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Rethinking The Saudi Connection

May 3, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Part I

Saudi Arabia has been dominating the Middle Eastern news recently. Its bombing of the Shia Houthis in Yemen, supported by Washington, and its ambivalent stand on ISIS, concealed in Washington, should raise questions about the nature and long-term ambitions of the desert kingdom. On those key issues there is an apparent conspiracy of silence in the American mainstream media and the policy-making community.

Saudi Arabia, the most authentically Muslim country in the world, is a polity based on a set of religious, legal, and political assumptions rooted in mainstream Sunni Islam. To understand its pernicious role in the ongoing Middle Eastern crisis, and to grasp the magnitude of its ongoing threat to America’s long-term strategic interests and security, we should start with the early history of that strange and unpleasant place.

MUHAMMAD IBN ABD AL-WAHHAB was born in central Arabia over three centuries ago, but his legacy is alive and well. Wahhab was a zealous Muslim revivalist who lived in the period of the Ottoman Empire’s early decline. He felt that Islam in general, and Arabia in particular, needed to be spiritually and literally re-purified and returned to the true tenets of the faith. Like Islam’s prophet he married a wealthy woman much older than himself, whose inheritance enabled him to engage in theological and political pursuits. His Sharia training, combined with a brief encounter with suffism – which he rejected – produced a powerful mix. From the suffis he took the concept of a fraternal religious order, but rejected initiation rituals and music in any form. He also condemned the decorations of mosques, however non-representational, and sinful frivolities such as smoking tobacco. This Muslim anabaptist rejected veneration of saints and sites and objects connected with them, and gave rise to a movement that sees itself as the guardian of true Islamic values. His ideas were espoused in the Book of Unity which gave rise to the name of the movement, al-Muwahhidun, or Unitarians.

By the middle of the 18th century Wahhab, like Muhammad eleven centuries earlier, found a politically powerful backer for his cause. In 1744 he struck a partnership with Muhammad ibn-Saud, leader of a powerful clan in central Arabia, and moved to his “capital,” the semi-nomadic settlement of ad-Dir’yah (Riyadh). Since that time the fortunes of the Wahhabis and the Ibn Said family have been intertwined. Under ibn-Saud’s successor Abdul-Aziz, the Wahhabis struck out of their desert base at Najd with the fury unseen in a millennium. In what looked for a while like the repetition of Muhammad’s and the Four Caliphs’ phenomenal early success a millennium earlier, they temporarily captured Mecca and Medina, marched into Mesopotamia – forcing the Ottoman governor to negotiate humiliating terms – and invaded Syria.

This was an unacceptable challenge to the Sultan, the heir to the caliphate and “protector of the holy places.” In 1811 he obtained the agreement of Ali Pasha, Egypt’s de facto autonomous ruler following Napoleon’s withdrawal, to launch a campaign against the Wahhabis. After seven years they were routed. Later in the century, however, the sect revived under Faysal to provide the focus of Arab resistance to the Ottoman Empire, which they considered degenerate and corrupt.

In 1902 a daring and bellicose prince of the ibn-Saud family, named after Abdul-Aziz “the warrior,” returned from exile with 40 horsemen and took control of Riyadh. He exploited the terminal weakness of the Ottoman Empire, soon to be embroiled in revolution and beset by external threats to its crumbling empire in the Balkans and Libya. Fired by the spirit of Wahhabism, Abdul Aziz embarked on a campaign to recover control over the whole of Arabia. In 1912 the Wahhabi revival prompted the founding of a religious settlement at Artawiyah, 300 miles north of Riyadh, under the auspices of theIkhwan, the Brotherhood. This was a stern Arabian variety of Plymouth, a Muslim New Jerusalem in which people were dragged from their homes and whipped for failing to attend Friday prayers.

