Why Is the U.S. Government Dictatorial Towards Dissenters … But Welcoming Ebola Carriers With Open Arms?

Will Obama be the Commander-In-Chief Who Lets Ebola Infect America?

3 Supreme Court justices, 2 top level NSA executives, numerous Democratic and Republican Congress members and other top American officials have said that we’re basically in a police state

Obama has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other presidents combined.  Indeed, the Obama administration is literally treating whistleblowers as terrorists. Dissent is also treated as terrorism, and the massive spy apparatus is focused on crushing dissent.  Even trying to protect oneself from spying is treated as  extremism. And investigative journalism has been criminalized by the Obama administration.

And yet the government is allowing people from Ebola-infected countries like Liberia visit America … even after a Liberian brought Ebola to Dallas.

Why don’t we enforce a travel ban … just until the African epidemic ends?

In July, Congressman Alan Grayson called for a travel ban from Liberia and other hot zone countries, to be lifted 90 days after the last case of Ebola is reported.

Scores of African nations have enacted Ebola travel restrictions.

Kit Daniels notes:

In mid-August, Korean Air and Kenya Airways announced they were halting flights to the West African countries ravaged by Ebola, and British Airways and Air France also decided to suspend service to the Ebola hot zone a few weeks later.

“France is recommending that its citizens leave Sierra Leone and Liberia, two of the countries hardest hit by the worst ever outbreak of the disease,” Jessica Plautz reported for Mashable. “The government said the increasing spread of the disease prompted its request that the airline to suspend flights.”

Yet the Obama administration made no such request to U.S. airlines and government flights

Indeed, there’s not only open travel for people from hot zone countries, but there are limited screening procedures at airports, and doctors aren’t screening very vigorously either.

While the Centers for Diseases Control are talking as if they are confident, the reality is different:

  • As Dr. Sanjay Gupta notes, there have been lapses in safety at the Centers for Disease Control and U.S. hospitals in treating infectious diseases

American government officials are acting arrogantly – and may be putting us all at risk – in the same way that:

  • U.S. economic officials thought that the U.S. had the world’s strongest financial system – and that they had figured out how to permanently stabilize the economy in a prosperous utopia  – but their models were completely flawed, and built upon wildly erroneous assumptions
  • The Japanese had the reputation as being the world’s most technologically sophisticated and conscientious country … but their arrogance and attempt to underplay the dangers of nuclear power caused them to take incredibly risky actions which let Fukushima melt down

The government is much more focused on bombing yet more Arabs in yet more wars than stopping a pandemic which could turn into the modern equivalent of the Great Plague.

But stupid government policy is more dangerous than terrorism.

Postscript:  Here’s the contrary and mainstream view.

Posted in General, Politics / World News | 2 Comments

Human failure to recognize, retain, and unleash real leadership: essential topic for the 99.99%’s victory

Between right now and victory over a psychopathically evil .01%, a critical mass of human beings must accomplish two tasks:

  1. Recognize this evil clearly.
  2. Recognize real leadership.

Among ~100 areas of crucial concern, perhaps the easiest-to-prove “Big Lie” crimes of the .01% are:

  • Unlawful Wars of Aggression based on lies known to be false as they are told (here, here, here, here),
  • Bankster-looting economics (here, here, here, here),
  • Lying sacks of spin corporate media that attempt to “cover” the crimes from public recognition.

The terms evil and psychopath are academically accurate given the easily documented and proved crimes in just the above three areas that annually kill millions, harm billions, and loot trillions.

To be clear, the .01% choose death, looting, and lies while a million children die from easily preventable poverty, and economic solutions could easily end public debt, provide full-employment, and ongoingly create the best infrastructure we can imagine.

So how do we recognize, retain, and unleash real leadership for all Earth’s inhabitants to realize the brighter future we all sense?

Recognizing real leadership:

  1. Real leaders have intellectual integrity and moral courage to speak simple facts about OBVIOUS .01% crimes centering in war and money. This is vital to do now to conclude humanity’s Emperor’s New Clothes condition of enduring the worst crimes a nation can commit. This includes actions to end soul-crushing, gruesome deaths of human beings from poverty on this beautiful planet of abundance, truth about .01% state crimes such as the US government’s assassination of Dr. Martin King, Jr. and literally ~100 other areas of vital concern.
  2. Real leaders have solutions to obvious problems (here, here, here, for examples).
  3. Real leaders uphold ideals within the US Declaration of Independence of unalienable rights.

Retaining real leadership:

  1. Real leaders work until the .01% criminals are arrested (lawfully stopped) from continuing OBVIOUS crimes centering in war and money.
  2. Real leaders work until solutions are realized for all Earth’s beings to have lives of opportunity.

Unleashing real leadership:

1. Once the .01%’s crimes are over, and solutions are in action, real leaders create a safe playground of genuine exploration and discovery of the human spirit. This is living as free beings for the first time (here, here) from the evil .01%’s fear, war-murders, looting, and lying.

Having such conditions on Earth is why you are here, I respectfully suggest for your consideration. 

Realizing such leadership is also why you are here. Of course, you are welcome to embrace the ways of the evil .01% if you prefer, or argue against the vision of leadership I point toward, if that is your informed choice.

There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

Julius Caesar Act 4, scene 3, 218–224

 

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Why Obama Lost His War in Ukraine

Eric Zuesse

When President Obama took control of Ukraine in February 2014, via a coup d’etat against the democratically elected President, rather than by an outright invasion of U.S. troops, the new Government that he imposed in Kiev was democratically very vulnerable. The man whom Obama overthrew had been elected by overwhelming margins in Crimea, Luhansk and Donetsk regions in Ukraine’s southeast and by high margins elsewhere in the country’s southeast; those southeastern voters needed to be gotten rid of (exterminated &/or expelled from Ukraine) in order to make the new, pro-U.S. Ukrainian regime (which was supported only by the voters in Ukraine’s northeast), stick, if Ukraine was ever to be restored to democracy while being anti-Russian such as the the new rulers were, whom Obama had installed.

But Crimea immediately broke away from that new Government, Russian troops came into Crimea to protect them against military action that was planned by the U.S. to stop that breakaway, and Crimeans then immediately held a plebiscite in March which overwhelmingly supported reuniting Crimea with Russia — Crimea had never voluntarily  left Russia: the USSR’s leader Khrushchev had donated  Russia’s Crimean region to Ukraine in 1954, and Crimeans were always overwhelmingly opposed to that change.

Then, elsewhere in Ukraine’s southeast, locals took over government buildings and refused to accept the new coup-imposed, anti-Russian Ukrainian Government. Obama and his newly appointed leaders of Ukraine didn’t like that, and were determined to stop the rebellion. They commenced an ethnic-cleansing campaign to eliminate the voters in the southeast (except in Crimea, which was now being defended by Russian troops, so Obama wouldn’t support his coup-regime’s intent to extend the ethnic cleansing immediately into Crimea and even to destroy Russia; Obama viewed that intent as being premature; his ethnic-cleansing program would be only in other parts of the southeast).

No one can understand Obama’s defeat in Ukraine who does not know that he imposed upon Ukraine a Government that was committed to an ethnic-cleansing campaign to get rid of the people in the regions that had voted for the man whom Obama overthrew. That’s basic to know, in order to have any possibility to understand why Obama lost this war that he started with his February coup. In fact, the man whom the Obama-team chose to design the ethnic-cleansing program announced in June that there were going to be concentration-camps for everyone in the southeast who supported the breakaway-movement.

The official U.S. line was that the people in the southeast were ‘terrorists’ who were bombing their own people and causing their own problems; or, as Christia Freeland said in The New York Times, “This is not a civil war.” The U.S. regime always staunchly backed what the new Ukrainian Government was doing in the southeast, specifically the ethnic-cleansing campaign. One reason this line, that the southeasterners were bombing their own people (the southeasterners), was false (besides it’s being simply ridiculous) is that the civil war did not even start until May 2nd, when there was a massacre of peaceful opponents of the new Obama-imposed Government, carried out by supporters of the new government who were bussed into Odessa from Kiev in the northwest for that occasion, which massacre occurred at the Odessa Trade Unions Building. This massacre was co-masterminded and was funded by Ihor Kolomoyskyi, a Ukrainian billionaire who hired Joe Biden’s son and won a local governorship from Obama’s team.

The U.S. State Department opened a daily press conference on July 29th by asserting that the U.S. and EU are “united in their determination to respond to intensified Russian aggression.” The audience of ‘journalists’ (the usual group of stenographers of U.S. officialdom) asked this U.S. Government spokesperson questions designed to get her to pour yet more calumny against America’s victims in Ukraine (especially against the people who were being bombed there), and she said, “Of course, we support de-escalation. But for the most part, the vast majority of escalation has been from the Russian side … and the Russian separatists [the official Western term for the people we're bombing].” She alleged that it is they, and not the Ukrainian Government (which was bombing those ‘separatists’ villages), that’s doing the “escalation,” in the Ukrainian civil war that the U.S. had started, and then was funding our nazi regime there to perpetrate against those Ukrainian villagers; that is, against the very people whom she was charging to be the source of the problem.

We’ve got to clear the land in Ukraine’s southeast, so as to enable our oil companies to frack Ukraine’s gas. Except that ‘we’ don’t own those fracking companies; the biggest one is owned by oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi, whose U.S. agent is Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and who also hired someone from John Kerry’s clique. There are also many other benefits to the American aristocracy that would have resulted if Obama had won Ukraine, but most of those benefits will be lost if the gas fields in Ukraine’s southeast are no longer assets that can be sold off (“privatized”) to Western oil companies dirt-cheap by the Ukrainian Government desperate to repay the nearly $30 billion that the U.S., EU, and IMF lent to that Government to finance their ethnic-cleansing program, which is basic to that privatization. If those loans don’t work out, Western taxpayers will be forced to repay those lenders to Ukraine, as Western citizens pay taxes.

However, our Ukrainian Government ultimately did fail to get rid of enough Ukrainians. As the IMF’s Christine Lagarde had warned on May 1st (right before the massacre in Odessa that began the ethnic cleansing so as to eliminate the undesired voters from Ukraine’s southeast), a “loss of economic control over the east [loss of that fracking-income] that reduces [Ukrainian] budget revenue would require a significant recalibration of the [loan] program; and [end] additional financing, including from Ukraine’s bilateral partners,” the U.S. and EU.

As things turned out, those “bilateral partners” have, by now, already lent Ukraine all that they can or will, and the job was way short of being finished. The best that was in prospect for any continuation of it was a long-drawn-out guerilla war, for which the West had neither the money, nor the will.

