|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
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.
A few days ago, British Chief of Defence Staff General Sir David
Richards admitted that victory in Afghanistan is unachievable. "In
conventional war,” said Richards, “defeat and victory is very clear cut
and is symbolised by troops marching into another nation's capital."
It took a few years for British military elites to admit that the war
in Afghanistan cannot lead anywhere : a valuable lesson to learn from
mid to late 20th century warfare, is that conventional military might cannot easily defeat mass civilian resistance.
It is interesting to reflect too, that the Jewish state has exercised
a ‘strategy’ of occupation for sixty two years -- and for some reason
the penny has still failed to drop. The Israelis are still convinced
that they can manage to knock down the resilient Palestinians
using siege, indiscriminate killing, carpet bombardment and chemical
The results are pretty obvious: and bearing in mind that Israel
considers itself to be a ‘Jews only democracy’, then every Jewish
Israeli is complicit in a colossal war crime against a civilian
But it goes further: more and more Israeli soldiers of all ranks are
directly involved in an endless list of crimes -- some stop pregnant
women from receiving urgent medical attention , while others drop bombs
on populated neighbourhoods. Some use children as human shields, while a
few perform executions of peace activists. And others just feed the
cannons with white phosphorus shells.
by Matthew Nasuti
According to the Carnegie
Endowment’s September 2010, policy brief, less than three million of
Pakistan’s 175 million citizens pay any income taxes. Tax avoidance in
Pakistan is almost a national sport. Those who do pay taxes do so at
rates substantially lower than in the United States. As a result,
Pakistan reportedly has at least seven billionaires and thousands of
millionaires (the last count being 7,593). Despite this, the U.S.
Government continues to shower Pakistan with military, economic and
development aid. For fiscal year 2010, the U.S. Government has
apparently given or promised Pakistan in excess of $5.5 billion. The
total amount cannot be validated due to the different sources of the
funds and the lack of transparency within the U.S. State Department and
U.S. Ambassador Anne W.
Patterson, who was replaced last month, did tepidly criticize the
Pakistani tax structure during several speeches this year at Pakistan’s
National Defense University; but to no avail. America’s new Ambassador,
Cameron Munter, seeking to avoid further embarrassment to the U.S.
Government, has publicly avoided the issue.
the end, U.S. diplomacy was ineffective in prodding Pakistan into taxing
its wealthy or its middle class. Pakistani diplomats outmaneuvered
their American counterparts and were rewarded with another $5.5 billion
in U.S. tax funds. Pakistan did not have to raise taxes or require that
98.3% of its population pay any taxes. As a result the Pakistani rich
The military consequences of the
State Department’s lackluster efforts are significant. Without adequate
revenue, Pakistan’s central government cannot hope to fund a credible
counterinsurgency effort. At most, all it can continue to do is fund its
massive military of 1.4 million troops and use that military to
temporarily suppress some of its opponents. The unspoken secret within
the U.S. Government is that Pakistan has an anti-terrorism strategy
targeting domestic opponents, but no long-term counterinsurgency
The $5.5 billion provided this year
will have been wasted unless it can be matched next year. In addition,
the World Bank estimates damage from the current flooding, which began
in late July, to be about $9.7 billion, while Voice of America reported
on November 15, 2010, that Pakistani officials are claiming that it will
take another $30 billion to reconstruct the nation’s infrastructure
which was damaged by the disaster. Pakistan will almost certainly turn
once again to the United States for these funds. Pakistan will continue
to skillfully play the same terrorist fear card against the U.S.
Government that the U.S. Government has successfully used for domestic
purposes. Pakistan has no incentive to increase its own revenues as long
as it can rely on the U.S. Government for limitless funding. Pakistan’s
latest scheme, reported just yesterday, is for the United States and
the West to waive Pakistan’s $50 billion debt so that it can “continue
to combat terrorism.”
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace concluded its report with the headline: “STOP THE BAILOUTS.” It wrote:
“Pakistan’s elite has no reason to support these (tax) reforms as long as these bailouts come with no conditions attached.”
counterpoint comes from the Council on Foreign Relations. Its new
November 2010, strategy report, drafted by former U.S. Deputy Secretary
of State Richard L. Armitage and former Clinton National Security
Advisor Sandy Berger, insists that Pakistan should be given even more
aid, including a preferential trade deal on textiles. The authors write
“By demonstrating American generosity and
assistance at a time of grave Pakistani peril, the United States will
also make a better case for the strategic benefits of partnership.”
may not ultimately prevail against its own Taliban and against
al-Qaeda, but it succeeds quite well against amateur U.S. officials.
by Walter Brasch Ph.D.
