Transnational Institute

TNI-News is a bi-weekly e-mail service from the Transnational Institute.
7 April 2005
In this issue:
1. Peace in Palestine conference
2. New publication from the Energy project
3. Pinochet Watch No. 59 and the meeting on Impunity
4. India - Pakistan relations
5. New from our network:
- Achin Vanaik on Kyoto agreement
- Boris Kagarlitsky on revolutions in the former Soviet states
- Saul Landau on the battle over euthanasia in the US
- Martin Jelsma on the lessons from the Taliban opium ban


The two injustices of the Middle East, the US occupation of Iraq and the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian lands constitute the two faces of US policy in the region.

They are also a manifestation of the weakness of the UN and its domination by the US. With official channels of diplomacy seriously twisted, civil society activists from 34 countries, including Occupied Palestine and Israel, gathered at a conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia to determine how civil society could contribute to the quest for a just solution to decades of Israeli - Palestinian conflict.

TNI was represented by Achin Vanaik, and Walden Bello and Phyllis Bennis gave keynote speeches.

Is a just peace possible in Palestine?
By Achin Vanaik

Vanaik sees a just two-state solution as more feasible at this moment, with a new kind of Palestinian leadership that pursues an essentially non-violent strategy, both opposed to Israeli occupation and rejecting any Bantustan- type 'solution'. He calls for more effective solidarity networks with the Palestinians, and sees the political defeat of the US in Iraq and of pro-US regimes in the region as a necessity.

The Significance of the Israeli-Palestine Conflict to Contemporary Global Politics
An outline of speech by Phyllis Bennis.
A more extensive article is on the way.

The US-Palestine question and the global conjuncture
By Walden Bello
In his address to the conference, Bello pointed to the two reasons for continuous violence in the Middle East: The US' aim to secure strategic resources in the region, and its generous support for Israel, both of which are utterly provocative to Arabs. Bello sees hope in global civil society's unprecedented and increasing commitment to the Palestinian cause.

Resolution: The Putrajaya action plan

The Peace in Palestine Conference's website


Corte en cualquier momento: Efectos de la privatización de la energía en el Caribe Colombiano
(The Impacts of Power Privatisation in the Caribbean Region of Colombia) Martha Rincón, CENSAT Agua Viva TNI Briefing Series No. 10, December 2005

The model of market liberalisation of public services has generated serious social crisis, as the recent experiences in Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Argentina and Brazil demonstrate. The episode is being repeated today in Colombia. In the Carribean region of the country, the Spanish company Union Fenosa acquired the energy sector at the end on the '90s. This is now the most tangible case of damage to the local inhabitants through the privatisation of public services. The research for this report was compiled through interviews with affected communities, visits to power plants, and following press reports.

The publication is not yet online, but can be ordered from

PINOCHET WATCH NO. 59 In this issue:
* US appeal court upholds verdict against Chilean military officer
* In search of the spring--the journey for justice in the murder of my brother Winston: by Zita Cabello-Barrueto, Ph.d.
* "The Pinochet Effect" and the future of universal jurisdiction: USIP Book Event with Naomi Roht-Arriaza, 31 Mar 2005
See also the International meeting: "Impunity as an obstacle in the processes of democratic construction: the efficiency of transnational justice (the experiences of Latin America and Spain)" Barcelona, 19th, 20th and 21st April 2005
INDIA-PAKISTAN RELATIONS From threat to opportunity
By Praful Bidwai
Just as India and Pakistan get ready to implement their single biggest confidence-building measure by launching the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service, militants have threatened to turn the bus into a "coffin", and published the list of travelers.
Instead of accusing each other for leaking the list, the two governments should convert the threat into an opportunity for collaborative action between themselves, which can take their dialogue process forward, writes Bidwai

Marching to Peace
By Praful Bidwai
New citizens' initiatives are afoot, which could significantly boost the India- Pakistan peace process, writes Bidwai. The proposed Delhi-Multan peace march is an excellent idea and the Indian government must show exemplary broad-mindedness by not dragging its feet over visas.

Last Refuge of the Scoundrel
By Praful Bidwai

The US denial of a visa to Narendra Modi has caused a great outpouring of crude nationalistic anger in India. In reality, the visa denial should be welcomed as Modi is rightly held responsible by some secularists for India's worst state-sponsored pogrom of a religious minority - the Gujarat massacre.

"Sovereignty cannot be a justification for butchering people", writes Bidwai, "patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel".

Sleepwalking towards danger
By Praful Bidwai
Weapons that Pakistan is about to buy from the US will only increase the instability of the sub-continent, writes Bidwai. He identifies the only beneficiary of the deal as Lockheed Martin, resembling a global merchant of death thriving on the insecurities of states thousands of miles away.


Kyoto Protocol: too little, too bad
By Achin Vanaik

Drawing on the article by Heidi Bachram (Climate Fraud and Carbon Colonialism), Vanaik sketches the negative aspects of the Kyoto Protocol, particularly the commodification of pollution through "emissions trading", allowing heavy polluting countries to buy pollution credits from developing nations, or alternatively, acquiring credits by planting trees, thus encouraging highly damaging monocultural plantations.

Learning Lessons from the Taliban Opium Ban
By Martin Jelsma

International pressure on Afghanistan's newly elected Karzai government is mounting by the day to enforce its opium ban for the 2005 harvest season. At the same time, the Wa authorities in Northern Shan State in Burma/Myanmar have announced an opium ban will be enforced from July 2005.

These two events could spark a humanitarian catastrophe, warns Jelsma. He analyses the 2000/2001 Taliban opium ban in Afghanistan that caused a humanitarian crisis, the consequences of which are still felt today, and draws lessons that warn of probable disastrous consequences as a result of the two opium bans.

Riding the Revolution Tiger
By Boris Kagarlitsky
Russia and Washington have different approaches to the revolutions in the former Soviet states. Washington cleverly supports the new emerging leaders as long as that means regime change will not result in a change of course, while Moscow tries to maintain the status quo with an opposite strategy. It opposes any and all transformations and backs existing regimes at all costs. Nations could come to an agreement on their own without Bush or Putin, giving the process of integrating the former Soviet bloc a fresh start, he argues.

Love for the unborn and brain dead; contempt for the rest of us
By Saul Landau
Following the legal and media battle over the case of Terri Schiavo, Landau warns of enormous media power that right-wing Christians have amassed and which have become vital to the electoral success of Republicans.
Transnational Institute Paulus Potterstraat 20 1071 DA Amsterdam
The Netherlands Tel: +31 20 662 6608 fax: +31 20 675 7176 Tni-news mailing list

No comments: