Monday, October 31, 2011

Amerika In Decline

by Patrick Martin 31 October 2011

A series of reports over the past ten days—on poverty, wages, income inequality and social mobility—have painted a portrait of America starkly at odds with the official mythology of the United States as the land of unlimited economic opportunity, the country with the world’s highest standard of living.

The World Socialist Web Site has naturally drawn attention to these reports, but Marxist critics and opponents of American capitalism did not collect this data. On the contrary, the figures come from US government agencies like the General Accounting Office, the Congressional Budget Office, the Social Security Administration, the Bureau of the Census and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

That makes the picture of the real state of affairs in the America of 2011 all the more damning. Even agencies controlled by political representatives of the financial aristocracy are compelled to admit that the conditions of life for the vast majority of the American people are disastrous.

These figures demonstrate that America is a country of mounting social disparities, in which those who labor and produce all the wealth have less and less to show for it, while those who collect the profits of this labor, while playing a parasitic, destructive and thoroughly reactionary role, see their wealth accumulate to astonishing levels.

Two reports frame the dramatic social polarization in America, not so much between the rich and the poor, as between the rich and the entire rest of society.

According to figures published by the Social Security Administration on October 20, the median income for American workers in 2010 was $26,364, not much more than the official poverty level of $22,025 for a family of four. Given that a family making even twice the official poverty level faces real hardship and insecurity, it is no exaggeration to say that the SSA report shows that the “poor,” by any reasonable definition, constitute the absolute majority of the American people.

On the other side of the spectrum, a Congressional Budget Office study released October 25 shows that the richest 1 percent of US households saw a 275 percent increase in their income between 1979 and 2007 and more than doubled their share of the national income. While the income of this layer nearly tripled, the income of the middle 60 percent of the population rose only 40 percent over 28 years, and the income of the poorest 20 percent rose by only 18 percent.

Some other revealing statistics:

The unemployment rate for workers aged 55 or older has doubled since 2007, and the average period spent jobless has tripled. One-third of employed workers 65 and older make less than $11 an hour, while the rates of poverty and food stamp dependence have increased sharply for this sector of the population.

The dollar amount of student loans taken out in 2010 topped $100 billion, the largest ever total for a single year, and total student loan debt has passed the $1 trillion mark in 2011, exceeding the total of credit card debt. Students are borrowing twice as much as they did only ten years ago to pay for their college education.

Geographical mobility in America has fallen to the lowest level reported since 1948, one reflection of the loss of opportunity particularly for the young. People cannot sell their homes or buy new ones, and the majority of young college graduates are being compelled to move back in with their parents because they cannot find work that pays enough to set up on their own.

The Gallup poll found that three times as many American workers are worried about being able to feed themselves or their families, 19 percent of the population, compared to only 6 percent of Chinese workers with similar concerns. Gallup’s measure of access to basic social necessities showed that American workers were finding it more and more difficult to obtain food, adequate shelter and decent medical care.

What these figures demonstrate is both a profound social crisis, and an immense historical transformation. The United States has gone from leading the world in most social indices, including working-class living standards, to a new status as the leader, at least among the industrialized countries, in condemning the majority of its population to conditions of deprivation and misery.

The decline of American capitalism is shown in the decay of its once powerful industrial base, the crumbling of roads, bridges and other social infrastructure, and the closing of schools, libraries, hospitals and other public services. It is no wonder that more than 80 percent of the American people, according to most recent polls, feel that the country is on the wrong track.

Presiding over this decline is a financial aristocracy whose relationship to the rest of society recalls the ancien régime of pre-revolutionary France.

The reports and the portrait they provide of American society are a particularly damning indictment of the Obama administration and all those who presented the election of Obama as a transformative event in American politics. The real content of the past three years has been a colossal redistribution of wealth, overseen and encouraged by Obama, from the working class to the financial elite. And it only continues.

The overriding political necessity is for the working class to grasp the source of the social and economic decline. It is capitalism that has failed in the United States, and on a world scale. The system of production for profit has indeed produced record profits for the tiny minority at the top, but it has become a dead end for the working people who comprise the vast majority.

The working class must advance its own program in defense of jobs, decent education, a secure retirement and other basic social rights. This is only possible by breaking free from the grip of the official trade unions and the Democratic Party, which uphold the interests of the banks and corporations, while falsely claiming to defend the workers.

The growing opposition to inequality and corporate control of the entire political system underlies the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement and the mass support it has won in less than two months. But this is only an initial expression of what is to come.

The answer to the crisis of capitalism is a bold attack on the capitalists. The working class must fight for socialist demands: the expropriation of the billionaires and the entire ruling financial oligarchy, the public takeover of the major banks and corporations, and using the vast wealth produced by working people to meet social needs, not private profit.

The decisive issue in carrying forward this struggle is the building of a new, revolutionary leadership in the working class—the Socialist Equality Party. We urge young people and workers who are entering political struggle today to join the SEP and fight for this perspective in the international working class.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Al Qaeda Plants

Its Flag In Libya

By Sherif Elhelwa

October 28, 2011

It was here at the courthouse in Benghazi where the first spark of the Libyan revolution ignited. It’s the symbolic seat of the revolution; post-Gaddafi Libya’s equivalent of Egypt’s Tahrir Square. And it was here, in the tumultuous months of civil war, that the ragtag rebel forces established their provisional government and primitive, yet effective, media center from which to tell foreign journalists about their "fight for freedom."

But according to multiple eyewitnesses—myself included—one can now see both the Libyan rebel flag and the flag of al Qaeda fluttering atop Benghazi’s courthouse.

According to one Benghazi resident, Islamists driving brand-new SUVs and waving the black al Qaeda flag drive the city’s streets at night shouting, "Islamiya, Islamiya! No East, nor West," a reference to previous worries that the country would be bifurcated between Gaddafi opponents in the east and the pro-Gaddafi elements in the west.

Earlier this week, I went to the Benghazi courthouse and confirmed the rumors: an al Qaeda flag was clearly visible; its Arabic script declaring that "there is no God but Allah" and a full moon underneath. When I tried to take pictures, a Salafi-looking guard, wearing a green camouflage outfit, rushed towards me and demanded to know what I was doing. My response was straightforward: I was taking a picture of the flag. He gave me an intimidating look and hissed, "Whomever speaks ill of this flag, we will cut off his tongue. I recommend that you don't publish these. You will bring trouble to yourself."

He followed me inside the courthouse, but luckily my driver Khaled was close by, and interceded on my behalf. According to Khaled, the guard had angrily threatened to harm me. When I again engaged him in conversation, he told me "this flag is the true flag of Islam," and was unresponsive when I argued with him that historically Islam has never been represented by a single flag. The guard claimed repeatedly that there is no al Qaeda in Libya, and that the flag flying atop the courthouse is "dark black," while the al Qaeda flag is charcoal black. To many locals, it’s a distinction without a difference. One man approached me with a friendly warning: "I recommend that you leave now; [the Islamist fighters] could be watching you."

But none of this should be surprising. In Tripoli, Abdelhakim Belhaj, a well-known al Qaeda fighter and founder of the notorious Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), is now leading the rebel "military counsel" in Tripoli. A few weeks ago, Belhaj ordered his fighters to take command of the Tripoli airport, then controlled by a group of Zintan fighters, a brigade of Berber Libyans who helped liberate the capital from Gaddafi loyalists. A few days later, Belhaj gave a speech emphasizing that his actions had the blessings of Libya’s National Transitional Counsel (NTC), who appointed him to the leadership of Tripoli’s military command.

According to a Libyan who didn't want to be named, a special military group inside the NTC is calling on Salafi fighters with military backgrounds to join a special group fighting in the rebellion. "There will be special benefits if you join whether you die in battle, or when you return home," including monthly salaries. (One NTC source told me that Belhaj’s fighters are the only rebel fighters who receive a monthly salary.)

In a recent speech heralding the new beginning of post-Gaddafi Libya, Moustafa Abdeljalil, the head of the NTC, declared the country an "Islamic state, and sharia law is the source of all our laws." It was indeed an odd declaration for a leader celebrating his country’s liberation, leading many to wonder: Who are Abdeljalil and the NTC trying to appease?

It isn’t uncommon to discover rebels with radical backgrounds. In an off-the-record interview, one NTC member spoke casually of his past, explaining that the Gaddafi regime blacklisted him from the country for his ties to LIFG. He told me of his close association with Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, the infamous "blind cleric" jailed for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, who he helped ferry across the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan during the mujahedeen fight against the Soviet Union.

