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Food Shortage Sparked Recent Protests: Analyst

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TEHRAN, Feb 28 (ICANA) – The wave of revolution that is sweeping the Middle East and North Africa regions is thought to be a response against US imposed dictatorships that have enslaved the people of many countries to serve an elite imperialist agenda.
Monday, February 28, 2011 10:04:36 AM
Food Shortage Sparked Recent Protests: Analyst

Press TV talks with Lawrence Freeman, Editor of EIR in Washington and receives a much wider perspective driven by the global breakdown of the current economic and financial system. Press TV: What can you share with us regarding the US and the West's response regarding the Libyan people's revolution? Freeman: Firstly, I think that most of the so-called experts in Washington have failed to understand that what is going on in Libya is part of actually a global revolutionary process, where we saw in Egypt, in Tunisia and has been expanding. It is the fact that you have people, a lot of them represented by the young generation, who are rebelling against the policies that have ruled their lives and they don't want to take it anymore. We really see a rebellion against the current global financial system and one of the things that sparked these demonstrations and I think it is going to spread further, I don't think we've seen the end of it, is the fact that there is a global food shortage. And people are now seeing that this system the free trade market system that we've been under for the past 30 to 40 years is a failure and it's getting rid of those petty dictators who've been carrying out this policy. And I don't think the press in the US or the West or any of these so-called leaders fully understand the kind of dramatic revolutionary period that we're in right now. Press TV: Can you please elaborate on the elements of this revolution? Freeman: Well, we're now seeing it in the US and we're seeing it in Ireland. If we look at the US we've got this Gaddafi-style dictator - Governor Scott Walker in Minnesota and what is happening is he is trying to destroy the unions, it's a fascist policy, and there has been not tens of thousands, but hundreds of thousands of people demonstrating in Madison Wisconsin and support demonstrations going on in all the major cities... Yesterday, Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein just got elected for the parliament; no one could have ever predicted that. No one would have ever predicted the overthrow of Mubarak. No one could have predicted the fact that Gaddafi is finished; he can't rule the country anymore. And why is this happening? Because you are seeing a wave of protest and anger coming from Europe, coming from North Africa, coming from the US against a rotten corrupt system that we've lived under and it's coming to an end. Press TV: If this is a revolt and uprising against the current economical and financial system still pushed by the US, could this harbor a substantial amount of anti-US sentiment? Freeman: Absolutely! This system is being advocated by President Obama and by the British financial system. This continued policy of bailing out the banks. The US Federal reserve has been bailed out and printed out somewhere between 17 and 20 trillion dollars to buy worthless assets in US banks, European banks, Italy, Ireland, all over the world to bailout this bankrupt system, which is causing hyper-inflation. And at the same time this same system has destroyed the ability of countries to produce their own food - and Egypt is a good example. In fact, Africa and Egypt combined have imported about 20 million metric tons of food; this wasn't the case 30 years ago. So you are right. This is a system run by the president of the US and the British and people are very upset about it and it's not helped by the fact that the Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice is completely incompetent. I've run into her before in Sudan where I just came back from; she doesn't understand anything about what the real interests of African people are. So, she's not helping at all and I think the US is really in a bind except for 'possibly' some of the policies of Hilary Clinton, I think the US is in big trouble on how to adjust and deal with these crises. Press TV: What are your thoughts on any form of foreign or international intervention into Libya? Not only concerning an occupation, but an intervention of any form. Freeman: I think it is very limited on what we (the US) can do because of the way we've behaved in the past. For example, people should be aware of the fact that Tony Blair, who was the mentor of President Obama, was very closely tied financially and politically to Gaddafi. So what the West can do given the fact that they are discredited at this point is very limited and I am very apprehensive about having the West intervene into Africa. Most of the time when they have done this it has not been helpful. I think what we have to do is to give people ideas and that's one thing my magazine, the EIR, is doing. It is giving people ideas on how to build a new economic system, a credit based