Dictator falls off hamster wheel
Bloodthirsty, weirdly-costumed psychopathic dictators appear to be in decline: Muammar Gaddafi, dictator of Libya for 40 years, is dead.
While keeping a healthy scepticism on who you believe in the media, there are some that can be somewhat trusted to provide facts. A Reuters journalist says he’s seen his body.
As usual, it’s a select few media organisations that have put a spotlight on who supported his regime in the past; this gives his geo- political influence context. In late August this year, Aljazeera journalist Jamal Elshayyal said he discovered documents linking Gaddafi to former assistant secretary of state under George W Bush, David Welch. Welch now works for war-profiteering US corporation Bechtel.
Elshayyal claims that in a meeting between Welch and top Libyan officals, Welch gave the Libyans advice on how to win the propaganda war. Welch also offered advice on how to undermine Libya’s rebel movement, with the potential assistance of foreign intelligence agencies, including Israel.
There is nothing particularly new in these published confidential meetings between top officals and US interests; WikiLeaks has a huge swag of similar cables. What’s important here is the hamster wheel: the never-ending cycle of foreign policy domination by the West over less technologically/democratically adept countries in oil rich states such as Libya.
One of the most profound songs ever penned about the US military industrial complex is Work for Peace by Gil Scott Heron, written in the time of the first Iraq war/US military invasion.
It sums up the hamster wheel perfectly:
‘The Military and the Monetary, get together whenever they think its necessary, they turn our brothers and sisters into mercenaries,
‘They are turning the planet into a cemetery.
‘The Military and the Monetary, use the media as intermediaries. ‘They are determined to keep the citizens secondary, they make so many decisions that are arbitrary... ‘They took the honour from the honourary, they took the dignity from the dignitaries, they took the secrets from the secretary, but they left the bitch in obituary.’
Lurching without mandate or leader
There has recently been a shift in the balance of power within Council, with the deputy mayor taking over most of the mayor’s functions. This has come about because our elected mayor Jan Barham is also a state Greens MLC.
At the last meeting she attended, she pointed out that she still works actively and tirelessly on Council matters such as policy, and continues to put forward possibly more motions and amendments than anyone else. She was clearly spruiking her abilities to do both jobs.
Mayor Barham asked her fellow councillors to move three meetings to another Thursday to accommodate her new timetable. However, when it came to a vote in her absence, her request was denied, leaving deputy mayor Basil Cameron in the chair, thus giving the independent the mayor’s casting vote.
It appears so far that this new majority will be voting to exclude her if they can, which may mean they can continue to deny her the right to attend future meetings.
The irony, as Greens Cr Tabart pointed out to The Echo this week, is that ‘Cr Cameron only got the deputy mayor gig because Jan was away and now he is voting to keep her away.’
And as Cr Tabart says in his letter to The Echo this week, the resulting voting has lurched this Council somewhat to the right; policies may have had a different flavour had she been there to vote.
This is exemplified by this week’s draft markets policy, which attempts essentially to privatise a community asset, and gives no provisions to the Community Centre management that uses stall holder fees to provide wages to its staff. It is no secret that many councils financially assist their community centres; ours does not.
Additionally the draft policy does not adequately protect local hand-made industries nor promote local food producers.
The Echo laments our councillors’ unwillingness to give our elected mayor the opportunity to continue her mayoral duties, and to prove to the community she can hold down both jobs.
Will this behaviour continue until Council elections next year?