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Wed

01

Sep

2010

John F Kennedy just won’t die
by Roland Michel Tremblay

I couldn’t care less for JFK, apart from the fact that he is now but an international airport. I only care to see how many died talking about his death, over 40 now at the last count, and I wonder, deep down, if I will be shot for writing this article. The powers that be certainly do not kid around when it comes to JFK, they kill you outright even today. Let’s test it then, I don’t care dying an accidental death.

It so happens, and I cannot describe this as anything else but a coincidence, or destiny, I don’t know, my best friend was the lover of Lee Harvey Oswald, the so-called killer of JFK. It didn’t matter to me, I didn’t know, what did that have to do with JFK? The man died way before I was even born, nearly 50 years ago, and this is all American stuff, I’m not American, I’m Canadian. Let the Americans sort themselves out, I thought. Not so easy when your best friend was right in the middle of it, and is about to publish the greatest bestseller ever on JFK’s death. Dear me, I thought, I will have to read the book and write an article about it. After all, this kind of journalism is rare these days when freedom of speech is all but nonexistent.

Death threats is all Judyth Vary Baker ever suffered from the very day multiple shots hit JFK. She had to abandon a promising career in medical science; no wonder, since she was involved in plotting the assassination of Fidel Castro with Oswald, and nearly succeeded until this change of plan that ordered instead the death of JFK. At the time the power behind the throne thought that the death of one or the other would be all that was required to change the world. Eventually it was decided that it was easier to kill JFK than Castro. I’m not surprised. But then, all the willing participants who were willing to save America and the world from Castro, as they were told they were working on, were thrown into saving us all by killing JFK. Oswald, who had been an American spy for quite a while, was not keen on the idea. He never shot at JFK, although he was ordered to do so by the US government, and yet he became the scapegoat of such a devilish plan.

This is where my friend Judyth Vary Baker comes in. She was working on plan A, to kill Castro. She was not keen on plan B, to kill JFK. As the lover of Oswald, she was privy to everything. However she was so frightened into silence, that only today she is willing to tell the truth, and dear me, she was so central to it all. Baker was the first ever non-combatant American woman to succeed in gaining asylum seeker status in the world, in Sweden, just to show how threatened she has been, and how convincing a case she was able to produce to the relevant authorities in Europe. To this day her life is still threatened, and I am here to tell you that it is too late for anyone to harm her, for the book will be published in November no matter what. And it is useless to threaten me, this is the only article I will ever write about the JFK assassination.

You don’t have to wait until the book “Me and Lee, How I came to know, love and lose Lee Harvey Oswald” comes out in November to find out what Judyth has to say about the JFK’s assassination. She was central to the controversial television documentary series “The Men Who Killed Kennedy” on ITV in England and the History Channel:

 

Wed

01

Sep

2010

Roundabout as conflict-avoidance versus Malcolm X’s psychology of liberation
by Denis G. Rancourt Ph.D.

In the present essay I introduce the general notion of“roundabout” as a mechanism of conflict avoidance used by privileged socialjustice activists. I then contrast this pseudo-liberation activism with theneeded true liberation activism of Malcolm X, which I argue to be consistentwith the model of liberation of Freire.

INTRODUCTION

The now familiar concept of “pacifism as pathology” wasintroduced by Ward Churchill as the central characteristic of First-Worldmiddleclass so-called social justice activism. Churchill argued from historythat all liberations were leveraged through violence and proposed that pacifismas cowardice was pathology. [1]

Gandhi stated that it was better to practice armedresistance than to use pacifism as an excuse for cowardice [2]. Both men(Churchill and Ghandi) saw acceptance of and self-justification for one’s(legal or circumstantial) slavery as pathology.

Paulo Freire’s work showed that all hierarchies, no matterhow cushioned in comfort, are violent and oppressive and argued that we couldonly fight our own oppression – that “solidarity” meant standing side by sidewith those fighting our same oppression. Freire advanced that all liberationshad to be rooted in and driven by the struggles of the oppressed themselves nomatter how underprivileged and that inter-social-class “solidarity” wasinsignificant and limited to rare individuals who joined in battle on the frontlines. [3]

Churchill concentrated on the use of pacifism as an excuseto avoid the needed direct confrontation with the oppressive system. He andothers have deconstructed and exposed First World pacifism as avoidance;including mainstream life-style environmentalism, ecological or economicisolationism, love ideologies, and so on, when taken to be activisms inthemselves. These authors did not explore the main creative active strategieswhereby pacifism can be enacted.

I explore the latter strategies of evasive action(roundabout) used by the most activist-minded sector of concerned citizens.

My goal is to provide a radical self-criticism for dedicatedanti-hierarchy (social justice) activists to help ensure that we are aseffective as possible and are not simply fooling ourselves. I hope that myanalysis will help us to more easily recognize when we are fooling ourselvesand wasting our energies and will help us to identify optimally effectiveoutlooks and strategies.
 

Wed

01

Sep

2010

NORAD-Russian Joint Air Drill, Bomber Incursions and Canada’s F-35 Jet Purchase
by Dana Gabriel

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and the Russian Federation Air Force conducted a cooperative air defense exercise from August 8-11 that focused on combating terrorism.

Vigilant Eagle was hailed as a milestone exercise between the Cold War era rivals. It included Russian, U.S., along with Canadian Air Force personnel operating from command centers inside Russia and the United States directing fighter jets, as well as civilian air traffic controllers. It took several years to stage the drill which centered around, “an international air terrorism scenario exercised over the Pacific Ocean consisting of forces from the U.S. and Russia responding to the simulated hijacking of a B-757 en route to the Far East.” The joint exercise was, “designed to establish clear communication processes that would allow the two forces to work together during a real crisis.” Russian Air Force Col. Alexander Vasilyev emphasized the importance of cooperation in combating the dangers of air terrorism. He stated, “Terrorism is something that affects all our countries. So it is very important that we work together to develop procedures and bring the relationship between our countries closer together to unite our countries in the fight against terrorism.”