Almost all children hear a set of conflicting statements from their parents, relatives, and friends. They're told if they study hard, if they work hard, they can achieve whatever they want. It's the "American Dream." But they're also told that life isn't always fair.
Looking for internships or jobs, America's children learn that no matter how much they studied or worked, it was the boss's niece or a boss's friend's son who was hired. Sometimes, the reason for rejection could be as simple as the boss thought the best candidate was intellectually superior or that the applicant had curly black hair and he liked only blondes.
Later, on another job, while the boss bought yet another vacation home, the worker was one of dozens laid off, their jobs going to Mexico, China, or Pakistan.
It's not fair that reality TV "stars" and pro athletes make 10 to more than 100 times the salaries of social workers and firefighters. But Americans seldom protest.
The owner of a mid-sized carpentry shop loses a contract to a large corporation, not because of a lack of quality work but because the corporation cut deals with suppliers. It's not fair; it's just reality.
One person driving 65 m.p.h. in a 55 m.p.h. zone is stopped by police; another, doing 80, speeds along. It's not fair. But it happens.
It probably wasn't fair that Bristol Palin, 20-year-old unwed mother with no discernible job skills, was selected over thousands of other celebrities for ABC-TV's "Dancing With the Stars." It had nothing to do with fairness or her ability; it had everything to do with a reality that Palin's presence on DWTS would bring in ratings, and ratings bring in advertising income. The first show brought in 21 million viewers who watched 30-second commercials from companies that paid almost $190,000 each, among the highest on all television—broadcast or cable.
To assure that Palin had a chance to stay on the show for at least a couple of weeks, the producers gave her a special advantage—her professional dance partner was Mark Ballas, DWTS champion twice in the previous 10 seasons.
by Eileen Fleming
Information Pollard sold a quarter of a century ago is old news now, as is everything Vanunu knew about Israel’s Dimona plant.
Jonathan Jay Pollard was born in 1954 in Texas and grew up in an affluent family in Indiana. Until 1998 Israel publicly denied that Pollard was an Israeli spy, although it granted him citizenship in 1995.
Last week the relentless campaign to release Pollard was reignited with a letter circulated by Rep. Barney Frank and signed by more than 30 Democratic members of the U.S House of Representatives calling on President Barack Obama to grant clemency to the confessed spy. This was topped off by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also requesting Obama release Pollard, who was arrested a quarter century ago on the steps of an Israeli embassy while spying for Israel.
The letter from congress was written in coordination with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, National Council of Young Israel, B'nai B'rith International, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Zionist Organization of America, Agudath Israel, and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, who is a fundamentalist Christian Zionist. They wrote:
“It is indisputable in our view that the nearly twenty-five years that Mr. Pollard has served stands as a sufficient time from the standpoint of either punishment or deterrence. In summary, we see clemency for Mr. Pollard as an act of compassion justified by the way others have been treated by our justice system. We urge you to use the clemency power in this case.”
According to Ian Williams' article in the July/Aug. 1993 Washington Report “although Pollard insists he was motivated by concern for Israeli security, he was paid (and is still being paid) a handsome salary by the Israeli government. His Israeli handlers also provided gifts and trips to Europe for Pollard and his wife, Anne. The severity of Pollard's sentence was based on secret testimony by [then-Defense Secretary] Caspar Weinberger, who is on record as saying that Pollard was lucky--he should have received three life sentences. Pollard provided Israeli intelligence with more than 1,000 classified U.S. documents, some consisting of hundreds of pages, comprising overall some 360 cubic feet of paper.
"According to American investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, Pollard sold information on nuclear targets in the Soviet Union to Israel. U.S. defense sources suggest that what caused the most bitter anger against Pollard in the Pentagon and throughout the American intelligence community was the fact that the information compromised human agents in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. U.S. intelligence sources have concluded that the Israeli government bartered this information to the Soviet Union.” 
What ever information Pollard sold a quarter of a century ago is old news now, as is everything Vanunu knew about Israel’s Dimona plant where he worked the night shift as a lowly technician twenty-four years ago.
In April 1999, thirty-six members of the House of Representatives signed a letter calling for Vanunu's release from prison because they believed "we have a duty to stand up for men and women like Mordechai Vanunu who dare to articulate a brighter vision for humanity."
by Rajesh Makwana and Adam Parsons
The basic assumptions about human nature that inform economic and
political decision-making are long outdated and fundamentally flawed. By
acknowledging our interdependence and common ethical values, we can
build a more sustainable, cooperative and inclusive global economy.
