL the WTO thinks might mislead readers. Remember: these are the people who think they should run the world:
"Much has been made lately of IBM's participation in the Holocaust. Indeed, IBM proactively and creatively helped the Nazis identify all of Germany's Jews, which in turn made possible the biggest slaughter of all time. Today, however, another Holocaust is taking place: it goes by the name of "distrust of big business," and it is every bit as terrible as the last. Read the report . . .
"PROTESTERS RICH, STUDY SHOWS: A new study shows that the special-interest lobbyists attending the Seattle, Prague, Nice, Davos, and other demonstrations come from population sectors that have freedom and money to travel, putting them in a different class from those sectors of the developing world they pretend to defend. Read the report . . .
"ANTI-GLOBALIZATION EFFORTS DEPLORABLE The WTO wishes to make known that anti-globalization efforts are escalating to a level that is already tasteless, and could in short order become dangerous to the continued progress of economic forces. The recent impersonations of WTO officials are an unfortunate case in point. Read about these activities. MORE
GREAT MOMENTS IN FREE TRADE
STUDENTS FOR A FREE TIBET report that Pabst Blue Ribbon is running an advertising campaign in Tibet stating that "Pabst Blue Ribbon celebrates the 50th anniversary of the peaceful liberation of Tibet." The student group is demanding Pabst issue an immediate public apology. Students for a Free Tibet obtained photos of the contentious billboards directly across the street from the Potala Palace, the winter residence of H.H the Dalai Lama. The Potala, constructed in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo, was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The billboards, written in Tibetan and Chinese, appear to be targeted at the local population as well as Chinese tourists. "It's absolutely outrageous that Pabst would publicly celebrate China's brutal invasion and occupation of my country," said Lhadon Tethong, Tibetan activist and Projects Coordinator for Students for a Free Tibet. "What's next &SHY;- 'Pabs
*** DENNIS BUECKERT, CANADIAN PRESS - A U.S. anti-globalization activist on her way to give training sessions in non-violent protest for the G-20 meeting this weekend was being held by immigration officials, her friends said. Lisa Fithian was detained after she refused to return to the United States voluntarily, said fellow activist Miriam Simos, who was traveling with her. Simos said she and Fithian were held at the Ottawa airport for 4½ hours, searched, photographed and fingerprinted. They then allowed Simon into the country and released Fithian for the night so she could get some sleep, her friend said. "They searched us both very, very thoroughly at Customs, reading every little scrap of paper we had. They took our address books, took them into an office and, we believe, photocopied them. "They took my computer and said that it had to be held until it could be examined by Canadian intelligence," said the author, who writes under the name Starhawk. Simos said that when Fithian was called back in for further questioning, she was given a choice of voluntarily leaving the country or being arrested and chose the latter. "Freedom of movement across the borders is one of the things we're fighting for," said Simos. "If global institutions that affect all of us are going to move across borders then we need to be free to also move across borders to express our opinions and our dissent from what they're doing." Jiovanna Gatti, a spokeswoman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada, said that under Privacy Act regulations she could not confirm or deny Fithian's detention. Fithian and Simos are affiliated with a California collective known as RANT (Root Activist Network Trainers), which has been involved in protests at Seattle, Quebec City and Genoa, Italy . . . Alan Keene, an organizer with the B.C.-based activist group Co-motion Collective, said Simos has convictions for non-violent offences in the United States. "A criminal record for peaceful protest should not be a reason to keep someone out of Canada," he said. MORE
*** RT MARK BULLETIN: Last Friday, Jonathan Prince, who owns the Gatt.org domain, received a call from Verio, Gatt.org's upstream provider. The World Trade Organization had just asked Verio to shut down the domain for copyright violations, and Verio told Prince that it would do just that if nothing was changed by November 13 - the last day of the Doha Ministerial, as it would happen. [As of this posting, the sit is still up] . . . "It's the war," says Prince. "Bush has popularized zero-tolerance, and it's open season on dissent of any kind." . . . Oddly enough, the WTO has been aware of the parody website since before the 1999 Ministerial in Seattle, when it issued a public statement claiming the site misled visitors. While it may be puzzling why the WTO chose to issue a second press release about Gatt.org two years later, it is even more surprising that they are now taking concrete steps to stop the critical site. In statements made just last week to the French daily newspaper Liberation and to others, WTO spokesperson Jean-Guy