Thursday, June 30, 2011
Chávez Is Fine
Photo Image: Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez with his daughter, Rosa Virginia, talking with Cuban leader Fidel Castro this past Tuesday, June 28 in Havana.
by Eva Golinger
Cuban Television showed pictures,video and audio of an encounter between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuban leader Fidel Castro as evidence the South American President is recovering satisfactorily after surgery to remove a pelvic abscess.
Much hype has been made about the state of President Hugo Chavez’s health. International media have perpetuated numerous unfounded rumors claiming the Venezuelan head of state is in critical condition, has cancer, is in a coma or even passed away. These media outlets, which range from notoriously reactionary anti-Chavez press such as El Pais (Spain), Fox News and the Miami Herald (and its Spanish version, El Nuevo Herald) to the somewhat more respectable BBC, NPR, CNN, New York Times and Washington Post, have all circulated these wild myths and stories about President Chavez’s condition, without presenting any evidence to substantiate their allegations.
Apparently, making things up about a sitting president, who happens to have a very public, controversial image, is good for ratings. Social networks online have exacerbated the issue even more, engaging in what could only be considered a frenzied orgy of ficticious stories about the Venezuelan President’s health. Some tweeters have “killed” Chavez several times already, while others have invented every possible ailment known to humanity and claimed he has it.
Private Venezuelan media have been equally as disgraceful, circulating the same rumors promoted in international press and online, and creating others. Some have gone so far as to claim President Chavez is “inventing his ailment” to “gain political points and sympathies” from his followers. One columnist who writes for a major national daily, El Universal, has dedicated his notoriously rumor-based articles to Chavez’s health since the Venezuelan chief underwent surgery for a pelvic abscess on June 10. This alleged “journalist”, Nelson Bocaranda, has defamed and slandered President Chavez, and gravely misinformed the public by writing that Chavez has prostate cancer and has been undergoing radioactive treatment in a specialized clinic in Havana. Nothing could be further from the truth.
TWISTING THE FACTS
Much of the false information about President Chavez circulating in public opinion originated from an article published in El Nuevo Herald, claiming “US intelligence officials” informed the Miami publication the Venezuelan President was suffering from a “terminal illness”. Even State Department officials, during a Congressional hearing on Venezuela last week in the House Committee on Foreign Relations, alleged they had information about President Chavez they couldn’t “make public”.
CNN in Spanish has been doing sensational nightly programs on the Venezuelan leader’s health situation, bringing in “experts” on every possible ailment Chavez is claimed to be suffering from, and morbidly analyzing the “consequences” of his “tragic downfall”. CNN in English has also done segments ridiculously inquiring “Where in the world is Hugo Chavez?” when from the beginning of his surgery it was of public knowledge that the Venezuelan President was recovering in Cuba.
Most of these media, and those who own them, would be overjoyed to have the polemic leftist President out of the picture for good. These same media have “killed” Fidel Castro dozens of times over the years, only to bite their tongues every time the Cuban leader makes public appearances, energized and astute for an 84-year old revolutionary.
The overly-exaggerated reaction to Chavez’s health has in large part resulted from the habitual public appearances he’s made during the past 12 years, which everyone – literally everywhere – has grown accustomed to. His absence from the limelight has left a massive hole in media that report on Venezuela. Even those from opposition groups and political parties in Venezuela have been left at a loss without President Chavez.
When he’s here, the opposition wants him gone, and has attempted everything from coup d’etats, economic sabotages, assassination attempts and even calling for foreign intervention, to get him out. When he’s temporarily absent, they want him back. When photographs and video images were shown of him from his recovery location in Havana, opposition spokespeople and media demanded he make a speech. When he’s in Venezuela making speeches and talking on television, they want him silenced. As they say in Venezuela, “Chavez has them all crazy” (Chavez los tiene locos).
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
The truth is, within hours of his surgery for a pelvic abscess on the verge of bursting – which could be very dangerous and requires immediate drainage – the Venezuelan government informed the public of his status. Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro read a statement that Friday, June 10 on live television from Cuba, where the President had made a final stop on a Latin American tour. The surgery was successful and the Venezuelan head of state just needed to recover. Two days later, Chavez himself called into a live television show on Telesur and spoke for about 20 minutes about the operation and his current status, as well as his road to recovery and full capacity to continue leading the government from his hospital bed. After all, he was not mentally incapacitated, just temporarily physically debilitated from the intervention.
Chavez also explained that the incision to drain the abscess had been “deep”, and as a precaution, biopsies were taken to ensure he had no signs of anything malignant. “The tests all came back negative, nothing malignant”, the Venezuelan President assured the public on live television.
But during the days post-op, media coverage of Chavez’s health rapidly deteriorated into a vampiric binge of false information attempting to portray the Venezuelan leader as “critically ill”. Many claimed the myths they were spreading were due to a level of “secrecy” about the President’s condition. But everyday, high level officials from the government publicly informed about his progress and revealed they were in constant communication with him. Where was the secrecy?
Apparently, when media, yellow-journalists and politicians don’t hear what they want to hear, they make things up and blame the government for lack of information. In the case of Hugo Chavez, there really is nothing more to tell. He doesn’t have cancer. He’s not terminally ill. He’s not in critical condition. He’s not even sick! He just had surgery on a very sensitive part of his body and is in recovery and rehab. For someone who is generally extremely energetic and hasn’t rested or taken vacation in 12 years, one month of post-op recovery is a miminum of what he needs and deserves to get back to his usual self.
Despite his absence from the public eye, with the exception of the video footage shown this week on Cuban and Venezuelan television – which showed a thinner, but solid Chavez, talking with the same passion and fire as always – the President has been running the government at a normal pace, signing bills into laws, approving budgets and overseeing his cabinet member’s activities. Everything has been moving forward as usual. There is no lack of governance in Venezuela.
And soon, Chavez will be back in the limelight running the show and the usual suspects will be complaining, once again, about his mighty presence.
Since the founding of the houses of Rothschild and Morgan in the 18th and 19th centuries respectively, banks and bankers have progressively adopted the role of financiers to governments, who find themselves placed in a position of obligation to their financiers. Laws and regulations are thus influenced more by the interests of bankers than by the public interest. This is the essential conflict that undermines the possibility of real democracy in our world. Its not a case of who can get the most votes – it’s a case of who’s got the most money.
These banking dynasties (and the people with the most money who control them) have spawned an entire sub-race of human beings who are characterized by a conviction of their superior intellect, and entitlement to act outside of the laws of society, reinforced by the governments who are obliged to aid and abet them as debtors. This has resulted in a situation whereby the entire global economic engine is in the control of these very rich and powerful dynasties, who now collude daily to manipulate markets to their own benefit, and at the expense of the rest of the world’s citizenry.
The operational platform of this global criminal enterprise is the futures, derivatives, and debt markets. Far from market efficiency mechanisms, they are the means by which the entrenched financial dynasties hobble government and siphon off the earnings of everyone around the world in regularly engineered financial expansions and contractions. It is the means by which astronomic virtual profits are generated, and the reason why banks no longer invest in businesses. Why invest in a business when you can invest in your own fabricated market, where you control supply, demand and price?
Without taking delivery of anything, without paying for anything, and without doing anything more than publishing thousands of contracts to purchase and/or sell vast quantities of commodities far in excess of what can realistically be produced, delivered or utilized, the inclinations and trading impulses of the vast majority of traders are dragged into losses as markets gyrate between up and down, as the puppeteers operating on behalf of the banking dynasties go long and then short. It’s a fine tuned fraud on an international scale. And it can’t be identified or detected, because the mechanisms for recognition and enforcement of regulations are under the control of the banking dynasties. After all, who is it that these governments are in debt to?
The closest that media has ever come to exposing this criminal organization is in the film “Inside Job”, by Charles Ferguson. The film does an utterly fantastic job of baring the collusive relationships among government, bankers, and economists. But it fails to identify the very root cause, which are these financial dynasties acting in concert, populating governments with hand-picked puppets who do their bidding, often naively. Charles Ferguson does an utterly sublime job of tricking economists into revealing the conflicts inherent in their various roles. The buffoons are disrobed and stand naked and ridiculous for the viewer. This film should be required viewing for all economics students entering university.
But that’s as far as real journalism has been able to penetrate. After the front-line economists, the wily politician handlers, more finely attuned to perception, stand behind their offices to avoid public comment. There’s only so far up the food chain an investigator like Mr. Ferguson can go.