As the 21st Century unfolds, humanity is faced with
a stark reality. Following the world stock market crash in 2008, people
everywhere are questioning the unbridled greed, selfishness and competition
that has driven the dominant economic model for decades. The old obsession with
protecting national interests, the drive to maximise profits at all costs, and
the materialistic pursuit of economic growth has failed to benefit the world’s
poor and led to catastrophic consequences for planet earth.
The incidence of hunger is more widespread than ever
before in human history, surpassing 1 billion people in 2009 despite the record
harvests of food being reaped in recent years. At least 1.4 billion people live
in extreme poverty, a number equivalent to more than four times the population
of the United States. One out of every five people does not have access to
clean drinking water. More than a billion people lack access to basic health
care services, while over a billion people – the majority of them women – lack
a basic education. Every week, more than 115,000 people move into a slum
somewhere in Africa, Asia or Latin America. Every day, around 50,000 people die
needlessly as a result of being denied the essentials of life.
In the face of these immense challenges,
international aid has proven largely ineffective, inadequate, and incapable of
enabling governments to secure the basic needs of all citizens. Developed
countries were cutting back on foreign aid commitments even before the economic
downturn, while the agreed aid target of 0.7 percent of rich countries’ GDP has
never been met since it was first conceived 40 years ago. The Millennium
Development Goals of merely halving the incidence of hunger and extreme
poverty, even if reached by 2015, will still leave hundreds of millions of
people in a state of undernourishment and deprivation. When several trillion
dollars was rapidly summoned to bail out failed banks in late 2008, it became
impossible to understand why the governments of rich nations could not afford a
fraction of this sum to ‘bail out’ the world’s poor.
The enduring gap between rich and poor, both within
and between countries, is a crisis that lies at the heart of our political and
economic problems. For decades, 20 percent of the world population have
controlled 80 percent of the economy and resources. By 2008, more than half of
the world’s assets were owned by the richest 2 percent of adults, while the
bottom half of the world adult population owned only 1 percent of wealth. The
vast discrepancies in living standards between the Global North and South,
which provides no basis for a stable and secure future, can only be redressed
through a more equitable distribution of resources at the international level.
This will require more inclusive structures of global governance and a new
economic framework that goes far beyond existing development efforts to reduce
poverty, decrease poor country debt and provide overseas aid.
In both the richest and poorest nations,
commercialisation has infiltrated every aspect of life and compromised
spiritual, ethical and moral values. The globalised consumer culture holds no
higher aspiration than the accumulation of material wealth, even though studies
have shown that rising income fails to significantly increase an individual’s
well-being once a minimum standard of living is secured. The organisation of
society as a competitive struggle for social position through wealth and
acquisition has led to rampant individualism and the consequences of crime,
disaffection and the disintegration of family and community ties. Yet
governments continue to measure success in terms of economic growth, pursuing
ever-greater levels of GDP – regardless of the harmful social consequences of a
by Ramzy Baroud
Middle East policies of US President Barack Obama may well prove the
most detrimental in history so far, surpassing even the rightwing
policies of President George W. Bush. Even those who warned against the
overt optimism which accompanied Obama’s arrival to the White House must
now be stunned to see how low the US president will go to appease
Israel – all under the dangerous logic of needing to keep the peace
process moving forward.
Middle East peace diplomat Aaron David Miller argued in Foreign Policy
that “any advance in the excruciatingly painful world of Arab-Israeli
negotiations is significant.” He further claimed: “The Obama
administration deserves much credit for keeping the Israelis,
Palestinians, and key Arab states on board during some very tough times.
The U.S. president has seized on this issue and isn't giving up -- a
central requirement for success.”
at what price, Mr. Miller? And wouldn’t you agree that one party’s
success can also mean another’s utter and miserable failure?
of State Hilary Clinton reportedly spent eight hours with Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu only to persuade him to accept one of the
most generous bribes ever bestowed by the United States on any foreign
power. The agreement includes the sale of $3 billion worth of US
military aircrafts (in addition to the billions in annual aid packages),
a blanket veto of any UN Security Council resolution deemed unfavorable
to Israel, and the removal of East Jerusalem from any settlement freeze
equation (thus condoning the illegal occupation of the city and the
undergoing ethnic cleansing). But even more dangerous than all of these
is “a written American promise that this will be the last time President
Obama asks the Israelis to halt settlement construction through
Achievement. Success. Are these really the right terms to describe the
latest harrowing scandal? Even the term ‘bribe’, which is abundantly
used to describe American generosity, isn’t quite adequate here. Bribes
have defined the relationship between the ever-generous White House and
the quisling Congress to win favor with the ever-demanding Israel and
its growingly belligerent Washington lobby. It is not the concept of
bribery that should shock us, but the magnitude of the bribe, and the
fact that it is presented by a man who positioned himself as a
peacemaker (and actually became certified as one, courtesy of the Nobel
Peace Prize Committee).
by Stephen Lendman
On November 23, Washington
Post writers Jon Cohen and Ashley Halsey III headlined, "Poll: Nearly
two-thirds of Americans support full-body scanners," according to a
Washington Post/ABC News poll, even though "half of those polled say
enhanced pat-down searches go too far."
