Thursday, June 28, 2007

Subverting Privacy: The Human Security Act Ushers in Big brother

Subverting Privacy: The Human Security Act Ushers in Big brother
by Dr. Giovanni Tapang
Samahan ng Nagtataguyod ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Sambayanan (AGHAM)

We're all being watched.

In the guise of searching for criminals and terrorists, there are invisible eyes and intricate surveillance networks that can follow you as you walk the streets, go into establishments and invade even our own homes. Everyone leaves personal electronic tracks that reveal who we are, what we do and what we like to the prying eyes of law enforcement officials. They even use your own cellphone to track where you go and who you talk to. Adding to this real threat is a law that allows the government to "legally" pry your bank accounts, listen to your conversations and strip you of your right to privacy at its whim.

With the Human Security Act, Big Brother has indeed arrived.

The Arroyo administration's latest effort to combat terrorism raises concern that Filipinos are now at greater risk of intrusion from their own government. The legislation, popularly known as the Anti-Terrorism Act, contains provisions that build on law enforcement's ability to peek at e-mail, to use wiretaps, monitor credit card purchases and bank transactions and conduct searches of suspected terrorists.

The Human Security Act (HSA) was foisted upon us during the preparations for the May 2007 elections. On February, the Senate and the House of Representatives passed the bicameral version of the bill and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed it into law in a matter of days on March 6, 2007.

The HSA not only subverts our right to privacy under the guise of security and anti-terrorism, it also endangers the general citizenry with a dangerously vague definition of terrorism and a cabal of implementors that has a record of wanton disregard for human rights.

It has also worrying prospects of being prone to abuse as it has vague definitions for terrorism that undermines our freedom of association, assembly and movement. The definition of “terrorism” is deliberately made vague and broad. Section 3 defines “terrorism” as an act of “sowing and creating a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace in order to coerce the government to give in to an unlawful demand.”

The terror law can violates a person’s right to privacy. In Section 7 of the law, surveillance of terror suspects is allowed and authorities can use any means to intercept and record all communications of suspected terrorists and their alleged conspirators. Ostensibly, law enforcement officials need to get the Court of Appeals approval to conduct wiretapping and other forms of electronic surveillance but with the Hello Garci scandal, we know that they can perform this even without any such approval.

Your personal “Hello Garci” experience: Tracking and listening on your cellphone

Current technologies that make our day to day communications are vulnerable. The discovery of a crude telephone wiretap in the phonebox near the Aquino residence during election time is but a reminder how easy it is to listen in another's conversation. In the Hello Garci phone conversations, all those who called were recorded as clearly as they were heard by the user.

Cellular telephones, introduced as early as the 1980s, are still essentially radio devices. The cellphone service area is divided into small "cells" where an antenna tower is located to receive and transmit signals. A phone inside that “cell” monitors the strongest signal from the surrounding towers and attempts to register with it. If it can't find a usable paging channel or the registration fails in all available networks, the phone would show NO SERVICE. A cellphone has to register with a cell site to use its services and be useful to end users.

As long as a mobile phone is turned on, it periodically broadcasts a signal to the nearest cell sites to register itself to the network so it can receive phone calls and SMS. This very same technology that allows cellphones to function, also allows one to measure differences in the signal arrival time and thus locate the unit relative to the cell sites.

As cell phone units are but spruced up radios, they are subject to triangulation making every phone a physical locating device. There are newer phones with GPS chips but triangulation will work with every cellphone. It only has to be turned on and can be tracked even when not in a call. This is inherent in the way cellphones work. The only way to avoid tracking is to turn off your unit.

Furthermore, the police and military have boasted of their capability to monitor cell phone calls and track the locations of criminals that have led to their arrests. In a television interview last month, an officer of the Philippine National Police (PNP) warned that advanced wiretapping capabilities may have been used in the midterm elections

In Europe, SIM (subscriber identification modules) were used to locate and break up Al Qaeda cells. SIM cards connect cellphones to networks. Investigators were able to match the numbers with terror suspects and track some down in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and several countries in Europe. Even without personal information, the authorities were able monitoring other phone conversations by building on the phone network of a single surveilled phone. The perception of anonymity in obtaining a new SIM card can give a false sense of security.