World Domination: Not Just a Cartoon Ambition
Consequently, we have a globalized machine that efficiently causes all valuable resources to be extricated prematurely from the earth’s crust to satisfy the insatiable greed of this parasitic top layer of human society. Through the issuance of thousands of long contracts, the appearance of robust and perpetual future demand is distributed, and bankers and miners dutifully get in line to finance and explore for deposits, many of which will never see production in our lifetimes. The problem for these otherwise intelligent people is, the closer you get to the top of the food chain, the farther up the food chain you are driven to go. Its equal parts greed and addiction. (Greed is really just the addiction to money and the sense of invincibility having lots and lots of it gives).
From a macro-time perspective, we could be perceived to be on the brink of the sixth mass extinction of species in the last 500 million years. Heretofore predicated by asteroids and natural climatic shifts, this next one will be initiated by ourselves, global warming naysayers notwithstanding. But that’s an unpopular reality, and so, we continue in the default human mode, and pretend it isn’t happening. We’ve got Hummers and Webers and iPhones and Wii’s to buy, goddammit. Summer’s here – lets get drunk!
We are presently needlessly exhuming every element of any use from the earth’s crust and shaping them into items of ultimate distraction – computers, phones, cars and video games – to the point where the business of information management is the most omnipresent and important component of any business – even those unassociated with the information business. Our countries are now referred to as ‘markets’ and the destruction of our natural environment as ‘our transformation of the earth’. Both are spun as desirable. But demand is absent and deteriorating.
The massive outpouring of products stemming from this wholesale pillaging the earth’s crust is only needed to support the fallacious premise of modern economic theory that promotes perpetual growth. The obvious outcome of such a mentality is apparently lost on all the bankers and politicians employed by the global banking dynasties, and of course, upon their minutiae-obsessed technicians, the economists. We still don’t need more cars, yet the stimulus and quantitative easing that is in fact the theft of a future generation’s equity has re-invigorated, albeit superficially, demand for cars. We still don’t need more new houses, and while hundreds of thousands of families around the world are evicted from the homes they thought they owned but now understand they only rented for an exorbitant sum, the same monetary deluge has resuscitated, albeit temporarily, construction and sale of more homes.
People are at a loss on how to defend themselves from the predation of this banking system, and the bankers’ media machine is so thoroughly efficient, that the vast majority of citizens question the validity of the idea that they are being raped repeatedly by their financial institutions while their arms are pinned by the governments they elect. Amid such culturally pervasive ignorance, a change in direction is rendered impossible.
Non-mainstream market commentators bleat advice continuously into the wind to buy gold and silver with increasingly useless U.S. dollars, with limited effect. Those who began accumulating in the early part of the last decade smirk at the fools on CNBC who suggest the gold bubble has popped.
But the banking dynasties, having been inexistence since the late 1800’s, have fine tuned the relationships among its various apparatus, and now function so very well as to be nearly invisible. It has among its tool kit the derivatives market to make the advocates for monetary metals appear misguided and idiotic. Thus the savage attack on gold and silver markets last month, with the results that the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and CNN are all furiously publishing stories who feature the human examples of fortunes lost in gold and silver, albeit temporarily, as their main topics. This amounts to so much noise, for the well informed, and is thus ignored. Veterans of the gold and silver trade understand that the more prices rise, the greater must follow the volatility in these markets because the perpetrators of the criminal enterprise they expose grow more motivated to try and derail the rise while capitalizing on the opportunities they create to cover shorts and fleece the sheep.
For example, on May 5th, CNN published a story with the headline, “Oil leads commodities price plunge”. According to the story;
“Small investors, who had piled into the precious metal for months, scrambled to sell their holdings, fearing heavy losses. Silver fell 12.9 per cent on Thursday to below $35, bringing its losses in the past week to 31 per cent.”
The story implies that losses were incurred by small investors who bought at the high and sold at the low. The effect of publishing such a biased statement (did the author quote or even speak to any “small investors”? Of course not.) is to sow fear into the hearts of small investors to induce them to sell. Curiously, that story has since been moved from CNN’s web site. Note there has never been a story by CNN that features the 300% gains investors who bought precious metals in the first part of the last decade might have won.
The chanted mantra of ‘globalization’ is specifically designed and distributed through the mainstream media to establish the expectation by the residents of main street for a single global government. The bankrupting of governments in conjunction with the destruction of the U.S. dollar are key milestones in the progress to that ultimate objective. Its going to
The success of contrarians in accumulating and preserving wealth through gold and silver is not lost on the banking dynasties. They are acutely aware of this persistent hole in their one world road map. And that’s why precious metals have been the focus of so much attention by both investors, and the perpetrators of derivatives market fraud in an effort to dissuade investors from investing. This month’s concerted assault on precious metals through the futures market is a case in point, and a classic pattern in the ten year bull market in precious metals.
Silver was singled out for special assault by the banking dynasties, or ‘cartel’ as the Gold Anti-trust Action Committee and its adherents refer to them, as its recent out performance of gold has put it firmly in the cross hairs of the cartel, as its new popularity drains even more savings targeted by the cartel away from that strategy’s currency, the U.S. dollar, and into silver, where the value is safe. Watch how quickly silver bounces back, as more and more investors in physical silver and gold use the pattern evident in the cartel’s bumbling strategy to snap up cheap silver.
Gold too, but the veteran audience grows immune to its gyrations, as they are now de rigeur for those who follow the market.
Gold and silver, despite being tiny markets in comparison to the derivatives scam they support, are the focus of the cartel apparatus and management for the simple reason that within the performance of the unencumbered gold and silver spot price market, the smoke emanates from the gun in use during the crime. And as everybody knows, where there is smoke, there is, or soon will be, fire.
For now, however, the poor dumb bastards who bought gold and silver, and in a panic, have sold at a loss are now back in the hands of the pro-dollar-anti-gold majority that is the mentally enslaved canon fodder for the cartel. They will see gold and silver rise strongly in the inevitable next leg up of the gold and silver bull market, but they will willfully ignore the evidence of the broader trend, and warn anyone sufficiently naïve to listen of the feckless injustice and stupidity of buying gold and silver, and use the example of his own stupidity to prove the veracity of his advice.
Such is the world we live in. Governed by misanthropes, the world economy is on the ropes, and the banking dynasties are in fine form. On August 9, 2010, Goldman Sachs reported to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission that 25 to 35 percent of its revenue was from derivatives. Something to keep in mind the next time you see the mainstream financial press publish a story in which Goldman Sachs says ‘sell’ or ‘buy’ commodities.
Background In 2005, ICOS started its research into an Afghan Poppy for Medicine model. The initial findings were released in the form of a Feasibility Study at a conference in Kabul. Building on these initial findings and ongoing extensive field research, ICOS has released its Poppy for Medicine Technical Dossier, including all technical specifications and the entire economic model of the system.
Afghanistan faces an unprecedented security and reconstruction crisis. Resolving Afghanistan’s opium crisis is the key to the international community’s successful stabilisation and development of the country. Yet, by over-emphasising failed counter-narcotics strategies such as forced poppy eradication, the United States-led international community has aggravated the security situation, precluding the very reconstruction and development necessary to remove Afghan farmers’ need to cultivate poppy. In 2006 Afghanistan produced 92% of the world’s total illegal opium, directly involving at least 13% of the country’s population.
A village-based economic solution to Afghanistan’s poppy crisis is available, which links Afghanistan’s two most valuable resources - poppy cultivation and strong local village control systems – through the controlled cultivation of poppy for the village-based production of morphine. Based on extensive on-the-ground research, ICOS has developed a Poppy for Medicine project model for Afghanistan as a means of bringing illegal poppy cultivation under control in an immediate yet sustainable manner. The key feature of the model is that village-cultivated poppy would be transformed into morphine tablets in the Afghan villages. The entire production process, from seed to medicine tablet, can thus be controlled by the village in collaboration with government and international actors, and all economic profits from medicine sales will remain in the village, allowing for economic diversification. As internationally tradable commodities, village-made medicines would also benefit the Afghan government. Pilot projects are needed to enhance the controllability and economic effectiveness of this counter-narcotics initiative.
AIM Joins Flotilla
Jimbo Simmons is a member of the Choctaw Nation and of the Governing Council AIM , which resists colonization, respects traditional knowledge and self-determination, and raises awareness on issues that concern Indians of the Americas, from racism to protection of sacred sites, the rights of the child, treaties, political prisoners, police brutality, immigration and militarization, climate change and the United Nations General Assembly "Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He is in solidarity with Palestinians and all indigenous peoples that are subjected to expulsion and ethnic cleansing. Jimbo will join the 2011 Freedom Flotilla II which will set sail to break the siege of Gaza in early July.
This interview was filmed in Athens, Greece on June 28, 2011 Just days before the scheduled departure. The interviewer was Dr. Paul Larudee for the American lndian Movement.