A new Zogby (11/19 - 22) poll disagreed, saying:
At 61% opposed, "(i)t's
clear (most) Americans are not happy with TSA and their enhanced
security measures recently enacted. The airlines should not be happy
with 48% of their frequent fliers seeking a different mode of
transportation due to these enhancements."
Neither should passengers facing molestation and harm to their health. More on that below.
Calling enhanced screening a "virtual strip search," the ACLU also objected, saying:
"We need to act wisely.
That means not trading away our privacy for ineffective (and overly
intrusive) policies. Ultimately, it is up to the American people to
figure out just how much privacy they want to abandon....The ACLU
represents those who value privacy in this debate."
AP reported it already
received over 600 complaints, passengers saying "they were subjected to
humiliating pat-downs at US airports, and the pace is accelerating,
according to ACLU legislative counsel Christopher Calabrese."
He added: "It really
drives home how invasive it is and (harassing) they are....All of us
have a right to travel without such crude invasions of our
privacy....You shouldn't have to check your rights when you check your
Public outrage also makes
headlines, passengers complaining about intrusive screening, especially
being groped. The more often they fly and endure it, the louder perhaps
disapproval will grow, especially for techniques some critics call
Reports also call them
heavy-handed. A Michigan bladder cancer survivor, wearing a body bag to
collect urine, said its contents spilled on his clothing after a Detroit
airport security agent patted him down aggressively. He called the
experience "absolutely humiliat(ing). I couldn't even speak." Other
accounts are also unsettling, and for what!
by Matthew Nasuti
After nine years and billions wasted - nothing changes
September 8, 2010, after nine years of contracting abuses and
mismanagement, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in
Afghanistan (ISAF) issued its solution, which is set out in the “COMISAF
Counterinsurgency Contracting Guidance.” This impressive title
overshadows the actual text of the guidelines, which say little and fail
to address any of the core contracting problems. The
Guidance stresses the importance of transparency, yet this is simply
window dressing to appease critics in the U.S. Congress.
after the Guidance was adopted, it remains impossible to search the ISAF
website for contracting information. There is no listing of ISAF
contractors; no listing of contracts awarded; no spreadsheets on
projects that are behind schedule or over budget; no explanation at all
about any public funds being spent. The Guidance
fails to address such things as the award of $850 million per year to a
shadowy company called FMN Logistics.
It is apparently a component of
ISAF’s “Northern Distribution Network.” Reports indicate that FMN may be
owned by 37-year old billionaire Gulnara Karimova; daughter of brutal
Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov. If ISAF truly wants to inject
transparency, honesty and accountability into its contracting process,
it should start by explaining the FMN contract and it should publish the
complete contract on its web site. It should do the same with the
suspicious Manas Airbase fuels contracts which were awarded to a
One of the
fundamental problems associated with ISAF contracting in Afghanistan is
the tremendous pressure to show “progress.” Progress seems to be defined
as anything positive that can be placed in a press release, regardless
of its actual military or economic value. That pressure to show results
permeates downward into the military ranks.
reporter has been in contact with military members who served in
Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Afghanistan. The story that
comes out is that PRTs are hiring contractors and pursuing projects even
though they do not have sufficient qualified personnel to oversee the
contracts. As will be explained below, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
in Afghanistan has the same systemic problem. In the U.S. military,
officers are rewarded for having a “can-do” spirit.
That spirit can be
harmful to military effectiveness. ISAF military contracting officers
should be delaying awards and reducing the number of projects on-going
because they lack sufficient engineers, project managers and inspectors.
Instead, because no one wants to admit that they are unable to complete
their mission, contracts continue to be awarded which cannot be
supervised, and substantial amounts of money continue to be wasted on
shoddy construction, all for the sake of generating “positive”
statistics and showing “progress.”
inexperienced Afghan contractors, who are not familiar with U.S.
building designs and specifications, require constant oversight. This
may require U.S. inspectors to be on-site at least every week, but for
critical path (i.e., key construction) events, they may need to be
present every day. At present, this level of oversight is not taking
place; instead, ISAF’s emphasis is quantity over quality.