The war to rid the country of the Gaddafi dictatorship might have ended, but the battle for control of post-revolutionary Libya has only just begun. And it will surprise few that assorted radicals, jihadists, Salafists, and LIFG veterans are attempting to fill the power vacuum and replace one dictatorship with another.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

US Wars in Africa

Drones, Cash, and Advisers:

US Escalates Role in Africa
Officials Express Concern About Various Militant Factions

by Jason Ditz, October 27, 2011

It is a war rarely talked about in the US – even less so than the US military operation in the Philippines or the efforts to prop up Yemeni Dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh. It is the broad US war across Africa.

Ever since its 2007 creation, US African Command (AFRICOM) has been harping about militant factions inside Africa which pose virtually no conceivable threat to the US, and each time, the US throws a little something at the conflict to prove they’re doing something.

Sometimes it is drones, sometimes it is military advisers, sometimes it is just massive amounts of cash to whichever dubious dictator the US is pretty sure is the answer to militancy. But just four and a half years after AFRICOM’s creation, the US is in wars virtually across the continent, a war most Americans are totally unaware of.

America is at war in Libya, in Somalia, in Nigeria (against the technophobic Boko Haram), across the entire northwest of Africa (against al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb), across the entire center of Africa (with the new Uganda deployment), and always on the lookout for more nations to add.

AFRICOM officials couch much of this as just another front in the global war on terror, but many of the targets are internal militant factions with little interest in the US at all, and the insinuation of US involvement into the conflicts is creating all the more enemies.

Friday, October 28, 2011

2012 Prophecy

2012 La Palabra Maya

(2012 The Mayan Word )

This video was given to the poster by Indians of Mexico, and contains their truths.

The Donkey Crisis

One day in the village there appeared a man wearing a tie. He stood in the village square and announced to the villagers that he would buy all the donkeys that they could sell to him for 100 euros each in cash.

The locals found it a bit odd, but the price was very good and those who agreed to sell returned home with the bag full and a smile.

The man with the tie returned back the next day and offered EUR 150 for each unsold ass, so most of the residents sold their animals. The next day he offered 300 Euros for those few animals that were still unsold freom the stubborn few who resisted.

After he realized that the village did not even have one donkey left, he announced to everyone that he would return after a week to buy any Donkey found for over 500 euros! And he left.

The next day he instructed his partner to take the herd of donkeys that had been purchased and sent ii into the same village with orders to sell them at a price of 400 euros each.

The people saw the opportunity to earn 100 euro next week, bought back their stock for 4 times the amount that they had sold, and in order to do so, had to seek a loan from the local bank.

As you can imagine, after the transaction the two entrepreneurs left for a holiday in a Caribbean tax haven, while the villagers were indebted, frustrated, and the donkeys in their possession were no longer worth anything.

Of course the farmers tried in vain sell their animals to cover their debts. Their value was net to nothing. The bank then seized the donkeys and hired them out to their former owners.

The banker, however, went to the mayor of the village and explained that unless he did not recover the funds that had lent out he too would go bust, and therefore called for immediate closure of the open credit he had with the municipality.

The mayor panicked and to avoid the unfolding catastrophe, instead of giving money to the villagers to meet their debts, gave the money to the banker, who incidentally was the Godafther of the local councilor.

Unfortunately the banker having regained his capital, did not however wipe of the residents debt, nor the debt of the municipality, which of course heading towards bankruptcy.

Seeing debts proliferate and hiked by interest rates, the mayor asked for help from neighboring municipalities. But they gave a negative answer, because as they said they had suffered the same problem with their own Donkeys !!...

The banker then gave the mayor a "disinterested" advice / directive to reduce the costs of the municipality: less money for schools, the hospital of the village, the municipal police, elimination of social programs, research, reducing funding for new infrastructure ... Increased retirement age, dismissed most employees of the hall, fell wages and increased taxes.

It was inevitable he said, but promised to these structural changes "to bring order to the functioning of the council, to put an end to wastage" and ... legitimize trade in donkeys.

The story starts to become interesting when word came that the two traders and the banker are cousins ??and live together on an island near the Bahamas, which was bought ... with their sweat. The family were called “Animal Financiers”, and with great bravery offered to finance the electoral campaign of mayors of villages in the region.

In any case the story is not over, because nobody knows what the farmers did afterwards.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lybia Reports

Here are three videos about the invasion and destruction of Lybia. The first is testimony of Lizzy Phelan who was one of the journalists trapped in the hotel Rexos, when the rebels broke into the Libyan capital. The second is reported by Mahdi Nazemroaya, a research associate of the Center for Research in Globalization who spent two months in Libya before escaping after the rebel siege of Tripoli. The third is commentary by leader of the US Nation of Islam Louis Farrakhan.

Nato Repression


The Brutal Alliance


Thursday, October 27, 2011

NATO’s brutal military alliance has become the most perfidious instrument of repression known in the history of humankind.

NATO took on that global repressive role as soon as the USSR, which had served the United States as an excuse for its creation, ceased to exist. Its criminal purpose became obvious in Serbia, a Slavic country, whose people had so heroically fought against Nazi troops in WW II.

When in March of 1999 the countries of this ill-fated organization, in its efforts to disintegrate Yugoslavia after the death of Josip Broz Tito, sent their troops in support of the Kosovar secessionists, they ran into strong resistance from that nation whose experienced forces were still intact.

The Yankee administration, advised by the Spanish right-wing government of José María Aznar, attacked the Serbian TV stations, the bridges over the Danube River and Belgrade, that country’s capital. The embassy of the People’s Republic of China was destroyed by Yankee bombs, several of the officials died and there could not have been any error as the authors alleged. Many Serbian patriots lost their lives. President Slobodan Miloševiс, overwhelmed by the power of the aggressors and the disappearance of the USSR, ceded to NATO demands and admitted to the presence of that alliance’s troops in Kosovo under the UN mandate; this finally led to his political downfall and subsequent trial by The Hague courts which were less than impartial. He died a strange death in prison. Had the Serbian leader resisted a few more days, NATO would have entered into a serious crisis which was on the point of exploding. The empire thus had much more time to impose its hegemony among the every more subordinated members of that organization.

Between February 21st and April 27th of this year, I published nine Reflections on the subject on the CubaDebate website; in them I amply dealt with NATO’s role in Libya and what, in my opinion, was going to happen.

Therefore I find myself obliged to synthesize the essential ideas that I put forth, and the events that have been happening as foreseen, just that now the central figure in that story, Muammar Al-Gaddafi, was seriously wounded by the most modern NATO fighter-bombers which intercepted and incapacitated his vehicle, he was captured while still alive and murdered by men that organization had armed.

His body has been kidnapped and exhibited as a trophy of war, conduct that violates the most basic principles of the norms of Muslim and other religious beliefs in the world. It is being announced that very soon Libya shall be declared a “democratic state and defender of human rights.”

A little over eight months ago, on February 21st of this year, I stated with complete conviction: “The NATO plan is to occupy Libya”. With that title I dealt with the subject for the first time in a Reflection whose content seemed to be the product of a fantasy.

I include in these lines the elements for the opinion that led me to that conclusion.

“Oil has become the principal wealth in the hands of the great Yankee transnationals; through this energy source they had an instrument that considerably expanded their political power in the world.”

“Upon this energy source today’s civilization was developed. Venezuela was the nation in this hemisphere that paid the highest price. The United States became the lord and master of the huge oil fields that Mother Nature had bestowed upon that sister country.”

“At the end of the last World War, it started to extract greater amounts of oil from the oil fields of Iran, as well as those in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the Arab countries located around them. These became the main suppliers. World consumption progressively increased to the fabulous figure of approximately 80 million barrels a day, including those being extracted on United States territory, to which later gas, hydro and nuclear energies were added.”

“The squandering of oil and gas is associated with one of the greatest tragedies, not in the least resolved, which is suffered by humankind: climate change.”

“In December of 1951, Libya becomes the first African country to attain its independence after WW II, during which its territory was the stage for important battles between the troops of Germany and the United Kingdom…”

“Ninety-five percent of its territory is completely made up of desert. Technology permitted the discovery of vital oilfields of excellent quality light oil that today reach one million 800 thousand barrels a day along with abundant deposits of natural gas. […] Its harsh desert is located over an enormous lake of fossil waters, equivalent to more than three times the land area of Cuba; this has made it possible to construct a broad network of pipelines of fresh water that stretch from one end of the country to the other.”