So: our side’s “loss of economic control over the east” means that Obama has, in effect, lost his Ukrainian war, and that the West’s taxpayers and recipients of government services will be forced to reimburse the IMF (via increased taxes and reduced services) for losses on the more-than-$30-billion loans to Ukraine. The IMF acted as middleman for the West’s aristocrats (as it always does), protecting them from losses on their international investments, so IMF member-governments (taxpayers and service-recipients) absorb any aristocrat’s losses. Of course, on aristocrats’ winning bets, they get to keep all gains. Meanwhile, the public (those taxpayers and benefit-recipients) in any country that borrows from the IMF get voraciously stripped, as the citizens in Ukraine will increasingly recognize. But Obama’s Ukraine-deal was a bummer for just about everybody, except weapons-makers.

Poor Barack Obama — he’ll need to wait till he’s out of office before the billions start rolling his way (like they’re already starting to roll for his friend and former subordinate Timothy Geithner).

The reason Obama lost is that the residents in Ukraine’s southeast would rather fight to the death than yield to our nazis. Unlike the Jews in Nazi Germany, the ethnic Russians who live in Ukraine have their own guns, and also have the ones from Ukrainian troops they kill, and get some weapons also from Russia next door. But, above all, they’re willing to fight to the death, which only a few dedicated nazis on our side are.

There just aren’t enough dedicated nazis (i.e., not enough dedicated racist fascists), in any and all countries, for ‘our side’ to win there. Not enough anti-Russian racist fascists exist, for that victory to be able to happen. And, by the end of June, Obama finally recognized that: he threw in the towel. Of course, he wouldn’t directly stop his stooges from slaughtering people, but, from July 1st on, he had no further appetite to increase U.S. Government debt to support that slaughter. The Obama-supporting Kyiv Post  had headlined back on May 26th (the very day after the election — but only in Ukraine’s northwest — of Petro Poroshenko, as Ukraine’s President), “Poroshenko Pledges to Step Up Anti-Terrorism Operation, Bring Success within ‘Hours,’ Not Months.” But, now, already more than a month had gone by, and yet Poroshenko-Kolomoisky-Obama-Yatsenyuk not only didn’t experience “success” within “days,” but they were beyond Poroshenko’s promised limit, “Not Months,” and yet they still were actually losing their war.

So, Obama lost this war. He quit it. And that’s why  Obama lost.

Put simply, he wasn’t able to exterminate enough of the ‘enemy’. His extermination-program ran out of money, long before the people who live there ran out of their will to fight against it.

Of course, the main people who pay the price for this are the ones whose lives Obama’s team snuffed out, and who were crippled by it, and whose homes were destroyed by it. Western taxpayers and beneficiaries of government services won’t suffer nearly that much. And the West’s aristocrats are doing everything they can to weaken Russia’s economy, in order to win the bigger renewed Cold War, which Obama’s coup in Ukraine restarted. The owners of U.S. armaments-firms are especially booming as a result of Obama’s Ukraine-gambit.

Russia, for its part, is doing all it can to respond to Obama’s challenge of a renewed Cold War. They’re trying to turn into Russian lemonade, the pile of lemons that Obama has left them.

In a sense, then (and highly simplified): World War II created American dominance; the Vietnam War wasted American dominance; and the G.W. Bush-Obama wars might turn out to have ended American dominance. It’s especially worth noting, in this context, that whereas WWII was fought against nazis, Obama’s Ukrainian war installed nazis. America thus might have come full-circle with Ukraine, and become what in WWII had been our nemesis.

But Obama, fortunately, isn’t going all-out, like Hitler did. Obama quickly backed off. But then, he started bombing Iraq and Syria. Things aren’t looking good.

Obama, in his actions not his words, continues the George W. Bush tradition.

———-

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

 

 

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Most Prestigious Financial Agencies Say Global Economy Is In Real Trouble

Bad Government Policy Has Made It Likely We’ll Have a New Financial Crisis

The head of the world’s most prestigious financial body, the “Central Banks’ Central Bank” – The Bank for International Settlements – said recently the global financial system is currently “more fragile” in many ways than it was just prior to the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and that debt ratios are now far higher.

The World Bank, the highly-regarded Organization for Economic Co-operation (OECD) and Development and the International Labor Organization jointly warned that “there is a global jobs crisis“, and that the weak labor market performance is also threatening economic recovery because it is constraining both consumption and investment, since “Jobs are a foundation for economic recovery.”

And the recent edition of the Geneva report – “an annual assessment informed by a top drawer conference of leading decision makers and economic thinkers” – finds that the “poisonous combination” of spiraling debts and low growth could trigger another crisis. The report also notes:

Contrary to widely held beliefs, the world has not yet begun to de-lever and the global debt to GDP ratio is still growing, breaking new highs.

And as the Telegraph puts it:

On a global level, growth is being steadily drowned under a rising tide of debt, threatening renewed financial crisis, a continued squeeze to living standards, and eventual mass default.

(A number of billionaires also believe a crash is imminent.)

This is not surprising …

The Bank for International Settlements has been warning for years that the U.S. and other Western countries have been using all of the wrong approaches to fix the economy.

Instead of helping to reduce unemployment, bad government policy has made it much worse. And see here and here.

Excessive leverage was one of the main causes of the 2007-2008 crisis … and yet governments responded by encouraging more leverage.

And bad government policy has driven the entire world into debt.

Indeed – instead of fixing any of the real problems which led to the 2007 crisis – governments on both sides of the Atlantic have simply tried to paper over them.   It’s pretty clear how this movie is going to end …

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Empires Inflame Religious Extremism through their Own, Worse Extremism

Throughout history, as the various empires use overpowering ultra-violence to achieve domination over and profit from smaller, weaker groups, the empires have driven their victims deeper and deeper into their own extremism, as the victims try to maintain motivation for their usually hopeless resistance efforts.

Essayist Dan Sanchez here uses history to help us take a much-needed look in the mirror as we continue to look down our noses at smaller groups (that haven’t done a fraction of what we’ve done) and say they’re worse and we’re better (though, conveniently, we’re also better than every other group, too, in our fantasy world).

He gives the examples of the “Jewish Intifadas against the Greeks and Romans”, documenting how Jews were driven deeper and deeper into religious fundamentalism and extremism as they tried to resist the disgusting onslaughts of the Greek and Roman empires.

Sanchez also invites us to “imagine how Americans would respond if another country ever did to America what the U.S. government does to Muslim countries on a routine basis.”

The obvious response from US citizens “would be an armed insurgency” that would be “deeply Christian in character, and the more desperate the struggle became, the more dominant would be its religious aspects, and especially its most radically religious aspects.”

This is because resisting the overwhelming numbers and force of an empire, like ours, requires “the trans-mundane motivations and existential consolations that only religion can offer”.

Some of the resistance, he points out, “may come to match and even surpass the evils of [the] dominators, as ISIS and Al Qaeda may be said to have done”.

However, he reminds us, “the U.S. empire is still more murderous and evil than even these Islamist butchers, who are simply more forthright and less hypocritical about their crimes.”

Sanchez’s article also contains a powerful video by Ron Paul that puts US citizens in the place of the people in the countries the US continually invades, terrorizes, and destroys.

See the must-read Sanchez piece here.

Further, we should explore the religious fundamentalist/extremist elements of our own Western/US culture.

If we can achieve an objective perspective on ourselves, we might begin to notice the Christian fundamentalist/supremacist rhetoric and themes spouted by every president from Garfield on (all of whom were Christian of some denomination).  The rhetoric blends the Christian god and “America” together as supreme, ultimate entities that have a god-given right to inflict their wrath upon the world, which they do mercilessly, such as by knowingly smiting hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children under the age of five.

Western/US culture has peddled the god-given state supremacy theme at all times throughout its history, regardless of what atrocities it was committing, from fascist slavery to wars of extermination and acts of genocide.

God-given rights are never revoked.  God never seems to say “America should chill out, now”, “America should reduce its size by giving back its stolen lands”, or “America has a god-given obligation to reduce its military budget.”  It’s also very convenient that it is always us who are the supreme beings.  God never says anything like, “I am now changing the supreme country from America to Russia.”  Unless you ask Russia.

Obama constantly invokes his Christian god: “God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.”

It’s an amazingly odd thing to say, yet every president says it, so we don’t think about it.  Why wouldn’t you ask god to bless the whole world?  Are we to believe there are devil countries not deserving of god’s blessing?  Why are you talking about “god” at all?  Why are you implying that it has some relation to your position as the spokes-head of a corporate-dominated gang?

Of course, all Obama is doing is conflating god and “America” to increase tribal support for US corporate domination expansion through gang violence, and foster ignorance or celebration of the USA’s grave crimes.

But who knows.  Obama may be partially motivated by old books written by primitive people, as apparently was Bush as he started genocidal wars against the Middle East:

As Bush tried (and failed) to get French president Jacques Chirac on board for an act of mass murder against Iraq, Bush told Chirac:

This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.

Bush’s chilling statement was a reference to this ominous Bible passage:

And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle … and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

Apparently,  Bush Sr.’s nickname in college was “Magog”.  Scary.

Impressively, all Christian-motivated US leaders are able to maintain 100% avoidance of Jesus Christ and the Bible’s teachings about hypocrisy.  (Here are 100 examples of what the Bible says about hypocrisy.)

So, in the USA’s illegal invasion of Iraq we have an act of religious extremism (the worst crime of the century so far) that has killed about 1.4 million people.

But self-flattery knows no bounds: our deadly, convenient, unexceptional belief in our own supremacy is as easily maintained as when we were an openly fascist slave-state “felling trees and Indians“.

Robert Barsocchini is an investigative journalist focusing on global force dynamics.  He also writes professionally for the film industry.  Here is his blog.  Also see his free e-book, Whatever it Takes – Hillary Clinton’s Record of Support for War and other Depravities.  Click here to follow Robert and his UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.

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.01% scream, ‘More war!’ as a million children die from poverty every month; are you demanding arrests NOW?

The US has started 201 foreign armed attacks since WW2, causing the world’s peoples to conclude in polling that the US is indeed #1 as the most threatening nation to world peace. These US-started armed attacks have killed ~30 million and counting; 90% of these deaths are innocent children, the elderly and ordinary working civilian women and men. These US armed attacks have war-murdered more than Hitler’s Nazis.

Importantly, US official reports now confirm all “reasons” for war the US .01% claimed were known to be false as they were told.