November 14, 2010, Dion Nissenbaum of McClatchy Newspapers reported on a
2008, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project to build six police stations
in Badakhshan Province, Afghanistan. The project is two years behind
schedule with substantial amounts of U.S. taxpayer funds wasted. Colonel
Thomas H. Magness, the head of Corps of Engineers projects for Afghan
Engineer District North, told Mr. Nissenbaum that his personnel had only
inspected the project once in October 2009.
by Peter Chamberlin
“When asked what he aspires to become in the future, Wasifullah replies ‘God willing, I will join the Taliban.’
In what some ways represents the burgeoning civil war within
Pakistan, Wasifullah’s best friend Abdurrahman believes it’s the Taliban
who are responsible for the destruction.”
from two boys from the Kachegori IDP (internally displaced persons)
Camp in Peshawar reveals perfectly the awesome split, running down the
middle of Pakistani society, much more clearly than any attempted
explanation that could be given. The Pakistani people are of two minds,
both of them extremely patriotic, one school of thought blames the local
terrorists for all their grief, the other side insists that it is the
military which has killed their loved ones. Outside forces, which are
hostile to Pakistan’s survival, have every intention of aggravating
those divisions to the point of civil war.
The Christian Bible has a teaching: “A house divided against itself
shall not stand.” This is the reality that the people of Pakistan today;
in order to avoid the bottomless pit of civil war they must find ways
to work through those differences of opinion.
The greatest threat to Pakistan’s survival is not the Taliban, or the
Americans, or even those sneaky Indians—the most deadly force you face
is your willingness to see everything in black and white. In an
environment where so many people seem so certain about the source of
their common misery, even though half of the country disagrees with
them, there is no such thing as “benefit of the doubt.” You are right
and the other guy is absolutely wrong. Something has to give—there has
to be room for another possible explanation to be discussed. Until then,
you face grave danger from certain dark quarters. Someone has to
tear-down the barricades which divide the two camps.
From our experience in our own Civil War, Americans can tell you the
truth about the power of differences of opinions, differences so great,
that one side feels compelled to take-up arms to force submission from
the other side over the primary issues, while the other side is eager to
do the same. Soon, you too, will hear the tanks and jackboots marching
through your streets, pretending that they are defending your free
Republic from subversion. Americans will soon hear the same sounds in
our own streets, as the avoidable issue of martial law becomes an
inevitable consequence of our reactionary avoidance of the dark forces
rising amongst us.
by Brenda Norrell
Women in the American Indian Movement shared stories of lives lived with great courage, as federal agents stalked them and attempted to intimidate them, during the AIM International Conference this week.
The AIM Women’s Leadership panel brought together five AIM women to share their life stories. Anne Begay, Navajo, was among them. Begay is the mother of Kathy Peltier, the daughter of Leonard Peltier.
Begay spoke of her Dine’ family, a medicine family of men and women medicine people, who provided her with a childhood of structure, rich with history and culture.
After returning from the Longest Walk in 1978, Begay took her daughter Kathy to the park one day. Her daughter was about two years old at the time.
“This gentleman sat down next to me, with shiny shoes.”
He began to question her.
“Who’s her father?” “None of your business,” Begay told him. He persisted with his questions and referred to the murder of Anna Mae Aquash.
Speaking on the panel, Yvonne Swan, Colville from Washington State, spoke of being under government surveillance in the 1970s, because Leonard Peltier was her friend, and Bill Kunstler was her lawyer.
He said, “Well, we know who you are. And if you’re smart, you’ll know what we did to Anna Mae can happen to your daughter too.”
“So, for all those years, it has been terrifying,“ Begay said, “to know that they can do that to my daughter.”
Swan spoke of learning to become aware of the men “with shiny shoes,” and men in suits, parked in unmarked cars. She trained her children to watch for these men, and once her son was grabbed by one of them, but was able to get away.
During her fight against corporate mining, she also watched for those federal agents that stalked members of the American Indian Movement.
“The government is merely a screen for the rich corporations,” Swan said. “They have the money to buy people off, they have the money to send people in to disrupt.
“But don’t ever underestimate the power of the people.”
by Brenda Norrell
Jean Whitehorse, Navajo, endured the US government’s boarding schools, relocation and sterilization. Today, she says the BIA unwittingly gave her the best education that money could buy; not by giving her job training in the San Francisco area, but by placing her near the Occupation of Alcatraz.
At the age of 19, it was the right time and the right place for Whitehorse to learn who she was as an American Indian.
Speaking at the 42nd Anniversary of the American Indian Movement, during the weeklong conference, Whitehorse described her own journey, beginning with the exile of her people, the Navajo or Dine’.