There is more information on the AIM West website and that of the Free Palestine Movement.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
By Brenda Norrell Friday, June 24, 2011
The hunting and murder of migrants by US Marines along the Arizona border was among the first facts revealed, after LulzSec hacked the Arizona Department of Public Safety on Thursday.
The data exposes the fact that Arizona law enforcement officers were aware that migrants were being hunted by off-duty Marines patrolling the border with assault weapons. The information was in a report for the month of October, 2008, by Arizona's HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) Investigative Support Center.
"In other incidents reported in October, U.S. Border Patrol agents encountered two subjects who claimed to be members of the Border Watch Group the Blue Lights based on the Caballo Loco Ranch. The subjects, armed with pistols and at least one M4 rifle, were dressed in full desert camouflage uniforms, similar to those of the United States military. They stated they were not members of the Minutemen, but paid contract employees who ‘get the job done’ and ‘were not just volunteers.’ They possessed valid United States Marine Corps identification cards."
Arizona and federal agents have largely ignored the militia and white separatist groups patrolling this area, along the border of the Tohono O’odham Nation, south of Three Points, and southwest of Tucson.
An Internet user who called himself "Marine 1," posted online at the Patriots Border Alliance and described Operation Ice Storm scheduled for January of 2008 and based at the Caballo Loco RV Ranch.
Marine 1 posted this message: “Being only 7 months old now, we are enjoying success beyond our imagination, and it is fully credited to the PBA Minuteman Volunteer. Without your support and dedication to our mission, our efforts would go without notice. Since being asked by many Minutemen this past Spring to form a border watch group, we have performed one weekend and one 30 Day Muster in Palominas Arizona and New Mexico. We have stood in protest and supported the ongoing events at Pruitts Furniture Store in Phoenix, and we continue to be active and help stop illegal immigration across the land."
The posted message included directions to the Caballo Loco RV Ranch: From Tucson, take Hwy 86 West to Three Points. Take Rt 286 South, just before mile marker 34 make a left turn onto a dirt road, follow that for 8 miles. The road is well graded and suitable for cars. The dirt road is marked with a sign, "Caballo Loco RV Ranch."
The 'patriots' have continued to gather in this area. In March of 2011, Riflestock was held in this area and promoted online. "Riflestock is not intended to be a border operation, itself, though the ability to see the damage done, take pictures of illegal critters, and, perhaps, scare the hell out of some of them, by our sheer numbers, and to actually visit the site of America's ongoing war with illegal border crossings, is in the offering," according to the web post.
In Arizona's HIDTA report of Oct. 2008, there were more details on the assaults on migrants under the subheading, "Border Banditry and Assaults on Illegal Aliens."
"Border bandit groups continually target illegal aliens and narcotics smugglers. They rove the desert, lying-in-wait to rob or assault them. This occurs both in Mexico and after they enter the United States. The most common area in Mexico is just south of the International Boundary. In Arizona, the most common areas for this type of activity are: Green Valley; Sasabe; Arivaca; Nogales; the west desert near Casa Grande; and on the Indian Reservations. Incidents reported for October included: armed bandits in Mexico robbed illegal aliens, one of whom was shot; bandits in Arizona robbed illegal aliens, one of whom was sexually assaulted," the report states.
Although border rights organizations have pressed for investigations of assaults, rapes and murders of migrants in the Sonoran Desert, Arizona law enforcement and border agents most often ignore the crimes.
A large percentage of the migrants in the Arizona border region are Indigenous Peoples from Central and South America, including many Mayan women and children from Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guatemala. Assaults, murder and rapes by the US military, Arizona law enforcement, the US Border Patrol and anti-immigration groups and other hate groups, are often ignored or concealed.
As it released the hacked data, Lulz Security said in a statement, “We are targeting AZDPS specifically because we are against SB1070 and the racial profiling anti-immigrant police state that is Arizona.”
“Every week we plan on releasing more classified documents and embarrassing personal details of military and law enforcement in an effort not just to reveal their racist and corrupt nature but to purposefully sabotage their efforts to terrorize communities fighting an unjust ‘war on drugs.’”
Arizona officials confirmed on Thursday that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Twitter account received a message from LulzSec, after Arpaio complained of heat from the media on Thursday.
"The media has been giving me a lot of heat lately but nothing compared to tent city! You think you're hot? It's 128 degrees there today!" said Arpaio, who uses the name of RealSheriffJoe on Twitter.
Lulzsec responded, "Media? Heat? You? Chinga La Migra!" using the Spanish words for "F--k the Border Patrol."
Arpaio continued to tweet away on Friday, announcing that he would be speaking to the Gun Owners of America tonight in Reno. Yesterday, after Lulzsec's tweet, Arpaio said he met yesterday with Brazilian Counsel General Jose Alfredo Garicia Lima. Arpaio said "illegal immigration" was among the issues discussed.
As the data was slowly released on Thursday night, Arizona human rights activists waited to learn more about police spying on peaceful protests by immigration and border rights activists.
Tagged "SB 1070 Protests and Civil Disobedience," the data is a bulletin from the Arizona Counter-Terrorism Information Center. The bulletin states that police were watching demonstrators from Tucson, Phoenix and Flagstaff as they prepared for civil disobedience in reaction to SB 1070 on July 26-31, 2010. However, the bulletin also points out the non-violent nature of the July 22 act of civil disobedience at the courthouse in Phoenix. It also states that counterprotesters at events thus far were non-violent.
On the subject of racial profiling, boingboing.net concludes, "Even after controlling for other explanatory factors, racial/ethnic disparities exist for warnings, repair orders, citations, arrests and seaches. Further analyses of searches and seizures illustrate that hispanic, black and native american drivers were significantly more likely to be searched compared to whites." (This report was previously made public in regards to Native Americans being racially profiled by Arizona law enforcement.)
There is also an admission about the intent of an officer for police brutality. It follows a guide to social networking sites which cautions officers not to boast about beating arrestees on Facebook, because that may be of use to defense attorneys, according to boingboing.net.
One of the notable postings introduced to the jury was that the officer watched the movie "Training Day" (a motion picture that displayed corrupt police behavior and brutality) to brush up on "proper police procedure." One of his postings said, "If he wanted to tune him up some, he should have delayed cuffing him." In another he added, "If you were going to hit a cuffed suspect, at least get your money's worth 'cause now he's going to get disciplined for a relatively light punch."
Meanwhile in Arizona, O’odham and other Native Americans continue to call for an end to the militarization of the border and their homelands. Indigenous rights activists continue to document the abuses of the US Border Patrol in their homelands, from California to Texas.
In Arizona, border rights activists continue to search the Sonoran Desert for those dying and dead, and battle for the right to legally give water to dying migrants on the Tohono O’odham Nation.
While the United States provides media spin to avoid responsibility for the drug war in Mexico, the fact is there would be no drug war without the appetite for illegal drugs in the US.
Recently it was also revealed that the weapons used in the violent drug war come not just from illegal weapons trafficking in the US, but also from the ATF. ATF agents revealed that they were ordered to let weapons “walk” across the border into Mexico, supposedly in sting operations. Ultimately those ATF weapons, in at least two cases, were used to kill US federal agents.
Further, the US has not fully disclosed its role in training members of the Zetas who were initially US Special Forces trained in the US.
In related news, the Southern Poverty Law Center revealed that a neo-Nazi accused of making illegal explosive devices apparently was interested in supplying those munitions to anti-immigration groups patrolling the U.S.-Mexican border in Arizona, according to court documents. Jeffery Harbin, a member of the white supremacist National Socialist Movement, was allegedly building homemade grenades and pipe bombs at home.
A federal grand jury indicted Harbin, 28, of Apache Junction, Ariz., on three counts of possessing explosive devices in January.
Of Their Humanity
Whites have, while no doubt being exploited, received the biggest crumbs from the white world order of the past centuries. In general, Whites can travel freely, speak freely, and bomb freely. But they are losing that most precious to them. NATO and the U.S. is robbing whites of their humanity
By Dennis South
This calls something to mind for me that I think is EXTREMELY important, if not essential, to remember. Though it is PURE FACT that the "white" nations are the nations that have waged this war of aggression and genocide on the Libyan people, we see that it is NOT the white citizens, necessarily, that support this madness.
Their outrage stems from the fact that they have the SAME blood and emotions within them that any other people of any other "race" or ethnicity has. So, it is important to recogize this; to invite their support; and to support them in their struggle to help the Libyan Jamahiriyi, the Libyan People, and Brother Leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
But, I must add here a sad note of warning to these white demonstrators, but it is also a GOOD note: You MUST increase these demonstrations, and you must spread them all over your country, collectively demanding the end of NATO's war against Libya. Why?
I am sorry to tell you this, but, due to the "racial" composition of the NATO countries, i.e., the majority composition, your countries are setting you up to be HATED as a race. I have consistently, in my notes, avoided any mention of race. But, I have to speak to the facts.