In April, it was announced that, “NATO and Russia have begun a testing phase of a joint system for air traffic coordination. This will be the first NATO-Russia system of this kind to be fielded. The system focuses primarily on the fight against terrorism and will provide a shared radar picture of air traffic and early notification of suspicious air activities.” The report entitled the Moscow Metro Bombings and Terrorism in Russia also addresses the possibility of developing further practical NATO-Russia cooperation in regards to terrorism. President Barack Obama has called for Russia and the U.S. to further deepen collaboration on security and anti-terrorism matters. In May, the Associated Press reported that, “Obama told a Russian television station that no single country can defeat terrorists who have attacked targets throughout the world. He said he looks forward to ‘increasing cooperation between the United States and Russia’ on fighting terrorism.” Despite any past or present tension between the two countries, the seemingly endless shadowy war on terrorism has provided a common enemy and demonstrated how the global conflict can at times make strange bedfellows.

The recent NORAD-Russian air drill was preceded by an incident where Canadian fighter jets repelled two long-range Russian bombers off the coast of Labrador near the Arctic. Russia contends the flight was simply a training mission and deny trying to enter Canadian airspace. They maintain that the Canadian military was aware of the exercise contrary to Defence minister Peter MacKay who insists that they were not notified. NORAD fighters have intercepted between 12 and 18 bombers annually since 2007. In advance of President Obama’s visit to Canada back in February of 2009, Canadian fighter jets were scrambled to head off Russian bombers approaching its airspace. Prime Minster Stephen Harper promised that Canada would defend its airspace and sovereignty by responding every time the Russians make any kind of intrusion into its Arctic territory. At times, Canada and Russia have both been guilty of a war of words in regards to Arctic sovereignty. The latest so-called Russian bomber incursion appears to be nothing more than an attempt by the Conservative government to capitalize on the event to further its political interests.
 

Mon

30

Aug

2010

Glenn Beck’s redemption song
by Robert Jensen

About halfway through Saturday’s “Restoring Honor” rally on the DC mall, I realized that I was starting to like Glenn Beck.

Before any friends of mine initiate involuntary commitment proceedings, let me explain. It’s not that I really liked Beck, but more that I experienced his likeability. Whether or not he’s sincere, I came to admire his ability to project sincerity and to create coherence out of his incoherent rambling about religion, race, and redemption.

As a result, I’m more afraid for our political future than ever.

First, to be clear: Beck is the embodiment of everything I dislike about the U.S. politics and contemporary culture. As a left/feminist with anti-capitalist and anti-empire politics, I disagree with most every policy position he takes. As a journalist and professor who values intellectual standards for political discourse, I find his willful ignorance and skillful deceit to be unconscionable.

So, I’m not looking for a charismatic leader to follow and I haven’t been seduced by Beck’s televisual charm, nor have I given up on radical politics. Instead, I’m trying to understand what happened when I sat down at my computer on Saturday morning and plugged into the live stream of the event. Expecting to see just another right-wing base-building extravaganza that would speak to a narrow audience, I planned to watch for a few minutes before getting onto other projects. I stayed glued to my chair for the three-hour event.

My conclusion: What I saw was the most rhetorically and visually sophisticated political spectacle in recent memory. Beck was able to both connect to a right-wing base while at the same time moving beyond the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement, potentially creating a new audience for his politics. It’s foolish to make a prediction based on one rally, but I think Beck’s performance marked his move from blowhard broadcaster to front man for a potentially game-changing political configuration.

My advice: Liberals, progressive, and leftists -- who may be tempted to denounce him as a demagogue and move on -- should take all this seriously and try to understand what he’s doing. Here’s my best attempt to understand it.
 

Sun

29

Aug

2010

Medea Benjamin: Blackwater vs. Pinkwater: The Wife of Erik Prince Picks a Fight With CODEPINK
by Media Benjamin

It felt surreal to be inside the home of Erik Prince, the founder, owner and chairman of Blackwater (or Xe, as it is now called). Prince, a former Navy Seal, provides security for the CIA, the Pentagon and the State Department. His company trains 40,000 people a year in skills that include personal protection. Yet his home in McLean, Virginia, has no security. None. Not even a fence or a guard dog or a No Trespassing sign. And his mother-in-law, who helps care for his young children, invited a total stranger--me--into his home without hesitation.

I had gone to Prince's home, together with two CODEPINK colleagues, assuming it would be empty. I'd read in the New York Times that Mr. Prince and his family had moved out of the country, fleeing from a series of civil lawsuits, criminal charges and Congressional investigations stemming from his company's contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the news, "In documents filed last week in a civil lawsuit brought by former Blackwater employees accusing Mr. Prince of defrauding the government, Mr. Prince sought to avoid giving a deposition by stating that he had moved to Abu Dhabi [which is in the United Arab Emirates] in time for his children to enter school there on August 15." Susan Burke, the lawyer seeking the deposition, announced that she was flying to the Emirates to find him

I had been feeling particularly upset about Blackwater lately. Seeing the combat troops leaving Iraq, I'd been thinking about the banner CODEPINK members held in countless anti-war vigils: "Iraq War: Who Lies? Who Dies? Who Pays? Who Profits?" Politicians lied about weapons of mass destruction, Iraqis and American soldiers died, U.S. taxpayers paid, and companies like Blackwater make a killing. In just a few years, Blackwater received over $1 billion in U.S. government contracts, contracts that accounted for 90 percent of its revenue. Erik Prince, the company's sole owner, was now taking his profits, trying to sell the company and running away to the Emirates, a country that has no extradition treaty with the United States.