Whitehorse said when Navajos were forced on the Longest Walk, they were removed from their homeland for four years. The government returned Navajos to only ten percent of their land, and only did so because the government felt the land was worthless. Later, oil, gas, uranium and coal were discovered on Navajoland.
Whitehorse, from the Eastern Agency of New Mexico on the Navajo Nation, said she grew up with abuse in boarding schools. The “Board of Education was the ruler. It was to punish you. My whole boarding school experience was all about abuse.”
She said in those days, parents were not able to defend their children. “Back then, our mothers and fathers weren’t there to talk for us. They weren’t there to protect us.”
Next came relocation. Whitehorse was sent to the Bay area to learn a vocation, then was pressured to stay and work. During this time, she went to Alcatraz, two months after the initial takeover in 1969. This came at the time of Black Panthers and protests of the Vietnam War.
San Francisco offered an education.
“I had to learn to survive.” From the very beginning, she wanted to go home, she did not know where she was. However, she was told that she was to learn a vocational skill. When she persisted to go home, she was told the BIA would get her a job.
“The longer I stayed here — they kept me here — I learned about myself, what it means to be an American Indian.”
by Jan Lundberg
Food, Water and War
Many who see the main title of this essay may readily turn off to the
concept conveyed. The idea appears negative, never mind the need for
the public to consider more deeply certain issues. Other readers of the
title may see it as good tidings, for the making of an omelette
requires breaking some eggs -- providing the extinction referred to is
of modern culture and not of such a reader.
Editors identifying with the sustainability movement, along with many
environmentalists eyeing socioeconomic change, strive to portray
positive trends & news. Coincidentally the corporate media eschew
"gloomy" analysis, so a freelancer learns to offer only upbeat articles.
Still another kind of prospective reader or editor is only interested
in "throwing the rascals out" and clamoring for more social justice,
pointing the finger at bad guys or policies that spoil an otherwise
workable and admirable system.
For the consensus we need on social change, as we address unprecedented
threats to life, there must be a discussion of underlying issues rather
than of only events. We need to distinguish between where things are
headed and where we are trying to go. We need to examine openly what
stands in the way of the latter.
Feel-good articles, such as the hypothetical "Bicyclists Finding More
Vacation Options," cannot be anyone's steady diet for long. Some try
admirably, in an effort to avoid system collapse by avoiding discussion
of it. In the bargain they hope to preclude all-out fascism.
Emphasizing positive messages often accompanies imagining that the
post-peak oil reality will conform to a convenient down-slope. In the
long run this is a self-nonfulfilling prophesy. Reality does
bite, but not as badly if it is faced along with adopting a most humble
approach to living on a small planet.
It is harder and harder to doubt that technology and money have taken
over modern lives in a detrimental way. This has happened separately
and in tandem, to wit (1) technological change and dependence and (2)
financial and abstract valuation of major aspects of daily life.
Many reject such a position, content to play the game of competition,
acquire more possessions, and reap rewards of short-term gratification.
They see their course as their right, associated with patriotism,
religious living, and the only way people (the lucky or virtuous ones)
can live. Western Civilization supports this worldview, as do
institutions known as Hollywood and Madison Avenue.
But don't all these concerns disappear when the New York Times
says "There Will Be Fuel" (Nov. 16, 2010)? The article attempts to
soothe consumers and investors with "the nation has gas reserves for
100-plus years." This statement and the mention of some oil discoveries
are meant to let the proponents of endless growth confidently bid adieu
There are several problems with the rosy scenario, whereby Arctic
petroleum extraction and trade are supposed to make up for the polar
bears driven to extinction:
The fracking of shale gas is a poisonous enterprise that does not yield oil,
the prize among fossil fuels needed for the oil-based national
infrastructure. Peak oil is a liquid fuels crisis, as will be
Oil discoveries increasingly lag behind the accelerating rate of
depletion. Biofuels remain a dream for massive application, but only
Economic collapse also relates to past and present financial
malfeasance. Even if this were not about gross theft and inequality,
the astronomical debt and deficits cannot be fixed without the crippling
austerity measures barely begun. Economic collapse flows also from the
nonstop unraveling of the social fabric.
There's no economy without ecology (ecos translates to household or home).
by Joel S. Hirschhorn
You want to read The Global
Economic Crisis The Great Depression of the XXI Century,
edited by Michel
Chossudovsky and Andrew Gavin Marshall, if you meet these criteria: you welcome
information and analysis about critically important issues that come from great
thinkers outside the mainstream media and publishing world; you can handle brain
pain from detailed and brutally honest revelations; you are willing and able to
challenge your own biases and preconceptions to let in new explanations of how
the world really functions.