More importantly, these lie-started US wars are not even close to lawful (here, here, here, here), and continue a long history of lie-began US Wars of Aggression. The most decorated US Marine general in his day warned all Americans of this fact of lie-started wars for 1% plunder, and W. Bush’s Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff, Karl Rove, chided Pulitzer-winning journalist, Ron Suskind, that government will continue with such actions to “create our own reality” no matter what anyone else might say.

As we all observe, the US/UK/Israel .01% continuously scream for even more war in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Gaza, Ukraine, Russia, wherever ISIS or Khorasans might be, and wherever else. All of these armed attacks are OBVIOUSLY Emperor’s New Clothes-unlawful from the two treaties won by all our families’ sacrifices from two world wars. These war-murders are supported by other former imperial-power-crazed governments and the agency they created after their last world war: the UN.

US rhetoric of being “heartbroken” for 276 African girls, or caring for 426 dead Syrian children are psychopathic pretense because the US reneges on every promise to end poverty that would save one million children from gruesomely slow and painful deaths every month (20,000 – 30,000 daily). I witnessed both parties’ “leaderships” only and always lie and dishonor their promises to end poverty as a lobbyist with RESULTS over two World Summits with heads of state.

Since 9/11, US reneged promises to end poverty have killed over 100 million children, twice the number of children enrolled in pre-kindergarten to 12th grade in the US.

Since the .01%’s reneged promises from just 1998, the total deaths from preventable poverty is conservatively greater than from all wars, revolutions, murders, accidents, and suicides in the 20th and 21st centuries.*

Since the 1990 World Summit for Children where the promise to end poverty was (again) sincerely pledged, total deaths from poverty eclipse all the above categories of death in all known human history.

Consensus among leading organizations is that ending poverty would require an investment from developed nations of just 0.7% of their GNI (gross national income), with a total 10-year cost of between $1 trillion and $3 trillion. Current US wars since 9/11 have a long-term cost now between $4 trillion and $6 trillion. This means that the US alone could have ended global poverty just since 9/11 for half the cost for their wars (also for perspective, 11 days of ongoing war cost would pay all tuition for US public college students).

In addition, the .01% hide $21 trillion to $32 trillion in offshore tax havens, with the top seven US banks hiding over $10 trillion.

The leverage point to remove the .01% is for those of us among the 99.99% with arrest authority to exercise it for ongoing War Crimes and murders of US soldiers who were lied-into criminal wars. Those of us with Oaths to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic” are honor-bound to expose and end these Orwellian crimes.

We invite all interested to demand arrests as lawful response to restore those explicit limits to government power, stop the War Crimes, and prevent further war-murders.

You can all commit your voice, heart, and mind, yes?

*Assuming 15 years of poverty deaths totaling 225 million and 23 years at 400 million (poverty deaths have decreased over the past 20 years) compared to the estimates of 160 million war deaths from Scaruffi, P., Wars and Casualties of the 20th and 21st Centuries, and 230 million from Leitenberg, M, Deaths in Wars and Conflicts in the 20th Century, (along with the relatively smaller numbers for murders, accidents, and suicides). Total global deaths in recorded history is probably a safe estimate given a global population of ~1.6 billion in 1900. My assignment for high school students on ending poverty with all of the documentation: The Economics of Ending PovertyDespite the investment to save a million children’s lives each month from preventable poverty being just 0.7% of our gross national income, despite that every historical case of ending poverty reduces population growth rates, and despite US promises to make that investment at global summits, the 1% “leadership” in government and corporate media renege and ignore all promises to end this crushing torture, these excruciating and prolonged deaths of children.

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USA Illegally Shuts Off Water to Own People while Illegally Spending 1 Trillion on Nuclear Bombs

Monday, a US federal judge ruled that water will continue to be cut off to disadvantaged residents of Detroit, Michigan.  Water has been cut off to “50,000 low-income households since January 2013 and continues at the pace of 400 households a day.”

Shutoffs will continue, the judge said, because there is no such thing as a “fundamental right” to water.

He added that access to water is “based on ability to pay.”

The rulings from the US federal representative are violations of international human rights law.

On July 18, 2014, Amnesty International, the world’s largest and most respected human rights organization, stated:

Detroit: Access to Essential Water is a Human Right

The disconnection of water service to households which are struggling in Detroit’s current economy and cannot pay their water bill is a violation of the right to water.

It is imperative that the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department restore service of water to any occupied home or residence…

According to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Leilani Farha, the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, and the Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque, “Disconnection of water services because of failure to pay due to lack of means constitutes a violation of the human right to water and other international human rights.”

...impoverished families [are having] their water shut off … even as sports arenas, a golf course and half the city’s commercial users – all also behind on payments to the tune of $30 million—have reportedly not received notices

The rights to water and sanitation require that they be available, accessible, safe, acceptable and affordable for all without discrimination.  According to international human rights law, it is the State’s obligation to provide urgent measures, including financial assistance, to ensure access to essential water and sanitation.  States are required to ensure everyone’s access to a sufficient amount of safe drinking water for personal and domestic uses, defined as water for drinking, personal sanitation, washing of clothes, food preparation, and personal and household hygiene.

Also condemning the criminal US federal assertion that access to water is based on the ability to pay, the 2014 UN Development Report asserted that “access to certain basic elements of a dignified life ought to be delinked from people’s ability to pay. … The state has the primary responsibility to extend social services to the entire population, in a basic social contract between citizens and state”, and called for “universal access to basic social services“.

As the USA cuts off water to its own poor people and keeps water flowing to rich residents who are also behind on payments (not to mention almost completely subsidizes and bails out corporate billionaires who fail in the free market through criminality and recklessness), the USA is illegally (and frighteningly) devoting massive amounts of tax dollars to its global violence and domination expansion enterprises.

Thousands of examples can be cited.  Here are two (and see here for more):

1) The USA is currently illegally committing 1 to 1.5 trillion dollars (the most of any regime ever) to nuclear bomb development, in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which requires immediate disarmament.

The US is the world’s biggest stockpiler of WMD and biggest violator of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty (more info here).

2) The USA is also committing hundreds of millions (most likely billions) of dollars to try to overthrow Syria using both proxy and US forces, in violation of international law and the UN charter, in part of a terrorism campaign the US has ceaselessly waged against Syria since 1948.

Declaration on Principles of International Law, concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States (October 24, 1970)

No State shall organize, assist, foment, finance, incite or tolerate subversive, terrorist or armed activities directed towards the violent overthrow of the regime of another State, or interfere in civil strife in another State.

Article 2, UN Charter:

All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.

Finally, here are examples of the USA’s globally isolated stance of shameless rejection of nourishment as a human right:

  • A 1981 UN General Assembly resolution declaring that education, work, health care, proper nourishment, national development, etc are human rights went 135 to 1, the USA casting the isolated “NO” vote.
  • A 1982 UN General Assembly resolution declaring that education, work, health care, proper nourishment, national development, etc are human rights went 131 to 1, the USA casting the isolated “NO” vote.
  • A 1983 UN General Assembly resolution declaring that education, work, health care, proper nourishment, national development, etc are human rights went 132 to 1, the USA casting the isolated “NO” vote.
  • Under the Clinton administration, in 1996, a United Nations-sponsored World Food Summit affirmed the “right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food”. The United States took issue with this, insisting that it does not recognize a “right to food”. (William Blum)
  • A 2007 UN General Assembly vote affirming the human right to food went 186 to 1, the USA casting the isolated “NO” vote.
  • A 2008 UN General Assembly vote affirming the human right to food went 184 to 1, the USA casting the isolated “NO” vote.

Once Obama assumed power, the UN stopped voting on right-to-food resolutions, saving the Nobel “Peace” winner the embarrassment of having to reject them.  However, with the Obama regime in power, the UN has voted on the right to water:

  • A 2010 UN General Assembly vote affirming the human right to water went 122 to 0, with the USA abstaining.

Obama’s global isolationism and democracy shunning also includes dozens of resolutions condemning Israeli/US war crimes, ethnic cleansing, extermination and annexation operations against the Palestinians, such as:

  • A 2011 UN Security Council (15 members) resolution calling for a halt to the illegal expansion of Israeli settlements in the illegally Israeli-Occupied West Bank of Palestine.  The vote went 14 to 1, Obama the sole “NO” vote.

Robert Barsocchini is an investigative journalist focusing on global force dynamics.  He also writes professionally for the film industry.  Here is his blog.  Also see his free e-book, Whatever it Takes – Hillary Clinton’s Record of Support for War and other Depravities.  Click here to follow Robert and his UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.

Posted in General | 17 Comments

Imagine There’re No Countries

oneworld

A serious case has been made repeatedly by unknown scholars and globally celebrated geniuses for well over a century that a likely step toward abolishing war would be instituting some form of global government. Yet the peace movement barely mentions the idea, and its advocates as often as not appear rather naive about Western imperialism; certainly they are not central to or well integrated into the peace movement or even, as far as I can tell, into peace studies academia. (Here’s a link to one of the main advocacy groups for world government promoting a U.S. war on ISIS.)

All too often the case for world government is even made in this way: Global government would guarantee peace, while its absence guarantees war. The silliness of such assertions, I suspect, damages what may be an absolutely critical cause. Nobody knows what global government guarantees, because it’s never been tried. And if national and local governments and every other large human institution are any guide, global government could bring a million different things depending on how it’s done. The serious question should be whether there’s a way to do it that would make peace more likely, without serious risk of backfiring, and whether pursuing such a course is a more likely path to peace than others.

Does the absence of world government guarantee war? I haven’t seen any proof. Of 200 nations, 199 invest far less in war than the United States. Some have eliminated their militaries entirely. Costa Rica is not attacked because it lacks a military. The United States is attacked because of what its military does. Some nations go centuries without war, while others seemingly can’t go more than half an election cycle.  In their book One World Democracy, Jerry Tetalman and Byron Belitsos write that nations do not go to war because they are armed or inclined toward violence but because “they are hopelessly frustrated by the fact that they have no legislative or judicial forum in which their grievances can be heard and adjudicated.”

Can you, dear reader, recall a time when the U.S. public had a grievance with a foreign country, lamented the absence of a global court to adjudicate it, and demanded that Congress declare and the Pentagon wage a war?  How many pro-war marches have you been on, you lover of justice? When the Taliban offered to let a third country put Bin Laden on trial, was it the U.S. public that replied, “No way, we want a war,” or was it the President? When the U.S. Vice President met with oil company executives to plan the occupation of Iraq, do you think any of them mentioned their frustration at the weakness of international law and arbitration? When the U.S. President in 2013 could not get Congress or the public to accept a new war on Syria and finally agreed to negotiate the removal of chemical weapons without war, why was war the first choice rather than the second? When advocates of world government claim that democracies don’t wage war, or heavily armed nations are not more likely to wage war, or nations with cultures that celebrate war are not more likely to wage war, I think they hurt their cause.