And the facts are the following: Many human beings can be said to operate on somewhat of a viceral level. When the non-"white" world sees the NATO nations, and the U.S., both of which are majority "white" nations, dropping mega-tons of bombs on an African country of a mere 6,000,000 people in such an incredibly, almost unprecedented manner, the viceral reaction amongst the people of the world will be a feeling of hatred against the white race.
And, I am very sorry to say, it simply is not for us people of the non-white world to redeem your countries. We know, for a fact, that there are HUMAN BEINGS amongst the white people of the NATO nations and the U.S. But the historical pattern of oppression against non-white people, that is now being duplicated in at least six countries, including NATO, is beginning to cause non-white people to ask themselves, "What is WRONG with whites!"
And these are not people of a racist nature that I am talking about. Nor are they people who belong to any particular organization. People in barber shops; beauty shops, and just regular non-white working people are asking themselves HARD questions.
You must TAKE your good reputation that you know that you have as a good human being, AWAY from NATO. This action in Libya is being perceived in Africa, amongst virtually all 1 billion Africans as a white racist war. (and that is no exaggeration, as Africans, from children to adults, all over the Continent, LOVE Colonel Gaddafi, and have pictures of him in their homes, due to the fact that he has spent billions of dollars in development projects in the black African countries). Are they correct? Or are they incorrect?
And I am not speaking of black African LEADERS, too many of whom, unfortunately, are more interested in amassing personal wealth than on helping their own black brothers and sisters. I am speaking of the ordinary citizens of the countries of Africa.
Whether intended or not, NATO and the U.S. is on the road to DESTROYING YOUR VALUE AS A HUMAN BEING, in the eyes of non-white people the world over, something I certainly do not wish to see, personally.
During the 1960s Revolution in the United States, millions of U.S. whites got out into the streets and protested, sometimes violently, against Vietnam and against the oppression of African-Americans. And some of these whites conducted street battles with the police authorities. This is NOT something I am advocating. I am merely pointing to an actual historical period of U.S. history.
Aside from their desire to stop the Vietnam war, as well as fight for the rights of their African-American brothers and sisters, they were ALSO concerned with NOT ALLOWING THEIR GOVERNMENT TO ROB THEM OF THEIR HUMANITY! They no longer wanted to be identified as a hate-filled, genocidal oppressor. The term that used to be used, all over the world, for white Americans was, "The Ugly American."
Are we back there again? Are the good white citizens of NATO and the United States going to stand and allow those entities to TAKE YOUR HUMANITY FROM YOU; to caste you as something that you are NOT? I am not white, but if I were, I would feel immensely outraged, offended, angry, and highly embarrassed, although embarrassment is the least issue.
In just 8 years from 1969 to 1977, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi succeeded in doing something that is virtually impossible in a traditional tribal society: He brought those tribes together under one roof, in a true democratic system. He created a Libya that is the most tolerant Middle Eastern country when it comes to various religious beliefs. He extended equality to the women.
In short, he stood for HUMAN EQUALITY. He fully believed in the Farewell Message of the Prophet Muhammad, which said that an Arab is no better than a non-Arab; a black is no better than a red, etc.. In that Farewell Message, Muhammad said that everyone is equal, except to the degree of his or her righteousness.
I call on white Europeans to STAND UP for your humanity; to not allow NATO and the U.S. to place you in a light that you do not deserve to be placed in.
Should you fail, then those of you who can no longer stand to be in the midst of a careless, complacent, selfish, arrogant, racist population, that becomes complicit by its refusal to say "this is not in my name", will be able to immigrate to Africa, to build a new Universal Jamahiriya, and that day is coming. But before you are forced to leave, try to change the condition of your people.
Afghans To Gazans
"Why Can't We Touch Your Face"
'We have slogan here. 'From river to the sea, everyone should be free.''
We in Afghanistan sense your loneliness.
It is hard to be born human, and not be regarded as one.
It is hard to be a mother who can't cook enough for meals and laugh enough with her children.
It is hard to be a youth, and not feel young at all.
It's hard to lose the human capacity for happiness.
We share your anger too.
But let's not be angry for too long. Hasn't war taught us that love is needed to guide anger, the same way we've seen mothers shaking with grief but standing with grace?
Don't be angry with your family and loved ones because they had snapped at you after the usual hard day. We should forgive, and try to stay as human as life allows.
Please stay together, and not submit to human laws which pull humans apart.
We can't expect people in the rest of the world to worry about us in Gaza or Afghanistan. It hurts more than we're willing to utter, but we'll find sufficient strength to accept that people are normally too busy to wonder if we're really such 'terrible' human beings.
It's irritating that politicians are universally well-dressed while making our world so socially distant and emotionally intolerable. We know that peace, equality and freedom will come when the politicians step aside and let the people converse. But they aren't going to step aside unless we persuade them with our dignity, like many people across the world are doing now.
In adversity, we share with you the occasional burden of being 'no-bodies', But surely, we must cling on to some meaning, cling on to the hope that God doesn't intend for us to be discarded ( like trash ), that there are such qualities as compassion, that human company exists.
To the people of Gaza and Israel, we are reaching out to you, as President Obama and world leaders keep extending their violence on their own people, and on us whom they don't see.
They believe in force. 'What we can do, and will do, is build a partnership with the Afghan people that endures -- one that ensures that we will be able to continue targeting terrorists....( 'permanent base ').....When threatened, we must respond with force.' Obama in his Afghanistan 'withdrawal war speech'.
We the people believe in love.
We send you our love through our friends on the US Boat to Gaza sailing with the Freedom Flotilla 2.
A fortnight ago, there appeared a remote possibility that two of us would be considered for travel on the Mavi Marmara. It gripped us that we may have been able to share each other's pain at a closer distance, for a little while.
The people of Mavi Marmara and the other flotilla boats have opened up the seas of our hearts.
Afghanistan needs a flotilla too, but you would know that Afghanistan has no sea.
We imagine the blue seas.
Imagination helps friends not to worry about whether they're available for each other ALL the time, or whether they will ever see each other face-to-face.
20-year-old Skye Miller was our friend for a brief moment, introduced to us by Kathy Kelly, one of our dear activist friends on the US Boat to Gaza. Skye was dying from cancer in a hospice and Kathy had passed her a blue scarf from our silent, peace walk in Kabul this spring.
We sent a message to Skye, 'Mohammad Jan, Abdulai and I are typing this email feeling a sadness, and feeling that life must be more than just what we see. It is meaningful for us to give you our small 'salams' through Kathy and through the visions of peace colored in blue. Thank you Skye! '
She passed away with her family by her side, a few days after her reply, 'Dearest Kathy, I cannot tell you the happiness that I felt after receiving the e-mail from Mohammad Jan, Abdulai and Hakim and to know that I am in their thoughts. I am enjoying the weather and hope that you are too. Enjoy your weekend. Be well, Skye.'
Here, sometimes, the sky is so peacefully and enjoyably blue we can almost touch it.
What antagonism has poisoned Man, and who on earth and in heaven has determined, that we can't touch your face
TUCSON – Tohono O’odham and Navajo activists who locked down in protest at the US Border Patrol Headquarters in Tucson return to federal court on Wednesday, June 29. They are calling for a day of action to end abuse by Border Patrol agents and an end to the spreading militarization of Indigenous lands along the border.
Alex Soto, Tohono O’odham and one of the protesters, referring to the trespassing charge that was dropped said, “How can I, a Tohono O'odham person, be trespassing on my own land?”
The call to action on Wednesday comes after the exposure that 127 Border Patrol agents have been charged with corruption since 2004, and 267 more are under investigation, according to testimony before a Senate committee on June 9.
Still, human rights activists here, on the Arizona border, point out that federal authorities ignore the ongoing human rights abuses by Border Patrol agents toward people, ranging from beatings to rape and murder in the Sonoran Desert.
In an effort to reveal the human rights crisis at the border, six protesters, including Tohono O’odham and Navajo, locked-down and occupied the US Border Patrol Headquarters, on May 21, 2010. On Wednesday at 2 pm, they will return to federal court to fight the charge of disorderly conduct with serious disruptive behavior.
Last February, the six also stood trial for a charge of criminal trespassing. However, their defense team discovered that the trespassing charge was incorrectly filed by the State. A motion to dismiss the charge of criminal trespassing was granted by the court.
In February, as protesters appeared in federal court, more than 40 protesters took to the streets, with banners reading, “Indigenous Resistance, Protect Sacred Places,” and “Free Movement for People Not Commerce, Tear Down the Wall.” They chanted, “No Borders, No Border Patrol.” Two protesters were arrested. O’odham elders attended the court proceedings to demonstrate their support.