If millions of Americans read
this book, we would probably see a far stronger uprising against the political
establishment that has refused to severely punish the countless guilty people in
the financial, banking and mortgage sectors that brought down the US and global
ties together a large number of factors in twenty chapters that reveal just how
corrupt the world has become because of the power of plutocratic, wealthy and
corporate interests. From Wall
Street corporate boardrooms to the Federal Reserve and other central banks to
the US military and
NATO, a multitude of threads get woven into a disturbing tapestry of crimes
against society that still have not been prosecuted.
This book is truly an instrument
of anti-brainwashing. If you are
willing to spend serious time reading it, then you surely will become much
angrier about the dismal state of the economy that is causing so much pain and
suffering to ordinary people worldwide.
If you personally have escaped the worst ravages of the economic
meltdown, then you will have much more compassion for those severely
by Franklin Lamb Ph.D. in Beirut
II “Know thyself” Tsu Sun
and Hassan Nasrallah
According to the Lebanese military,
at 11 am and again at 1 p.m. on
1l/24/10, a total of six Israeli warplanes crossed into Lebanese airspace, and
violated for the 8256th time UNSC resolution 1701 that ended
Israel’s 5th war against Lebanon, on August 14, 2006. Nearly, daily,
and sometimes several times daily, warplanes and/or reconnaissance aircraft
invade the skies over Lebanon to frighten, attempt to intimidate, and pressure
the Lebanese population. They also to try to keep tabs on Lebanon’s resistance,
led by Hezbollah.
As every Resistance defender is aware, if a twice daily high flyover by a US
supplied specially programmed satellite imaging camera detects a stone the size
of golf ball out of place, since the previous photo, anywhere in an area
thought to be visited by Hezbollah forces, the photos are closely examined by Israel and
American analysts. The moving of a stone or a tree branch or significantly more
or fewer goats appearing in a herd, meandering, for example, in Lebanon’s “nature preserves” is carefully
analyzed. The reason, and perhaps encapsulating Israel’s increasing likelihood,
according to UNIFIL and US sources, of
failing in its next war against Lebanon, is that Israel has never even been
able to figure out what became of the
hundreds of tons of chipped rock and soil removed during the construction of
hundreds of suspected deep Hezbollah bunkers, impenetrable to every weapon but
nuclear. Some bunkers are almost
literally under the noses of where suspected Israeli agents live or where UNIFIL forces
patrol daily. “ Do they remove the debris by teaspoons full?” a UNIFIL official wondered recently.
Also unsettling to the Israeli
military and reportedly censored from viewing by Israeli forces are a collection of Hezbollah training videos
thought to have been photographed by US
high altitude cameras. IDF
psychologists reportedly have advised the Israeli Cabinet that seeing the
Hezbollah videos may further erode Israeli forces confidence if they are
ordered again into Lebanon.
One such video shows the following: A line
of Hezbollah fighters on mountain bikes in a steep ravine south of the Litani
river riding at high rates of speed. The rider must flip the bike up onto only the back wheel so the soldier’s
body is facing the sky and his back flat parallel with and about two feet off the ground. The examinee must travel at close
to 90 mph holding a RPG in either hand,
and a cell phone in the other waiting firing instructions from a subterranean
command center. The fighter must then fire the rocket thru a swinging small
tire approximately 120 meters away on a tree branch. Achieving fewer than 11 bulls eyes out of 12
requires the arduous physical test repeated.
A commander in UNIFIl, who claims to be familiar with this particular
Hezbollah training exercise commented that none of the UNIFIL soldiers from the
28 countries could even do the exercise, much less get one RPG through such a
swinging tire. “ I would doubt very much
if any Israeli could do it either. Hezbollah fighters are probably the world’s
best. I have never studied the Chinese up close but I’ve seen a whole lot of
It is these kinds of skills that
Hezbollah fighters used to force repeated errors by Israeli forces during the
July 2006 war, and although not widely reported, during its 18 years of
occupation of Lebanon (1982-2000). Errors, that the Israeli Winograd commission
called “ the worst kind of mistakes and failures of the ground forces.” Among the
examples still discussed in Dahiyeh, and presumably in Tel
Aviv and Washington,
include the Hezbollah forces routing of the
Israeli “elite” Golani, Egoz and Magland
Brigades at Maron al Ras on the Lebanese-Palestine border between July 25-30,
2006. Another was the Battle of Bint
Jbeil which Dan Halutz called Israel’s
planned “Web of Steel’ which was expected to take less than 48 hours to defeat Hezbollah
forces starting on July 24. But by July
30, the much battered Golani forces withdrew and the Israeli air
force renewed indiscriminate aerial bombardment. Down the road from Bint Jbeil, at Aita
al-Shaab, Israel lost 26 soldiers and more than 100 severely injured without
gaining an inch of territory. Shortly before Israel agreed to a ceasefire, its forces experienced the catastrophe at
Wadi Slouqi, a ravine through which a
column of Israeli tanks were sent to link up with airlifted troops at
Ghandouriyah village. The Israeli plan,
read by Hezbollah forces from the onset, was to move toward Tyre and head
north. “They (Hezbollah forces) jumped
up out of the ground all around us” one Israeli at the scene testified later.