When you start up a campaign to abolish the institution of war, you hear from all kinds of people who have the solution for you. And almost all of them have great ideas, but almost all of them think every other idea but their own is useless. So the solution is world government and nothing else, or a culture of peace and nothing else, or disarmament and nothing else, or ending racism and nothing else, or destroying capitalism and nothing else, or counter-recruitment and nothing else, or media reform and nothing else, or election campaign funding reform and nothing else, or creating peace in our hearts and radiating it outward and nothing else, etc. So those of us who find value in all of the above, have to encourage people to pick their favorite and get busy on it. But we also have to try to prioritize. So, again, the serious question is whether world government should be pursued and whether it should be a top priority or something that waits at the bottom of the list.

There are, of course, serious arguments that world government would make everything worse, that large government is inevitably dysfunctional and an absolutely large government would be dysfunctional absolutely.  Serious, if vague, arguments have been made in favor of making our goal “anarcracy” rather than world democracy. These arguments are overwhelmed in volume by paranoid pronouncements like the ones in this typical email I received:

“War is a crime, yes agreed totally, but Man-made Global Warming is a complete scam.  I know this to be a fact.  Aurelio Peccei, co-founder of the Club of Rome, offered me a job as one of his PAs (my uncle, Sir Harry, later Lord Pilkington went to the first ever Bilderberg Conference in 1954, a year before he came a Director of the Bank of England and was a loyal member of the global corporate elite) and he told me that this was all a scheme to help frighten the world into accepting global governance on their terms. Be very careful, you are unwittingly playing their game.
Best wishes
Justin”

One of the huge advantages of global government would seem to be that it might globally address global warming. Yet the horror of global government is so great that people believe the droughts and tornados destroying the earth all around them are somehow a secret plot to trick us into setting up a world government.

A half-century ago the idea of world government was acceptable and popular.  Now, when we hear about those days it’s often in sinister tones focused on the worst motivations of the worst players at the time. Less common are accounts reminding us of a hopeful, well-meant, but unfinished project.

I think advocates for a world federation and global rule of law are onto an important idea that ought to be pursued immediately. Global warming leaves us little time for taking on other projects, but this is a project critical to addressing that crisis. And it’s a project that I think can coexist with moving more power to provinces, localities, and individuals.

The bigger the Leviathan, claims Ian Morris, the less war there will be, as long as the Leviathan is the United States and it never stops waging wars. Advocates of world government tend to agree with the first part of that, and I think they’re partially right.  The rule of law helps to regulate behavior.  But so do other factors. I think Scotland could leave the UK or Catalonia leave Spain, Quebec leave Canada, Vermont leave the United States without the chance of war increasing. On the contrary, I think some of these new countries would be advocates for peace. Were Texas to secede, that might be a different story. That is to say, habits of peace and cultures of peace necessary to allow a world federation might render such a federation less necessary — still perhaps necessary, but less so. If the U.S. public demanded peace and cooperation and participation in the International Criminal Court, it would be ready to demand participation in a world federation, but peace might already have — at least in great measure — arrived.

Extreme national exceptionalism, which is not required by nationalism, is clearly a driver of war, hostility, and exploitation. President Obama recently said that he only wakes up in the morning because the United States is the one indispensible nation (don’t ask what that makes the others). The theme of his speech was the need to start another war. Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul was once booed at a primary debate, not for opposing war, but for suggesting that the golden rule be applied to relations with foreign countries. Clearly we need to become world citizens in our minds as well as in written law.

Rudolf Gelsey recently sent me his book, Mending Our Broken World: A Path to Perpetual Peace, which led me on to Tetalman and Belitsos’s book. I think these authors would benefit from the wisdom of the 1920s Outlawry movement, but I think they do an excellent job of recognizing the successes and failures of the United Nations, and proposing reforms or replacement.  Should we be scared of an international rule of law? Tetalman and Belitsos reply:

“In truth, living under a system of war and anarchy with WMDs readily available for use on the field of battle — that is the really frightening choice when it is compared with tyranny.”

This is the key, I think. Continuing with the war system and with environmental destruction threaten the world. Far better to try a world with a government than to lose the world. Far better a system that tries to punish individual war makers than one that bombs entire nations.

How do we get there? Tetalman and Belitsos recommend abolishing the veto at the United Nations, expanding Security Council membership, creating a tax base for a U.N. that currently receives about 0.5 percent what the world invests in war, and giving up war powers in favor of U.N. policing. They also propose kicking out of the United Nations any nations not holding free elections, or violating international laws. Clearly that would have to be a requirement going forward and not enforced retroactively or you’d lose too many big members and spoil the whole plan.

The authors envision some transition period in which the U.N. uses war to prevent war, before arriving at the golden age of using only police. I’m inclined to believe that imagined step would have to be leapt over for this to work. The U.S./NATO/U.N. have been using war to rid the world of war for three-quarters of a century with a dismal record of failure. I suspect the authors are also wrong to propose expansion of the European Union as one way to get to a global federation. The European Union is the second greatest purveyor of violence on earth right now. Perhaps the BRICS or other non-aligned nations could begin this process better, which after all is going to require the United States either rising or sinking to humility unimaginable today.

Perhaps a federation can be established only on the question of war, or only on the question of nuclear disarmament, or climate preservation. The trouble, of course, is that the willingness of the dominant bullies to engage in one is as unlikely as, and intimately connected to, each of the others. What would make all of this more likely would be if we began talking about it, thinking about it, planning for it, dreaming it, or even just hearing the words when we sing John Lennon songs. The U.S. peace movement is currently drenched in nationalism, uses “we” to mean the U.S. military, and thinks of “global citizen” as a bit of silly childishness. That needs to change. And fast.

Posted in General | 5 Comments

ISIS Has “More In Common With Mao’s Red Guards or the Khmer Rouge Than It Does With the Muslim Empires of Antiquity”

Top Muslim Leaders Worldwide Say ISIS Is Not Really Islamic

ABC News’ Laura Ingraham, Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Fox & Friends and other U.S. media commentators say that Muslims are silent and complicit in the barbarian crimes of ISIS. Fox News host Andrea Tantaros said that all Muslims are the same as ISIS, and implied that all Muslims should be met “with a bullet to the head”.

Why don’t we hear Muslims condemning the barbarian ISIS terrorists?

Turns out they are loudly condemning ISIS … but our press isn’t covering it.

Father Elias Mallon of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association explains:

“Why aren’t Muslims speaking out against these atrocities?” The answer is: Muslims have been speaking out in the strongest terms, condemning the crimes against humanity committed by ISIS (or, as it is increasingly called, IS) and others in the name of Islam.

Father Mallon is right …

Vatican Radio – an official Vatican news site – reports:

Two of the leading voices in the Muslim world denounced the persecution of Christians in Iraq, at the hands of extremists proclaiming a caliphate under the name Islamic State.

The most explicit condemnation came from Iyad Ameen Madani, the Secretary General for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the group representing 57 countries, and 1.4 billion Muslims.

In a statement, he officially denounced the “forced deportation under the threat of execution” of Christians, calling it a “crime that cannot be tolerated.” The Secretary General also distanced Islam from the actions of the militant group known as ISIS, saying they “have nothing to do with Islam and its principles that call for justice, kindness, fairness, freedom of faith and coexistence.”

Meanwhile, Turkey’s top cleric, the spiritual successor to the caliphate under the Ottoman Empire, also touched on the topic during a peace conference of Islamic scholars.

In a not-so-veiled swipe at ISIS, Mehmet Gormez declared that “an entity that lacks legal justification has no authority to declare war against a political gathering, any country or community.” He went on to say that Muslims should not be hostile towards “people with different views, values and beliefs, and regard them as enemies.”

***

Gormez said death threats against non-Muslims made by the group, formerly known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), were hugely damaging. “The statement made against Christians is truly awful. Islamic scholars need to focus on this (because) an inability to peacefully sustain other faiths and cultures heralds the collapse of a civilization,” he told Reuters in an interview.

120 top Muslim scholars – including top religious leaders from Nigeria, Bosnia and Egypt -  have written a letter condemning ISIS as unIslamic.

The Independent notes:

Muslim leaders in Britain have condemned the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), expressing their “grave concern” at continued violence in its name.

Representatives from both the Sunni and Shia groups in the UK met at the Palace of Westminster and relayed their message that the militant group does not represent the majority of Muslims.

***

Shuja Shafi, of the Muslim Council of Great Britain, said: “Violence has no place in religion, violence has no religion.

100 Sunni and Shiite religious leaders from the U.K. produced a video denouncing the Islamic State, saying they wanted to “come together to emphasise the importance of unity in the UK and to decree ISIS as an illegitimate, vicious group who do not represent Islam in any way.”

Breitbart notes:

Two prominent Muslim leaders are urging Muslim men not to join the radical jihadists.

“The public have to be critical. This is not about [establishing] a Caliphate [Islamic State]; but [a group] working for its own cause and gains from a sectarian issue,” said Nahdlatul Ulama executive council chair, Slamet Effendy Yusuf.

The Nahdlatul Ulama is one of the largest Islamic organizations in the world and concentrates on traditional Islam.

***

Muhammadiyah, an organization with 29 million members, is more modern, well-known for educational activities, and avoids politics. Secretary Abdul Mu’ti said ISIS does not represent Islam.

“That’s my point, this [movement] is not in the context of religion [Islam],” Abdul said. “We all need to question the group’s goals. Don’t just follow radicals who tried to win their own wars in other countries; we will be the ones to suffer losses.”

***

These men are not the first Muslim leaders to denounce the Islamic State. The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) spoke out against IS’s expulsion of Christians in Mosul. The group claimed the rejection served to “violate Islamic laws, Islamic conscience and leave but a negative image of Islam and Muslims.”

Al Arabiya News reports that the Arab League Chief denounced acts committed by the Islamic State in Iraq as “crimes against humanity,” demanding that they be brought to justice, and he:

Strongly denounced the crimes, killings, dispossession carried out by the terrorist (ISIS) against civilians and minorities in Iraq that have affected Christians in Mosul and Yazidis.