Registration of SIM cards will also not work. It acts on the false logic that “if you tell me your name, then I can tell if you are a terrorist”. SIM registration is only an additional burden to the public and does not in any way ensure that terrorists will be caught. As Hon. Crispin Beltran said, “Cellphones are not deadly weapons like guns that need to be registered”.

As terrorists are now able to use other methods to communicate, it is the public that is left to the mercy of authorities and law enforcement officials. A normal cellphone user in the Philippines sends on the average 10 SMS to other friends, co-workers and family. If a person is thus suspected of terrorism, at least 10 other people would be implicated with him.

Under the terror bill, once you are made a suspect, even without proof or conviction, your location, messages and conversations are now subject to recording and tracking. Your phone list, messages and conversations are now compromised together with those in contact with you.

We are all under threat to have our personal Garci experience. While we don't fix electoral results and receive phone calls from the President, an increasingly distrustful and paranoid government such as the current one can cause you trouble and put you under surveillance because of mere suspicion. The Hello Garci issue, far from being resolved, is bound to multiply with arbitrary surveillance under the HSA.

Internet and Computer (in)security makes you vulnerable to snoops

The internet is a complex network with a lot of security holes. In early May, the PNP lamented the lack of cybercrime laws even as it has its own IT forensics lab. It is not technically difficult to sniff on a computer network. Internet service providers (ISPs) can be required to provide client information that can be used to track your browsing and emailing activities.

Viruses, trojans and back doors can maliciously email files from your computer by exploiting the current weaknesses of the operating system. These viruses can be brought to your computer in many ways, through floppy disks, CD-ROMs, email, web sites, and downloaded files. Those wanting to put you on surveillance can just send you an email that can compromise your whole system.

The well known “Love Bug” virus that spreads by e-mailing copies of itself to everyone in an infected computer's address book forced many companies in May 2000 to shut down their mail servers to prevent it from spreading. Even without the intent of destroying any data, under the broad definition of terrorism in the Terror law, inadvertent release of such a virus can cause you 40 years of no parole.

Emails are believed to be by many as secure and private because of its use of a password to log in. However, your email travels from the originating host computer to the destination and often passes through several relaying hosts. At each point in the transmission, your email can be read, changed and even deleted.

The US has a network of listening points, collectively known as ECHELON that screens out data sources and forward it to the US National Security Agency for analysis. The PNP and the NBI recently has formed its Task Force on Cyber Crime and was trained by the FBI. In the recent ASEAN meeting there were agreements for sharing security information under the eASEAN security pact. In the recent arrest of Indonesian terror suspects, the tracking of cell phone transmissions by Australian police via U.S. satellites was important.

However, physical access to your computer should be of primary concern. In the recent illegal arrest of Pastor Berlin Guerrero, even without the Terror bill in force, soldiers who tortured the church worker forced him to yield the password to his email and computer. They deleted all his emails and put in other in its stead. This method might seem crude and without need of computer savvy but is also frighteningly effective.

Friendster anyone?

As the government seeks to reduce the privacy of suspected terrorists, it also has kept the so called Anti-Terrorism Council very powerful. It has powers to proscribe any organization as terrorist, put an individual as a suspect which immediately reduces his rights even without trial, open your bank accounts, listen in your conversations and even extend this to your friends. Never has been putting your friendship network in cybercircles like Friendster and MySpace have been dangerous to all involved.

If only one of them is suspected of terrorism, everyone in the network is subject to the Terror bill's peering eyes and ears. With so much power concentrated into a cabal of government officials, who under recent experience has not shown any reasonable respect for human rights, there is more than enough reason to worry. These situations make the Terror Act a bill of attainder, which criminalizes and punishes individuals on the basis of guilt by association.

The Anti-Terrorism Council has also powers to build and profile anyone or any organization it sees fit under the vague definitions of terrorism as Section 54 allows it to "Establish and maintain comprehensive data-base information systems on terrorism, terrorist activities, and counter-terrorism operations". It can also "Freeze the funds, property, bank deposits, placements, trust accounts, assets and records belonging to a person suspected of or charged with the crime of terrorism or conspiracy to commit terrorism".

The security risks of this information database is enormous. It is a myth that if only we knew who everyone was, we could pick out the terrorists amongst us. Huge amounts of private information will be overseen by the Terror Council which allows a select group of people to possess too much information and power.