IN THE CHAOTIC YEARS after the demise of the Ottoman Empire the Ikhwan proved to be an able and fanatical fighting force, securing victory for Ibn Saud, their leader and the founder of the present royal dynasty. In 1925 they carried out Ibn Saud’s order that all revered burial sites in Mecca and Medina be destroyed, including the “heavenly orchard” in Medina, where relatives and many early companions of Muhammad were buried. In 1926 they proclaimed Abdul-Aziz the King of Hejaz. Within a decade he had united the rest of Arabia and imposed the Wahhabist view of the world, man, law, and Allah, on most of the peninsula.

It is incorrect to say that the Wahhabi movement is to Islam what Puritanism is to Christianity, however. While Puritans could be regarded as Christianity’s Islamicists sui generis with their desire to turn Christianity into a druly scriptural, literalist theocracy, Wahhabism is unmistakably “mainstream” in its demand for the return to the original glory of the early Islamic Ummah. Their iconoclastic zeal notwithstanding, the Wahhabis were no more extreme or violent than the models for Islam – the “prophet” and his companions – have been in all ages and to this day.

THE HEIRS OF ABDUL WAHHAB are still heading the Saudi religious establishment. They resisted the introduction of “heathen” contraptions such as radio, cars, and television, and relented only when the King promised to use those suspect mediums to promote the faith. They stopped the importation of all alcohol, previously sold to foreigners (1952), and banned women driving motor vehicles (1957). The Kuran and Sunna are formally the country’s constitution and the source of its legal code. The original sources of Islamic orthodoxy – the Kuran and Hadith – provide ample and detailed evidence that Saudi Arabia is as close as we can get to an Islamic state and society. The State Department report on human rights in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia published 15 years ago offers an accurate glimpse of that vision in action:

Freedom of religion does not exist. Islam is the official religion and all citizens must be Muslims. Neither the Government nor society in general accepts the concepts of separation of religion and state, and such separation does not exist. Under Shari’a conversion by a Muslim to another religion is considered apostasy. Public apostasy is a crime punishable by death -if the accused does not recant. Islamic religious education is mandatory in public schools at all levels. All children receive religious instruction… Citizens do not have the right to change their government. The Council of Senior Islamic Scholars… reviews the Government’s public policies for compliance with Shari’a. The Government [views] Islamic law as the only necessary guide to protect human rights. There is legal and systemic discrimination based on sex and religion.

Nothing has changed since: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the most intolerant Islamic regime in the world. While the Saudis continue to build mosques all over the world, tens of thousands of Christians among the millions of foreign workers from Asia, Europe and America must worship in secret, if at all. They are arrested, lashed or deported for public display of their beliefs. The Saudi religious police, known as the Committee to Promote Virtue and Prevent Vice, continues to routinely intimidate, abuse, and detain citizens and foreigners. In 2002 they pushed girls escaping from burning school buildings back into the inferno and certain death because they did not have their heads properly covered. Its detainees are routinely subjected to beatings, sleep deprivation and torture. Punishments include flogging, amputation, and public execution by beheading, stoning, or firing squad – over 50 were performed so far this year.

Women are second class citizens: according to the CIA world factbook, 82.2% of females are literate, in comparison to 90.8% literacy rates in males. The testimony of one man equals that of two women, and female parties to court proceedings must deputize male relatives to speak on their behalf. Women are not admitted to a hospital for medical treatment (often for wounds resulting from domestic violence) without the consent of a male relative. In public a woman is expected to wear an abaya (a black garment that covers the entire body) and to cover her head and face. Daughters receive half the inheritance awarded to their brothers. Women must demonstrate Sharia-specified grounds for divorce, but men may divorce them without giving any cause. In addition women must not drive cars, must not be driven except by an employee, or husband, or a close relative, and even then must not occupy the front seat. Women may study abroad if accompanied by a spouse or an immediate male relative. Women may own a businesses, but they must deputize a male relative to represent it.

Political detainees commonly are held incommunicado in special prisons during the initial phase of an investigation, which may last weeks or months, without access to lawyers. Defendants usually appear without an attorney before a judge, who determines guilt or innocence in accordance with Shari’a standards. Most trials are closed, and crimes against Muslims receive harsher penalties than those against non-Muslims. A sentence may be changed at any stage of review, except for punishments stipulated by the Koran.