The Daily Star writes that Egypt’s highest religious authority – Al-Azhar’s Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam – denounced the Islamic State as a threat to Islam and said that the group violates Islamic law:

[They] give an opportunity for those who seek to harm us, to destroy us and interfere in our affairs with the [pretext of a] call to fight terrorism.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) – the largest Muslim group in the U.S. – called ISIS un-Islamic and morally repugnant,” notes that the Islamic State’s “human rights abuses on the ground are well-documented,” called the Islamic State “both un-Islamic and morally repugnant” and called the killing of American journalist James Foley “gruesome and barbaric”. See this, this and this.

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) – the largest Muslim organization on the continent – released a statement denouncing the Islamic State “for its attacks on Iraq’s religious minorities and the destruction of their places of worship.” ISNA President Imam Mohamed Magid said, “ISIS actions against religious minorities in Iraq violate the Quranic teaching, ‘Let there be no compulsion in religion’ … ” adding, “Their actions are to be denounced and are in no way representative of what Islam actually teaches.” INSA condemned the vicious execution of Foley at the hands of the terrorist group ISIS, terming it as “un-Islamic behaviour”, and said:

ISIS actions have never been representative nor in accordance to the mainstream teachings of Islam. This act of murder cannot be justified according to the faith practiced by over 1.6 billion people.

The head Shia religious leader in Iraq and Sunni religious leaders in Iraq have all condemned – and called for war against – ISIS.

Al Jazeera reports:

Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority has condemned the armed groups Islamic State and al-Qaeda as apostates and labelled them the “number one enemy of Islam”.

***

“Extremist and militant ideas and terrorism which spread decay on Earth, destroying human civilisation, are not in any way part of Islam, but are enemy number one of Islam, and Muslims are their first victims” ….

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) released a statement condemning “the barbaric execution of American Journalist James Foley by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).” MPAC urged “all people of conscience to take a stand against extremism” and offered condolences to Foley’s family. MPAC also noted the importance of countering ISIS and other extremist groups by working “to empower the mainstream and relegate extremists to the irrelevance they deserve.”

ISIS and Al Qaeda Are FAKE Muslims

The Intercept points out that ISIS has “more in common with Mao’s Red Guards or the Khmer Rouge than it does with the Muslim empires of antiquity“.

The 9/11 hijackers used cocaine and drank alcohol, slept with prostitutes and attended strip clubs … but they did not worship at any mosque. See this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this. Hardly the acts of devout Muslims.

Huffington Post reports:

Can you guess which books the wannabe jihadists Yusuf Sarwar and Mohammed Ahmed ordered online from Amazon before they set out from Birmingham to fight in Syria last May? A copy of Milestones by the Egyptian Islamist Sayyid Qutb? No. How about Messages to the World: the Statements of Osama Bin Laden? Guess again. Wait, The Anarchist Cookbook, right? Wrong.

Sarwar and Ahmed, both of whom pleaded guilty to terrorism offences last month, purchased Islam for Dummies and The Koran for Dummies. You could not ask for better evidence to bolster the argument that the 1,400-year-old Islamic faith has little to do with the modern jihadist movement. The swivel-eyed young men who take sadistic pleasure in bombings and beheadings may try to justify their violence with recourse to religious rhetoric – think the killers of Lee Rigby screaming “Allahu Akbar” at their trial; think of Islamic State beheading the photojournalist James Foley as part of its “holy war” – but religious fervour isn’t what motivates most of them.

In 2008, a classified briefing note on radicalisation, prepared by MI5′s behavioural science unit, was leaked to the Guardian. It revealed that, “far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practise their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could . . . be regarded as religious novices.” The analysts concluded that “a well-established religious identity actually protects against violent radicalisation“, the newspaper said. [Here's the Guardian report.]

For more evidence, read the books of the forensic psychiatrist and former CIA officer Marc Sageman; the political scientist Robert Pape [Pape found that foreign occupation - and not religion - made certain Arabs into terrorists; the CIA's top Bin Laden hunter agreed]; the international relations scholar Rik Coolsaet; the Islamism expert Olivier Roy; the anthropologist Scott Atran. They have all studied the lives and backgrounds of hundreds of gun-toting, bomb-throwing jihadists and they all agree that Islam isn’t to blame for the behaviour of such men (and, yes, they usually are men).

Instead they point to other drivers of radicalisation ….

When he lived in the Philippines in the 1990s, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, described as “the principal architect” of the 11 September attacks by the 9/11 Commission, once flew a helicopter past a girlfriend’s office building with a banner saying “I love you”. His nephew Ramzi Yousef, sentenced to life in prison for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, also had a girlfriend and, like his uncle, was often spotted in Manila’s red-light district. The FBI agent who hunted Yousef said that he “hid behind a cloak of Islam”. Eyewitness accounts suggest the 9/11 hijackers were visiting bars and strip clubs in Florida and Las Vegas in the run-up to the attacks. The Spanish neighbours of Hamid Ahmidan, convicted for his role in the Madrid train bombings of 2004, remember him “zooming by on a motorcycle with his long-haired girlfriend, a Spanish woman with a taste for revealing outfits”, according to press reports.

And alleged Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a pothead. And his brother Tamerlan looked more like an ego-driven hustler than a devout Muslim (that’s his Mercedes in the background).

I agree with Bill O’Reilly when he said that it is unfair to call the Norwegian mass murderer a “Christian”. Likewise, we shouldn’t call Arab terrorists “Muslims”.

Postscript: I am not a Muslim. I am, however, American. And knee-jerk hatred of any group of people based on their religion – including Christians, Jews or Muslims, – is deeply anti-American.

And the most crazed, radical Islamic terrorists would never have gained power if the U.S. and our allies hadn’t overthrown the more moderate Arab leaders.

Posted in Politics / World News | 17 Comments

“Reporter” Who Broke Propaganda Piece “Justifying” Bombing Syria Clears His Stories with CIA Before Publishing

A Stooge for the CIA?

We recently pointed out that the immediate “justification” for the U.S. bombing of Syria – the “Khorasans” – is as fake as the Kardashians’ physique.

Glenn Greenwald, Murtaza Hussain and Justin Raimondo have written must-read stories proving that we were right.

And Democracy Now – interviewing Hussain – notes that the same “reporter” who broke the “story” of the Khorasan “threat” was recently busted for clearing his stories in advance with the CIA:

MURTAZA HUSSAIN: … It was interesting that Ken Dilanian reported the story first in the Associated Press, saying that this was a new threat and a new group, and he was one of the first people to break the story afterwards saying that U.S. officials are now adding more “nuance,” is the word he used, to their previous warnings about the group. So, it was kind of a really egregious case of media spin, whereby the media had taken up this narrative of a threat from a new terrorist, and then, after the strikes had been conducted which justified this group, they immediately took the opposite tack, saying that in fact there was no threat that was imminent and the group itself did not exist per se. So, it was really quite a failure of the media, which we’ve seen several times in the past, as well.

***

AMY GOODMAN: You mentioned Ken Dilanian of AP. Now, Intercept just put out another story, “The CIA’s Mop-Up Man: L.A. Times Reporter Cleared Stories with Agency Before Publication.” Ken Silverstein writes, “A prominent national security reporter for the Los Angeles Times routinely submitted drafts and detailed summaries of his stories to CIA press handlers prior to publication, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.” He goes on to say, “Email exchanges between CIA public affairs officers and Ken Dilanian, now an Associated Press intelligence reporter who previously covered the CIA for the Times, show that Dilanian enjoyed a closely collaborative relationship with the agency, explicitly promising positive news coverage and sometimes sending the press office entire story drafts for review prior to publication. In at least one instance, the CIA’s reaction appears to have led to significant changes in the story that was eventually published in the [Los Angeles] Times.

Indeed, American media is always pro-war.

And an official summary of America’s overthrow of the democratically-elected president of Iran in the 1950′s states, “In cooperation with the Department of State, CIA had several articles planted in major American newspapers and magazines which, when reproduced in Iran, had the desired psychological effect in Iran and contributed to the war of nerves against Mossadeq” (page x).

Indeed, famed Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein says the CIA has already bought and paid for many successful journalists. See also this New York Times piece, this essay by the Independent, this speech by one of the premier writers on journalism, and this and this roundup.

And given that the ban against domestic propaganda has now been repealed,  more extreme and blatant propaganda will likely be deployed against the American public.

Posted in General | 1 Comment

China Accuses U.S. of Fomenting Hong Kong Unrest

Has the U.S. Egged On the Protests?

The mass demonstrations in Hong Kong are dramatic, indeed. And given that Hong Kong has long enjoyed a more liberal existence under British rule, protests against a more authoritarian Chinese government (at least it used to be more authoritarian) are not entirely surprising.

But Chinese officials accuse the U.S. of egging on the protests.  As the Wall Street Journal’s China Real Time blog reports:

On Thursday, Wen Wei Po published an “expose” into what it described as the U.S. connections of Joshua Wong, the 17 year-old leader of student group Scholarism.

The story asserts that “U.S. forces” identified Mr. Wong’s potential three years ago, and have worked since then to cultivate him as a “political superstar.”

Evidence for Mr. Wong’s close ties to the U.S. that the paper cited included what the report described as frequent meetings with U.S. consulate personnel in Hong Kong and covert donations from Americans to Mr. Wong. As evidence, the paper cited photographs leaked by “netizens.” The story also said Mr. Wong’s family visited Macau in 2011 at the invitation of the American Chamber of Commerce, where they stayed at the “U.S.-owned” Venetian Macao, which is owned by Las Vegas Sands Corp.

***

This isn’t the first time that Beijing-friendly media have accused foreign countries of covert meddling in the former British colony. China’s government has long been concerned that Western intelligence agencies might try to exploit the city’s relatively more open political environment to push democracy in the rest of the country. The various “color revolutions” that ushered in democratic governments across the former Soviet Union in the early 2000s, and which were partly organized by foreign-funded NGOs, heightened those concerns.

Allegations of foreign intervention in Hong Kong have become particularly intense in the run-up to 2017, the earliest that Beijing has said Hong Kong residents can begin to directly elect their leaders. Wen Wei Po and another Beijing-leaning Hong Kong newspaper Ta Kung Pao, for example, have accused the U.K. of stationing British spies across Hong Kong institutions. Pro-Beijing publications have also accused Hong Kong media mogul and staunch Beijing critic Jimmy Lai of having connections with the CIA. Mr. Lai is the founder of Next Media Ltd., which owns the Apple Daily newspapers in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and is a major donor to pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong.