A banner reading, “Border Patrol out of O’odham land,” was also suspended from the “Snake Bridge” that morning before court. At one point, supporters rallied in front of the streamline courtroom, another manifestation of the systematic abuse of migrants in federal courts.
“Operation Streamline, started in 2005 is a ‘zero tolerance’ rapid court process that prosecutes hundreds of migrants a day, sometimes in shackles. Constitutional rights are also not granted and what would take multiple hearings is often a less than a two-day process of arrest and deportation,” the protesters said.
Alex Soto, Tohono O’odham, and one of the arrestees said, "It was good to see all the support last February for our initial trial proceeding. We need to continue to build, and remember this action was a prayer, and the dismissal of trespassing reaffirms that the Border Patrol troops are the real trespassers, not us.
“Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Border Patrol, Immigration Custom Enforcement and their corporate backers such as Wackenhut, are the true criminals. Troops and paramilitary law enforcement, detention camps, check points, and citizenship verification are not a solution to ‘issues’ of migration.
“Indigenous Peoples have existed here long before these imposed borders, and Elders inform us that we always honored freedom of movement. Why are Indigenous communities and the daily deaths at the border ignored? The impacts of border militarization are constantly being made invisible in and by the media, and the popular culture of this country. Even the mainstream immigrant rights movement has often pushed for ‘reform’ which means further militarization of the border, leading to increased suffering for Indigenous communities. Border militarization destroys Indigenous communities." Soto said.
Kevin Jose, Akimel O'odham/Tohono O’odham, and member of O’odham Solidarity Across Borders, pointed out the militarization of the border.
"During the time of this action, my thoughts ran so deep as to what else we could do and what we can make happen. Singing for them at this action was powerful and their hearts were stronger than ever.
"What the state does on the control of free movement along our traditional lands is like a chokehold to our throats. The push to militarize the border does not just affect the Tohono O’odham who live in the border region, it affects all O’odham. In Tohono, it comes in the form of a border wall, in the Gila River Indian Community; it comes in form of a freeway."
Currently the state of Arizona is pushing for the construction of the South Mountain Loop 202 freeway extension on Akimel O’odham land (Phoenix Area). The Loop 202 is part of the CANAMEX transportation corridor, which is part of the larger NAFTA highway project. The two proposed routes will either result in a loss of approximately 600 acres of tribal land, and the forced relocation of Akimel O'odham and Pee-Posh families or would gouge a 40-story high, 200-yard wide cut into Muadag Do'ag (O'odham name for South Mountain), which is sacred to all O'odham and Pee-Posh.
“Neo-liberal projects such as CANAMEX and NAFTA are attacking O’odham communities. All these attacks are connected. Support our nawoj (friends) on June 29th for their trial,” Jose said.
No More Deaths, a migrant support group, said that between October 2009 and April 2011, there were more than 338 deaths on the Arizona border alone. There have been 1,200 National Guard troops stationed along the southwestern border since June 2010. Additionally, the state of Arizona recently passed a bill which will allow for Arizona to build its own border wall. The law goes into effect July 20 of this year.
While Native Americans protest the abuse of Border Patrol, the mainstream media fails to expose the abuse and corruption.
On June 9, Alan Bersin, commissioner of Customs and Border Patrol, testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery and Intergovernmental Affairs.
Bersin said, “Since 2004 in October, 127 CBP personnel have been arrested, charged or convicted of corruption.”
Charles Edwards, the acting Inspector General for the Dept. of Homeland Security, testified before the committee that there are 267 active corruption-related investigations underway of Customs and Border Patrol personnel.
As the six protesters prepared to return to federal court, they demanded actions to end border militarization and the criminalization of their Indigenous communities.
They demanded the immediately withdrawal of National Guard Troops from the US/Mexico border and the halt to development of the border wall. Further, they pressed for the immediate removal of drones and checkpoints, the decommissioning of all detention camps and the release of all presently held undocumented migrants.
Indigenous Peoples rights of self-determination must be honored, they said. Further, they pressed for implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, respect for Indigenous Peoples inherent right of migration and an end to NAFTA, FTAA and other trade agreements
Protesters called for the immediate end to the CANAMEX/NAFTA highway projects, including the South Mountain Freeway. They urged immediate repeal of SB1070 and 287g, and an end to all racial profiling.
Protesters demanded a halt to Border Patrol sweeps on sovereign Native land, an end to raids and deportations and an immediate and unconditional regularization (“legalization”) of all people. Pressing for the US to uphold human freedom and rights, they called for repeal of HB 2281. Further, they urged support for dignity and respect and support to ensure freedom of movement for all people.
As the xenophobic media coverage continues of the border, the private prison industry continues to profit from incarcerating migrants.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
It's a story CNN won't report. Late at night there's a pounding on the door in Misurata. Armed NATO inspired and aided falsely called rebel soldiers force young Libyan women out of their beds at gun-point. Hustling the women and teenagers into trucks, the soldiers rush the women to gang bang parties for NATO rebels—or else rape them in front of their husbands or fathers. When NATO rebels finish their rape sport, the soldiers cut the women's throats.
Rapes are now ongoing acts of war in rebel-held cities, like an organized military strategy, according to refugees. Joanna Moriarty, who's part of a global fact-finding delegation visiting Tripoli this week, also reports that NATO rebels have gone house to house through Misurata, asking families if they support NATO. If the families say no, they are killed on the spot. If families say they want to stay out of the fighting, NATO rebels take a different approach to scare other families. The doors of "neutral homes" are welded shut, Moriarty says, trapping families inside. In Libyan homes, windows are typically barred. So when the doors to a family compound get welded shut, Libyans are entombed in their own houses, where NATO forces can be sure large families will slowly starve to death.
These are daily occurrences, not isolated events. And Gadhaffi's soldiers are not responsible. In fact, pro-Gadhaffi and "neutral" families are targeted as the victims of the attacks. Some of the NATO tactics may have occurred in hopes of laying blame on Gadhaffi's door. However the attacks are back firing.
Nine War Words
That Define Our World
By Tom Engelhardt
Now that Washington has at least six wars cooking (in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, and more generally, the global "war on terror"), Americans find themselves in a new world of war. If, however, you haven't joined the all-volunteer military, any of our 17 intelligence outfits, the Pentagon, the weapons companies and hire-a-gun corporations associated with it, or some other part of the National Security Complex, America's distant wars go on largely without you (at least until the bills come due).
War has a way of turning almost anything upside down, including language. But with lost jobs, foreclosed homes, crumbling infrastructure, and weird weather, who even notices? This undoubtedly means that you're using a set of antediluvian war words or definitions from your father's day. It's time to catch up.
So here's the latest word in war words: what's in, what's out, what's inside out. What follows are nine common terms associated with our present wars that probably don't mean what you think they mean. Since you live in a twenty-first-century war state, you might consider making them your own.
Victory: Like defeat, it's a "loaded" word and rather than define it, Americans should simply avoid it.
In his last press conference before retirement, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was asked whether the US was "winning in Afghanistan". He replied, "I have learned a few things in four and a half years, and one of them is to try and stay away from loaded words like 'winning' and 'losing'. What I will say is that I believe we are being successful in implementing the president's strategy, and I believe that our military operations are being successful in denying the Taliban control of populated areas, degrading their capabilities, and improving the capabilities of the Afghan national security forces."
In 2005, George W Bush, whom Gates also served, used the word "victory" 15 times in a single speech ("National Strategy for Victory in Iraq"). Keep in mind, though, that our previous president learned about war in the movie theaters of his childhood where the marines always advanced and Americans actually won. Think of his victory obsession as the equivalent of a mid-20th-century hangover.
In 2011, despite the complaints of a few leftover neo-cons dreaming of past glory, you can search Washington high and low for "victory". You won't find it. It's the verbal equivalent of a Yeti. Being "successful in implementing the president's strategy", what more could you ask? Keeping the enemy on his "back foot": hey, at $10 billion a month, if that isn't "success," tell me what is?
Admittedly, the assassination of Osama bin Laden was treated as if it were VJ Day ending World War II, but actually win a war? Don't make Secretary of Defense Gates laugh!
Maybe, if everything comes up roses, in some year soon we'll be celebrating DE (Degrade the Enemy) Day.
Enemy: Any super-evil pipsqueak on whose back you can raise at least $1.2 trillion a year for the National Security Complex.
"I actually consider al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula with al-Awlaki as a leader within that organization probably the most significant risk to the US homeland." So said Michael Leiter, presidential adviser and the director of the National Counter-terrorism Center, last February, months before Bin Laden was killed (and Leiter himself resigned).