“The Libyan Revolution took place in the month of September of the year 1969. Its main leader was Muammar al-Gaddafi, a soldier of Bedouin origin who, in his early years, was inspired by the ideas of the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser. Without any doubt, many of his decisions are associated with the changes that were produced when, as in Egypt, a weak and corrupt monarchy was overthrown in Libya.”

“One can agree with Gaddafi or not. The world has been invaded with all kinds of news, especially using the mass media. One has to wait the necessary length of time in order to learn precisely what is the truth and what are lies, or a mixture of events of every kind that, in the midst of chaos, were produced in Libya. For me, what is absolutely clear is that the government of the United States is not in the least worried about peace in Libya and it will not hesitate in giving NATO the order to invade that rich country, perhaps in a matter of hours or a few short days.”

“Those who with perfidious intentions invented the lie that Gaddafi was headed for Venezuela, just as they did yesterday afternoon on Sunday the 20th of February, today received an fitting response from Foreign Affairs Minister Nicolás Maduro…”

“As for me, I cannot imagine that the Libyan leader would abandon his country; escaping the responsibilities he is charged with, whether or not they are partially or totally false.”

“An honest person shall always be against any injustice being committed against any people in the world, and the worst of all, at this moment, would be to remain silent in the face of the crime that NATO is getting ready to commit against the Libyan people.”

“The leadership of that war-mongering organization has to do it. We must condemn it!”

At that early date I had realized something that was absolutely obvious.

USA Dirty Work


The Murderous Western Touch

October 27, 2011

by Reason Wafawarova at The Herald – Zimbabwe

Jurist Special Guest Columnist and international lawyer Curtis Doebbler has indicated that the killing of Gaddafi was a violation of The Third Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War, was a crime of aggression and also constituted the use of excessive force; in as much as it was a clear violation to the right to life, besides being in violation of Resolution 1973 which sought to protect civilians; not to bomb fleeing people as what happened to Gaddafi’s convoy.

To some Barack Obama has emerged as the number one champion of the West’s anti-terrorism war. Ironically Obama has teamed up with Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda to take over Libya, leading to his drones incapacitating Gaddafi from the air so that his Al-Qaeda allies could summarily execute the defenceless and unarmed Gaddafi and his son, among others.

Obama now commands a remarkably bloody record – killing thousands of civilians in Afghanistan, killing Arch Terrorist Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, arming and backing Al-Qaeda-affiliated Libyan rebels all the way from Benghazi to Sirte, via Tripoli; killing over 50 000 Libyan civilians in the process, grazing down Sirte and Bani Walid so they submit to the Al-Qaeda thugs calling themselves the National Transitional Council; and subsequently getting himself the trophy of Gaddafi’s battered body.

Now the global witch-hunt for terrorists has reached remarkably impressive levels, with Gaddafi’s death eliciting cheers for Obama and his sidekicks from brainwashed and hapless global citizens. It is somehow hard not to cheer the smart and fast speaking Obama even when he is announcing a murder act under his command. The man comes across like a genius.

The brainwashing of the global masses is so deep that a heartless and hell-hailing monster like France’s Nicolas Sarkozy can also boast of admirers. This writer treats the barbaric murder of Gaddafi and all other callous and murderous Western schemes as purely satanic; apparently exposing the maggoty and inherently evil forces behind Western imperialism and white supremacy. No apologies.

The manhunt for Gaddafi was clearly not part of effecting a no fly zone, the pretext by which Western powers entered Libya, ostensibly to protect civilians they baselessly said were about to be wiped out by Gaddafi. The manhunt was undoubtedly orchestrated by the same people who founded and executed slavery on us Africans, the very people who occupied our continent by the power of colonial conquest, the people who brought to humanity two world wars, the people who helped create a murderous Zionist Israel, and the very people who today preside over a predatory imperialistic system.

The whole NATO operation in Libya cannot be separated from the work of those who founded the American constitution, and the so-called American exceptionalism. This is why Hillary Clinton brazenly bragged about her role in ordering the murdering of Gaddafi, declaring with a cruel laugh “We came, we saw, and he died.”

The she-devil could have aptly put it like “We came, we bombed, and he died.” Dear reader, you have to understand the language of this piece in the context of the invasion of a sovereign country that has suffered so much loss of civilian lives at the hands of foreigner aggressors reputed with a murderous history based on racial supremacy.

There are a number of reasons that makes it impossible for this writer to join the celebration over the death of Col Gaddafi, and supporting the man himself is not one of them. Col Gaddafi courted Westerners in the last years of his reign, and the revolution of Zimbabwe was not served well by this rather treacherous behaviour. In fact Gaddafi had as many admirable traits as he had deplorable ones, like supporting liberation movements, while trying the Arabisation scheme in Sudan, or supporting the British-sponsored Idi Amin in Uganda, even when the dictator was waging a war against Tanzania.

He is the same Gaddafi who helped train our own freedom fighters during Zimbabwe’s war for independence, and the same Gaddafi who turned Libya into one of the richest countries on this planet from the second poorest country when he took over power. Talk of 42 years of massive economic progression and tightly controlled political monopoly of power.

The first reason I cannot and will not celebrate the death of Gaddafi is perhaps the fact that I am a cynic and somewhat a political pessimist by nature. Secondly, I hail from an international relations training background, and also from a media background. As such I am what you would charitably call an expert in the knowledge of how brainwashed this world is.

It is not easy to make someone like this writer an easy target of mass deception tactics; often sugar coated in humanitarianism; the rhetoric on democracy, liberties and freedoms; or any of the hoopla around which rivals and enemies of Western politicians are derided and denounced. This writer is a discerner and not only a listener to Western political voices.

The third reason is I am an ideological creation that is allergic to imperialistic values and whatever they are meant to stand for. No sane person from the African continent can admire imperialism. Simply put, I believe monopoly capitalism practised at the expense of weaker nations is a program designed from the depths of hell, and by its very nature it is the number one crime against humanity.

It is imperialism that breeds devil incarnates like Nicolas Sarkozy, and it is imperialism that deceives humanity to the point of elevating such a heartless murderer to the level of a liberator. Dear reader, if your idea of democracy has got anything to do with the actions of NATO in Libya over the last eight months, then this writer has got bad news for you. You are simply confusing sugar-coated imperialistic aggression for democracy and such an error is fatalistic by definition.

If your source of information over Libya has been the BBC “world service” or any of the mainstream Western media, again this writer has bad news for you. You have been lied to, misled, deceived, manipulated, cheated, brainwashed; and you have to work extremely hard to sieve the information so as to differentiate grain from chaff.

As a matter of principle and by the definition of personality this writer did not cheer American forces when they announced they had killed Osama bin Laden, and neither does he cheer them for ending the life of Muammar Gaddafi.

This writer does not count Obama a hero of whatever magnitude, just like it is increasingly becoming hard to keep counting Nicolas Sarkozy among humans.

The man is proving to be simply a heartless beast walking on two legs. His British sidekick David Cameron comes along as a beautiful looking angel from the Devil’s kingdom. Libyan atrocities committed by NATO and its Al-Qaeda allies stink to high heavens, and they speak strongly on the characters of Sarkozy and Cameron. Displaying dead bodies in a shopping centre is something that infuriates the Devil himself, yet these

Allah preaching goons reckon its laudable conduct.

These views are figurative descriptions purely based on intellectual opinion from an angered writer. Let us start with Barack Obama, a man fitting so well into Malcolm X’s “house negro” description, dutifully doing Uncle Sam’s dirty work at home and abroad.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Messaging OWS People

When it getts down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system's game. The establishment will irritate you - pull your beard, flick your face - to make you fight. Because once they've got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don't know how to handle is non-violence and humour.
- John Lennon

Testimoniy Of Libya

By Lizzy Phelan

Unnoticed Wars


Western Media Indulge US and French Denials

of New War in Famine-Hit Horn of Africa

By Finian Cunningham
Global Research, October 26, 2011

In the wake of NATO's "humanitarian" R2P intervention in Libya, which is by no means over, the Pentagon has chosen to launch two more "unnoticed" wars in the African continent: Somalia and Uganda.

Despite official denials peddled by the mainstream media, it is emerging that the US and France are engaged in a new war in the Horn of Africa.

Given that 11-12 million people are at risk of starvation in the famine-hit region, an escalation of conflict has huge humanitarian and legal implications. Yet the Western public is being given no oversight on the matter from what appears to be a veritable news blackout on the dire situation.