Hezbollah hit more than a dozen tanks, quickly killing 17 Israelis and wounding
more than fifty. It became known in Israeli military circles as “the Black Sabbath, the goddamned
Sabbath”, as one Israeli war room officer commented.
by Stephen Lendman
After the 1898
Spanish-American War, the US took over the Philippines, Guam, Samoa,
Hawaii, Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Canal Zone, assorted other
territories, and Puerto Rico. On September 29, its Governor-General,
Manuel Macias y Casado (a Spanish general), ceded control to Washington,
its current status today as a colony.
In 1966, then University of Puerto Rico economics associate, Dr. Antonio J. Gonzales said:
"The Puerto Rican
Independence Party bases its struggle in favor of the independence of
Puerto Rico on the conviction that we continue to be a (US) colony, thus
being denied (our) right to freedom and sovereignty."
After taking over in 1898,
America "never granted Puerto Ricans the total control of their lives
and destiny. Sovereign powers have never been transferred to us in order
to be able to decide in all those areas that affect the collective life
of our nation."
For over 112 years,
America's had total control, Puerto Ricans virtually none, forced to
"accept the dispositions of laws imposed" by a colonial power. In its
relationship with America, Puerto Rico is called "Estado Libre Asociado"
(Free Associated State or Commonwealth). Under international law, it's a
colony, seeking independence. Therein lies the roots of its struggle,
Oscar Lopez Rivera imprisoned for supporting it.
A collective 1981 statement by Puerto Rican Independentistas, convicted of "seditious conspiracy," said the following:
"Our position remains
clear: Puerto Rico is a nation intervened, militarily conquered and
colonized by the United States....We are prisoners of war captured by
the enemy. Our actions have always been and continue to be in the nature
of fighting a war of independence, a war of national liberation....The
US interventionist government has absolutely no right, no say so
whatsoever in regards to Puerto Rico, ourselves, or any Puerto Rican
prisoner of war. The US interventionist government has only one
choice....and that is to GET OUT! It is our right to regain and secure
our national sovereignty. Nothing will stand in the way of achieving our
by Linda Greene
The biomass-combustion industry has southern Indiana under seige. The
corporations are attempting to site biomass electricity-generating
plants in Crawford, Scott, Dubois and Gibson/Pike counties. Those
companies apparently don’t expect opposition from the residents of small
towns in rural southern Indiana.
The industry touts biomass burning as a “green” technology; it’s
anything but. Biomass plants are more polluting per unit of energy
generated than coal-burning plants, which are the No. 1 cause of global
warming. A 32-megawatt biomass plant uses 500,000–700,000 gallons of
fresh water every day and regurgitates some 350,000 gallons of
pollution-tainted waste water into the local river or lake.
It’s a factory for manufacturing dioxins, the most carcinogenic
synthetic chemical known. The list of biomass’s hazards in relation to
the land, water and air goes on and on.
Liberty Green Renewables LLC (LGR) has been looking for sites that
are heavily forested because it wants to use wood as fuel. It’s proposed
a $100 million, 32-megawatt biomass plant for Scott County (population
23,000), near Scottsburg (pop. 5,900), the county seat.
"It’s very heroic what
communities do to protect themselves, their children, protecting the
public health, for future generations." - Pat Berna, Concerned Citizens of Scott County
One morning in July 2009, when she was reading the newspaper, Pat Berna,
a retired registered nurse and Scottsburg resident, spotted a notice of
a public hearing by the Scott County Area Plan Commission on a proposed
Berna was alarmed. She had had experience with another polluting
facility that tried to establish itself in Scott County in 1989. The
company, Recontek, wanted to site a hazardous-waste recycling business
there. Scott County citizens’ research left them firmly believing that
Recontek had no place in their community.
They discovered that the company used cyanide to strip off silver
from old film negatives in its plant in Elk Grove Village, Ill., and
exposed its employees, mostly undocumented immigrants, to cyanide. One
of them died of cyanide poisoning.
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