Since Bin Laden's death, Leiter's assessment has been heartily seconded in word and deed in Washington. For example, New York Times reporter Mark Mazzetti recently wrote: "Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen is believed by the CIA to pose the greatest immediate threat to the United States, more so than even al-Qaeda's senior leadership believed to be hiding in Pakistan."
Now, here's the odd thing. Once upon a time, statements like these might have been tantamount to announcements of victory: That's all they've got left?
Once upon a time, if you asked an American who was the most dangerous man on the planet, you might have been told Adolf Hitler, or Joseph Stalin or Mao Zedong. These days, don't think enemy at all; think comic-book-style arch-villain Lex Luthor or Doctor Doom - anyone, in fact, capable of standing in for globe-encompassing evil.
Right now, post-Bin Laden, America's super-villain of choice is Anwar al-Awlaki, an enemy with seemingly near superhuman powers to disturb Washington, but no army, no state, and no significant finances. The US-born "radical cleric" lives as a semi-fugitive in Yemen, a poverty-stricken land of which, until recently, few Americans had heard.
Al-Awlaki is considered at least partially responsible for two high-profile plots against the US: the underwear bomber and package bombs sent by plane to Chicago synagogues. Both failed dismally, even though neither Superman nor the Fantastic Four rushed to the rescue.
As an Evil One, al-Awlaki is a voodoo enemy, a YouTube warrior ("the Bin Laden of the Internet") with little but his wits and whatever superpowers he can muster to help him. He was reputedly responsible for helping to poison the mind of army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan before he blew away 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas.
There's no question of one thing: he's gotten inside Washington's war-on-terror head in a big way. As a result, the Barack Obama administration is significantly intensifying its war against him and the ragtag crew of tribesmen he hangs out with who go by the name of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Covert War: It used to mean secret war, a war "in the shadows" and so beyond the public's gaze. Now, it means a conflict in the full glare of publicity that everybody knows about, but no one can do anything about. Think: in the news, but off the books.
Go figure: today, our "covert" wars are front-page news. The top-secret operation to assassinate Osama bin Laden garnered an unprecedented 69% of the US media "newshole" the week after it happened, and 90% of cable TV coverage. And America's most secretive covert warriors, elite SEAL Team 6, caused "SEAL-mania" to break out nationwide.
Moreover, no minor drone strike in the "covert" CIA-run air war in the Pakistani tribal borderlands goes unreported. In fact, as with Yemen today, future plans for the launching or intensification of Pakistani-style covert wars are now openly discussed, debated, and praised in Washington, as well as widely reported on. At one point, CIA Director Leon Panetta even bragged that, when it came to al-Qaeda, the Agency's covert air war in Pakistan was "the only game in town."
Think of covert war today as the equivalent of a heat-seeking missile aimed directly at that mainstream media newshole. The "shadows" that once covered whole operations now only cover accountability for them.
Permanent bases: In the American way of war, military bases built on foreign soil are the equivalent of heroin. The Pentagon can't help building them and can't live without them, but "permanent bases" don't exist, not for Americans. Never.
That's simple enough, but let me be absolutely clear anyway: Americans may have at least 865 bases around the world (not including those in war zones), but we have no desire to occupy other countries. And wherever we garrison (and where aren't we garrisoning?), we don't want to stay, not permanently anyway.
In the grand scheme of things, for a planet more than four billion years old, our 90 bases in Japan, a mere 60-odd years in existence, or our 227 bases in Germany, some also around for 60-odd years, or those in Korea, 50-odd years, count as little. Moreover, we have it on good word that permanent bases are un-American. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said as much in 2003 when the first of the Pentagon's planned Iraqi mega-bases were already on the drawing boards. Hillary Clinton said so again just the other day, about Afghanistan, and an anonymous American official added for clarification: "There are US troops in various countries for some considerable lengths of time which are not there permanently." Korea anyone? So get it straight, Americans don't want permanent bases. Period.
And that's amazing when you think about it, since globally Americans are constantly building and upgrading military bases. The Pentagon is hooked. In Afghanistan, it's gone totally wild - more than 400 of them and still building! Not only that, Washington is now deep into negotiations with the Afghan government to transform some of them into "joint bases" and stay on them if not until hell freezes over, then at least until Afghan soldiers can be whipped into an American-style army. Latest best guesstimate for that? 2017 without even getting close.
Fortunately, we plan to turn those many bases we built to the tune of billions of dollars, including the gigantic establishments at Bagram and Kandahar, over to the Afghans and just hang around, possibly "for decades," as -- and the word couldn't be more delicate or thoughtful - "tenants".
And by the way, accompanying the recent reports that the CIA is preparing to lend the US military a major covert hand, drone-style, in its Yemen campaign, was news that the Agency is building a base of its own on a rushed schedule in an unnamed Persian Gulf country. Just one base. But don't expect that to be the end of it. After all, that's like eating one potato chip.
Withdrawal: We're going, we're going ... Just not quite yet and stop pushing!
If our bases are shots of heroin, then for the US military leaving anyplace represents a form of "withdrawal," which means the shakes. Like drugs, it's just so darn easy to go in that Washington keeps doing it again and again. Getting out's the bear. Who can blame them, if they don't want to leave?
In Iraq, for instance, Washington has been in the grips of withdrawal fever since 2008 when the Bush administration agreed that all US troops would leave by the end of this year. You can still hear those combat boots dragging in the sand. At this point, top administration and military officials are almost begging the Iraqis to let us remain on a few of our monster bases, like the ill-named Camp Victory or Balad Air Base, which in its heyday had air traffic that reputedly rivaled Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. But here's the thing: even if the US military officially departs, lock, stock, and (gun) barrel, Washington's still not really planning on leaving.
In recent years, the US has built near-billion-dollar "embassies" that are actually citadels-cum-regional-command-posts in the Greater Middle East. Just last week, four former US ambassadors to Iraq made a plea to Congress to pony up the $5.2 billion requested by the Obama administration so that that the State Department can turn its Baghdad embassy into a massive militarized mission with 5,100 hire-a-guns and a small mercenary air force.
In sum, "So Long, It's Been Good to Know Yuh" is not a song that Washington likes to sing.
Drone war (see also covert war): A permanent air campaign using missile-armed pilotless planes that banishes both withdrawal and victory to the slagheap of history.
Is it even a "war" if only one side ever appears in person and only one side ever suffers damage? America's drones are often flown from thousands of miles away by "pilots" who, on leaving their US bases after a work shift "in" a war zone, see signs warning them to drive carefully because this may be "the most dangerous part of your day." This is something new in the history of warfare.
Drones are the covert weaponry of choice in our covert wars, which means, of course, that the military just can't wait to usher chosen reporters into its secret labs and experimental testing grounds to reveal dazzling visions of future destruction.
To make sense of drones, we probably have to stop thinking about "war" and start envisaging other models -- for example, that of the executioner who carries out a death sentence on another human being at no danger to himself. If a pilotless drone is actually an executioner's weapon, a modern airborne version of the guillotine, the hangman's noose, or the electric chair, the death sentence it carries with it is not decreed by a judge and certainly not by a jury of peers.
It's assembled by intelligence agents based on fragmentary (and often self-interested) evidence, organized by targeteers, and given the thumbs-up sign by military or CIA lawyers. All of them are scores, hundreds, thousands of miles away from their victims, people they don't know, and may not faintly understand or share a culture with. In addition, the capital offenses are often not established, still to be carried out, never to be carried out, or nonexistent. The fact that drones, despite their "precision" weaponry, regularly take out innocent civilians as well as prospective or actual terrorists reminds us that, if this is our model, Washington is a drunken executioner.
In a sense, Bush's global war on terror called drones up from the depths of its unconscious to fulfill its most basic urges: to be endless and to reach anywhere on Earth with an Old Testament-style sense of vengeance. The drone makes mincemeat of victory (which involves an endpoint), withdrawal (for which you have to be there in the first place), and national sovereignty (see below).
Corruption: Something inherent in the nature of war-torn Iraqis and Afghans from which only Americans, in and out of uniform, can save them.
Don't be distracted by the $6.6 billion that, in the form of shrink-wrapped $100 bills, the Bush administration loaded onto C-130 transport planes, flew to liberated Iraq in 2003 for "reconstruction" purposes, and somehow mislaid. The US special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction did recently suggest that it might prove to be "the largest theft of funds in national history"; on the other hand, maybe it was just misplaced... forever.
Iraq's parliamentary speaker now claims that up to $18.7 billion in Iraqi oil funds have gone missing-in-action, but Iraqis, as you know, are corrupt and unreliable. So pay no attention. Anyway, not to worry, it wasn't our money. All those crisp Benjamins came from Iraqi oil revenues that just happened to be held in US banks. And in war zones, what can you do? Sometimes bad things happen to good $100 bills!