The only expanding industry in Saudi Arabia is that of Islamic obscurantism. Some examples are grotesque: in 1966 the Vice-President of the Islamic University of Medina complained that Copernican theory was being taught at Riyadh University; it has been banned ever since. Three hundred years after the Christian theologians had to concede that the Earth went around the Sun, the geocentric theory was reaffirmed in the centers of Saudi learning. Segregation of the sexes at schools is set at age nine, which is the age for girls to start to wear the veil.

The opinions of the ullema are the only internal check and balance on the ruling family. Five Saudi Islamic universities produce thousands of clerics, many more than will ever be hired to work in the country’s mosques. Thousands end up spreading and promoting Wahhabism abroad. The King of the Saudis remains their Imam. He and the Wahhabi religious establishment see it as their sacred duty and purpose to evangelize the world. The petro-dollar windfall has paid for the construction of some ten thousand mosques and “Islamic centers” in the United States and other parts of the world. All along, needless to say, no churches (let alone synagogues) can be built in Saudi Arabia, and all non-Muslim religious practice is strictly forbidden.
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The Ghosts of Sigmaringen

April 11, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

On a recent trip to Germany I took a day off to visit Sigmaringen, on the upper Danube some 20 miles north of Lake Constance. This town of ten thousand with a massive castle towering over it – or, more precisely, this castle with a town attached – interested me as the site of a little known, eight-month long melodrama at the end of Second World War.

It was here that Marshal Philippe Pétain, Chef de l’État Français, and several hundred Vichy government officials and prominent German sympathizers and collaborators of different hues, were brought by the Wehrmacht on 8 September 1944, as the Allies advanced across France. The leaders were installed in the castle, other ranks in the town below. They were followed by their wives, hangers-on, and mistresses. By the end of September a veritable French enclave was in place, some two thousand strong, which survived until the long-dreaded arrival of de Gaulle’s First French Army on 24 April 1945.

The initial impression is operetic: pure Leharian pastiche, an unreal world in which France’s prominent collabos are but a parody of their former selves. There is also a more sinister image, however: Sigmaringen as a trap, an open prison in which the principals go on with their performance, but at the same time watch helplessly as the end of the show – and for many the end of their lives – is approaching steadily, relentlessly.

This town and those bizarre eight months are erased from France’s collective memory. They belong to the past which many older Frenchmen would rather forget, while the young neither know that past nor care for it. “Fench Sigmaringen” is relegated to the margins of memory. The Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen family are back home. The castle’s magnificent halls and about a tenth of its 300 rooms are open to guided tours, but there are no Petainist mementos of any kind. A richly appointed color book about the castle disposes of the French episode matter-of-factly in a single sentence.

That episode started on the night of 17-18 August 1944, when the Germans evacuated Vichy. The first stop was Belfort, in French Alsace, but after only two weeks the Allies’ rapid advance made the move to Germany necessary. The 88-year-old “Lion of Verdun,” Marshal Pétain, did not want to go. He claimed he’d rather stay on France’s soil and defend his record, come what may; but the Germans decided otherwise. From that moment he declared that he regarded himself as a German prisoner, and cut off all formal contacts with German officials. He communicated with the outside world through Dr. Bernard Ménétrel, his personal physician and confidant, the widely detested “Cerberus of the Seventh Floor.”

Sigmaringen was a far cry from the summer of 1940, when Pétain offered France “the gift of his person” in the aftermath of the military collapse of the French army – and the political and moral collapse of the Third Republic. The old soldier embarked on a “national revolution,” a belated attempt to purge the defeated country not only of its party-political intrigues, leftist radicalism, masonry and corruption, but also – more ambitiously – of the legacy of 1789 and the subsequent “anti-France” (in the memorable phrase of Charles Maurras). He became part-monrach, part-father of the nation. His image was everywhere. Maréchal, nous voilà! became the de facto anthem of the French State (no longer la République). Liberté, égalité, fraternité were replaced by the distinctly anti-Jacobin sloganTravail, Famille, Patrie. Marianne was gone, replaced (informally) by the saintly image of the Maid of Orleans. The countryside was celebrated as the source of national strength, and the Catholic Church was brought back into public life. The ancient Francisca became the official coat of arms.