system that does not bail out banks, but issues credit for necessary infrastructure development for agriculture, for food, power, water that would actually help the country. What are really needed now are new and bold ideas of how to rebuild the economy. Intervention? I'm very nervous about it; it is very limited if there is anything we can do in that area? Press TV: The US intelligence agencies keep a close eye on the Middle East especially - How is it that they couldn't even have imagined such a domino effect overtaking the region? Freeman: Well that's my point. In physics you have different prophecies that take place governed by different characteristics like water is different than steam is different from ice. The problem is our intelligence community and our institutions are bankrupt. They don't have a clue of what this process was [and how] that was taking place. I was in Sudan watching what was going on in Egypt and it was breathtaking, it was quick, definitive; definitive in a sense that Mubarak was thrown out because of the power of the people. None of our intelligence agencies had a clue because they deal in the most simplistic sense-perception, reductionist, statistical terms rather than looking at underlying prophecies and breakouts that occur because of underlying prophecies - like the people in Egypt, the young people saying we're not going to live this way anymore; we can't eat, we don't have jobs, we've had enough. And the problem is that our intelligence community is incapable at this point of understanding what is really going on as is in the US - you've got 30 million people unemployed; you've got people living in terrible conditions and that's why they're now demonstrating in the tens and hundreds of thousands because they can't take it anymore. And our congress and our president are clueless about that; they're frozen, paralyzed - they have no knowledge of the process and no good ideas for a solution; that's what makes this a revolutionary period. Press TV: Even now with the events having panned out they still don't have the capability of reading what is going on? Freeman: No! What they would see it as is as a localized event occurring against a local dictator and will look for local reasons. But this is a global process. Look at Ireland - the ruling party has been thrown out and Gerry Adams who in the old days was associated with the IRA (Irish Republican Army) is now a member of parliament. You look at that and look at the demonstrations in the US, look at certain things that are coming out of Germany and Italy. You have to correlate that with what is happening in North Africa and what's happening in the Middle East. There is a global breakdown of the world economy and you have a response. Now, the response is different in each locality, but they're responding to the same crisis and all the leaders in congress and in Washington do not understand this. My organization is trying to educate them, but they are pretty slow on the uptake right now. Press TV: If I'm correct, you believe that these uprisings and revolutions are comprised of a wide range of elements that have resulted in what we're seeing right now. How about the issue of the Palestinians? - The constant violation of Palestinian human rights by Israel, the silence of the US, and of course, not forgetting the 22-day onslaught on the Gaza strip. Freeman: The way that we have behaved toward the Palestinians is immoral. The condition people live in on the West Bank and in particular the Gaza strip are absolutely disgusting; the only conditions I've seen like that are places in sub-Saharan Africa. The US has been absolutely immoral on this question of Israel and the Palestinians. The problem is that area is going to erupt too. There's no question about it because you can't treat people like animals and keep them down and keep them economically deprived without them fighting back. And the US position toward Israel has been terrible - Not speaking out against these crimes and not doing anything to help the Palestinians. So I think you're pointing to another area where we should expect to see another breakout. Press TV: Do you think another element of these uprisings could be the humiliation of the Arabs? Freeman: Well, I don't see it as an Arab problem, I see it as a human being problem. If you don't give people clean water, jobs, food; if the young people 18 to 25 don't see a future - they see nothing good for the next 25 to 50 years of their life they're going to rebel. They may not know everything about the system that they're rebelling against and they don't know the solutions, but they are rebelling against the collapse of an entire system that we've lived under for the past 40 years essentially since the death of Kennedy and the destruction of the Bretton Wood system and that is going to spread throughout the world; you've got people in Africa in sub-Saharan Africa not in North Africa where you can see eruptions take place for exactly the same reasons and they're not Arab countries. So I wouldn't make this an Arab phenomenon I would really look at it in much larger terms than that.

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