In any case, corruption is endemic to the societies of the Greater Middle East, which lack the institutional foundations of democratic societies. Not surprisingly then, in impoverished, narcotized Afghanistan, it's run wild. Fortunately, Washington has fought nobly against its ravages for years. Time and again, top American officials have cajoled, threatened, even browbeat Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his compatriots to get them to crack down on corrupt practices and hold honest elections to build support for the American-backed government in Kabul.
Here's the funny thing though: a report on Afghan reconstruction recently released by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Democratic majority staff suggests that the military and foreign "developmental" funds that have poured into the country, and which account for 97% of its gross domestic product, have played a major role in encouraging corruption. To find a peacetime equivalent, imagine firemen rushing to a blaze only to pour gasoline on it and then lash out at the building's dwellers as arsonists.
National sovereignty: 1. Something Americans cherish and wouldn't let any other country violate; 2. Something foreigners irrationally cling to, a sign of unreliability or mental instability.
Here's the 21st-century credo of the American war state. Please memorize it: The world is our oyster. We shall not weep. We may missile [bomb, assassinate, night raid, invade] whom we please, when we please, where we please. This is to be called "American safety."
Those elsewhere, with a misplaced reverence for their own safety or security, or an overblown sense of pride and self-worth, who put themselves in harm's way - watch out. After all, in a phrase: Sovereignty 'R' Us.
Note: As we still live on a one-way imperial planet, don't try reversing any of the above, not even as a thought experiment. Don't imagine Iranian drones hunting terrorists over Southern California or Pakistani special operations forces launching night raids on small midwestern towns. Not if you know what's good for you.
War: A totally malleable concept that is purely in the eye of the beholder.
Which is undoubtedly why the Obama administration recently decided not to return to Congress for approval of its Libyan intervention as required by the War Powers Resolution of 1973. The administration instead issued a report essentially declaring Libya not to be a "war" at all, and so not to fall under the provisions of that resolution. As that report explained: "US operations [in Libya] do not involve  sustained fighting or  active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve  the presence of US ground troops, US casualties, or a serious threat thereof, or  any significant chance of escalation into a conflict characterized by those factors."
This opens up the possibility of quite a new and sunny American future on planet Earth, one in which it will no longer be wildly utopian to imagine war becoming extinct. After all, the Obama administration is already moving to intensify and expand its [fill in the blank] in Yemen, which will meet all of the above criteria, as its [fill in the blank] in the Pakistani tribal borderlands already does. Someday, Washington could be making America safe all over the globe in what would, miraculously, be a thoroughly war-less world.
Monday, June 27, 2011
The Cable, a reporting service of the Washington-based Foreign Policy magazine, reports that Mike Turner, a member of the Armed Services Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, said the admission was made by Admiral Samuel Locklear, commander of the Nato Joint Operations Command in Italy.
Turner, a Republican opponent of President Barack Obama, is opposed to U.S. government support for Nato air strikes against Libya.
He told the news service that the United Nations Security Council had authorized the imposition of a blockade of the Tripoli regime, a no-fly zone over Libya and the protection of civilians.
"And Admiral Locklear explained that the scope of civil protection was being interpreted to permit the removal of the chain of command of Gaddafi's military, which includes Gaddafi," Turner reportedly told The Cable.
"I believed that we were [targeting Gaddafi] but that confirmed it... I believe the scope that Nato is pursuing is beyond what is contemplated in civil protection, so they're exceeding the mission."
Last Friday Turner joined other Republicans, and some Democrats, to reject a bill authorizing U.S. involvement in the military action against Libya. However, another bill, which would have cut funding for the action, failed to pass.
How To Kill Goyim
And Influence People
Leading fundamentalist rabbis gather in Israel to defend the publication of a book, Torat Ha'Melech, that attempted to provide halakhic justification for the killing of non-Jews, including innocent children and families. The gathering exposed not only the ferocious racism of a swath of Israel's pro-settlement rabbinate, but the powerlessness of the government to stop them. See Full report.
Israel uses over 100 forms of mental and physical torture against Palestinian prisoners
Middle East Monitor
June 27, 2011
A human rights centre concerned with the Occupied Palestinian Territories has stated that Israeli forces use more than one hundred mental and physical torture techniques against Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails, and are "continuing to constantly develop its suppressive techniques against them."
In a report released on Sunday, June 26, in commemoration of International Day against Torture, the Prisoners Studies Centre revealed that Israeli authorities are "exercising all manner of internationally-banned torture techniques against Palestinian detainees from the moment of their arrest until their release." The centre called on the international community to monitor the situation inside Israeli prisons and to file indictments against all those involved in torturing detainees.
According to the report, Israeli interrogators "use many suppressive methods to extract confessions from prisoners. Interrogation techniques include pouring hot and cold water onto detainees' heads, depriving them of medicine, putting cigarettes outs on their bodies and keeping them in overcrowded, dirty and dark places - in addition to death threats and threats to expatriate detainees and arrest their family members."
The centre called on Arab and international human rights and humanitarian organizations to "support detainees to resolve the problems they face, and to endeavour to intervene to protect international agreements related to prisoners - agreements that are being violated by the Israeli Occupation."
Was Then - Is Now
USA Drug Lords
by K. H. Ginzel, M.D.
For those who still don't know — let me emphatically state that cigarette smoking is a true addiction! To grasp this well-documented fact, one really doesn't have to study all the supporting scientific evidence. One simply needs to consider that no other drug is self-administered with the persistence, regularity and frequency of a cigarette. At an average rate of ten puffs per cigarette, a one to three pack-a-day smoker inhales 70,000 to 200,000 individual doses of mainstream smoke during a single year. Ever since its large scale industrial production early in this century, the popularity of the modern cigarette has been spreading like wildfire. Here is the first, and perhaps the most significant answer to the title question: Addiction is in a cigarette.
Probing into what makes a cigarette so irresistible, we find that much of the recent research corroborates earlier claims: It is for the nicotine in tobacco that the smoker smokes, the chewer chews, and the dipper dips. Hence, nicotine is in a cigarette.
In contrast to other drugs, nicotine delivery from tobacco carries an ominous burden of chemical poisons and cancer-producing substances that boggle the mind. Many toxic agents are in a cigarette. However, additional toxicants are manufactured during the smoking process by the chemical reactions occurring in the glowing tip of the cigarette. The number is staggering: more than 4,000 hazardous compounds are present in the smoke that smokers draw into their lungs and which escapes into the environment between puffs.
The burning of tobacco generates more than 150 billion tar particles per cubic inch, constituting the visible portion of cigarette smoke. According to chemists at R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, cigarette smoke is 10,000 times more concentrated than the automobile pollution at rush hour on a freeway. The lungs of smokers, puffing a daily ration of 20 to 60 low to high tar cigarettes, collect an annual deposit of one-quarter to one and one-half pounds of the gooey black material, amounting to a total of 15 to 90 million pounds of carcinogen-packed tar for the aggregate of current American smokers. Hence, tar is in a cigarette.
But visible smoke contributes only 5-8% to the total output of a cigarette. The remaining bulk that cannot be seen makes up the so-called vapor or gas phase of cigarette "smoke." It contains, besides nitrogen and oxygen, a bewildering assortment of toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, acrolein, hydrogen cyanide, and nitrogen oxides, to name just a few. Smokers efficiently extract almost 90% of the particulate as well as gaseous constituents (about 50% in the case of carbon monoxide) from the mainstream smoke of the 600 billion cigarettes consumed annually in the U.S. In addition, 2.25 million metric tons of sidestream smoke chemicals pollute the enclosed air spaces of homes, offices, conference rooms, bars, restaurants, and automobiles in this country. Hence, pollution is in a cigarette.
The witch's brew of poisons invades the organs and tissues of smokers and nonsmokers, adults and children, born as well as unborn, and causes cancer, emphysema, heart disease, fetal growth retardation and other problems during pregnancy. The harm inflicted by all other addictions combined pales in comparison. Smoking-related illness, for example, claims in a few days as many victims as cocaine does in a whole year. Hence, disease is in a cigarette.
The irony is that many of the poisons found in cigarette smoke are subject to strict regulation by federal laws which, on the other hand, specifically exempt tobacco products. "Acceptable Daily Intake," ADI, is the amount of a chemical an individual can be exposed to for an extended period without apparent detriment to health.
In addition, there is the chemical burden from sidestream smoke, afflicting smokers and non-smokers alike. Based on the reported concentrations in enclosed, cigarette smoke-polluted areas, the estimated intakes of nicotine, acrolein, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and formaldehyde peak at 200, 130, 75, 7, and 3 times the ADI, respectively. The high exposure to acrolein is especially unsettling. This compound is not only a potent respiratory irritant, but qualifies, according to current studies, as a carcinogen.