So we decided to make a symbolic gesture of visiting his home in McLean to bid good riddance to bad rubbish. On Friday, August 20, five days after the Prince children were supposed to be starting their new lives as schoolchildren in the Emirates, we mapquested the old McLean home and drove there, ready to take a photo with our "Adios Diablo Prince" sign and leave.

But when we got there, to our surprise we could see through the window that the house was full of people and furniture. There were no moving boxes, no empty rooms. Could the new owners have settled in so quickly? Curious, I rang the doorbell and before I knew it, I was invited in and found myself inside the living room with a bunch of young children and several adults, who turned out to be grandma, grandpa and wife Joanna Prince.

The rest happened very quickly. Joanna asked who I was and why I was there. I asked the same questions: Was this the Prince family and if so, why weren't they in Abu Dhabi? She freaked, told the grandparents to call the police, and she pushed me out the door.

We hung around outside waiting for the police. We wanted to assure them that there was no problem--that I had indeed been invited inside and left when asked to leave. In the meantime, I wrote a letter to Erik.

Dear Erik Prince,

On behalf of U.S. taxpayers, we say "Shame on You." Through your company Blackwater, or Xe as you now like to call it, you made--or should I say stole?--hundreds of millions of dollars and your employees also killed innocent civilians in Iraq. You should be held responsible. Don't run away to the Emirates to escape prosecution. Stay here in the USA and face the consequences of your actions, like a good Christian.

Sincerely,
Pinkwater

When the police arrived, Joanna Prince lied and said I'd been told to leave the house and refused. I was arrested, charged with trespassing, held for 5 hours and forced to pay $500 in bail. I have to appear in court on September 28. So does Joanna Prince. Will she show up in court or will she--like her husband--run away to Abu Dhabi? Will the court subpoena her to appear? Will her husband, a man who shuns publicity, tell her that she is crazy to pick a public fight with CODEPINK (or Pinkwater, as we now call ourselves) and make her drop the charges? Will I be able to sue her for false arrest?

Stay tuned for round two of Xe (formerly Blackwater) vs. Pinkwater (formerly CODEPINK).
 
 
Medea Benjamin is cofounder of the peace group CODEPINK (www.codepink.org) and the human rights group Global Exchange (www.globalexchange.org). You can see the video of this episode here: http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=si-CpfA5Noc
 
 

Sun

29

Aug

2010

Kill Them - The Demonization of Muslims
by  Linh Dinh

Michael Enright, a 21-year-old college student, slashed a NYC cab driver in the face and neck because this man was Muslim. Enright is being held in a psychiatric ward. If he is mad, then the United States is also insane. Enright's assault merely mirrors what we, as a nation, have done for nearly a decade. 

The United States has responded criminally and incoherently to what happened on September 11, 2001. Lopped of our twin members, downtown, we also lost our authoritative voice. Two days after that disaster, George Bush grimly declared, "The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him." Six months later, Bush shrugged, "I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority." Our current president never mentions bin Laden, yet Obama has sent many more troops into Afghanistan. We're not leaving any time soon, that's for sure. Congress has just approved 1.3 billion dollars to expand our military bases there. Our new mission, if Time Magazine is to be believed, is to defend Afghan women against the Taliban, whom we created in the first place, to fight the Soviets. America gets a kick out of these flip flops. We propped up Saddam Hussein, then we had him hanged. We fought Communist Vietnam, then we staged a naval exercise with that same regime, as happened just recently, riling up China. Tension feeds the military industrial complex. Wars are even better.  

Responding to 9/11, America also invaded Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with that catastrophe. Since the real reasons for our two current conflicts, access to oil and natural gas, defense of the petrodollar, war profiteering, are never admitted to, many Americans have concluded that we're simply waging war against Islam, which is, frankly, not that far off the mark considering our unequivocal support for Israel whenever it attacks Gaza, Lebanon, Syria or any other Muslim population. The U.S. has also been killing Pakistani civilians and threatening Iran. It's a miracle many Muslims don't hate us more. 

Without Israel and oil, it's a safe bet we wouldn't be demonizing Muslims so relentlessly. As is, this stoked hatred is bringing out the worst in our character. On Yahoo! News, many comments on the Enright story don't condemn but applaud his obvious crime, and also bash Islam. 

Bruce, "Slay the infidel.....stone the rape victim......beat your wife........mate with your goat.....wipe your bu tt with your bare hand.....AHHH the joys of islam!"  

David, "this guy should get a medal and be aloud [sic] to blow up the mosque at the ground zero sight, its [sic] about time someone in ny stepped up and showed some american balls!!!" 

Spreading like cancer across the internet, openly hateful and racist comments are especially common after stories about Muslims, blacks or Mexicans, the top three scapegoats at the moment. Obama is a lightning rod for anti-black racism, which is ironic because he does not favor blacks in any way. Like Bush, Clinton and the rest of our bank-bailing-out, paid-for politicians, Obama couldn't care less about the little guys. Eyeing his own wallet and his future after the White House, Obama's here to defend the moneyed interest. His blackness is merely symbolic, but that's enough to enrage the racists.  

After Michelle Obama went to Spain, Alternative Right, a webzine with contributions from several established authors, had an article titled, "Michelle's Vacation in Whitey World." Among the comments, one man suggested that she should have gone to a blacker destination, like "Ghana or the Maldives."  

One Sheila wrote, "I cringe every time I see a photo of the Sasquatch/Wookie as purportedly "First Lady" of American women. My spouse always comments that she reminds him of a chimp with her underbite, and I am always struck by her enormous feet and trapezius muscles. Either way I feel a sort of cognitive dissonance, such as when I view old photos and see 19th century blacks dressed in Victorian clothing.     As far as her amazing European adventure, she is putting herself in white people's faces. Her very presence is a way of announcing the new order." 
 