Only a committee that includes the DOJ and the Solicitor General stands as a grievance committee that evaluates any complaints to the police and law enforcement officials. These are the same people that the government would mobilize to implement the Terror bill.

Your personal money trails

Every time you check your salary in your bank's ATM, or encash a check, or buy with a credit card, you leave an electronic trace that can be recorded and put into a database. Under Sec. 27 of the Terror law, bank deposits, accounts and records of suspected terrorists and their alleged conspirators can be examined by authorities. All information involving a suspected account, including transactions with other accounts, can also be opened up and investigated.

In addition, the existing Anti-Money Laundering Act will flag transactions involving more than PhP 500,000. The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) can freeze that account pending verification and further investigation. There have been reports of opposition candidates whose transactions during the campaign and elections were investigated by the AMLC to the detriment of these candidates. These capabilities to freeze and open accounts are often abused by those who can wield it.


That the Orwellian scenario ushered in by the Human Security Act is not fiction is bolstered by the events since the Garci scandal. From the Calibrated Pre-emptive Response, to PP1017, EO464, the arrest of Cong. Beltran and the experiences of the the Batasan 6, we have seen the extent to which the current government has tried to stretch legal boundaries to obtain its political ends. Together with the resistance of the people to these edicts and actions, the Supreme Court has struck down at these attempts to undermine civil liberties.

Under this context, we can view the Terror law as an attempt to silence all forms of political dissent under the pretext of fighting terrorism. Because the threshold for suspicion is vague, anyone is under threat. Groups like TXTPower who harness the texting generation in issues ranging from opposition to text tax to the Garci issue can be labeled terrorists if its advocacy for consumer rights have run counter to the current government's subservience to the whims of foreign financial institutions such as the IMF.

The opportunities to attack the legitimate rights of Filipinos are widespread under the new law, from harassing opposition groups to the collection of massive quantities of data on all citizens, innocent and otherwise. The terror law has no assurances to reveal the criminals but it has all the power to invade our privacy and subvert our rights.

Finally, what is more dangerous is that the fight against terror as stated by George W. Bush and Gloria Arroyo is open-ended. This raises concern that the government's new authority will last indefinitely and impact more on innocent citizens than its avowed targets. With the Terror bill in place the threat to our freedom now comes from the government and no other: the state itself is our terrorist.###

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Mining for the People, Not for Profit!

June 5, 2007

Mining for the People, Not for Profit!

We are rallying before the 7th Asia-Pacific Mining Conference and the Asean Federation of Mining Associations (AFMA) because we wish to protect our country, as well as other struggling countries throughout the Asia Pacific region, from the environmental tsunami brought about by foreign mining giants.

We are not anti-mining. We believe that mining has a fundamental role in national industrialization, that it can be responsibly utilized for the people's welfare: to meet the needs of hospitals and schools, homes and industries. Mining has its rightful place in a society where governance and science and technology is for the people, and not for corporate interests. We believe that mining can be made sustainable if pursued at a much balanced scale in contrast to the present practices of all-out mineral extraction, waste generation, and plunder.

But the kind of mining that the Arroyo administration and the AFMA is promoting will never serve the interests of the nation, nor of the majority of the toiling masses who do care for our lands and resources because they know that this is the only source of life for the people.

The kind of mining that Arroyo is rabidly promoting is based on greed, not on stewardship. It is based on a history of colonial plunder, not social change. Its overriding aim is profit, not the people's welfare. Its primary beneficiaries are foreign mining giants, rather than ordinary Filipinos. Its end is to extend Arroyo's precarious rule over the country by collecting enough backers from foreign big business, at a time when majority of the Filipino people have rejected her administration.

President Arroyo, as a principal author of the Mining Act of 1995 and as an active promoter of mining liberalization, is guilty of treason. These policies and programs practically sell the country's remaining mineral reserves, lands and waterways to foreigners. These are pursued at the expense of grave ecological destruction, threats to the people's health and livelihood, and dubious economic gains. When local communities oppose these foreign mining projects, the state uses its own military
forces--the arms which are supposed to protect the Filipino people--to intimidate,
threaten, or even kill.