Pétain’s problem was that the proponents of outright collaboration with Germany had no time for such romantic pursuits. They accused Pétain of attentisme which could deny France her rightful place in the New European Order. They were divided into two camps: the more moderate collaborateurs – embodied in the opportunistic figure of Pierre Laval, who was appointed prime minister in early 1942 – and an array of fanatical collaborationistes, based in Paris, who wanted a clean break with Pétain’s “reactionary paternalism” and an outright alliance with Hitler. With the Wehrmacht occupying France’szone libre in November 1942 they became more powerful. The Germans – ever mistrustful of the French – were nevertheless careful to keep all three groups evenly balanced in an elaborate cadrille, conducted by the Reich’s ambassador in Paris (and self-avowed Francophile) Leo Abetz.

The members of these three factions, Pétainists, collaborateurs and collaborationistes, hated each others’ guts. Suddenly, at Sigmaringen, they found themselves sharing the same quarters and facing a similar, unpleasant future. The maréchal, occupying the palatial seventh floor of the castle, would pretend not to see Laval (the sixth floor occupant) if he passed him in the courtyard on the way to his car which was taking him out of town, every day after lunch, for walks in the countryside.

Those walks were elaborate affairs. Alone among the exiles Pétain had a Citroen and a driver, but he was not allowed far from town. Followed by his Gestapo detail in two black Opels, he would stop 5-6 miles outside Sigmaringen and start a brisk walk through the woods accompanied by one of his military orderlies. The Germans would follow at a respectful distance. After an hour and a half he’d be back, in time to return to the castle for the afternoon radio news.

Laval, “L’Auvergnat,” suddenly forced into inactivity, busied himself preparing his defense for the trial in Paris which he knew awaited him sooner or later. The former Socialist practiced speeches to the imaginary jury in front of his wife Jeanne and a young private secretary. (All his documents and notes were taken away when he was eventually arrested, as he repeatedly complained at the trial.) He had created too many enemies during his long political career, and especially during the 28 months as prime minister at Vichy. Hardly anyone talked to him.

On the third floor are the quarters of the Government Commission, the five-member cabinet in exile formally known as the Commission gouvernementale française pour la défense des intérêts nationaux. It can do little and does even less, but its members are jealous of their theoretical turfs and prerogatives. Like in earlier years back home they continue to denounce their political and personal enemies to the Germans, less to score some points, more out of pure spite.

The Commission’s chairman, the devious Marquis de Brinon, succeeds in having Dr. Ménétrel arrested by the Gestapo in November 1944 on the false accusation of contact with the Allied intelligence services. (Ménétrel survived the war, but was promptly arrested on his return to France in May 1945.) Brinon cracks jokes about Pétain, refers to him as “notre poster girl” (in English). “France is a country of disasters and lunches,” he quips one day after a less than satisfactory meal ofKartofels. “There are no more lunches now, only the disasters remain…”

Joseph Darnand, an ultracollabo, is the Commission’s Secretary of Interior Affairs (“except there’s no interior and no affairs,” Brinon comments). Decorated World War I hero, far right activist in the 1930’s (Action Française, then Croix-de-feu, and a Cagoulard to boot), and an SS Sturmbannführer, in 1942 he founded the volunteer Service d’ordre légionnaire (SOL). It became the dreaded Milice française– directly subordinated to him – in January 1943. He has brought some 10,000 faithful Milice members to the barracks in nearby Ulm, and plans to use them for a last stand. “Brave but obtuse,” according to Brinon.

Marcel Déat, the “minister of labor,” is for some reason the only member of the Commission with the rank of ministre. A Great War veteran and officer of the Légion d’honneur, a socialist until 1933 and a far right activist thereafter, he founded the pro-Nazi Rassemblement national populaire (RNP) in occupied Paris in 1941, and the French Legion of Volunteers (Légion des volontaires français, LVF) a year later. In 1944 it was incorporated into the French SS division Charlemagne.