Carrier stated that "It's not our job to use legal means against people. We appreciate dissidence and honest criticism." "They got nervous, it's only human," said Elaine Peabody, a spokesperson for The Yes Men (the group that maintains the Gatt.org website) . . . To counter the attack, the Yes Men have are releasing a piece of open-source "parodyware" that will "forever make this kind of censorship obsolete," according to Peabody. "Using this software, it takes five minutes to set up a convincing, personalized, evolving parody of the WTO.org website, or any other website of your choice," said Peabody, who helped to develop the program . . . The software, called "Yes I Will!", automatically duplicates websites as needed, changing words and images as the user desires . . . Unleashed on the CNN.com website, the software can simplify the reporting even further by referring to Bush as "Leader," and the war in Afghanistan as one between "Good" and "Evil.' The parody site updates itself automatically as the target website changes. "The idea is to insure that even if they shut down our website, hundreds of others will continue our work of translation," said Peabody. "The more they try to fight it, the funnier they're going to look." "Such heavy-handed tactics work as poorly in cyberspace as they do on the geopolitical stage," said Cooper Kharms, another Yes Man. "At least Gatt.org was transparent: you could tell what it was by reading a line or two. These other sites may not be so obvious." MORE
** WE HAVE RECEIVED a report that Lisa Fithian, the American activist arrested by Canadian officials while attempting to enter their country has been released and will be allowed to stay in the country.
*** OTTAWA INDY MEDIA - The private residence of a journalist was searched by Ottawa municipal Police yesterday, one day before this weekend's G-20 and IMF finance meetings in Canada's national capital. The journalist, who was expecting to billet a half-dozen protesters and independent reporters arriving in Ottawa for the Nov. 16-18 meetings, was questioned by four plain clothed police officers. "We're just here to make sure that things stay peaceful," a senior investigative officer who identified himself only as Sergeant Johnson of the Ottawa Police Service, told the journalist, Derek Reid . . . The police officer asked Reid what he knew about protest actions being organized in the city. Reid answered that he was simply providing billeting during the G-20 meetings. He was then asked about a gathering that had taken place in his apartment to discuss independent media coverage of the high-level meetings. While being asked further questions from one of the officers, three officers searched the apartment, Reid says. He believes the officers were looking for information about potential anarchist activities in Ottawa. The police soon left the apartment, and no arrests were made . . . When Reid asked one of the officers whether independent journalists were to be targeted during the protests, the officer answered: "We'll leave them alone if they're not violent." At the FTAA Summit of the Americas in Quebec City last April, members of various Canadian police forces who had been confronting protesters were said to have sprayed tear gas into the temporary offices of the Quebec Independent Media Center. As well, during the trade talks in Genoa, Italy, police stormed the press offices of the Independent Media Center armed with tear gas and batons
ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE: In 1980, median income in the richest 10% of countries was 77 times greater than in the poorest 10%; by 1999, that gap had grown to 122 times. Inequality has also increased within many countries. Over the same period, any gains in poverty reduction have been relatively small and geographically isolated. The number of poor people rose from 1987 to 1998, and the share of poor people increased in many countries - in 1998 close to half the population were considered poor in many parts of the world. In 1980, the world's poorest 10%, or 400 million people, lived on 72 cents a day or less. The same number of people had 79 cents (nominally) per day in 1990 and 78 cents in 1999.
While many social, political, and economic factors contribute to poverty, the evidence shows that unregulated capital and trade flows contribute to rising inequality and impede progress in poverty reduction. Trade liberalization leads to more import competition and to a growing use of the threat to move production to lower-wage locales, thereby depressing wages. Deregulated international capital flows have led to rapid increases in short-term capital flows and more frequent economic crises, while simultaneously limiting the ability of governments to cope with crises. Economic upheavals disproportionately harm the poor, and thus contribute to the lack of success in poverty reduction and to rising income inequality.
The world's poor may stand to gain from global integration, but not under the unregulated version currently promoted by the World Bank and others. The lesson of the past 20 years is clear: it is time for a different approach to global integration, whereby living standards of the world's poor are raised rather than jeopardized.