The entry of the world's largest mining transnational corporations (TNCs) into the Philippines with the full backing of the Arroyo administration will bring this country into a state of calamity and will unleash an environmental tsunami that would engulf the people in a tide of unparalleled hardship.

Many of these mining giants encouraged by the government to invest in the Philippines--such as BHP Billiton and Anglo-American--are notorious in other countries for their role in grave environmental disasters, spotty human rights records, and anti-labor histories.

BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company which is eyeing a multi-million dollar nickel project in Pujada, Davao Oriental, faces a $4 billion class suit by the people of Papua New Guinea. For two decades, it dumped 80,000 tons of mine tailings filled with toxic heavy metals such as lead directly into the Fly and Ok Tedi rivers, ruining the livelihoods of the peopl, poisoning forests, and contaminating river systems. Anglo-American, the fourth largest mining company in the world, paid its South African laborers the world's lowest wages and was named as one of the main toxic lead polluters in North America. Now, it has numerous mining operations in the Cordillera and Mindanao, some of which have been even classified by the government as "priority projects".

We do not want this to happen in the Philippines. Certainly, we do not want these foreign mining giants to unleash its greed for profit and replicate the same human rights violations, anti-labor practices, health hazards, and environmental degradation here.

We resolve to unite against the presence of plunderous foreign mining firms and their collaborators in local governance and industry. We will struggle on until the Filipino people as well as all other mining-affected communities throughout the region will be able to forge a mining policy that will truly benefit the toiling masses of all lands.

Foreign mining TNCs out of Asia!
Scrap the Mining Act of 1995!
Defend our patrimony, promote a Peoples' Mining Policy!

DEFEND PATRIMONY! is a broad alliance comprised of organizations and individuals united in the defense of Filipino people's rights and national patrimony againt the wholesale plunder of our mineral and other natural resources. Our unity is based on the principles of goodwill and solidarity, cooperation and consensus, and independence and initiative.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

They may have me put in jail, but my spirit is free and firm because God is with us always --Pastor Guerrero

Statement of Pastor Guerrero

What does it take a government to have the nerve to abduct, torture, and terrorize my family on the basis of an old inciting to sedition case and a baseless murder charge?

Far more absurd is the accusation that I am the Secretary of the CPP Provincial committee in Cavite . This lie that they tried to extract from me by means of physical, mental and psychological torture and projecting me in public as a “hand-gun and grenade carrying rebel.”

I am a Pastor of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) and never participated in any killings, illegal or unlawful activities, or any common crime.

My family and I have just taken a tricycle from the local church which I have served for two consecutive years (June 2006-2007) where we just celebrated UCCP’s and the local church’s 59th and 72nd anniversaries respectively (On May 27, at around 5:30 pm, a white van cut the tricycle’s path and military-looking men quickly alighted to grab me; despite my plea that they show me the warrant they said they had. I was man-handled and forcefully shoved inside the van, put a handcuff on my hands behind me, covered my head with a cloth and packing tape, was beaten, punched and kicked repeatedly.

They brought me to a place I didn’t know. Here, still handcuffed, men would take turn interrogating and beating my head with their fists and blunt objects. (Like a 1,000 ml mineral bottle and other objects). All throughout, layers of plastic bags covered my head. My torturers would tighten the bag until I could no longer breathe. I passed out two times and urinated in my pants.

They made me shake my head for about an hour and beat me whenever I stopped they said they would do these things to my family if I did not cooperate. I was forced to give names and addresses of my whole family, officers of church and conferences, name of my administrator at Union Theological Seminary where I am studying theology, leaders of progressive labour and peasant organizations in Southern Tagalog.

They opened my computer by forcing me to give the password, got my e-mail password. They erased all of my church, school and personal files and replace it with documents that belong to the so-called underground left.

After about twelve hours, they put me back on the van still handcuffed and blindfolded. They threatened to kill me, burn me or bury me. They continued to beat me and make new names for me. They got my sim card.

They called me Pastor-Impostor. And lectured me on the “evils” of communism and how the church, legal people’s organizations are “used” to create trouble by criticizing the government.

When the van stopped, it took an hour before they led me down, made me sit down and lie down. After an hour, they removed my blindfold. Here I learned I was in Imus, Cavite specifically at Camp Pantaleon Garcia, Cavite Provincial Police Office (PPO).