Fri

27

Aug

2010

9/11 Truth Finally Arrives at Daily Kos
by Katherine Smith Ph.D.

[Author’s Note: I am working on a Psychohistory analysis of one of the most popular websites on the Internet, DailyKos (Alexa Traffic Rank 4,025)]

Mentioning DailyKos to outsiders will provoke a rant about a leftwing gatekeeper website populated by left wing ignorant kooks kept in line by a sexist man working for the CIA.

Daily Kos is blog where pinko retard basement dwellers highlight the moar deluded of the leftard section of the tinfoil hat crowd’s conspiracy theories about George W. Bush, conservatives, and the state of the nation. Articles on this shrill blog repeat how Bush stole the election ad infinitum, that Dick Cheney is a robot when he is actually just an eminence gris, and fantasize about Ann Coulter being a man. This last claim is particularly cruel in view of the Daily Kos viewpoint that shemales should always be identified as women.

The site is controlled by the CIA but not for the purpose of disinformation or gate keeping. The CIA run the site to manage the emotional band of the community just above apathy but below effective activism. A psychohistory case study explaining why it is important to keep the members of the Dailykos community engaged in the Democratic process is coming soon.

DailyKos is owned and operated by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga and in one of those coincidences that don’t happen very often, was born September 11, 1971.

And speaking of 9/11 and ‘Conspiracy Theories’ in general, they are forbidden at DailyKos.

The FAQ (rules and guidelines for posting diaries)

DailyKos accepts that the 9/11 attacks were perpetrated by agents of Al-Qaeda. It is forbidden to write diaries that:

  • refer to claims that American, British, Israeli, or any government assisted in the attacks
  • refer to claims that the airplanes that crashed into the WTC and Pentagon were not the cause of the damage to those buildings or their subsequent collapse. Yes, this does include ‘controlled demolition’ of WTC 7.

“911 Truthers are Dummies” published at Dailykos on August 4 (below) and was my successful attempt at getting around the rules and guidelines.

My position on September 11:

I’ll get right to the point, I have read the books and watched the documentaries on September 11 for three years and the 9/11 official story:

Nineteen fanatical Arab hijackers, masterminded by an evil genius named Osama bin Laden, crash airplanes into steel skyscrapers because they “hate our freedom to consume” and inexplicably on 9/11 jet fuel, which is basically kerosene that burns at about 400c, took on the qualities of an explosive demolition agent, vaporizing 70 tons of aircraft into a puff of smoke and causing 110-story buildings to collapse into a pile of rubble. [1]

Is so stupid Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld didn’t expect you to believe it.

911 Truthers are Dummies (hyperlink provided in case you want to read the comments at DailyKos. The Kogs missed the subtle message. My guess is that you guys will figure it out.)

DailyKos Disclaimer about why conspiracy theorists are consistently wrong. All conspiracy theories (C/T) can be reduced to a supposed discrepancy or anomaly in one official record or another. To the conspiracy theorists the holes in an “official story” are some kind of truth that conspirators are trying to cover up. However, because theorists rarely if ever have any coherent beginning-to-end narrative of what they think happened, the perceived discrepancies constitute the entire basis of their arguments.

What the conspiracy theorists consistently ignore (and rarely does anyone point out) is how simple it would be for the criminals to change or falsify the alleged discrepancy or anomaly. The act of doing so would be trivial compared to the magnitude of other acts the theorists claim the conspirators committed.

September 11, 2001

It’s getting harder these days to avoid gullible progressive Democrats telling ludicrous fairy tales about 9/11.
 

Wed

25

Aug

2010

Unions Are WRONG To Refuse To Build The Mosque
by Linda Milazzo

I've always believed in unions. I come from a long line of union members: steel workers, sanitation workers, office workers, police, fire, you name it. They're all in my family. My American family typifies the American working class. In fact, if all the unions represented by my family were to strike for a week, the whole country would suffer. Construction would stop. Crime would go undeterred. Fires would go unextinguished. And in my case, students would go untaught. Yes, I, too, am a union member. I'm a teacher.

Right now, America's unions are under fire. Millions of workers are unemployed and companies large and small are suffering. Business owners would love nothing more than to bypass unions to use lower wage, uninsured personnel. Given the opportunity, unemployed non-union labor would replace union workers in a New York second for the same jobs at lower wages with no benefits. In today's fragile economy, the only lovers of unions are the union members themselves.

Given how unpopular unions are, one would think union members would be extra careful to be welcoming, congenial, considerate and non-ideological with potential employers when jobs are on the line. All types of businesses and individuals contract with unions; from those held in the highest esteem, to those of ill repute. With such a diversity of contractors, not every union member feels kinship with those who foot their bills. Not every cop or fire fighter coalesces with the person and business s/he's assigned to protect, but s/he protects them just the same.

Educators can't choose not to teach certain pupils simply because they don't want to. Black, white, hispanic, asian, jewish, catholic, muslim, buddhist, bipolar, down-syndrome, hyperactive students all deserve education. Teachers unions don't boycott specific groups of students because they don't like their sect or color, or because they're somehow reminiscent of a painful past. If that should happen - if unions and union members should be so self-serving, unprofessional, prejudiced and juvenile to use criteria like ethnicity, religion, race, disability or reminiscence to defer services - those unions and union members should be stripped of union privileges and forfeit their jobs to those who prize propriety. Unions are contracted because of skills and compliance with rules and regulations - not because of bias and ideology. The only ideology acceptable for a union should be dedication to the excellent performance of one's job.