[Almost exactly one year after this was written, Joseph Stiglitz won the Nobel Prize for economics]
DAVE HAGE, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, October 11, 2000: Joseph Stiglitz [is] a dangerous man, an insider who defected. Stiglitz, an owlish intellectual who reminds audiences of Richard Dreyfuss, probably won't win the Nobel Prize in economics when it is announced this week. But he has earned every other distinction in the field . . . Then, in a series of increasingly public critiques, Stiglitz delivered a stinging attack on the world trading system, a dissent that culminated with his resignation from the World Bank . . . Stiglitz argues that free trade and open markets could be forces for good -reducing poverty in the Third World, sharing technology across borders, moving investment from rich nations to poor. But he says that trade has been "badly managed" by the rich countries and the International Monetary Fund, causing unnecessary instability and hardship in the developing world . . . What Stiglitz would like to see is better management of globalization, management that spreads the wealth. In particular:
- The rich nations of North America and Europe should eliminate all tariffs and quotas on goods from developing countries. The poor nations would prosper faster if the rich nations would buy their sugar, peanuts, grains, textiles, shoes, garments and other low-tech goods.
- Congress should fund the debt-relief program proposed by President Clinton so that poor countries, especially in Africa, don't have to spend so much of their current income repaying old debts to rich nations.
- The IMF and the World Bank should have governing boards with greater representation from developing nations. The agencies now are funded chiefly by rich nations and operated by Western or Western-trained technocrats. These experts, Stiglitz says, often fail to understand the importance of such basic development tools as free primary schools and land redistribution. Though Stiglitz has gained the reputation of a firebrand since his resignation from the World Bank, an hour's conversation shows him to be modest, funny, thoughtful, deeply concerned about social justice -- and ultimately optimistic.
"The marches (in Seattle and Prague) have had an effect," he said. "Remember that the marches of the Civil Rights movement and the (European) revolutions of 1848 had an effect too."
ANAOVA NEWS: Dutch police detained Sesame Street pair Bert and Ernie over copyright crime in front of scores of children. The organizers of a fair in Bergen op Zoom booked actors from a music hall agency for entertainment. Two donned Bert and Ernie costumes, but trading standards officers swooped because they didn't have permission from the Sesame Street license holder. A spokesman said: "The music hall agency had no official permission from the license keeper to use these costumes and we therefore called the police." Jos Dauphin, organizer of the fair, said: "Bert and Ernie were arrested before the eyes of at least a hundred children as if they were criminals. They could have done it in another away." . . . Police wanted the actors to take off their masks on the spot, but after a discussion they were allowed to do it away from the children's sight. The actors were later allowed to go free without charge, reports De Stem of Breda newspaper.
WE HAVE previously reported that the DC police, during the last Washington anti-glob demonstrations in April 2000, arrested over 800 people but have yet to produce a felony conviction. In fact, the DC cops only made about 30 felony arrests, which either means there weren't more felonies than on an average DC day or that the thousands of police on hand weren't doing their job. Worse yet, Eddie Becker at the DC IMC tells us that both Chief Charles Ramsey and his deputy, Terrance Gainer, made felony arrests that didn't stick. One charge was that a protester, gagging from teargas, had spit at one of the top police officials. Judge noted a little problem of intent there. . . . Still, you don't have to have your charges hold up in court in order to make arrests in DC anymore. In fact, you don't even have to be charged to stay in jail. As the Washington Post noted the other day about the case of Stanley Joseph Heard, "Mr. Heard, unable to speak or hear and reportedly suffering from mental illness, was released last month from the jail after having been mistakenly incarcerated for nearly two years. Corrections officials chalked up his jailing to inaccurate records, mishandled files and an inattentive bureaucracy that overlooked the fact that charges against him had been dismissed in October 1999."
GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY has announced that all students must leave its Foggy Bottom campus for a whole week surrounding the World Bank-IMF conference. The unprecedented eviction begins on September 27 and ends October 2. According to the university, "Residence halls in Foggy Bottom will re-open at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, October 2 and classes will resume at 4:00 p.m. that day. The University expects all students to leave the Foggy Bottom Campus area during this time period. Students will not be permitted to remain in the residence halls after closing. In those situations where this presents extreme difficulties, University officials will work with students who live in our Foggy Bottom residence halls to find alternate accommodations . . . Students who have extenuating circumstances that hinder their departure or students who need special assistance should advise their community facilitator or, in upper division halls, their community director, promptly. Letters to parents of undergraduates are now in the mail outlining this plan. Parents are also being encouraged to host friends of their sons and daughters who might otherwise have difficulty going home. All students should alert family members of their plans for the period of time from September 27 to October 2. Parents and others will want to know how to reach their students."