Later on in the afternoon, that was the only time I saw the warrants of arrest and to what unit of the PNP I was turned over to by my abductors.

Now that I have the time to collect my thoughts and view my situation inside what police offices “call a subhuman” cell, let me make a preliminary analysis of my unfinished ordeal.

(1) The unit which abducted me is an organized AFP unit which operates covertly or below the law. It is composed of elements coming from different units of AFP’s Intelligence Community. As a counter-insurgency unit, it uses ex-NPAs. They are lawless enforcers.

(2) Making use of court cases which involves suspected personalities of the left, no matter how weak, these cases may be served and used to make the arrest legitimate. In my case, I am implicated in a Murder Case in 1990. Case files show that I do not have a direct or indirect link to the crime.

(3) To bring me to the court by means of the arrest warrants is secondary. Their primary objective is to extract information from me by means of torture.

(4) It is also meant to terrorize my family, my relatives, friends, church members and
practically everyone I know and who know me. It creates a thinking that this repeated attack on a person’s right, which may end in incarceration or death, can happen to anybody.

I am outraged by their branding me as a “Pastor-Impostor” because it is an affront to the sacred office I have sworn to serve God Almighty who knows every heart and mind.

Finally, I hold the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo government responsible for the abduction and torture I have suffered and the subhuman captivity I am forced to accept. The GMA Administration should listen to the repeated cries of the people to stop violation of human rights and the political killings.

They may have me put in jail, but my spirit is free and firm because God is with us always.

United Church of Christ in the Philippines
Inside the Camp Pantaleon Garcia
Cavite Provincial Police Office
Imus, Cavite
May 30, 2007

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Expose the truth about the G8 Summit agenda


By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples' Struggle

3 June 2007

The 33rd G8 Summit will be held in the isolated Baltic resort of Heiligendamm in Germany from June 6-8, 2007. The G8 or Group of 8 is the most powerful alliance of the monopoly capitalist states. The G8 process is the most important way by which these states coordinate on policies for dominating the rest of the world, especially the semi-colonies and dependent countries, particularly in economic matters. Decisions taken by the G8 are subsequently carried forward and implemented by their state agencies (economic, political and military) domestically and internationally as well as bythe major US-controlled multilateral organizations, financial institutions and forums.

This year's summit is held at a critical time for imperialism. On one hand, the economic and financial crisis of global capitalism continues to deepen and its adverse effects are mounting which makes it increasingly difficult for them to maintain their superprofits. US imperialism has unleashed brazen wars of aggression, such as those against Iraq and Afghanistan, to advance its economic interests. On the other hand, the worsening condition of billions of the world's people is generating resistance and struggle against imperialist domination.

Crisis of "Neoliberal Globalization" Reflected by Agenda

The official motto of "Growth and Responsibility" is unable to conceal the critical situation reflected in this year's G8 Summit agenda. The biggest capitalist powers are forced to confront the adverse consequences of recent decades of increasing "neoliberal globalization". Global growth has become uneven, slower and more volatile. Since the "globalization" of the 1980's, the growth rates of the world gross domestic product (GDP) have fallen to less than half of the more than 5 percent annual average in the first three decades after World War II.

Over a hundred countries have suffered 5-year periods of sustained declines in per capita income growth, not only in Africa but also in Asia and Latin America. Unrivaled speculative excesses and financial instability persist. At any time, only 2-5 percent of international financial transactions are related to trade and the productive economy. The US itself is confronted by historically large twin deficits in fiscal and trade transactions. Europe is saddled with collapsing domestic demand, while Japan remains mired in its decades-long slump.

In the face of all these and the resulting threat to their profits, the main objective adopted by the big powers is to push measures to further increase the imperialist export of capital by hastening the removal of investment barriers and of course to accelerate the remittance of profits and repatriation of capital. The number of liberalizing bilateral investment treaties alone has more than doubled from 1,100 in 1995 to nearly 2,400 a decade later.

The global total of foreign direct investment (FDI) has already risen nineteen-fold since 1990 and stands at over US$10 trillion. Yet unbridled greed and the need to combat the ever-present tendency for profits to fall have meant that even this is not enough. Foreign investment regimes in general, mining and natural resource extraction, and the plunder of the African continent are the real key areas for discussion in Heiligendamm.