Regulatory policy aims at restricting exposure to carcinogens to a level where the lifetime risk of cancer would not exceed 1 in 100,000 to 1,000,000. Due to a limited database, approximate upper lifetime risk values could be calculated for only 7 representative cigarette smoke carcinogens. The risk values were extraordinarily high, ranging from 1 in 6,000 to 1 in 16. Because of the awesome amount of carcinogens found in cigarette smoke and the fact that carcinogens combine their individual actions in an additive or even multiplicative fashion, it is not surprising that the actual risk for lung cancer is as high as one in ten. Hence, cancer is in a cigarette.
Among the worst offenders are the nitrosamines. Strictly regulated by federal agencies, their concentrations in beer, bacon, and baby bottle nipples must not exceed 5 to 10 parts per billion. A typical person ingests about one microgram a day, while the smokers' intake tops this by 17 times for each pack of cigarette smoked. In 1976, a rocket fuel manufacturer in the Baltimore area was emitting dimethylnitrosamine into the surrounding air, exposing the local inhabitants to an estimated 14 micrograms of the carcinogen per day. The plant was promptly shut down. However eagerly the government tries to protect us from outdoor pollution and the carcinogenic risk of consumer products, it blatantly suspends control if the offending chemical is in, or comes from, a cigarette. Hence, hypocrisy is in a cigarette.
But there is still more in a cigarette than addiction, poison, pollution, disease, and hypocrisy. A half century of aggressive promotion and sophisticated advertising that featured alluring role models from theater, film and sport, has invested the cigarette with an enticing imagery.
Imagery which captivates and seduces a growing youngster. The youngster, indispensable for being recruited into the future army of smokers, does not start to smoke cigarettes for the nicotine, but for the false promises they hold. Hence, deceit is in a cigarette. In summary, no drug ever ingested by humans can rival the long-term debilitating effects of tobacco; the carnage perpetuated by its purveyors; the merciless irreversibility of destiny once the victim contracts lung cancer or emphysema; the militant denial on the part of those who, with the support of stockholders and the sanction of governments, legally push their lethal merchandise across borders and continents killing every year two and one-half to three million people worldwide. All things added together: death is in a cigarette.
K. H. Ginzel, M.D., is Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Arkansas. His work is concentrated in the area of nicotine and its effects.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Terrify The West
By Noam Chomsky, 22 June 2011. Chomsky is one of the major intellectuals of our time. The eighty-two-year-old American linguist, philosopher and activist is a severe critic of US foreign and economic policy. Ceyda Nurtsch talked to him about the Arabic spring in its global context.
Q: Mr. Chomsky, many people claim that the Arab world is incompatible with democracy. Would you say that the recent developments falsify this thesis?
Noam Chomsky: The thesis never had any basis whatsoever. The Arab-Islamic world has a long history of democracy. It’s regularly crushed by western force. In 1953 Iran had a parliamentary system, the US and Britain overthrew it. There was a revolution in Iraq in 1958, we don’t know where it would have gone, but it could have been democratic. The US basically organized a coup.
False friends: Iran’ democratically elected Prime Minister Mossadegh during a visit in the US in 1951, two years before the CIA’s coup d’état that ousted him
In internal discussions in 1958, which have since been declassified, President Eisenhower spoke about a campaign of hatred against us in the Arab world. Not from the governments, but from the people. The National Security Council’s top planning body produced a memorandum – you can pick it up on the web now – in which they explained it. They said that the perception in the Arab world is that the United States blocks democracy and development and supports harsh dictators and we do it to get control over their oil. The memorandum said, this perception is more or less accurate and that’s basically what we ought to be doing.
Q: That means that western democracies prevented the emergence of democracies in the Arab world?
Chomsky: I won’t run through the details, but yes, it continues that way to the present. There are constant democratic uprisings. They are crushed by the dictators we – mainly the US, Britain, and France – support. So sure, there is no democracy because you crush it all. You could have said the same about Latin America: a long series of dictators, brutal murderers. As long as the US controls the hemisphere, or Europe before it, there is no democracy, because it gets crushed.
Q: So you were not surprised at all by the Arab Spring?
Chomsky: Well, I didn’t really expect it. But there is a long background to it. Let’s take Egypt for instance. You’ll notice that the young people who organized the demonstrations on January 25th called themselves the April 6th movement. There is a reason for that. April 6th 2008 was supposed to be a major labour action in Egypt at the Mahalla textile complex, the big industrial centre: strikes, support demonstrations around the country and so on. It was all crushed by the dictatorship. Well, in the West we don’t pay any attention: as long as dictatorships control people, what do we care!
“Efforts to create democracy”: On 6 April 2008 Egyptian workers, primarily in the state-run textile industry, striked in response to low wages and rising food costs. Strikes were illegal in Egypt, and the protests were eventually crushed
But in Egypt they remember, and that’s only one in a long series of militant strike actions. Some of them succeeded. There are some good studies of this. There is one American scholar, Joel Beinen – he is at Stanford – he has done a lot of work on the Egyptian labour movement. And he has recent articles and earlier ones, in which he discusses labour struggles going on for a long time: those are efforts to create democracy.
Q: Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, claimed to cause a domino effect of freedom with his policy of the “New Middle East”. Is there a relation between the uprisings in the Arab world to the policy of George W. Bush?
Chomsky: The main theme of modern post-war history is the domino effect: Cuba, Brazil, Vietnam… Henry Kissinger compared it to a virus that might spread contagion. When he and Nixon were planning the overthrow of the democratically elected Allende in Chile – we have all the internal materials now – Kissinger in particular said, the Chilean virus might affect countries as far as Europe. Actually, he and Brezhnev agreed on that, they were both afraid of democracy and Kissinger said, we have to wipe out this virus. And they did, they crushed it.
Today it’s similar. Both Bush and Obama are terrified of the Arab spring. And there is a very sensible reason for that. They don’t want democracies in the Arab world. If Arab public opinion had any influence on policy, the US and Britain had been tossed out of the Middle East. That’s why they are terrified of democracies in the region.
Q: The well-known British Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk recently stated that Obama and his policy is irrelevant for the developments in the region…
Chomsky: I read the article, it’s very good. Robert Fisk is a terrific journalist and he really knows the region well. I think what he means is that the activists in the April 6th movement don’t care about the United States. They have totally given up on the US. They know the United States is their enemy. In fact in public opinion in Egypt about 90 per cent think that the US is the worst threat that they face. In that sense the USA is of course not irrelevant. It’s just too powerful.
Q: Some criticize the Arab intellectuals for being too silent, too passive. What should the role of the Arab intellectual be today?
Chomsky: Intellectuals have a special responsibility. We call them intellectuals because they are privileged and not because they are smarter than anyone else. But if you are privileged and you have some status and you can be articulate and so on we call you an intellectual. And it’s the same in the Arab world as anywhere else.
I was a captain in the Israeli Air Force and a Black-Hawk Pilot until 2003 when together with other pilots I initiated the pilots' letter and refused to take part in the crimes of the occupation. Today I am a member of Boycott from Within, a group of Israeli citizens who are actively supporting the Palestinian call for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions. I have a Master degree in Peace and Conflict Studies, I facilitate dialogue groups and volunteer as a sailing instructor for children with disabilities. I've been sailing since I was a child and in September of 2010 I was a crew member on the Jewish boat to Gaza that was intercepted by the Israeli Navy. I work as a commercial pilot in the US and am still dreaming to be a musician.
Passenger Richard Levy talks about why he is going aboard the US Boat to Gaza with the Stay Human Flotilla at the end of the month.
Richard Levy had his bar mitzvah in 1955 at the Genesis Hebrew Center in Yonkers, New York. Richard is the former president of the North East District of the B'nai Brith Youth Organization. A graduate of Cornell U. and the NYU School of Law, he has practiced labor and civil rights law for more than 40 years. Richard was one of the attorneys challenging the destruction--by the Weisenthal Center and the Israeli government--of the ancient landmark Mamilla (Muslim) Cemetery in West Jerusalem. He is a senior partner at the Levy Ratner, PC. law firm in NYC. Richard is married to Jane Hirschmann (author, therapist, activist) and has 3 daughters: Kate, 31 (med student UCSF), Nell, 31 (union organizer, teacher, law student), Leta, 24 (actor, dancer, activist). He boards the boat believing that Israel's victimization of the Palestinian people has not only violated human rights and international laws but has proven the least effective path to peace and security for both peoples.
Irish Rugby Players for Irish Ship to Gaza
Four of Ireland's rugby team score a try for the besieged Palestinian people of Gaza. Civil society has spoken, enough is enough. The illegal blockade of Gaza and the humanitarian crisis it has created must be broken.