In its report on Mr. Wang, Wen Wei Po said that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is making a pointed effort to infiltrate Hong Kong schools, for example through the Hong Kong-America Center, a group headed by former U.S. diplomat Morton Holbrook that promotes H.K.-U.S. ties. It also alleged that the CIA is actively training a new generation of protest leaders in Hong Kong through sponsoring students to study in the U.S., with an aim of stoking future “color revolutions” in the city.

Tony Cartalucci writes:

Behind the so-called “Occupy Central” protests … is a deep and insidious network of foreign financial, political, and media support. Prominent among them is the US State Department and its National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as well as NED’s subsidiary, the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

Now, the US has taken a much more overt stance in supporting the chaos their own manipulative networks have prepared and are now orchestrating. The White House has now officially backed “Occupy Central.” Reuters in its article, “White House Shows Support For Aspirations Of Hong Kong People,” would claim:

The White House is watching democracy protests in Hong Kong closely and supports the “aspirations of the Hong Kong people,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday. “

The United States supports universal suffrage in Hong Kong in accordance with the Basic Law and we support the aspirations of the Hong Kong people,” said Earnest, who also urged restraint on both sides.

US State Department Has Built Up and Directs “Occupy Central”

Image: The US through NED and its subsidiaries have a long history of
promoting subversion and division within China. 

Earnest’s comments are verbatim the demands of “Occupy Central” protest leaders, but more importantly, verbatim the long-laid designs the US State Department’s NDI articulates on its own webpage dedicated to its ongoing meddling in Hong Kong. The term “universal suffrage”and reference to “Basic Law” and its “interpretation” to mean “genuine democracy” is stated clearly on NDI’s website which claims:

The Basic Law put in place a framework of governance, whereby special interest groups, or “functional constituencies,” maintain half of the seats in the Legislative Council (LegCo). At present, Hong Kong’s chief executive is also chosen by an undemocratically selected committee. According to the language of the Basic Law, however, “universal suffrage” is the “ultimate aim.” While “universal suffrage” remains undefined in the law, Hong Kong citizens have interpreted it to mean genuine democracy.

To push this agenda – which essentially is to prevent Beijing from vetting candidates running for office in Hong Kong, thus opening the door to politicians openly backed, funded, and directed by the US State Department – NDI lists an array of ongoing meddling it is carrying out on the island. It states:

Since 1997, NDI has conducted a series of missions to Hong Kong to consider the development of Hong Kong’s “post-reversion” election framework, the status of autonomy, rule of law and civil liberties under Chinese sovereignty, and the prospects for, and challenges to democratization.

It also claims:

In 2005, NDI initiated a six-month young political leaders program focused on training a group of rising party and political group members in political communications skills.

And:

NDI has also worked to bring political parties, government leaders and civil society actors together in public forums to discuss political party development, the role of parties in Hong Kong and political reform. In 2012, for example, a conference by Hong Kong think tank SynergyNet supported by NDI featured panelists from parties across the ideological spectrum and explored how adopting a system of coalition government might lead to a more responsive legislative process.

NDI also admits it has created, funded, and backed other organizations operating in Hong Kong toward achieving the US State Department’s goals of subverting Beijing’s control over the island:

In 2007, the Institute launched a women’s political participation program that worked with the Women’s Political Participation Network (WPPN) and the Hong Kong Federation of Women’s Centres (HKFWC) to enhance women’s participation in policy-making, encourage increased participation in politics and ensure that women’s issues are taken into account in the policy-making process.

And on a separate page, NDI describes programs it is conducting with the University of Hong Kong to achieve its agenda:

The Centre for Comparative and Public Law (CCPL) at the University of Hong Kong, with support from NDI, is working to amplify citizens’ voices in that consultation process by creating Design Democracy Hong Kong (www.designdemocracy.hk), a unique and neutral website that gives citizens a place to discuss the future of Hong Kong’s electoral system.

It should be no surprise to readers then, to find out each and every “Occupy Central” leader is either directly linked to the US State Department, NED, and NDI, or involved in one of NDI’s many schemes.

Image: Benny Tai, “Occupy Central’s” leader, has spent years associated with
and benefiting from US State Department cash and support.

“Occupy Central’s” self-proclaimed leader, Benny Tai, is a law professor at the aforementioned University of Hong Kong and a regular collaborator with the NDI-funded CCPL. In 2006-2007 (annual report, .pdf) he was named as a board member – a position he has held until at least as recently as last year. In CCPL’s 2011-2013 annual report (.pdf), NDI is listed as having provided funding to the organization to “design and implement an online Models of Universal Suffrage portal where the general public can discuss and provide feedback and ideas on which method of universal suffrage is most suitable for Hong Kong.”

Curiously, in CCPL’s most recent annual report for 2013-2014 (.pdf), Tai is not listed as a board member. However, he is listed as participating in at least 3 conferences organized by CCPL, and as heading at least one of CCPL’s projects. At least one conference has him speaking side-by-side another prominent “Occupy Central” figure, Audrey Eu. The 2013-2014 annual report also lists NDI as funding CCPL’s “Design Democracy Hong Kong” website.

Civic Party chairwoman Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, in addition to speaking at CCPL-NDI functions side-by-side with Benny Tai, is entwined with the US State Department and its NDI elsewhere. She regularly attends forums sponsored by NED and its subsidiary NDI. In 2009 she was a featured speaker at an NDI sponsored public policy forum hosted by “SynergyNet,” also funded by NDI. In 2012 she was a guest speaker at the NDI-funded Women’s Centre “International Women’s Day” event, hosted by the Hong Kong Council of Women (HKCW) which is also annually funded by the NDI.

Image: Martin Lee and Anson Chan belly up to the table with US Vice President Joseph Biden in Washington DC earlier this year. During their trip, both Lee and Chan would attend a NED-hosted talk about the future of “democracy” in Hong Kong. Undoubtedly, “Occupy Central” and Washington’s support of it was a topic reserved for behind closed doors.

There is also Martin Lee, founding chairman of Hong Kong’s Democrat Party and another prominent figure who has come out in support of “Occupy Central.” Just this year, Lee was in Washington meeting directly with US Vice President Joseph Biden, US Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, and even took part in an NED talk hosted specifically for him and his agenda of “democracy” in Hong Kong. Lee even has a NED page dedicated to him after he was awarded in 1997 NED’s “Democracy Award.” With him in Washington was Anson Chan, another prominent figure currently supporting the ongoing unrest in Hong Kong’s streets.

The U.S. has certainly promoted regime change worldwide, often by using non-governmental organizations as front groups to funnel money to dissidents who will overthrow the government.

For example, USAID has been called the “new CIA”, and FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds told Washington’s Blog that the U.S. State Department is involved in many “hard power” operations, often coordinating through well-known “Non-Governmental Organizations” (NGOs).    Specifically, Edmonds explained that numerous well-known NGOs – which claim to focus on development, birth control, women’s rights, fighting oppression and other “magnificent sounding” purposes or seemingly benign issues – act as covers for State Department operations. She said that the State Department directly places operatives inside the NGOs.

Edmonds also told us that – during the late 90s and early 2000s – perhaps 30-40% of the people working for NGOs operated by George Soros were actually working for the U.S. State Department.

If this all sounds too nutty, remember that historians say that declining empires tend to attack their rising rivals … so the risk of world war is rising because the U.S. feels threatened by the rising empire of China.

The U.S. government considers economic rivalry to be a basis for war. And the U.S. is systematically using the military to contain China’s growing economic influence.

And U.S. sanctions against Russia are not having the desired effect … largely because China is picking up the slack by trading with Russia and even loaning it money.

Indeed, China, Russia, India and Brazil have formed what some top economists say is an alternative to the Western financial institutions, the World Bank and IMF. And China is challenging the petrodollar.

So it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that the U.S. (and the former owner of Hong Kong, Britain) egged on democracy protesters in Hong Kong in order to try to shake up the Chinese regime.

Posted in Politics / World News | 2 Comments

Putin’s Possible Successor Explains Russia’s Military & Economic Plans

Eric Zuesse

http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.ru/2014/09/dmitri-rogozin-interviewed-by-vladimir.html

Screen shot 2014-09-29 at 12.15.35 PM

The Floridian blogger about Russia, “Vineyard of the Saker,” posted an English translation on September 29th of an informative interview on Russian television. (You can see the entire translated interview at http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.ru/2014/09/dmitri-rogozin-interviewed-by-vladimir.html.) Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin, who has Russia’s military portfolio, was addressing his nation’s public, September 22nd, on Rossiya TV, and he explained how his country is responding to the threat of America’s intending to place its nuclear missiles on Russia’s border, inside Ukraine (much as the USSR had done in Cuba to America during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis). Russia is not responding with any talk about the nuclear button; at least not yet. There is still time enough to avoid anything so urgent as that. But they are preparing for such an eventuality. (8:50) “We are creating a nuclear submarine fleet … capable of reaching any country on any continent, if it suddenly becomes the aggressor and our topmost national interests come under threat.”

Obama has started clearly in that direction, with his February 2014 Ukrainian coup d’etat installing a U.S.-allied Ukrainian Government to replace the former (and democratically elected) Russian-allied one; and Russia takes Obama’s threat seriously; so, Russia is now rapidly updating its nuclear and other arsenals, and is offering technologically advanced military designers from all over the world extremely favorable terms for becoming Russian citizens.

Rogozin also says that (9:23), “by now, we have updated almost the entire fleet of strategic bombers.”

All of the military parts and products that were formerly being manufactured in Ukraine, have been switched to Russian factories instead. Now (10:48), “Everything is produced in Russia.” He says that many of Ukraine’s top military designers have already moved to Russia, and that most of the others are desperate to leave Ukraine.

He comments (12:31), “For Ukraine, it is the end. It is a complete demise of the Ukrainian state as an industrial country. Nobody wants their products in the West because they are outdated, and they [the West] have their own manufacturers. What they [Ukraine] are doing right now is suicide. … I say this with great regret. I’ll tell you one thing: we still had hope at the end of last year [before Obama's coup] that we would be able to remedy the situation [that it wouldn't happen].”

He says: (14:21), “On 21st of February, when a coup was staged, I had to fly to Kiev on behalf of The President [Putin]. [But] I stopped the car at the entrance to the airport, because it was clear that Ukraine was finished” as a manufacturing economy.

He sees manufacturing as the basis for a sound economy. (14:48) “Today, the only choice for them [Ukrainians] is to go into retail trade. But I think they also have another choice: to move to Russia.” So: Putin is looking to build Russia’s economy on a manufacturing basis, perhaps like China has done.