The New York Times, Voice of America and the Financial Times have this week quoted US and French officials categorically denying any direct involvement in military support of Kenyan forces pushing deep into southern Somalia.

Other Western media outlets are not even carrying reports of credible allegations that American and French forces are waging war in the famine-torn country.

Two senior American officials in Washington cited by The New York Times said that neither the United States military nor the Central Intelligence Agency had carried out airstrikes in Somalia recently.

Voice of America quoted the US State Department claiming: “The United States is not participating in Kenya's current operation in Somalia.”

At most, Washington and Paris are saying that they are offering vague, logistical support. The Financial Times quotes Scott Gration, the US ambassador to Kenya, saying: “We are talking with the Kenyans right now to figure out where they need help.”

In a telling remark indicating self-censorship by the newspaper, the Financial Times noted without further questioning that Gration “did not comment on reports of a series of US drone attacks across southern Somalia in the months since June”.

However, such denials are contradicted by Kenyan and pro-Western Somali military officials who clearly state that American and French forces have bombed Somali civilian centres, including Afmadow, Kismayu and Kadhaa, which have resulted in hundreds of deaths. Kenyan Major Emmanuel Chirchir referring to US drone attacks and French naval bombardment said: “Everybody is in theatre… We know about the strikes. They are complementary.”

On 16 October, Kenya appeared to make a “surprise” invasion of neighbouring Somalia by land, sea and air forces. But 10 days later, with increasing bombardment of towns in Somalia’s southern region, reports of hundreds of civilian casualties and large-scale displacement of people, it is becoming clear that this is no “hot pursuit” cross-border swoop against kidnappers allegedly belonging to the Al Shabab Islamist insurgency – but rather a full-scale war.

The pursuit of kidnap gangs was the pretext given by the Nairobi government for the initial incursion, claiming that Al Shabab militants operating out of Somalia on its eastern border had been responsible for a spate of kidnappings of foreign workers and holidaymakers from Kenyan territory.

Now Kenyan officials are saying that their military campaign will continue until Al Shabab is “flushed out” of all its strongholds – primarily the port city of Kismayu about 500 kilometres south of the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

Three days after the invasion, on 19 October, Global Research reported how “US drones were coordinating air power for the Kenyan ground forces” [1]. Only days before the cross-border incursion, we reported that American unmanned aerial vehicles were involved in attacks on key southern Somali towns and cities in what appeared to be a precursor artillery assault.

The bombardment is now being stepped up, with French naval forces stationed off the Somali coast also involved – the latest killing 59 civilians in Kudhaa, according to Press TV.

Three months ago, the New York Times, Washington Post and The Guardian reported the “extended use of aerial drone attacks” in Somalia when two Al Shabab leaders were targeted for assassination. A month before the Kenyan invasion, both the BBC and Reuters reported on “increasing US drone activity” in the country. Curiously, these same media outlets are either not reporting any such activity – precisely at a time when drone attacks are increasing with devastatingly lethal results – or they are prominently peddling official denials.

It may be noted that the coordinated Western airstrikes in Somalia follows a similar pattern to that conducted in Libya – whereby NATO acted as the air force for anti-Gaddafi militants.

Why the Western media has so far declined to give similar glowing coverage of events in Somalia may reflect the fact that the Kenyan military assault on Somalia is a difficult narrative with which to rally Western public support. Whereas in Libya, the Western media indulged NATO claims of protecting civilians from imminent slaughter under a despotic regime, in Somalia by contrast the pursuit of kidnap gangs does not quite ring true for a cause for war – especially when millions of Americans and French are racked by economic austerity and are being told by their governments that there is no money available to create jobs or fund vital social services.

This public relations problem may be remedied, however, if recent terror attacks in Nairobi can be blamed on Al Shabab. Just last weekend, the US embassy warned of terror threats: 48 hours later two locations in the Kenyan capital were bombed with three dead and dozens of civilians injured. No group claimed responsibility for the atrocities and Kenyan police sources said they had no evidence of Al Shabab involvement. Nevertheless, US officials are now justifying their “intended” support for Kenyan forces in Somalia out a shared objective of “the war on terror”.

Al Shabab has been waging an insurgency against the Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu, which was installed in 2009 with the support of US and other Western governments as a bulwark against the Islamists. The TFG has only managed to maintain a tenuous grip on power thanks in part to Washington’s military and economic support and to the presence of thousands of African Union troops from Uganda and Burundi. However, large swathes of Somalia, especially in the south, remain under the control of Al Shabab.

Al Shabab is on Washington’s terror list and is accused of having links to Al Qaeda. However, many Western analysts do not consider Al Shabab to be a regional threat. The Council on Foreign Relations, the Washington-aligned think-tank, estimates that the group has only a few hundred hardcore combatants. Nevertheless, the militants have prevented the pro-Western TFG from gaining control of the country. In that way, the group has thwarted Washington and Western geopolitical dominance of the strategically important East African maritime territory.

Recall that the US embarked on a full-scale – and disastrous ¬– military intervention of Somalia in 1992 to salvage its client dictator Siad Barre overthrown by rival warlords. Washington has not managed to regain control ever since despite its backing of an equally disastrous invasion of Somalia by Ethiopian troops in 2006.

With Ethiopia still licking its military wounds and currently facing risk of famine along with its Somali neighbour, perhaps Washington and its French ally have now found another proxy in the form of Kenya to pursue geopolitical aims in Somalia.

Many Kenyans have deep misgivings about their government’s nubile proxy military role. The country is also at risk of famine and its military capability is hitherto untested. Kenyans have noted the way their government launched into Somalia – with which they share much common tribal ancestry – without any public discussion (suggesting orders were taken from Washington and Paris). And they fear that their country could become involved in a bloody regional quagmire that will take human suffering in an already suffering region to untold levels of misery.

Finian Cunningham is Global Research’s Middle East and East Africa correspondent


This Is My Will

Wednesday, Oct 26, 2011

This is my will. I, Muammar bin Mohammad bin Abdussalam bi Humayd bin Abu Manyar bin Humayd bin Nayil al Fuhsi Gaddafi, do swear that there is no god but God and that Mohammad is God's Prophet, peace be upon him. I pledge that I will die as Muslim.

Should I be killed, I would like to be buried, according to Muslim rituals, in the clothes I was wearing at the time of my death and my body unwashed, in the cemetery of Sirte, next to my family and relatives.

I would like that my family, especially women and children, be treated well after my death.

The Libyan people should protect its identity, achievements, history, and the honorable image of its ancestors and heroes. The Libyan people should not relinquish the sacrifices of the free and best people.

I call on my supporters to continue the resistance, and fight any foreign aggressor against Libya, today, tomorrow, and always.

Let the free people of the world know that we could have bargained over and sold out our cause in return for a personal secure and stable life. We received many offers to this effect but we chose to be at the vanguard of the confrontation as a badge of duty and honor.

Even if we do not win immediately, we will give a lesson to future generations that choosing to protect the nation is an honor and selling it out is the greatest betrayal that history will remember forever despite the attempts of the others to tell you otherwise.

Muammar Gaddafi was the leader and guide of the revolution of Libya. He died a martyr to the noble cause of the independence and sovereignty of his country, assassinated on 20 October 2011 by traitors in the service of NATO.

Nato Terrorism

A Libyan school bombed by NATO.Under Gaddafi,

education was free and the literacy rate was high.

Things Libya Will Never See Again..

Global Research, October 25, 2011

1. There is no electricity bill in Libya; electricity is free for all its citizens.

2. There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at zero percent interest by law.

3. Having a home considered a human right in Libya.

4. All newlyweds in Libya receive $60,000 dinar (U.S.$50,000) by the government to buy their first apartment so to help start up the family.

5. Education and medical treatments are free in Libya. Before Gaddafi only 25 percent of Libyans were literate. Today, the figure is 83 percent.

6. Should Libyans want to take up farming career, they would receive farming land, a farming house, equipments, seeds and livestock to kickstart their farms are all for free.

7. If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need, the government funds them to go abroad, for it is not only paid for, but they get a U.S.$2,300/month for accommodation and car allowance.

8. If a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidizes 50 percent of the price.

9. The price of petrol in Libya is $0.14 per liter.

10. Libya has no external debt and its reserves amounting to $150 billion are now frozen globally.

11. If a Libyan is unable to get employment after graduation the state would pay the average salary of the profession, as if he or she is employed, until employment is found.