Of course there are legitimate circumstances where unions are correct in refusing contracts and in making demands in the interest of their rank and file. Members' health and safety are of paramount importance. No effective or worthwhile union should accept unsafe working conditions or an unhealthy workplace. Abuse of workers should never be tolerated. Unions exist to negotiate the best possible work environment and compensation for their members. However, nowhere do unsubstantiated fear, contempt for religion, or resurgent memory factor into union contracts as negotiable provisions for worker rights and protection. Such issues are frivolous, unprofessional, and unworthy of consideration; except of course if a worker's emotional or psychological state as a result of such fear renders him legitimately unable to perform. That's another matter.

The New York Daily News is reporting that union construction workers are refusing to build the Manhattan mosque to be located two blocks from Ground Zero. This is ideological impropriety that union leadership should cease immediately. It's bad enough that only 41% of Americans had a positive view of unions prior to this unfounded anti-Muslim tantrum. Adding cultural and religious bias, logistic sensitivity and unfounded fear to the existing union stereotypes of over-coddled and over-paid, affords union detractors greater ability to incite anti-union sentiment with new pejoratives like hyper-sensitive, hysterical, illogical and emotionally weak.
 

Wed

25

Aug

2010

Notes from Besieged Gaza
by Stephen Lendman

On June 17, Israel's Cabinet issued a six point plan, agreeing to ease access for civilian goods entering Gaza without loosening inflexible security measures to restrict them. So what's changed? Not much. Increased truck traffic has been modest at best. The consumer ban was partially lifted, permitting previously prohibited items like ketchup, chocolate and children's toys.

Yet, banned products still include vitally needed industrial and construction items, unrelated to security concerns Israel claims, bogusly calling them "dual use." As a result, the promised ease is unfulfilled. Strangling Gaza economically continues. Raw materials, spare parts, essential equipment, and numerous other non-military related goods are denied. In addition, no policy change eased people movement into and out of Gaza, those inside effectively imprisoned, exports still banned, and humanitarian flotillas threatened with forcible interdiction, in some cases their cargos and personal possessions stolen to prevent essential goods and cash donations from being delivered.

In an August 22 Common Dreams article, Ann Wright headlined," "Israeli Soldiers Sell Gaza Flotilla Passengers' Computers and Steal Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in Cash," saying:

"An Israeli newspaper has revealed that four to six computers (among the hundreds seized from Mavi Marmara passengers were) sold by an Israeli First Lieutenant to three junior military personnel. On August 18, a second officer was arrested in connection with the theft."

Labor Party MK Eitan Kabel called the revelation "embarrassing, humiliating and infuriating," but there's more. "Israeli commandos also took cash and credit cards from passengers," an estimated $1,000 or more from each, or at least $750,000, donations intended for Gazans. Four passengers alone had $68,000 stolen, money needy Gazans didn't get.

Other items were also taken, including cell phones, cameras, and electronic equipment, supposedly kept safe but not returned when passengers were released. No one so far has been held accountable, nor for the cold-blooded murder of up to 15 passengers, three commissions investigating them, including:

-- the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), hopefully a second Goldstone Commission;

-- Israel's Turkel Commission, the Netanyahu government's arranged whitewash; and

-- a second Ban Ki-moon appointed UN commission with former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe vice-chairman, a man tainted by corruption, scandal, and links to his country's drug cartels and paramilitary death squads, responsible for murdering thousands of trade unionists, campesinos, human rights workers, independent journalists, pro-democracy advocates, and others opposing Colombia's narco-state terrorism and ties to US imperialism - his appointment outraging activists demanding justice, not coverup and denial.

In an August 17 open letter, Besieged Gaza, Palestine, its members listed below, wrote Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, urging he demand Ban Ki-moon remove Uribe, saying:

"Mr. Prime Minister, it is an insult to the memory of those killed (including nine Turkish citizens on Turkey's Mavi Marmara) to have their blood 'redeemed' by a man who has a record of violations against human rights and international law. (He was) an accomplice in corruption and crimes against humanity....(He) supported the displacement of Afro-Colombian families from their ancestral territories in La Toma, Suarez, and kept silent against the denial of their economic and territorial rights. (He's also) a devoted Zionist, committed to the myth and fabrication of 'Israel's security.' "
 

Wed

25

Aug

2010

Two Minutes to Midnight? Cutting Through the Media's Bogus Bomb-Iran Debate
by Tony Karon

America's march to a disastrous war in Iraq began in the media, where an unprovoked U.S. invasion of an Arab country was introduced as a legitimate policy option, then debated as a prudent and necessary one. Now, a similarly flawed media conversation on Iran is gaining momentum.

Last month, TIME's Joe Klein warned that Obama administration sources had told him bombing Iran's nuclear facilities was "back on the table."  In an interview with CNN, former CIA director Admiral Mike Hayden next spoke of an "inexorable" dynamic toward confrontation, claiming that bombing was a more viable option for the Obama administration than it had been for George W. Bush. The pièce de résistance in the most recent drum roll of bomb-Iran alerts, however, came from Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic Monthly.  A journalist influential in U.S. pro-Israeli circles, he also has access to Israel’s corridors of power. Because sanctions were unlikely to force Iran to back down on its uranium enrichment project, Goldberg invited readers to believe that there was a more than even chance Israel would launch a military strike on the country by next summer. 

His piece, which sparked considerable debate in both the blogosphere and the traditional media, was certainly an odd one.  After all, despite the dramatics he deployed, including vivid descriptions of the Israeli battle plan, and his tendency to paint Iran as a new Auschwitz, he also made clear that many of his top Israeli sources simply didn’t believe Iran would launch nuclear weapons against Israel, even if it acquired them.

Nonetheless, Goldberg warned, absent an Iranian white flag soon, Israel would indeed launch that war in summer 2011, and it, in turn, was guaranteed to plunge the region into chaos. The message: the Obama administration better do more to confront Iran or Israel will act crazy.