Rogozin repeatedly invites weapons-designers from around the world to move to Russia. Perhaps Putin takes as his inspiration what happened to the U.S. economy after our country, under President FDR in the 1940s, responded to the fascist threat by means of massive support to military R&D and manufacturing. Perhaps Putin hopes that Russia will become the new America, maybe that Putin will become the new FDR.

The interviewer responds (15:52) “What a strange story is unfolding.” And Rogozin continues, “From now on, we will be gathering the best experts in the world.” So: that (which also happened under FDR, and continued under Truman) is, indeed, their intention.

As if intending to make his point absolutely clear, he continues: “The Americans used to ‘suck out’ the best brains from around the world, … now we are reversing this process.”

Discussing France’s having gone along with Obama to stop production of France’s Mistral aircraft-carrier ships to the Russian Navy, he says (20:45), “The money [from us] is paid, which means that they have to return it with penalties. And … France is losing not just money, but their reputation as a reliable supplier.”

Then, starting at 22:32, he notes that when he first entered the Government (which was at around the time that Putin first became President), he noticed that “our individual businesses preferred to buy micro-electronics in the West,” and that they would need “to start the production, in Russia, of all that is necessary.” He says “We have already given the necessary instructions” to do precisely that. Obama’s action in Ukraine seems to have spurred Russia to do this. Yet again, it is like America during WWII.

He continues immediately to add: “However, what we cannot, or do not have the time to make, we can get in other countries who are in trading partnership with us,” mainly the “BRIC” or rapidly industrializing countries, with whom Putin has been building a trading-bloc.

The discussion then goes on to whether building Russia’s manufacturing base upon the making of weapons is a sound idea, and Rogozin says (24:34) that among Putin’s advisors, “we try not to argue publicly, but on the inside it is all boiling.”

He says that Russia’s high interest-rates are a great problem for developing manufactures. He makes a stunning admission (24:53): “They [America] are in a much more favorable position, no sanctions, no one prevents them from working; the banking policy [Federal Reserve] supports the industry. We do not have any of this. We are not going to now discuss the reasons why, but those are the facts. This is why the government now is making a decision to compensate for the [high] interest rate for enterprises in the military-industrial complex.” Russian sovereign debt will probably soar.

However, Putin has decided “to develop a program to transfer technology from the defense [sector] into civil” manufacturing, so as to reduce the extra economic burden on them. The real hardship, apparently, will go to Russia’s consumers. But, then, after the military-manufacturing sector gets humming, “they should be ready to produce similar high-tech products for the civil industry,” including, “metallurgy, electronics, composite materials, and much much more.”

Secondly, (27:06), “Today, they [Russian manufacturers] have defence contracts, tomorrow they might have less. They need a safety net — supplies for the civil market.” It would, yet again, be very much in the mold of FDR, and of Harry S. Truman.

Perhaps Russia is now learning the lesson that America has now forgotten. Maybe Obama’s America will become a spur to Russia — like Hitler, Tojo, and Mussolini, became spurs to America, in a time that America, evidently, has indeed forgotten, and in which we have become, eerily, the other side.

———-

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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A Good End Date for the New War: Today

What I’ve seen of public events, demonstrations, and protests of the latest U.S. war — just like the larger and more immediately effective public resistance 12 months ago — has been aimed, remarkably enough, at ending the war and opposing the policies of those engaging in it, and first among them the U.S. President.

What I’ve seen of inside-the-Beltway-style peace lobby groups’ strategy has been aimed, predictably enough, at setting a good end date for the new war and barring the use of U.S. ground troops.

Both approaches are represented by voluminous discussions on listserves, so I feel like I know a good sample of each far more intimately than I might ideally wish. They parallel rejection and support of lesser-evil voting, and are largely made by those who reject and accept the importance of lesser-evil voting. However, many who accept lesser-evilism in the polling booth do not accept it here. And I think they have a point.

If you vote for a decent candidate and he or she loses, an argument can be made that you’ve “wasted” your vote. But if you advocate for an immediate end to a war, and a Congress that is hearing from the President that the war should last three years, bans continuation of the war beyond a year-and-a-half, then an argument can be made that you helped frame the compromise. In any case, it would be difficult to make a persuasive case that your activism was wasted. If, on the other hand, you found out that some Congress members were interested in a 1-year limit, and you lobbied for just that, and then Congress enacted a 2-year limit, what could you be said to have accomplished?

Here’s my basic contention: Congress knows how to compromise. We don’t have to pre-compromise for them. (How’d that work out on healthcare?) (How’d that ever work out?) And when we do pre-compromise for them (such as the time AFSCME banned “single-payer” signs from “public option” rallies, so as to simulate public demand for what “progressive” Congress members were pretending to already want) we give significant support and respectability to some serious outrages (such as privatized for-profit health insurance, but also such as bombing Iraq yet again and bombing the opposite side in Syria that was to be bombed a year ago and while arming that same side, which — if we’re honest about it — is madness.

How many years of madness will be best, is an insane question. It’s not a question around which to organize protests, demonstrations, nonviolent actions, lobbying, education, communication, or any other sort of movement building.

But isn’t 2 years of war better than 3? And how are you going to get Congress members to limit it to 2 years if you’ve called them lunatics?

Of course 2 years is better than 3. But less than 2 is even better, and Congress is going to compromise as far as it dares, and knows perfectly well how to do so without help from us.  Is there really evidence to imagine that Senators and Congress members shape their policies around who’s most polite to them? Certainly they determine who’s invited to meetings on Capitol Hill on that basis, but is being in those meetings our top priority? Does it do the most for us? And can’t we still get some people into those meetings by calling mass murder “mass murder” while keeping open every opportunity for the funders and sanctioners of mass murder to oppose and stop it?

We need sit-ins in Congressional offices and protests on Capitol Hill. To a much lesser extent, we need discussions with Congress members and staffers. To the extent that different people must pursue those two tactics, the question will always remain whether mass public organizing should be guided by people who think like the former group or like the latter.

My position comes from the expectation that “support the troops” propaganda and the inevitably worsened situation after a year or two will make the struggle to then end a previously time-limited war harder, rather than easier — easier only if the public has come to its sense in the meantime.  My position comes from the fact that there are already U.S. troops in Iraq and the belief that we’re going to get them home sooner if we don’t play along with the pretense that they aren’t there or aren’t there for combat. My concern is for human life, and when you prioritize an air war over a ground war — and when the “anti-war” movement does that — you risk creating a great, rather than a smaller, number of deaths, albeit non-U.S. deaths.

Now, the lobbyists’ need to be polite to Congress can be a helpful guide to all protesters. While moral condemnation and humorous mockery can be useful tools, so can Gandhian respect for those who must be won over. But the demand of a peace movement must be for peace and alternatives to war.  When the missile strikes were stopped a year ago, the arming of ISIS-and-friends proceeded anyway, and no useful policy was pursued instead of the missiles. The U.S. had decided to do nothing, as if that were the only other option. Effectively we’d put an end date on the U.S. staying out, as doing nothing was guaranteed not to resolve the problem.

A good end-date for this war is today. A good date to begin useful aid and diplomacy and arms embargoes and reparations is tomorrow. We have to change the conversation to those topics, instead of focusing on the question of how much mass-murdering madness is the appropriate amount. Not because we want it to continue for eternity if it can’t be ended now, but because it will end sooner and be less likely to be repeated if we confront it for what it is.

We’ve been so strategic over the past decade that everybody in the United States knows the war on Iraq cost U.S. lives and money, but most have only the vaguest idea of how it destroyed Iraq and how many people it killed. As a direct result, nobody knows where ISIS came from, and not enough people are fully aware of the high probability that the bombing will strengthen ISIS — which may be why ISIS openly asks for it in its 1-hour film.

How much insanity should we demand on our posters and signs and online petitions and letters to editors: not another drop.

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Turkey and Israel Are Directly Supporting ISIS and Al Qaeda Terrorists In Syria

U.S. Allies Support the Terrorists We’re Supposedly “Fighting”

The Jerusalem Post reports that an ISIS fighter says that Turkey funds the terrorist group. Turkey is a member of NATO and a close U.S. ally.

A German news program – with English subtitles captions – shows that Turkey is sending terrorists into Syria:

Opposition Turkish lawmakers say that the government is protecting and cooperating with ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorists, and providing free medical care to their leaders.

According to a leading Turkish newspaper (Today’s Zaman), Turkish nurses are sick of providing free medical treatment to ISIS terrorists in Turkish hospitals.

According to Pulitzer-prize winning reporter Seymour Hersh and leaked phone calls between top Turkish officials, Turkey also carried out the chemical weapons attack which has been blamed on Assad, and has planned other “false flag attacks” within Turkey.

Foreign Policy documents that Israel is also treating ISIS terrorists for free in its hospitals:

Israel is  …  providing medical care and other unidentified supplies to the insurgents ….

In the past three months, battle-hardened Syrian rebels have transported scores of wounded Syrians across a cease-fire line that has separated Israel from Syria since 1974, according to a 15-page report by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the work of the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). Once in Israel, they receive medical treatment in a field clinic before being sent back to Syria, where, presumably, some will return to carry on the fight.

U.N. blue helmets responsible for monitoring the decades-old cease-fire report observing armed opposition groups “transferring 89 wounded persons” from Syrian territory into Israel, where they were received by members of the Israel Defense Forces, according to the report. The IDF returned 21 Syrians to armed opposition members back in Syria, including the bodies of two who died.

“Throughout the reporting period, UNDOF frequently observed armed members of the opposition interacting with the IDF across the cease-fire line,” according to the report. “On one occasion UNDOF observed the IDF on the Alpha side [inside Israel] handing over two boxes to armed opposition on the Bravo side [inside Syria].”

***

The Israeli government has been providing medical assistance to Syria’s wounded for more than a year. In February, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid a visit to a military field hospital in the Golan Heights

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IDF

The Times of Israel reported last month:

A Free Syrian Army commander, arrested last month by the Islamist militia Al-Nusra Front, told his captors he collaborated with Israel in return for medical and military support, in a video released this week.

In a video uploaded to YouTube Monday … Sharif As-Safouri, the commander of the Free Syrian Army’s Al-Haramein Battalion, admitted to having entered Israel five times to meet with Israeli officers who later provided him with Soviet anti-tank weapons and light arms. Safouri was abducted by the al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front in the Quneitra area, near the Israeli border, on July 22.