12. A portion of every Libyan oil sale is credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.

13. A mother who gives birth to a child receive U.S.$5,000.

14. 40 loaves of bread in Libya costs $0.15.

15. 25 percent of Libyans have a university degree.

16. Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Manmade River project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gaddafi Achievments

Five Things You May Not Know About

Muammar Gaddafi

Monday, October 24, 2011

Are Libyans awakening from a ‘ludicrous nightmare’, or does the death of Gaddafi mark the beginning of a new era of imperial exploitation?
by Enver Masud,

“Libyans awake from a ludicrous nightmare: Gaddafi achieved nothing in his 42-year rule,” wrote David Gardner yesterday in the Financial Times. Others have expressed similar sentiments. Here are the facts:

Gaddafi Seized Power in Bloodless Coup: Muammar Gaddafi, aka Col. Gaddafi, seized power in 1969 in a bloodless coup by overthrowing King Idris of Libya — Idris achieved power with British backing in 1949.

Libya Ranks #1 on the Human Development Index: According to the United Nations Development Programme, Libya ranked first in Africa (53 globally) on the Human Development Index — ahead of Saudi Arabia at 55, Iran at 70, South Africa at 73, Jordan at 82, Egypt at 101, Indonesia at 108, India at 119, Afghanistan at 155.

It is reported that Libyans receive free housing, education, health care, substantial cash when they marry, and overseas education if they qualify.

Largest Oil Reserves in Africa: According to the U.S. Energy Information, “Libya has the largest proven oil reserves in Africa”.

Program to Privatize Oil: On February 21, 2011, five days after the Arab Spring broke out in Libya, Qaddafi launched a new program to privatize all Libyan oil to every citizen of Libya, initially providing $21,000 to every Libyan from a total of $32,000,000,000 in the Year 2011, so that the health, education, transport, and some other ministries could be abolished and individual Libyans could use the profits of their own investments, including from oil ownership, to obtain the relevant services.

This, Gaddafi said, is the best way to eliminate corruption, including the theft of Libyan oil by foreign oil companies, and to decentralize governmental power.
Great Man-Made River Project: The Great Man-Made River Project, begun in 1984 by Col. Gaddafi, has been called the 8th Wonder of the World. It supplies fresh water to the cities of Tripoli, Benghazi, Sirte and elsewhere.

The U.S. threatened to bomb this “C-W Factory”; foreign companies covet the fresh water.

Rate your news media on a scale of 1 to 10. Assign 2 points for each of the five points above that you previously knew (1 point for partial knowledge). The resulting total is an indication of how well your news media covered the US/NATO backed civil war in Libya.

Are Libyans awakening from a “ludicrous nightmare”, or does the death of Gaddafi mark the beginning of a new era of imperial exploitation? We’ll know in a few years time.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hillary Clinton

On Gaddafi: We Came, We Saw, He Died

Change we can believe in... Twelve seconds that says it all.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Essential Knowledge

For A Wall Street Protester

By David Icke

Friday, October 21, 2011

Gaddafi Murdered

US Drone Kills Gaddafi

Published: 21 October, 2011 (RT)

Libyan rebels did not kill Gaddafi. They executed him, dazed and hapless – medieval style.

A hellfire missile fired by a US drone hovering some five miles above in the skies of Libya made the kill – now, that's how it's done in the 21st century – clinically precise and from far away.

Much as Obama and Hillary Clinton were trying to defer the honor of deposing Gaddafi to their NATO allies, Britain and France – and "the armed people of Libya fighting oppression" – in the end Uncle Sam had to step in and wave his big stick.

Somebody somewhere at the White House or the Pentagon or at Langley Virginia made up his mind: enough is enough, "letting the people of Libya decide their own future" is going nowhere. Gaddafi enjoys too much support and there's too great a risk of prolonged civil war – and, most importantly, as long as Gaddafi lives the Libyan oil supply won't be safe.

KABOOM! Hellfire hits the ground and Libya starts a new chapter of its history.
Let's leave aside the highly questionable moral and legal issues -like what UN mandate authorized the aerial killing of a sovereign foreign leader, deposed or otherwise?

Let's talk about something that affects everybody – money.Here's one big and unquestionable winner in the whole Libya debacle.The World's United Military Industrial Complex.

One does not need to be a fortune teller to predict that tomorrow the generals of any self-respecting country will mob their politicians with one demand – funds, funds and more funds.

Some of them want to be like the Americans, with all their technological gizmos – others to protect themselves from unsolicited visits by American drones and Tomahawk missiles.

Amongst many quotes attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte one sounds ominous, “The people who don't want to feed their own army will have to feed a foreign one.”

Let's see how much that lunch would cost:

General Atomics MQ-1 Predator – the one that, most likely, hit the Gaddafi convoy leaving Sirte – costs some US$10 million apiece in 2011 dollars. That's excluding ground control operations, maintenance and the cost of the actual Hellfire missiles it carries.

The MQ-9 Reaper, the more modern version – and another potential “Gaddafi killer" – already goes for $30 million. Both rely heavily on the US-developed and operated GPS.

The whole strategic drone development and procurement program runs into hundreds of billions of dollars – each of which the US taxpayer will be expected to cough up, crisis or not. The program is a current favorite baby of the Pentagon (and the CIA – the other operator of drones) and will be spared in even the most radical budget cutbacks. The US is so far ahead of everybody else on the development and use of the unmanned attack vehicles that it is seen as some kind of Wunderwaffe, a German word for "wonder-weapon".

The only other country that has drones of similar size and capabilities is Israel with its Eitan, otherwise known as Heron TP. Those are already exported to Brazil and Turkey, with Russia negotiating contracts.

For the NATO allies the Libyan campaign is one of humiliation. Despite every PR effort made to convince the public that it was France and Britain, who led Operation Get Rid of Gaddafi, it became blatantly clear that without the big American brother they couldn’t win the war against even the antiquated Libyan defenses. The task of convincing politicians to spend more on offensive military toys at a time of austerity seems daunting – but not impossible. Who said the drones can't be produced in Europe, creating jobs, huh?

With attack drones being the "sword", something has got to be the "shield" to that sword. Since they’ve never been used in any country that bothered to spend on its air defenses, it is unclear how much needs to be spent on interceptors able of knocking them down. With one exception – when NATO was using drones over Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the Serbs were pretty capable of knocking them down with fairly sophisticated (read – expensive) Soviet missiles. But that was some 15 years ago…since then the weapons have become much fancier – and much, much more expensive.

Not everybody in the world happens to see the US and NATO as a default force for good. For them the issue is the opposite – how to make sure Pentagon planners won't risk an invasion?

Gaddafi's fate will help them along – the man was awash in petrodollars in the last decade, but never bothered to seriously upgrade his military machine, putting much trust into his newfound love affair with the West. "See what happened to him? You choose.”

That reasoning would not be without a point. But that would cost the taxpayer all the same.

Since we are on a Bonaparte-uoting streak today, here's another one of his maxims: "War is the business of barbarians."

For Gaddafi

Need To Kill

Listening to a child
on the TV news today
I thought my heart would break
when I heard what he had to say.
We need to kill Saddam,
and get it done today
then my daddy can come home again
and never have to go away.
It made me pause and wonder
what are we coming to?
How have we taught our children
killing is a needed thing to do?
Let's kill Saddam Hussein
and get Bin Laden too
And don't forget Kim Il Yong
he might try to kill us too.
And let's go get Arafat,
and get Quaddafi to,
and all those folks who think like them
We need to kill them too.
Let's drop some bombs on babies,
Women, families too,
and don't forget the old and weak
cause they need killing too.
So killing has become a need
I think one day we'll rue.
Forgetting killing may seem right
when it's not being done to you.

Jeannette J.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Nato Crimes

NATO Has Bombed Libya

Back to Stone Age’

19 October, 2011

Former MI5 agent Annie Machon says that the US wants to reinforce the myths that public has been told about NATO’s ‘humanitarian’ intervention, while Libya is being bombed beyond the point of no return.

During her visit to Libya, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has used unusually blunt terms to describe what the United States wants to see happen in Libya, namely former dictator Muammar Gaddafi being killed or captured.
Machon says even though Gaddafi was an odious dictator and a thorn in the side of Western countries for three decades, for the majority of Libyans their quality of life was perfectly fine.

“They’ve had free education, free health, they could study abroad. When they got married they got a certain amount of money. So they were rather the envy of many other citizens of African countries. Now, of course, since NATO’s humanitarian intervention the infrastructure of their country has been bombed back to the Stone Age. They will not have the same quality of life. Women probably will not have the same degree of emancipation under any new transitional government. The national wealth is probably going to be siphoned off by Western corporations. Perhaps the standard of living in Libya might have been slightly higher than it perhaps is now in America and the UK with the recession,” she said.