Parents and students, we assume, will also be contacting lawyers for possible legal action against the university for its extraordinary action. GWU President Stephen Trachtenberg, appended this piece of post-modern sincerity to his announcement: "These decisions have not been taken lightly. We would not proceed in this way if we believed our community could benefit from this experience in a conventional environment. Our mission is to educate, but it is also our responsibility to protect the welfare of our community. The university respects the rights of all involved. However, the history of recent protests demonstrates that we face a potentially serious situation with risks for our students, faculty and staff."
[From a study by Mark Weisbrot, Dean Baker, Egor Kraev and Judy Chen]
· Growth: The fall in economic growth rates was most pronounced and across the board for all groups or countries. The poorest group went from a per capita GDP growth rate of 1.9 percent annually in 1960-80, to a decline of 0.5 percent per year (1980-2000). For the middle group (which includes mostly poor countries), there was a sharp decline from an annual per capita growth rate of 3.6 percent to just less than 1 percent.
· Life Expectancy: Progress in life expectancy was also reduced for 4 out of the 5 groups of countries, with the exception of the highest group (life expectancy 69-76 years). The sharpest slowdown was in the second to worst group (life expectancy between 44-53 years). Reduced progress in life expectancy and other health outcomes cannot be explained by the AIDS pandemic.
· Infant and Child Mortality: Progress in reducing infant mortality was also considerably slower during the period of globalization (1980-1998) than over the previous two decades. The biggest declines in progress were for the middle to worst performing groups. Progress in reducing child mortality (under 5) was also slower for the middle to worst performing groups of countries.
· Education and literacy: Progress in education also slowed during the period of globalization. The rate of growth of school enrollment was slower for most groups of countries. There are some exceptions, but these tend to be concentrated among the better performing groups of countries. By almost every measure of education, including literacy rates, the middle and poorer performing groups saw less rapid progress in the period of globalization than in the prior two decades. The rate of growth of public spending on education, as a share of GDP, also slowed across all groups of countries.
RORY CARROLL & REBECCA ALLISON, GUARDIAN, LONDON: A dedicated pan-European police squad trained in latest riot control techniques was proposed because of fears that anti-globalisation protesters - spurred on by the recent policing fiasco in Genoa during the G8 meeting of world leader - could prevent international summits being held in major cities. Senior ministers in the German and Italian governments called for a mobile strike force to ensure that leaders could continue to meet where and when they want. The two governments want EU partners to join them in setting up a multi-lingual force to pool intelligence, monitor borders, intercept riot ringleaders and develop tactics to contain rioting. Germany's interior minister, Otto Schily, won the backing of his Italian counterpart, Claudio Scajola, after two days of talks in Rome. They will tell other EU states this week that only coordinated policing can prevent repeats of the bloodsoaked events in Genoa . . . British police are unlikely to go along with an international anti-riot force. The Association of Chief Police Officers gave the idea a cool reception, indicating there would have to be a lot of debate at a high level if such a corps were ever to be a reality.
STEPHEN CASTLE, INDEPENDENT, LONDON: European leaders have ordered police and intelligence agencies to co-ordinate their efforts to identify and track the anti-capitalist demonstrators whose violent protests at recent international summits culminated in the shooting dead by police of a young protester at the Genoa G8 meeting last month. The new measures clear the way for protesters traveling between European Union countries to be subjected to an unprecedented degree of surveillance . . . The plan has alarmed civil rights campaigners, who argue that personal information on people who have done no more than take part in a legal demonstration may be entered into a database and exchanged . . . . . . Tony Bunyan, editor of Statewatch magazine, said: "This will give the green light to Special Branch and MI5 to put under surveillance people whose activities are entirely democratic."