The G8 is pushing for more open investment policies in the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America which still retain vestiges, however scant, of controls on foreign capital. At the same time they aim to ensure their scientific and technological monopolies in the name of "intellectual property rights" and "promoting and protecting innovation". The big powers will however retain their investment protections for their own monopoly capitalists even as they decry similar efforts of their rivals. US and European monopoly capitalists have already opposed attempted investment incursions and takeovers in their vital industries.

They also want to further open up the mineral and energy resources of neocolonies to foreign plunder under cover of "sustainable mining practices". They will try to do all these through the resumption of World Trade Organization (WTO) talks. Apart from this they will continue pushing bilateral and regional free trade agreements (FTAs) as well as take more determined efforts in this regard through inter-governmental venues, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Much-hyped by the imperialists and imperialist-funded "civil society" organizations are pretended measures to counter the adverse social effects of "globalization", climate change and volatility in financial markets. Yet there is no recognition or acknowledgment that these are among the inevitable consequences of irrational capitalism and its central dynamic of profit-making. The G8's efforts here are nothing more than embellishments on the system of plunder and peddling of the deception that capitalism can be "humanized" and "refined" to sugarcoat the dire and dismal results of "free market" policies. The misery and problems caused by "globalization" have become so obvious that the big powers have to make a show of addressing these.

Two years ago, during the G8 summit in Gleneagles, the deception peddled by the imperialists and pro-imperialist "civil society" organizations and some rock stars was the supposedly "historic" deal of US$55 billion in debt cancellation for a handful of deeply indebted countries. And yet today the whole of that trifling amount has not been canceled. Indeed, international usury and the crushing neocolonial debt burden of over US$2.8 trillion remain. Today the deceptions include such self-contradictions as "corporate social responsibility" and monopoly capitalists "promoting and developing social standards". But the limits are clear and the G8 cannot but incongruously assert that the only "social protection systems" it is after are those based on privatized "self-responsibility and accountability".

The declarations of concern over accelerating global warming likewise ring hollow. The fundamental cause of adverse changes in the climate is the unrelenting drive for profits of monopoly capitalism which aggressively pushes reckless consumption as well as production heedless of the long-term impact on the planet's finite resources -- including its forestry and energy resources -- and fragile ecology.

Reflecting this, the single greatest source of destructive greenhouse gas emissions is US imperialism both in its homeland and through its plundering economic operations in semi-colonies and dependent countries, including China, India and Brazil. But not only is the G8 unable to address either of these, indeed it is even trying to use the specter of ecological catastrophe as a bogus basis of unity to further befuddle, co-opt and captivate the less critical segments of social movements.

The instability of financial markets is likewise also a matter of grave concern because of the adverse impacts on the real economy. However financial speculation has served as an increasing and important source of paper profits for monopoly capitalism confronted by its crisis of overproduction. This instability will then remain and can only worsen for as long as the big powers are after such profits. There is no historical precedent for any kind of mutual arrangement by monopoly capitalists to voluntarily reduce their profits. As it is, net capital outflows from the neocolonies or semi-colonies have been drastically increasing since the mid-1990s to the level of US$670 billion in 2006 alone.

The G8 and "Neoliberal Globalization"

The G8 was first organized as the G6 in 1975 with the US, Japan, United Kingdom (UK), West Germany, France and Italy. Canada joined, at the behest of the US, in 1976 to form the G7. And then nuclear power Russia joined in 1998 to form the G8. The alliance was put up as the global crisis of capitalism started to deepen further in the wake of US imperialism's defeat in the Vietnam War. "Neoliberal globalization" and the renewed imperialist offensive on the people of the world soon got underway in 1979 upon the sudden spike of interest rates upon the initiative of the US.

Following the Third World debt crisis of the early 1980s, the G7 used its domination of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) to force "free market" policies on neocolonies through stabilization programs and structural adjustment programs (SAPs). At the same time, monopoly capitalism squeezed the wages, benefits and social services to the detriment of the working people. Come the 1990s, the biggest G8 powers extorted more and more bilateral and regional free trade agreements (FTAs) as well as used the WTO to come up with multilateral trade and investment agreements of unprecedented global scope.