Machon agrees the US have been quite unashamed in their statements about wanting regime change in Libya, which she believes is highly illegal.
“It is also interesting to see that they are saying this openly when, of course, in the 1990s they were trying to assassinate him covertly through proxy organizations in Libya,” she said.

NATO countries have sent advisors to Libya and Machon believes that it was done to insure that humanitarian aid and human rights are upheld. However that might prove to be difficult. She says that nobody seems to be really trying to protect civilians in Benghazi or Sirte. Advisors or not, “Libya is descending into one awful mess.”

“Let’s not forget that the UN sanctions change of heart was put in place now on very dubious moral grounds – unsubstantiated rumors of genocide in Benghazi,”she argued. “[Advisors] are probably going there to try and help, but what’s been going on in places like Sirte has been breathtaking hypocrisy. NATO goes in to bomb Gaddafi’s regime out of existence because they are threatening civilians in Benghazi. And now we are looking at a whole range of human rights abuses.”

­Meanwhile, for Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire website, the desired result of US intervention – to see Gaddafi killed or captured, as stated by Hillary Clinton – was also not “surprising.”

“The policy of targeted assassination is very much a part of US foreign policy,” Azikiwe told RT. “Gaddafi was also targeted for the last eight months for assassination…They put it out broadly with the international community that they want to, in fact, assassinate Gaddafi.”

And Clinton’s latest visit to Libya was “designed to bolster the NTC government there,” Azikiwe believes.

Gun Running Hillary

Hillary Clinton to Face Heat

Over Fast & Furious Gun Scandal?

By John Velleco

The testimony before the Oversight committee by Holder and numerous officials from the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security, and other federal agencies was a clinic on obfuscation -- and it left Issa with little choice.

“It’s time we know the whole truth,” Issa said of this latest development in the widening scandal. “The documents this subpoena demands will provide answers to questions that Justice officials have tried to avoid since this investigation began eight months ago.”

The California Republican is not a lawyer by profession, but Issa, along with his relatively small staff, has managed to go toe-to-toe with the army of lawyers spread across the federal government.

Holder: Point man on guns

Issa’s focus on the Attorney General is well-placed. Holder became the point man on gun control during his stint with the Clinton administration and was an obvious choice to help navigate the Obama administration through the turbulent waters of gun control.

But he was not alone. Another figure, whose name is conspicuously absent in much of the current debate over Fast and Furious, is also a leader on the gun control issue: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

From the start, Obama, Clinton, Holder and another cabinet member, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, were itching to make headway on restricting guns, but how could that be done without exacting an unacceptable political price?

For that, the foursome looked south. With violence increasing along the U.S.-Mexico border in 2009, the Obama administration found the perfect scapegoat.

Holder was the first to test the waters. In a February 25, 2009 press conference, Holder spoke for the new administration:

There are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons. I think that will have a positive impact in Mexico at a minimum.

Holder was quickly repudiated by Democrats in Congress, more than 60 of whom said in a letter that a renewal of the gun ban was a non-starter, and Holder was forced to back away from his comments.

The 90% Myth

A month later, as she embarked on her first trip to Mexico as Secretary of State, Clinton told CBS news that, “The guns that are used by the drug cartels against the police and the military, 90 percent of them come from America.”

Clinton’s use of the 90% number sent honest reporters looking for verification. Instead, the number was debunked within days. Still, the administration clung tenaciously to the 90% claim.

The following month, in April 2009, speaking at a joint press conference with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Obama said:

This war is being waged with guns purchased not here, but in the United States. More than 90 percent of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States, many from gun shops that line our shared border.

Incriminating March 2009 press briefing

Interestingly, the day before Clinton went to Mexico in March, no mention was made of any gun ban or the alleged 90% number at a press briefing on the problem of violence in Mexico held at the White House by Napolitano, Deputy Attorney General David Ogden and Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg (both the number two men in their respective departments).

Ogden spoke in broad terms, noting that, “Attorney General Holder and I are committed to taking advantage of all Department resources and those of associated agencies to target the Mexican cartels.”

Ogden also detailed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) efforts “to fortify its Project Gunnrunner, which is aimed at disrupting arms trafficking between the United States and Mexico.”

From Gunrunner to Fast and Furious

Project Gunrunner was the umbrella under which Operation Fast and Furious, an ATF brainchild in which thousands of firearms were allowed to walk into the hands of Mexico’s most dangerous drug cartels, was developed.

On its face, the intent of Fast and Furious was to allow straw purchasers to illegally buy guns in the U.S. and transfer the weapons to cartel members, with authorities following the guns up the criminal supply chain to bring down the cartels.

But that never happened. Over the protests of U.S. gun dealers and rank-and-file ATF agents, thousands of guns were allowed to be purchased and to simply “walk” across the border. ATF never knew exactly where the guns would end up, and in reality the agency became a supplier of firearms to violent drug cartels.

Subsequently, Fast and Furious firearms were found at the murder scenes of two U.S. government agents as well as over 150 Mexican law enforcement officers. American and Mexican police were killed by guns furnished by the U.S. government and paid for by taxpayers.

While Fast and Furious was not specifically mentioned at the press briefing (it would begin operating later in the year), that meeting at the White house shows that the heads of at least three departments of the federal government were intensely aware of what was happening along the border at the very beginning of the Obama administration.

One by one, however, Obama, Holder, Napolitano and Clinton (plus a host of lower level officials) have denied any knowledge of Fast and Furious prior to 2011.

Rep. Issa is hot on the trail of Holder, thanks to a string of incriminating emails and other evidence. But all four were huddled around the border in early 2009, and all four made trips to Mexico in March-April of that year.

Subpoenas for Clinton, Napolitano?

Dissecting what people in the highest levels of government knew and when they knew it leads only to troubling conclusions. Either they all have lied, under oath or in public comments, about their knowledge of Fast and Furious.

Or there exists an unbelievable level of incompetence at the State Department (for not being aware of thousands of guns being sent to violent gangs in another country), at Homeland Security (which claims no knowledge of guns being allowed to walk across a border which falls under its jurisdiction to control) and at the Justice Department (with high-level officials claiming no knowledge of a multi-million dollar operation occurring right under its nose).

Rep. Issa’s 22-point subpoena of documents related to Holder will pull on strings that could unravel a much wider network of corruption. The available evidence strongly suggests that Holder lied to Congress about his knowledge of Fast and Furious. If that’s the case, while it may not be proof positive that the heads of other departments lied as well, it will at least lead Issa’s investigation to take a much closer look at the roles of Clinton and Napolitano.

And even if Holder and the rest lose their jobs, it shouldn’t end there. Guns were illegally run into Mexico, where they could be “found” by Mexican police and traced back to the U.S. Was this done, as some former ATF agents suggest, to pad statistics in order to justify the 90% number and to serve as a rallying cry for a reinstatement of the semi-auto ban? If so, that is criminal behavior, made infinitely worse by the fact that many innocent people have died as a result.

John Velleco is the Director of Federal Affairs for Gun Owners of America, a grassroots lobbying organization with over 300,000 members nationwide.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Seasoning Pork

Seasoning Pork

Shortly after midnight, the San Francisco Police Department moved to push out OccupySF from Justin Hermann Plaza when the campers refused to take down their canopys.

United States Marine Corps. Sgt. Shamar Thomas from Roosevelt, NY went toe to toe with the New York Police Department. An activist in the Occupy Wall Street movement, Thomas voiced his opinions of the NYPD police brutality that had and has been plaguing the OWS movement.

Dumb US Candidates

Herman Cain's
Electrified-Fence Comment

Raises Concern in Mexico

By Ioan Grillo, Mexico City

While Mexico is deeply divided over a tumultuous drug war and tough economic times, the nation can always find unity in one sacred-cow issue: defending its migrants in El Norte. Almost every family in the country has members in the U.S., many sweating on fields, construction sites or in restaurants, and sending home dollars to keep ramshackle villages and city barrios alive. So when Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain joked about a killer electric fence to keep migrants out, political electric shocks surged rapidly south of the Rio Grande. From pulpits by the border to editorial offices in the capital, priests and editors vented their anger at comments they called "stupid," "barbaric" and "shameful."