It's not lost on many of his progressive critics that, when it came to supporting a prospective invasion of Iraq back in 2002, Goldberg proved effective in lobbying liberal America, especially through his reports of "evidence" linking Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. Then and now, he presents himself as an interlocutor who has no point of view.  In his most recent Atlantic piece, he professed a "profound, paralyzing ambivalence" on the question of a military strike on Iran and subsequently, in radio interviews, claimed to be "personally opposed" to military action.

His piece, however, conveniently skipped over the obvious inconsistencies in what his Israeli sources were telling him.  In addition, he excluded perspectives from Israeli leaders that might have challenged his narrative in which an embattled Jewish state feels it has no alternative but to launch a quixotic military strike.  Such an attack, as he presented it, would have limited hope of doing more than briefly setting back the Iranian nuclear program, perhaps at catastrophic cost, and so Israeli leaders would act only because they believe the "goyim" won't stop another Auschwitz. Or as my friend Paul Woodward, editor of the War in Context website, so brilliantly summed up the Israeli message to America: "You must do what we can’t, because if you don’t, we will."

Goldberg insists that he is merely initiating a debate about how to tackle Iran and that debate is already underway on his terms -- that is, like its Iraq War predecessor, based on a fabricated sense of crisis and arbitrary deadlines.

Last Friday, the New York Times reported that the Obama administration had convinced Israel that there was no need to rush on the issue.  Should Iran decide to build a nuclear weapon (which it has not done), it would, administration officials pointed out, quickly make its intentions clear by expelling the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors who routinely monitor its nuclear work, and breaking out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).  After that, it would still need another year or more to assemble its first weapon.
 

Wed

25

Aug

2010

One Democratic State In Palestine
by Gilad Atzmon
Gilad Atzmon (Hebrew: גלעד עצמון‎, born June 9, 1963) is a jazz musician, author and anti-Zionist activist who was born in Israel and currently lives in London.
"Anti-Semite is an empty signifier, no one actually can be an Anti-Semite and this includes me of course. In short, you are either a racist - which I am not - or have an ideological disagreement with Zionism... which I have."
He was born a secular Israeli Jew in Tel Aviv, and trained at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem. His service in the Israeli military convinced him Israel had become a militarized state controlled by religious extremists. In 1994, Atzmon emigrated from Israel to London, where he studied philosophy. Atzmon is an anti-Zionist who critiques Jewish identity issues and supports the Palestinian Right of Return as well as the establishment of a single state in Israel/Palestine. He is a signatory to the "Palestinians are the Priority Petition" which states “full and unconditional support of the Palestinian people is a condition sine qua non for activists to adopt.

Introduction by Gilad Atzmon: 

Living in a world dominated by relentless Zionist lobbying, I am far from being captivated by the current state of Western democracy. I am not impressed at all by the lethal enthusiasm to democratize the World in the name of ‘moral interventionism’. I am sickened by the murderous zeal that led the USA and Britain into a criminal war that left already more than 1.5 million Iraqi fatalities….

And yet, democracy can also be a genuine universal call. As it happens, it is the Palestinians who are teaching us what democracy is all about, what it stands for and why we favoured it in the first place. Read the Declaration of the Movement for One Democratic State (ODS) in Palestine. I assume that moral interventionists better visit the ODS conference in October so they gather that democracy is actually a humanist call.

Instead of an ethno-centric exclusive ‘Jews only democracy’ we are talking here about an inclusive multi ethnic state of its citizens.

Declaration of the Movement for One Democratic State in Palestine

Vision of the Movement 

1. The entire territory of Palestine between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River is one country that belongs to all its citizens including all those who live there and all those who were expelled over the past century and their descendants. The country shall be constituted as an independent sovereign State in which all citizens enjoy equal rights and all can live in freedom and security.

2. The reunified country in Palestine shall be constituted as a democracy in which all of its adult citizens shall enjoy equal rights to vote, stand for office and contribute to the country’s governance. No State law, institution, practices or activities may discriminate among its citizens on the basis of ethnicity, religion, language, nationality or gender.

3. The State shall not establish or accord special privilege to any religion and shall provide for the free practice of all religions.

4. Public land of the State shall belong to the nation as a whole and all of its citizens shall have equal access to its use. Private property of Palestinian refugees shall be restored or compensation arranged. The natural and economic resources of the country shall benefit all of its citizens equally.

5. The State shall provide the conditions for free cultural expression by all of its citizens. It shall ensure that all languages, arts and culture can flourish and develop freely. All citizens shall have equal rights to use their own dress, languages and customs, and to express their cultural heritage free of insults or discrimination.

6. Citizens shall have equal access to employment at all levels and in all sectors of the society. Employment shall not be determined or restricted by language, race, religion, gender, or nationality. Education and vocational training shall not be segregated or specialized in any way that impedes equal access of all citizens to employment and other opportunities to fulfill their talents and dreams.

7. The State shall uphold international law and seek the peaceful resolution of conflicts through negotiation and collective security in accordance with the United Nations Charter. The people of a unified Palestine shall reject racism and promote anti-racism throughout the world. The State shall seek to build a world order in which all countries and peoples enjoy their social, cultural and political rights as set out in relevant United Nations covenants. The State shall seek and contribute to the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East that will also be free of all weapons of mass-destruction.

The Houston Conference on

ONE DEMOCRATIC STATE IN PALESTINE

Houston, Texas

October 22-24, 2010

For more info:

http://onedemocraticstate.com/ Program.pdf

 

Wed

25

Aug

2010

Israelis risk jail to smuggle Palestinians 600 sign up for campaign of disobedience
by Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

Nearly 600 Israelis have signed up for a campaign of civil disobedience, vowing to risk jail to smuggle Palestinian women and children into Israel for a brief taste of life outside the occupied West Bank.
 
The Israelis say they have been inspired by the example of Ilana Hammerman, a writer who is threatened with prosecution after publishing an article in which she admitted breaking the law to bring three Palestinian teenagers into Israel for a day out.
 