The G8 countries constitute some 14 percent of the world population (with 856 million combined) and account for 63 percent or nearly two-thirds of world gross domestic product (GDP) at the level of US$28 trillion combined. The US is far and away the biggest economic power taking up 28 percent of world GDP followed by Japan (10 percent) and Germany (6 percent). The G8 accounts for half of worldwide trade in goods and, reflecting their increased direct investments in production networks in the neocolonies, import slightly more than they export. They completely dominate the IMF by taking up nearly half of its voting power (48 percent), and likewise the WB by the same measure. In the WTO the biggest factor determining the direction of talks is whether and how far the US and the European Union (EU) give or withhold their assent.

Their military spending for defending and advancing their imperialist agenda is enormous and far beyond what might be legitimately needed for self-defense. Combined G8 spending in 2005 of US$707 billion is 71 percent of total world military expenditures. The US takes up the overwhelmingly largest share with US$478 billion in spending (48 percent of world total), distantly followed by the UK and France (5 percent each) and Japan (4 percent). Four of the G8 members -- US, UK, France and Russia -- together account for 98 percent of the world's some 100,000 nuclear weapons.

Imperialism has used this economic and military might for the last three decades to aggressively push policies of "neoliberal globalization": de-nationalization of neocolonial economies, trade and investment liberalization, privatization and deregulation. These "free market" policies aim to support monopoly capitalist profits and overcome the crisis of global capitalism that has intensified since the 1970s. The imperialists further exploit the cheap labor, natural resources and markets of neocolonial economies.

They have had great success in imposing their plunderous policies on the people. In the last two decades, worldwide cross-border direct investments have increased by some 14 percent annually while world investments have increased by around 10 percent. About a third of these investment flows have been to the neocolonies.

The propaganda that "globalization" would lead to development and a capitalist utopia is a deceit that cannot be sustained. It was not long before the utter failure of these policies to result in any sort of development as well as their real objective of feeding unbridled monopoly greed was exposed by the harsh reality of far worse capitalist oppression and exploitation, resulting from the accelerated concentration and centralization of capital in the global centers of capitalism and the consequent devastation of the general run of neocolonies.

Monopoly capitalists have reaped their profits in the only way possible for them: at the expense of the world's working people and, indeed, of the planet's fragile ecology. The removal of global investment barriers has already resulted in the effective doubling of the global cheap labor force that capitalism can prey on. Even as only scant millions are eventually employed, the effect of the bloated reserve army of unemployed labor is severe. Unions have been attacked to bring about declines in real wages and social entitlements, at the same time as welfare systems are privatized and dismantled. Since 1980, the share of labor's wages and benefits in national income in the G7 has fallen by 4 percentage points even as corporate profits as a percentage of GDP increased by the same amount to reach historical highs.

Backward neocolonial agricultural and industrial producers have been overrun at the same time as scarce natural resources have been exploited by big corporate mining and agri-business investments. Millions of peasants have been economically and physically displaced. This has caused human misery to continually expand. Global unemployment and poverty are massive. Some 3 billion people, or half of humanity, struggle to survive on US$2 or less a day. Over 750 million people are without jobs worldwide. And even among the employed labor force of the 2.8 billion, half are unable to earn enough to bring their families above the US$2 a day poverty line. Nearly a billion people are undernourished worldwide, most of which are in Asia, Africa and Latin America but also including some tens of millions even in the industrialized countries. All these expose the hypocrisy of the G8's showy declarations of pretended support for social standards and decent work for the laboring people.

The injustice of capitalism is affirmed by the worsening living conditions of the people. It is due to the rapacity of the monopoly bourgeoisie that controls the world's resources and production and corners the benefits of economic activity. "Globalization" has resulted in unprecedented inequality. The richest two (2) percent of adults worldwide own more than half of global wealth, while the poorest 50 percent own barely one (1) percent. Meanwhile, nine-tenths of the richest one (1) percent of adults worldwide live in the G7 countries. Indeed the net worth of the richest 500 monopoly capitalists of US$2.6 trillion is equivalent to the annual output of the world's 48 poorest countries or to the income of the world's poorest 416 million people.