But even if Cain's comments by themselves can be dismissed as an unsuccessful attempt at humor that produced fury instead, Mexican commentators and congressman have voiced concern about a bigger political picture. In the run-up to the Republican primaries, several candidates have been outbidding each other over who can be toughest over the southern border. Within their discourses, the issue of illegal immigration has become mixed up with that of keeping Mexico's drug war from spilling into the U.S. Pundits in Mexico fear that if this rhetoric carries over into the 2012 presidential election, it will exasperate both antimigrant and cross-border tensions. "In this environment, the electoral weapon has been used to demonize migrant workers and paint them as being the cause of the lack of jobs and insecurity," an editorial in Mexico City's La Jornada newspaper declared Monday. "Each one of these excessive verbal statements increases the danger, discrimination and exploitation that foreign workers — many of them Mexican — face in the United States."

Cain made his comments on Saturday at a campaign stop in Cookeville, Tenn. "We'll have a real fence, 20 ft. high with barbed wire, electrified, with a sign on the other side that says, 'It can kill you,'" Cain said to raucous applause. "What do you mean insensitive? What is insensitive is when they come to the United States across our border and kill our citizens and kill our border-patrol people." The following day, Cain clarified the statement was a joke, not a real proposal. "That is not a serious plan," Cain said. "I've also said America needs to get a sense of humor. That is a joke, O.K.?"

However, few in Mexico could see the funny side of the comments. Ciudad Juárez's Bishop Renato Ascencio León said following his Sunday mass that the Republican candidate was "ridiculous." "In many places, like Germany, they are taking down barriers. Here they are putting them up," he said. "Many come from the United States into Mexico without any papers at all." On a national radio show, popular journalist Carmen Aristegui said Cain's comments were gravely concerning. "We are seeing a rise in extremism in the United States," Aristegui said. "These ideas are absurd, stupid."

On the streets of Mexico City, many locals said they were concerned about the tone in the American electoral debate. "How can you joke about killing poor people who are searching for a better life?" asks Jaime Carrillo, 42, an accountant. "And what if this guy became President? These kinds of comments would cause tension between our countries." Presidential hopeful Rick Perry also provoked ire earlier this month when he suggested that U.S. troops may have to cross into Mexico to fight drug cartels. Mexico's ambassador to the U.S. swiftly replied that "U.S. troops on Mexican soil is not on the table." Candidate Mitt Romney has also waded into the issue, criticizing Perry for being too soft on the border, while saying that "illegal immigration burdens us and is a threat."

Migrant activists point out that the candidates are actually creating heat over an issue that has already been acted on in recent years. The number of undocumented migrants entering the U.S. has dropped sharply over the past decade, thanks to increased security and fewer American jobs. Back in 2000, the border patrol made more than 1.6 million apprehensions on the southern border. This fell to just over 1 million in 2005 and to 404,000 by last year.

In a migrant shelter in the northern edge of Mexico City, several hopefuls lamented that it is much tougher to cross the border than before. "We have to find new places to get over and there are more agents," says Manuel de Jesus Contreras, 37, who had traveled from Honduras. Contreras had previously worked as a security guard in Seattle but was deported because of a lack of papers. "The job situation in the United States is harder now as well. But I am determined to make it and find something. I have children to feed. I don't want to hurt or kill anybody. I just want to be able to support my family."

Too Big to Fail

This article, A Movement Too Big To Fail was published by Chris Hedges, 17 October 2011, on TruthDig. That it is centric to events and history of the USA, presents hesitation to posting it here on the Forum, where readers tend to know something of and have interests that go beyond parochial limitations expected from within the US. But Mr. Hedges is an anomaly in that respect, being well acquainted with the real world without. His presentations and involvements testify he understands one cannot know the US by seeing it only from the inside, that it takes comparing the general sophomoric inner view with that outside and looking back in. Hedges is well positioned for that. Wishes aside, the US is not going to go away. Better that we understand the battle than not.

There is no danger that the protesters who have occupied squares, parks and plazas across the nation in defiance of the corporate state will be co-opted by the Democratic Party or groups like MoveOn. The faux liberal reformers, whose abject failure to stand up for the rights of the poor and the working class, have signed on to this movement because they fear becoming irrelevant. Union leaders, who pull down salaries five times that of the rank and file as they bargain away rights and benefits, know the foundations are shaking. So do Democratic politicians from Barack Obama to Nancy Pelosi. So do the array of “liberal” groups and institutions, including the press, that have worked to funnel discontented voters back into the swamp of electoral politics and mocked those who called for profound structural reform.

Resistance, real resistance, to the corporate state was displayed when a couple of thousand protesters, clutching mops and brooms, early Friday morning forced the owners of Zuccotti Park and the New York City police to back down from a proposed attempt to expel them in order to “clean” the premises. These protesters in that one glorious moment did what the traditional “liberal” establishment has steadily refused to do—fight back. And it was deeply moving to watch the corporate rats scamper back to their holes on Wall Street. It lent a whole new meaning to the phrase “too big to fail.”

Tinkering with the corporate state will not work. We will either be plunged into neo-feudalism and environmental catastrophe or we will wrest power from corporate hands. This radical message, one that demands a reversal of the corporate coup, is one the power elite, including the liberal class, is desperately trying to thwart. But the liberal class has no credibility left. It collaborated with corporate lobbyists to neglect the rights of tens of millions of Americans, as well as the innocents in our imperial wars.

The best that liberals can do is sheepishly pretend this is what they wanted all along. Groups such as MoveOn and organized labor will find themselves without a constituency unless they at least pay lip service to the protests. The Teamsters’ arrival Friday morning to help defend the park signaled an infusion of this new radicalism into moribund unions rather than a co-opting of the protest movement by the traditional liberal establishment. The union bosses, in short, had no choice.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, like all radical movements, has obliterated the narrow political parameters. It proposes something new. It will not make concessions with corrupt systems of corporate power. It holds fast to moral imperatives regardless of the cost. It confronts authority out of a sense of responsibility. It is not interested in formal positions of power. It is not seeking office. It is not trying to get people to vote. It has no resources. It can’t carry suitcases of money to congressional offices or run millions of dollars of advertisements. All it can do is ask us to use our bodies and voices, often at personal risk, to fight back. It has no other way of defying the corporate state. This rebellion creates a real community instead of a managed or virtual one. It affirms our dignity. It permits us to become free and independent human beings.

Martin Luther King was repeatedly betrayed by liberal supporters, especially when he began to challenge economic forms of discrimination, which demanded that liberals, rather than simply white Southern racists, begin to make sacrifices. King too was a radical. He would not compromise on nonviolence, racism or justice. He understood that movements—such as the Liberty Party, which fought slavery, the suffragists, who fought for women’s rights, the labor movement and the civil rights movement—have always been the true correctives in American democracy.

None of those movements achieved formal political power. But by holding fast to moral imperatives they made the powerful fear them. King knew that racial equality was impossible without economic justice and an end to militarism. And he had no intention of ceding to the demands of the liberal establishment that called on him to be calm and patience.

“For years, I labored with the idea of reforming the existing institutions in the South, a little change here, a little change there,” King said shortly before he was assassinated. “Now I feel quite differently. I think you’ve got to have a reconstruction of the entire system, a revolution of values.”

King was killed in 1968 when he was in Memphis to support a strike by sanitation workers. By then he had begun to say that his dream, the one that the corporate state has frozen into a few safe clichés from his 1963 speech in Washington, had turned into a nightmare. King called at the end of his life for massive federal funds to rebuild inner cities, what he called “a radical redistribution of economic and political power,” a complete restructuring of “the architecture of American society.” He grasped that the inequities of capitalism had become the instrument by which the poor would always remain poor.

“Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism,” King said, “but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all of God’s children.”

On the eve of King’s murder he was preparing to organize a poor people’s march on Washington, D.C., designed to cause “major, massive dislocations,” a nonviolent demand by the poor, including the white underclass, for a system of economic equality. It would be 43 years before his vision was realized by an eclectic group of protesters who gathered before the gates of Wall Street.

The truth of America is understood only when you listen to voices in our impoverished rural enclaves, prisons and the urban slums, when you hear the words of our unemployed, those who have lost their homes or cannot pay their medical bills, our elderly and our children, especially the quarter of the nation’s children who depend on food stamps to eat, and all who are marginalized. There is more reality expressed about the American experience by the debt-burdened young men and women protesting in the parks than by all the chatter of the well-paid pundits and experts that pollutes the airwaves.