“The [opposition] factions would receive support and send the injured in [to Israel] on condition that the Israeli fence area is secured. No person was allowed to come near the fence without prior coordination with Israel authorities,” Safouri said in the video.

***

In the edited confession video, in which Safouri seems physically unharmed, he says that at first he met with an Israeli officer named Ashraf at the border and was given an Israeli cellular phone. He later met with another officer named Younis and with the two men’s commander, Abu Daoud. In total, Safouri said he entered Israel five times for meetings that took place in Tiberias.

Following the meetings, Israel began providing Safouri and his men with “basic medical support and clothes” as well as weapons, which included 30 Russian [rifles], 10 RPG launchers with 47 rockets, and 48,000 5.56 millimeter bullets.

In March, Haaretz reported:

The Syrian opposition is willing to give up claims to the Golan Heights in return for cash and Israeli military aid against President Bashar Assad, a top opposition official told Al Arab newspaper, according to a report in Al Alam.

***

The Western-backed militant groups want Israel to enforce a no-fly zone over parts of southern Syria to protect rebel bases from air strikes by Assad’s forces, according to the report.

Other close U.S. allies – including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar back ISIS – back the ISIS terrorists as well.

What’s really happening?  It’s all about pushing for regime change in Syria … AGAIN.

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When We’re All Musteites

We won’t necessarily know what a Musteite is, but I’m inclined to think it would help if we did. I’m using the word to mean “having a certain affinity for the politics of A.J. Muste.”

I had people tell me I was a Musteite when I had at best the vaguest notion of who A.J. Muste had been. I could tell it was a compliment, and from the context I took it to mean that I was someone who wanted to end war. I guess I sort of brushed that off as not much of a compliment. Why should it be considered either particularly praiseworthy or outlandishly radical to want to end war? When someone wants to utterly and completely end rape or child abuse or slavery or some other evil, we don’t call them extremist radicals or praise them as saints. Why is war different?

The possibility that war might not be different, that it might be wholly abolished, could very well be a thought that I picked up third-hand from A.J. Muste, as so many of us have picked up so much from him, whether we know it or not. His influence is all over our notions of labor and organizing and civil rights and peace activism. His new biography, American Gandhi: A.J. Muste and the History of Radicalism in the Twentieth Century by Leilah Danielson is well worth reading, and has given me a new affection for Muste despite the book’s own rather affection-free approach.

Martin Luther King Jr. told an earlier Muste biographer, Nat Hentoff, “The current emphasis on nonviolent direct action in the race relations field is due more to A.J. than to anyone else in the country.” It is also widely acknowledged that without Muste there would not have been formed such a broad coalition against the war on Vietnam. Activists in India have called him “the American Gandhi.”

The American Gandhi was born in 1885 and immigrated with his family at age 6 from Holland to Michigan. He studied in Holland, Michigan, the same town that we read about in the first few pages of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, and at a college later heavily funded by the Prince Family, from which Blackwater sprang. The stories of both Muste and Prince begin with Dutch Calvinism and end up as wildly apart as imaginable. At the risk of offending Christian admirers of either man, I think neither story — and neither life — would have suffered had the religion been left out.

Muste would have disagreed with me, of course, as some form of religion was central to his thinking during much of his life. By the time of World War I he was a preacher and a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). He opposed war in 1916 when opposing war was acceptable.  And when most of the rest of the country fell in line behind Woodrow Wilson and obediently loved war in 1917, Muste didn’t change. He opposed war and conscription. He supported the struggle for civil liberties, always under attack during wars. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was formed by Muste’s FOR colleagues in 1917 to treat symptoms of war, just as it does today. Muste refused to preach in support of war and was obliged to resigned from his church, stating in his resignation letter that the church should be focused on creating “the spiritual conditions that should stop the war and render all wars unthinkable.” Muste became a volunteer with the ACLU advocating for conscientious objectors and others persecuted for war opposition in New England. He also became a Quaker.

In 1919 Muste found himself the leader of a strike of 30,000 textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, learning on the job — and on the picket line, where he was arrested and assaulted by police, but returned immediately to the line. By the time the struggle was won, Muste was general secretary of the newly formed Amalgamated Textile Workers of America. Two years later, he was directing Brookwood Labor College outside of Katonah, New York. By the mid-1920s, as Brookwood succeeded, Muste had become a leader of the progressive labor movement nationwide. At the same time, he served on the executive committee of the national FOR from 1926-1929 as well as on the national committee of the ACLU. Brookwood struggled to bridge many divides until the American Federation of Labor destroyed it with attacks from the right, aided a bit with attacks from the left by the Communists. Muste labored on for labor, forming the Conference for Progressive Labor Action, and organizing in the South, but “if we are to have morale in the labor movement,” he said, “we must have a degree of unity, and, if we are to have that, it follows, for one thing, that we cannot spend all our time in controversy and fighting with each other — maybe 99 per cent of the time, but not quite 100 per cent.”

Muste’s biographer follows that same 99 percent formula for a number of chapters, covering the infighting of the activists, the organizing of the unemployed, the forming of the American Workers Party in 1933, and in 1934 the Auto-Lite strike in Toledo, Ohio, that led to the formation of the United Auto Workers. The unemployed, joining in the strike on behalf of the workers, were critical to success, and their commitment to do so may have helped the workers decide to strike in the first place.  Muste was central to all of this and to progressive opposition to fascism during these years. The sit-down strike at Goodyear in Akron was led by former students of Muste.

Muste sought to prioritize the struggle for racial justice and to apply Gandhian techniques, insisting on changes in culture, not just government. “If we are to have a new world,” he said, “we must have new men; if you want a revolution, you must be revolutionized.” In 1940, Muste became national secretary of FOR and launched a Gandhian campaign against segregation, bringing on new staff including James Farmer and Bayard Rustin, and helping to found the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). The nonviolent actions that many associate with the 1950s and 1960s began in the 1940s. A Journey of Reconciliation predated the Freedom Rides by 14 years.

Muste predicted the rise of the Military Industrial Complex and the militarized adventurism of the post-World War II United States in 1941. Somewhere beyond the comprehension of most Americans, and even his biographer, Muste found the wisdom to continue opposing war during a second world war, advocating instead for nonviolent defense and a peaceful, cooperative, and generous foreign policy, defending the rights of Japanese Americans, and once again opposing a widespread assault on civil liberties.  “If I can’t love Hitler, I can’t love at all,” said Muste, articulating the widespread commonsense that one should love one’s enemies, but doing so in the primary case in which virtually everyone else, to this day, advocates for the goodness of all-out vicious violence and hatred.

Of course, those who had opposed World War I and the horrible settlement that concluded it, and the fueling of fascism for years — and who could see what the end of World War II would bring, and who saw the potential in Gandhian techniques — must have had a harder time than most in accepting that war was inevitable and World War II justified.

Muste, I am sure, took no satisfaction in watching the U.S. government create a cold war and a global empire in line with his own prediction. Muste continued to push back against the entire institution of war, remarking that, “the very means nations use to provide themselves with apparent or temporary ‘defense’ and ‘security’ constitute the greatest obstacle to the attainment of genuine or permanent collective security. They want international machinery so that the atomic armaments race may cease; but the atomic armaments race has to stop or the goal of the world order recedes beyond human reach.”

It was in this period, 1948-1951 that MLK Jr. was attending Crozer Theological Seminary, attending speeches by, and reading books by, Muste, who would later advise him in his own work, and who would play a key role in urging civil rights leaders to oppose the war on Vietnam. Muste worked with the American Friends Service Committee, and many other organizations, including the Committee to Stop the H-Bomb Tests, which would become the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE); and the World Peace Brigade.

Muste warned against a U.S. war on Vietnam in 1954. He led opposition to it in 1964. He struggled with great success to broaden the anti-war coalition in 1965. At the same time, he struggled against the strategy of watering down war opposition in an attempt to find broader appeal. He believed that “polarization” brought “contradictions and differences” to the surface and allowed for the possibility of greater success. Muste chaired the November 8 Mobilization Committee (MOBE) in 1966, planning a massive action in April 1967. But upon returning from a trip to Vietnam in February, giving talks about the trip, and staying up all night drafting the announcement of the April demonstration, he began to complain of back pain and did not live much longer.

He did not see King’s speech at Riverside Church on April 4. He did not see the mass mobilization or the numerous funerals and memorials to himself. He did not see the war ended. He did not see the war machine and war planning continue as if little had been learned. He did not see the retreat from economic fairness and progressive activism during the decades to come. But A.J. Muste had been there before. He’d seen the upsurges of the 1920s and 1930s and lived to help bring about the peace movement of the 1960s. When, in 2013, public pressure helped stop a missile attack on Syria, but nothing positive took its place, and a missile attack was launched a year later against the opposite side in the Syrian war, Muste would not have been shocked. His cause was not the prevention of a particular war but the elimination of the institution of war, the cause also of the new campaign in 2014 World Beyond War.

What can we learn from someone like Muste who persevered long enough to see some, but not all, of his radical ideas go mainstream? He didn’t bother with elections or even voting. He prioritized nonviolent direct action. He sought to form the broadest possible coalition, including with people who disagreed with him and with each other on fundamental questions but who agreed on the important matter at hand. Yet he sought to keep those coalitions uncompromising on matters of the greatest importance. He sought to advance their goals as a moral cause and to win over opponents by intellect and emotion, not force. He worked to change world views. He worked to build global movements, not just local or national. And, of course, he sought to end war, not just to replace one war with a different one. That meant struggling against a particular war, but doing so in the manner best aimed at reducing or abolishing the machinery behind it.

I’m not, after all, a very good Musteite. I agree with much, but not all. I reject his religious motivations. And of course I’m not much like A.J. Muste, lacking his skills, interests, abilities, and accomplishments. But I do feel close to him and appreciate more than ever being called a Musteite.  And I appreciate that A.J. Muste and millions of people who appreciated his work in one way or another passed it on to me. Muste’s influence on people everyone knows, like Martin Luther King, Jr., and people who influenced people everyone knows, like Bayard Rustin, was significant. He worked with people still active in the peace movement like David McReynolds and Tom Hayden. He worked with James Rorty, father of one of my college professors, Richard Rorty. He spent time at Union Theological Seminary, where my parents studied. He lived on the same block, if not building, where I lived for a while at 103rd Street and West End Avenue in New York, and Muste was apparently married to a wonderful woman named Anne who went by Anna, as am I. So, I like the guy. But what gives me hope is the extent to which Musteism exists in our culture as a whole, and the possibility that someday we will all be Musteites.

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