SHEILA R. CHERRY, INSIGHT: The consequences of the ratification of NAFTA in 1994 only now are becoming apparent: Congress agreed to submit to decisions by unelected international bureaucrats . . . Insight has found that very little is being disclosed about the people who administer and interpret the international treaties to which Americans now are subject - especially the North American Free Trade Agreement, which was ratified amid a tremendous controversy in 1994 . . . Secretary of the NAFTA Secretariat Caratina L. Alston flatly refused Insight's requests for the annual budget of her program. "We don't have a specific annual budget," she said at first. Pressed, Alston became tense and responded sharply, "I'm not going to answer that. You know, I don't want our numbers out there for someone to just get . . . No, I won't be furnishing you those numbers."
COST OF PROPOSED security wall to be built during September demonstrations in DC: $15 million a day, or $10,417 per minute.
TIM ROBBINS, NATION: There is something truly significant happening today. A new movement is slowly taking hold on college campuses, among left-wing groups in Europe and human rights groups throughout the world. The protests in Seattle in 1999, the IMF-World Bank protests in Washington, D.C., in 2000, and the continuing presence of agitation wherever corporate entities gather to determine global economic and environmental policies do not, as the media portray them, merely reflect the work of fringe radicals and anarchists. Such events arise out of a broad-based coalition of students, environmentalists, unions, farmers, scientists and other concerned citizens who view the decisions made in these cabals as the front line in the battle for the future of this planet. This is a movement in its infancy that I believe is as morally compelling as the early abolitionists fighting to end slavery in the 18th century; as important as the labor activists advocating workplace safety and an end to child labor in the early 1850s; as undeniable as the scientists who first alerted the American public to widespread abuse of our environment by corporate polluters. All of these movements met with overwhelming condemnation by both political parties, were ignored and then criticized by the press, while their adherents were harassed, arrested and sometimes killed by police and other agencies of the government.
We are six billion; they are eight. - Sign at a Washington protest in front of the Italian Embassy
ARTHUR SANTANA, WASHINGTON POST: D.C. police plan to use nine-foot-high fencing to cordon off most of the area around the White House, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to restrict protesters on the final weekend of September. Executive Assistant Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer outlined what he described as one of the main strategies authorities have devised for containing demonstrations during IMF and World Bank meetings. He said another strategy was to ask protesters to monitor their own ranks . . . Other city officials said they were unaware of plans for a buffer zone. Meetings such as today's are intended to brief the public on the progress of preparations, officials said. Protest organizers and their supporters reacted angrily to the fencing plan. "We believe [police] should not be turning Washington, D.C., into a police state," said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, a lawyer for protesters. "If we pride ourselves on having a democracy and having democratic freedoms, we should not carve out sections of the city." . . . Protesters decried police plans as a waste of taxpayer money and a ploy to paint protesters as violent hooligans. "It's unfortunate that the police are trying to escalate antagonism," said Fred Azcarate, executive director of Jobs with Justice, a national workers' rights group. "Any outside observer would think the police are preparing for war."
GENOA ON THE POTOMAC
WASHINGTON POST: The [capital] wants about $30 million in federal money for its security plans, which include recruiting police officers from throughout the East Coast and fencing off swaths of downtown . . . Executive Assistant Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer said that the security plan would include a patchwork of fences -- including six-foot-high barriers in some places -- to keep protesters from meeting sites and travel routes for delegates. Organizers held a news conference to challenge the constitutionality of such tactics. Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, a lawyer with the Partnership for Civil Justice Inc., said the District-based public interest law firm is preparing to seek an injunction against what organizers call "exclusion zones." She said protesters have the right to be within sight and earshot of their intended audience . . . "It is our contention today that the police decision to create an exclusion zone . . . is a brazen attempt to replicate the Genoa-style police state" in Italy, Brian Becker, co-director of the center, said.