Ms Hammerman said she wanted to give the young women, who had never left the West Bank, “some fun” and a chance to see the Mediterranean for the first time.
 
Her story has shocked many Israelis and led to a police investigation after right-wing groups called for her to be tried for security offences.
 
It is illegal to transport Palestinians through checkpoints into Israel without a permit, which few can obtain. If tried and found guilty, Ms Hammerman could be fined and face up to two years in jail.
 
But Israelis joining the campaign say they will not be put off by threats of imprisonment.
 
Last month, a group of 11 Israeli women joined Ms Hammerman in repeating her act of civil disobedience, driving a dozen Palestinian women and four children, including a baby, through a checkpoint into Israel.
 
The Israeli women say they are planning mass “smugglings” of Palestinians into Israel over the coming weeks.
 
“The Palestinians who join us are mainly looking to have a good time after years of confinement under the occupation, but for us what is most important is our act of defiance,” said Ofra Lyth, who helped establish an online forum of supporters after attending a speech by Ms Hammerman.
 
“We want to overturn this immoral law that gives rights to Jews to move freely around while keeping Palestinians imprisoned in their towns and villages,” she said, referring to regulations that bar most Palestinians in the occupied territories from entering Israel, and Israelis from assisting them. Exceptions are made for Palestinians with permits, sometimes issued for a medical emergency or to some labourers with security clearance.
 
For the Palestinian women, though, it is not about making a statement or defying an unjust law, said Ms Lyth.
 

Wed

25

Aug

2010

There are no heroes in illegal and immoral wars
by Robert Jensen

When the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division rolled out of Iraq last week, the colonel commanding the brigade told a reporter that his soldiers were “leaving as heroes.”

While we can understand the pride of professional soldiers and the emotion behind that statement, it’s time for Americans -- military and civilian -- to face a difficult reality: In seven years of the deceptively named “Operation Iraqi Freedom” and nine years of “Operation Enduring Freedom” in Afghanistan, no member of the U.S. has been a hero.

This is not an attack on soldiers, sailors, and Marines. Military personnel may act heroically in specific situations, showing courage and compassion, but for them to be heroes in the truest sense they must be engaged in a legal and morally justifiable conflict. That is not the case with the U.S. invasions and occupations of Iraq or Afghanistan, and the social pressure on us to use the language of heroism -- or risk being labeled callous or traitors -- undermines our ability to evaluate the politics and ethics of wars in a historical framework.

The legal case is straightforward: Neither invasion had the necessary approval of the United Nations Security Council, and neither was a response to an imminent attack. In both cases, U.S. officials pretended to engage in diplomacy but demanded war. Under international law and the U.S. Constitution (Article 6 is clear that “all Treaties made,” such as the UN Charter, are “the supreme Law of the Land”), both invasions were illegal.

The moral case is also clear: U.S. officials’ claims that the invasions were necessary to protect us from terrorism or locate weapons of mass destruction were never plausible and have been exposed as lies. The world is a more dangerous place today than it was in 2001, when sensible changes in U.S. foreign policy and vigorous law enforcement in collaboration with other nations could have made us safer.

The people who bear the greatest legal and moral responsibility for these crimes are the politicians who send the military to war and the generals who plan the actions, and it may seem unfair to deny the front-line service personnel the label of “hero” when they did their duty as they understood it. But this talk of heroism is part of the way we avoid politics and deny the unpleasant fact that these are imperial wars. U.S. military forces are in the Middle East and Central Asia not to bring freedom but to extend and deepen U.S. power in a region home to the world’s most important energy resources. The nation exercising control there increases its influence over the global economy, and despite all the U.S. propaganda, the world realizes we have tens of thousands of troops on the ground because of those oil and gas reserves.

Individuals can act with courage and compassion serving in imperial armies. There no doubt were soldiers among the British forces in colonial India who acted heroically, and Soviet soldiers stationed in Eastern Europe were capable of bravery. But they were serving in imperial armies engaged in indefensible attempts to dominate and control. They were fighting not for freedom but to advance the interests of elites in their home countries.
 

Wed

25

Aug

2010

Political Killings in Colombia
by Stephen Lendman

Colombia, America's closest South American ally, is a corrupted narco-state, a repressive death squad faux democracy, threatening regional neighbors, and reigning terror against trade unionists, human rights workers, campesinos, pro-democracy organizations, independent journalists, and legitimate resistance groups like the FARC-EP. Established in 1964, James Petras calls it the "longest standing, largest peasant-based guerrilla movement in the world," persisting valiantly for decades.

Thanks to Plan Colombia and other support, the state is heavily militarized, more than ever now serving as Washington's land-based aircraft carrier against regional targets, including neighboring Venezuela. 

The Pentagon got expanded access, former President Alvaro Uribe agreeing to US forces on seven more military bases (three airfields, two naval installations, and two army facilities), as well as unrestricted use of the entire country as-needed for internal and external belligerency, including out-of-control violence and human rights abuses, the region's most extreme to keep two-thirds of Colombians impoverished, millions displaced, corruption endemic, wealth concentration growing, and corporate predators freed to exploit and plunder.

Also to facilitate record amounts of Colombian cocaine from government-controlled areas reaching US and world markets, new President Juan Manuel Santos embracing the "Uribe Doctrine," now his. It's extremist, hard right, corrupt, brutal, corporate-friendly, and militarized in lockstep with Washington. 

As Uribe's Defense Minister, James Petras explained that Santos was an assassin, deploying military forces and paramilitary death squads "to kill and terrorize entire population centers, (murdering) over 20,000 people....falsely labeled 'guerrillas.' "

UN Special Rapporteur Report on "Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions"

Mandated by the Human Rights Council (HRC), Special Rapporteur Philip Alston issued his March 31, 2010 report, based on his June 8 - 18, 2009 Colombia mission, understating the reality by citing "important gains," yet nonetheless damning, saying "very serious problems remain." Calamitous for most Colombians more accurately describes them.
 