The deteriorating plight of the world's people is intrinsic to capitalism and G8 shows of false concern and "social responsibility" cannot ever resolve these. Indeed all the G8 can do is endlessly repeat the deception that "free markets" and capitalism offer the only path to human development.

Resistance to the G8 and Imperialism

The unbearable situation wrought by "neoliberal globalization" has fueled ever-mounting people's mass actions and other struggles. There have been protests against the G8 since the mid-1980s with counter-summits held highlighting the crushing debt burden of the underdeveloped countries. Mass demonstrations began to grow in size since the mid-1990s when a broad range of trade unionists, peasant organizations, indigenous groups, women's organizations, church workers and other social activists started coming together to protest during the G8 summits.

By the G8 summits in Genoa (2001) and Gleneagles (2005), up to 200,000 protesters were taking to the streets. All these moreover occurred amidst worldwide and year-round mass actions opposing imperialist "globalization" including demonstrations, rallies, roadblocks and even general strikes involving hundreds of thousands up to millions of people. These struggles have been met with violent political repression and state terrorism not just in Asia, Africa and Latin America but in the imperialist countries themselves.

State security forces in Europe -- not just in Germany but also in France, UK and the Netherlands -- have been cracking down on anti-G8 organizations in the months leading up to the June summit. Civil and political liberties have been systematically violated and justified as part of "anti-terrorism" campaigns legally sanctioned by repressive post-9/11 laws. Groups that are preparing to hold or protest activities or have already launched build-up activities have been subjected to raids, arrests and detention.

Protest marches and actions have been broken up. In Germany, thousands of police have conducted synchronized raids in the cities of Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen and other northern towns. Homes and offices have been ransacked and files, materials and equipment confiscated. As it is, the imperialist powers are forced to hold their summit and declare their more intense offensive against the people of the world from behind a 14 kilometer steel and concrete barrier.

Monopoly capitalism is increasingly desperate in its efforts to deal with the deepening global economic crisis. The limits of "free market globalization" have been exposed by the relentless worsening of the crisis since the late 1990s. Such a policy have only served to accelerate the concentration and centralization of capital in a few imperialist countries and have resulted in a series of grave economic and financial crisis.

No less than the US, the principal beneficiary of the neoliberal policy, is battered by its domestic economic crisis. It has resorted to "military Keynesianism" in a futile attempt to stimulate the US economy by stepping up military production and pouring state financial resources into gilded contracts with the military industrial complex. To this end, it has stepped up war hysteria, unleashed wars of aggression, engaged in foreign military intervention on a widening scale and promoted state terrorism and fascism on a global scale under the pretext of anti-terrorism.

US imperialism is using its military superiority to expand its economic territory and political hegemony. It tries to maintain the imperialist alliance against the proletariat and people of the world and against the semicolonies and dependent countries. But the crisis of the world capitalist system has become so grave that it disturbs the balance of forces among the imperialist powers and is generating sharper inter-imperialist competition and rivalries.

The pressures for a redivision of the world are growing. The US is facing increasingly strong demands from Russia which has nuclear weapons and massive oil resources as bargaining levers as well as from the European Union and Japan which are trying to overcome decades of military inferiority and submissiveness to the self-aggrandizing initiatives of the US. Direct hostile confrontations among the imperialist powers are not yet occurring but they wrangle more than ever before over the spoils in the semicolonies and dependent countries.

At present, the US is most hard-pressed by its continuing failure to pacify the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and is unable to collect the prize for its wars of aggression. Instead, it is incurring heavy casualties and financial losses and is sinking in a quagmire. It is lessening its ability to pay adequate and timely attention to other countries and continents of the world. Conditions are favorable for the rise of anti-imperialist mass movements and revolutionary armed struggles for national liberation, democracy and socialism on a global scale.

The G8 summit is an opportune time to highlight the grave and insoluble problems faced by the imperialist powers and to bring forward the historic struggle against imperialist oppression and exploitation.

The International League of Peoples' Struggle calls on all its participating organizations to expand their ranks and build anti-imperialist and democratic united fronts at the level of national chapters, global regions and the whole world. The daily worsening conditions of oppression and exploitation require the ILPS to intensify its efforts to arouse, organize and mobilize the people in their millions for the cause of greater freedom, development, social justice and world peace against imperialism and reaction. ###