NY TIMES: Outrage about the police behavior [at Genoa] has built across Europe, where the issue has become a major embarrassment for Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Thousands of people have marched in protest, governments have expressed concern and newspapers have been filled with accounts of police brutality . . . There have been major demonstrations in Paris, London, Geneva, Rome, Berlin, Belgrade and Athens, where riot police officers used tear gas to disperse several thousand people en route to the Italian embassy . . . Spain's European Affairs Secretary, Ramon de Miguel, called the scenes a replay of fascism. Hans-Christian Ströbele, a European deputy from Germany, said the Genoa police reminded him of "the military dictatorship in Argentina." Hermann Lutz, chairman of the European Police Union, told the German television network ZDF that as he watched the riots on television he thought "it had to have been in some kind of dictatorship or in Eastern Europe or in Cuba, but not among us in the middle of Europe." Germany's Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, a left-wing activist in his younger years, has called his Italian counterpart, Renato Ruggiero, to urge the Italian government to investigate police actions. Twenty- one Germans are among the 39 people still being held in Italian jails. One German who was also arrested in the raid at the school in Genoa, a man who asked that he not be identified, described his ordeal in a statement issued by his lawyer, Dagmar Vogel, in Oberhausen, Germany: "I was hit in the head, the back, and the legs and a hard hit on the head. My skull flattened. I bled badly. I lay in my own blood bath and didn't move at all." After 2 a.m., he was arrested while still in the hospital, and was not allowed to sleep or make telephone calls, he said. During four days of detention, he said he was forced to stand with his hands against a wall for hours, harassed about going to the bathroom and taken from one location to another.
REUTERS: An elite Italian police unit which carried out a bloody raid against protesters at a Group of Eight summit in Genoa was trained by U.S. police chiefs, an Italian newspaper reported. For four months, 70 specially selected officers were trained by two Los Angeles police sheriffs. A larger number of police also received a week-long training course from the Americans, according to the Communist daily Liberazione. "The prime responsibility of the two Los Angeles sheriffs was to train the men from the special unit in the use of American aluminum batons," an unidentified policeman who took part in the one-week course was quoted as saying . . . Not only is the use of foreign expertise likely to cause consternation, but the fact the officers came from Los Angeles, a city scarred by mass riots in 1992 following the police beating of black motorist Rodney King, also raises serious questions. In a midnight assault on a school which was acting as a headquarters for protest groups during the July 20-22 summit, 62 people were injured and 93 arrested. Many were laid out on stretchers with blood-stained faces. Reporters who entered the school soon afterwards saw blood stains on the walls and broken teeth scattered on the floor. At least one protester has since undergone brain surgery.
[Meanwhile, in Washington, the police are apparently trying to create justification for more unconstitutional actions such as they engaged in during the April 2000 demonstrations. In almost every Washington action prior to Ramsey and Gainer arriving in DC, the police had carefully avoided signs of prejudice against citizens coming to the capital to engage in constitutionally protected activities. The reason the police won "international accolades" for their handling of the April 2000 demonstrations was because media such as the Washington Times did not report the illegal and brutal activities that went on largely behind the scenes. We have included a link to the April 2000 class action law suit]
JOHN DRAKE & JIM KEARY, WASHINGTON TIMES: D.C. police and federal authorities are bracing for massive, violent demonstrations against international financial groups that will meet here in less than two months. "If what we've seen around the world is any indication, it could be," said Executive Assistant Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer, the Metropolitan Police Department's No. 2 official. "There has been a gradual and steady increase in the level of violence and the number of people involved in the violence." Rank-and-file officers fear that protesters plan to seek revenge because Chief Charles H. Ramsey and the department won international accolades last year for handling protests against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. "I think they are going to kick [us around] this time," said one officer. "We've been watching what has been going on over in Italy. They realized the minimum amount of violence did not work, and they are going to have to come in here with a lot more resolve than they did last time." CLASS ACTION SUIT
ALEXANDER STILLE, NATION: Long before demonstrators and police battled it out on the streets of Genoa during the G-8 summit, a potentially more influential attempt to guide the direction of globalization was slowly evolving about two hours' drive away in the countryside of the neighboring region of Piedmont in the foothills of the Italian Alps. In the small market town of Bra, in an area known for its red wines and white truffles, is the headquarters of a movement called Slow Food, dedicated to preserving and supporting traditional ways of growing, producing and preparing food. If the French attitude toward globalization is symbolized by farm activist José Bové driving a tractor into a McDonald's, Italy's subtler and more peaceful attitude is embodied in this quirky and intelligent movement, which has taken up the defense of the purple asparagus of Albenga, the black celery of Trevi, the Vesuvian apricot, the long-tailed sheep of Laticauda, a succulent Sienese pig renowned in the courts of medieval Tuscany and a host of endangered handmade cheeses and salamis known now only to a handful of old farmers. Founded in 1986, in direct response to the opening of a McDonald's restaurant in Rome's famous Piazza di Spagna, the Slow Food Manifesto declares that: "A firm defense of quiet material pleasure is the only way to oppose the Universal folly of Fast Life."