What kind of nation is it that spends far more to kill enemy combatants and Afghan and Iraqi civilians than it does to help its own citizens who live below the poverty line? What kind of nation is it that permits corporations to hold sick children hostage while their parents frantically bankrupt themselves to save their sons and daughters? What kind of nation is it that tosses its mentally ill onto urban heating grates? What kind of nation is it that abandons its unemployed while it loots its treasury on behalf of speculators? What kind of nation is it that ignores due process to torture and assassinate its own citizens? What kind of nation is it that refuses to halt the destruction of the ecosystem by the fossil fuel industry, dooming our children and our children’s children?

“America,” Langston Hughes wrote, “never was America to me.”

“The black vote mean [nothing],” the rapper Nas intones. “Who you gunna elect/ Satan or Satan?/ In the hood nothing is changing/ We ain’t got no choices.”

Or listen to hip-hop artist Talib Kweli: “Back in the ’60s, there was a big push for black … politicians, and now we have more than we ever had before, but our communities are so much worse. A lot of people died for us to vote, I’m aware of that history, but these politicians are not in touch with people at all. Politics is not the truth to me, it’s an illusion.”

The liberal class functions in a traditional, capitalist democracy as a safety valve. It lets off enough steam to keep the system intact. It makes piecemeal and incremental reform possible. This is what happened during the Great Depression and the New Deal. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s greatest achievement was that he saved capitalism. Liberals in a functioning capitalist democracy are at the same time tasked with discrediting radicals, whether it is King, especially after he denounced the war in Vietnam, or later Noam Chomsky or Ralph Nader.

The stupidity of the corporate state is that it thought it could dispense with the liberal class. It thought it could shut off that safety valve in order to loot and pillage with no impediments. Corporate power forgot that the liberal class, when it functions, gives legitimacy to the power elite. And the reduction of the liberal class to silly courtiers, who have nothing to offer but empty rhetoric, meant that the growing discontent found other mechanisms and outlets. Liberals were reduced to stick figures, part of an elaborate pantomime, as they acted in preordained roles to give legitimacy to meaningless and useless political theater. But that game is over.

Human history has amply demonstrated that once those in positions of power become redundant and impotent, yet retain the trappings and privileges of power, they are brutally discarded. The liberal class, which insists on clinging to its positions of privilege while at the same time refusing to play its traditional role within the democratic state, has become a useless and despised appendage of corporate power.

And as the engines of corporate power pollute and poison the ecosystem and propel us into a world where there will be only masters and serfs, the liberal class, which serves no purpose in the new configuration, is being abandoned and discarded by both the corporate state and radical dissidents. The best it can do is attach itself meekly to the new political configuration rising up to replace it.

An ineffectual liberal class means there is no hope of a correction or a reversal through the formal mechanisms of power. It ensures that the frustration and anger among the working and the middle class will find expression now in these protests that lie outside the confines of democratic institutions and the civilities of a liberal democracy. By emasculating the liberal class, which once ensured that restive citizens could institute moderate reforms, the corporate state has created a closed system defined by polarization, gridlock and political charades. It has removed the veneer of virtue and goodness that the liberal class offered to the power elite.

Liberal institutions, including the church, the press, the university, the Democratic Party, the arts and labor unions, set the parameters for limited self-criticism in a functioning democracy as well as small, incremental reforms. The liberal class is permitted to decry the worst excesses of power and champion basic human rights while at the same time endowing systems of power with a morality and virtue it does not possess. Liberals posit themselves as the conscience of the nation. They permit us, through their appeal to public virtues and the public good, to see ourselves and our state as fundamentally good.

But the liberal class, by having refused to question the utopian promises of unfettered capitalism and globalization and by condemning those who did, severed itself from the roots of creative and bold thought, the only forces that could have prevented the liberal class from merging completely with the power elite. The liberal class, which at once was betrayed and betrayed itself, has no role left to play in the battle between us and corporate dominance. All hope lies now with those in the street.

Liberals lack the vision and fortitude to challenge dominant free market ideologies. They have no ideological alternatives even as the Democratic Party openly betrays every principle the liberal class claims to espouse, from universal health care to an end to our permanent war economy to a demand for quality and affordable public education to a return of civil liberties to a demand for jobs and welfare of the working class. The corporate state forced the liberal class to join in the nation’s death march that began with the presidency of Ronald Reagan.

Liberals such as Bill Clinton, for corporate money, accelerated the dismantling of our manufacturing base, the gutting of our regulatory agencies, the destruction of our social service programs and the empowerment of speculators who have trashed our economy. The liberal class, stripped of power, could only retreat into its atrophied institutions, where it busied itself with the boutique activism of political correctness and embraced positions it had previously condemned.

Russell Jacoby writes: “The left once dismissed the market as exploitative; it now honors the market as rational and humane. The left once disdained mass culture as exploitative; now it celebrates it as rebellious. The left once honored independent intellectuals as courageous; now it sneers at them as elitist. The left once rejected pluralism as superficial; now it worships it as profound. We are witnessing not simply a defeat of the left, but its conversion and perhaps inversion.”

Hope in this age of bankrupt capitalism comes with the return of the language of class conflict and rebellion, language that has been purged from the lexicon of the liberal class, language that defines this new movement.

This does not mean we have to agree with Karl Marx, who advocated violence and whose worship of the state as a utopian mechanism led to another form of enslavement of the working class, but we have to learn again to speak in the vocabulary Marx employed.

We have to grasp, as Marx and Adam Smith did, that corporations are not concerned with the common good. They exploit, pollute, impoverish, repress, kill and lie to make money. They throw poor families out of homes, let the uninsured die, wage useless wars to make profits, poison and pollute the ecosystem, slash social assistance programs, gut public education, trash the global economy, plunder the U.S. Treasury and crush all popular movements that seek justice for working men and women. They worship money and power. And, as Marx knew, unfettered capitalism is a revolutionary force that consumes greater and greater numbers of human lives until it finally consumes itself.

The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is the perfect metaphor for the corporate state. It is part of the same nightmare experienced in postindustrial mill towns of New England and the abandoned steel mills of Ohio. It is a nightmare that Iraqis, Pakistanis and Afghans, living in terror and mourning their dead, endure daily.

What took place early Friday morning in Zuccotti Park was the first salvo in a long struggle for justice. It signaled a step backward by the corporate state in the face of popular pressure. And it was carried out by ordinary men and women who sleep at night on concrete, get soaked in rainstorms, eat donated food and have nothing as weapons but their dignity, resilience and courage. It is they, and they alone, who hold out the possibility of salvation. And if we join them we might have a chance.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Palestinian Prisoners

About The Prisoners Exchange With Israel

Salim Nazzal Oct 17,2011

Palestinians have the right to celebrate the freedom of their sons and daughters who spent years in the Israeli jails because they fought the occupation and they deserve a hero-like reception. Fighting the Zionist occupation is an honor for those Palestinians who put defending Palestine before their own interests. And shame on all those European countries which preach to us about democracy and human rights yet lifted no finger about Palestinians taken to jail by illegal power in Palestine.

And since 2006, the year of arresting the French mercenary soldier by Palestinian freedom fighters, the question of the European and American mercenaries in the Zionist army has not taken serious concern in terms of the international law, including the juridical responsibility of these countries which its citizen join an occupation army and contribute in murder and occupation.

Therefore I address Palestinian's lawyers to consider this question and to take legal actions because all know that the Israeli army includes thousands of European and American citizens who kill and occupy innocent Palestinians.

The second point I like to raise is the question of how the Palestinian side accept deporting 41 prisoners outside Palestine, while we know from the experience of the church deportee in 2003 that none of them were allowed to return to their homes.

This question has juridical, national, social and human sides and we Palestinians are extremely sensitive to the question of deporting us from our home country because this is exactly what Zionism is about, to deport as many Palestinians as they could.

Bearing all these considerations in mind, I am shocked that the Palestinian negotiating team has accepted the principle of deportation, knowing how this word is extremely sensitive in the Palestinian psychology. And all of us do not forget for a moment that the Russian polish defacto Zionist state is based from A to U on the question of deporting Palestinians from their homeland.

However, I do not claim that I know much about the science of negotiation, nor I am a political man by any way, but as a Palestinian who studied well the Zionist criminal history in Palestine, I would strongly oppose the idea of deporting any Palestinian from his home under all conditions. However I hope this would be the last time such horrible things are accepted by Palestinian negotiators; looking of course towards the day we see no Palestinian in the Zionist jails, and no Zionists on the land of Palestine.

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