Wed

25

Aug

2010

Anatomy of Conspiracy Theory By Zahir Ebrahim
by Zahir Ebrahim

Some may rationally ponder that how is it, that such a long running global conspiracy for world government as outlined in Project Humanbeingsfirst’s report “The Enduring Capitalist Conspiracy for World Government”, can be kept alive across centuries and across geographies. This brief paper examines that question.

Noam Chomsky had once observed an insightful nature of such “conspiracies”, as the open shared natural goals stemming from the very nature of its definition, which could therefore, no more be termed a conspiracy than both GM and Ford endeavoring to maximize their profits at all cost be termed a ‘global corporate conspiracy’.

I have always added to that, the equally un-remarkable observation that a hungry lion anywhere in the world pouncing upon a lamb is similarly no global conspiracy by the world’s lions to eat up all the lambs on the planet. That is just the nature of the bestial predators when its “might defines right”. The higher cerebral concepts of “right”, “wrong”, “moral”, immoral”, etc., do not even exist among any primal predators, for these only behave according to their nature. Pious platitudes, if they could be argued by the lion or the snake for instance, would in fact only be disseminated to the lambs and the mice to make them an even easier morsel to acquire!

The only thing that occasionally deters such exercise of primacy is a collective natural response like the one observed in the “Battle at Kruger” park. Indeed, the quest for the holy grail of extracting voluntary servitude from the masses of mankind is the key idea of cultivating a willingly compliant public in order for the illuminated ones becoming their stewards for life. In Bertrand Russell’s’ timeless characterization, to extract voluntary servitude such that: “a revolt of the plebs will become as unthinkable as an organised insurrection of sheep against the practice of eating mutton.”

Thus we observe that from Plato to Nietzsche, from the philosopher-king to the ‘ubermensch’, all have argued the necessity of ruling upon the sheepish masses as the ‘divine’ imperative of the “enlightened ones”. Indeed, Zbigniew Brzezinski even sub-titled his seminal book “The Grand Chessboard” with its egotistical subtitle “American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives”, merely extending that idea of ‘ubermensch’ rule from the most “enlightened ones”, to the most powerful sole-superpower!

The same theme exists among the “Chosen Peoples”, to deem their primacy upon the goyem their inherent nature, their divine destiny. The ‘ubermensch’ are suckled these lessons in their mothers’ milk to acquire those imperatives across generations in perhaps the same way as the generations of corporate executives and CEOs who inherently know that they need to continually enhance the valuation of their company’s stock performance in a capitalist system.

So, when these ‘divine’ ubermensch creatures who are beyond good and evil, behave in their primal predatory natural manner across time and space, across evolution or creation, are they being “conspiratorial”?

In the Chomsky-Ebrahim nomenclature, perhaps not.

In the Ron Paul nomenclature, it is merely a shared “Conspiracy of Ideas” in which “CFR exists, the Trilateral Commission exists”, and that, it is only “an ideological battle” wherein:

“some people believe in Globalism, and others of us believe in national sovereignty; and there is a move on toward a North American Union just like early on there was a move on for a European Union and it eventually ended up. …

These are real things, it’s not somebody made these up, it’s not a conspiracy, they don’t talk about it, and they might not admit about it, but there has been money spent on it …

So it’s not so much a secretive conspiracy, it’s a contest between ideologies; whether we believe in our institutions here, our national sovereignty, our Constitution, or are we going to further move in the direction of international government, more UN. You know, this country goes to war under UN Resolutions. I don’t like big government in Washington. So I don’t like this trend towards international government …

But it’s not so much it’s a sinister conspiracy, it’s just knowledge is out there, if we look for it, you’ll realize our national sovereignty is under threat!”
 

Wed

25

Aug

2010

Energy Sacrifice Zones
by Rand Clifford

The concept is an old one. The amount of human blood spilled over control of fossil energy deposits and associated transfer routes, in the 20th Century alone, probably rivals the amount of oil BP’s Macondo well has unleashed in the Gulf of Mexico so far. But in the 21st Century the concept has gained a popular name, and really hit its stride—all the way to perhaps relegating the entire life-support system of Earth as an energy sacrifice zone.

Who Actually Owns BP?

It appears that much of the Internet is being scrubbed of this detail. Most relevant sites agree that 40% of the shares of BP are held in the United Kingdom, 39% of the shares are held in the United States, while the remaining 21% are held throughout Europe and the rest of the world. The largest single holder of shares is getting harder to track down. Generally an Internet search will lead to the other 9 leaders, roughly 23%:

  • BlackRock (New York) 5.9%
  • Legal & General (United Kingdom) 4%
  • Barclays Global Investor (owned by BlackRock) 3.8%
  • Norges Bank Investment Management (Norway) 1.8%
  • Kuwait Investment Authority (manages funds for the Kuwaiti Government) 1.75%
  • M & G Investment Management (UK asset owned by the Prudential) 1.67%
  • Standard Life (Scottish insurance company) 1.5%
  • Capital Research & Management Company (Los Angeles) 1.3%
  • China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange 1.1%
Too many sites fail to mention who owns a whopping 28.34% of BP—more than the other 9 out of the top 10 together. That would be Wall Street’s JPMorgan Chase. And that certainly explains why our own government has offered mostly limp and phony bluster and coverup as BP has done pretty much whatever it wants in our new energy sacrifice zone—such as the deliberate blockage of oil collection in favor of bringing in “Carolina Skiffs” and huge aircraft to spray dispersants at night. BP lies, our government lies and covers, and the Gulf dies. Evidently, our government’s top priority is limiting BP’s liability.
 
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