Journalist Jean Luchaire, commissar for propaganda and information, is more polished than these two gentlemen but ideologically close to them. He starts a local radio station (somewhat ironically called Ici la France!), and a daily newspaper, predictably called La France, which was published until April 1945.

Freiherr Cécil von Renthe-Fink, Ribbentrop‘s envoy to Vichy, was also there, with little to do. The Ambassador is no longer welcome at Pétain’s table. M-me Laval, an open Germanophobe, does not allow him to the sixth floor either. He nevertheless soldiers on, busying himself with the procurement of provisions for the enclave amidst the looming collapse of the Reich.

In the town below there are several well known names from the world of French arts and letters. Actor Robert Le Vigan, openly homosexual and a drug addict, is the chief announcer for Ici la France. Poet Abel Bonnard, with similar proclivities (hence his nickname, “la Gestapette”) and the only member of the Academie to be expelled from its ranks, is a famous wit. On the account of frequent moves, he calls the Germans “notre agence Thomas Cook.” Laval is for him l’Auvergnat de Danube, Pétain “our dethroned monarch.”

Famous writer and virulent antisemite Louis-Ferdinand Céline is also there. After the war he wrote a hallucinatory novel about Sigmaringen, Castle to Castle (D’un château l’autre). Céline’s Sigmaringen is a dramatic stage and a paranoid anteroom for De Gaulle’s épuration légale trials which are already under way. The atmosphere of quiet desperation was briefly interrupted by a week of hope at Christmas 1944, during the initial stage of the German offensive in the Ardennes. Only Pétain maintains calm dignity in his self-imposed isolation, eating well and sleeping soundly. For Céline, Sigmaringen was the perfect backdrop for a romantic German tragedy or a Wagnerian musical drama, with a touch of Hollywood.

Commission officials and their wives eat together in the sumptuous dining hall. The fare is mediocre, even though they have menus based on four ration cards each. The atmosphere is morbid. In the evening they gather at the salon des dammes, not because they cherish each other’s company (quite the contrary) but because it is warm. Their cavernous rooms are not. Déat obsessively plays the lexicon, a version of scrabble, for hours on end. Darnand smokes his pipe in silence and reads papers. The ladies play cards. In the evening they listen to Radio Paris, and the news is grim. On 9 November they learn that journalist and Pétain’s biographer Georges Suarez was executed. On 6 February it was the turn of Robert Brasillach, whose last, sarcastic words were “Long live France, anyway!” (Vive la France, quand meme!) They had no command responsibility and no official functions. If they were shot on the account of their writing, the denizens of the castle could expect no mercy.

And so their lives went on, for eight long months, until a few days before the arrival of de Gaulle’s First Army on 24 April 1945. Only Pétain returns to France voluntarily, where a trial and a death sentence await him, commuted to life in view of his extreme old age and Great War record. Céline, his wife and cat manage to reach Denmark, where he lays low for some years after the war. No such luck for Brinon, who fails to get a Swiss visa and ends up before a firing squad in 1947. Laval managed to reach Spain on the very last German plane out, but Franco – pressured by de Gaulle – sends him back for a quick, brutal trial and execution on 7 October 1945. Darnand is captured in northern Italy in June, tried, and executed three days after Laval. Luchaire is recognized quite by accident in Innsbruck on 18 May 1945 by a French officer who had been a Gestapo agent in Paris until July 1944. “Haven’t you been shot?” asks Luchaire. “No, but you will be!” is the answer. Of the leading castle denizens only Déat and Bonnard, both sentenced to death in absentia, evade the firing squad. The former lived under an assumed name in Italy, the latter under his own in Spain.

Schloss Sigmaringen, like the Alcazar of Toledo, is one of those places which have a physical presence and a metaphysical quality. The French enclave of Sigmaringen was no longer life, not yet death. As such it is an apt metaphor for all of us, here, today.


Srdja (Serge) Trifkovic, author, historian, foreign affairs analyst, and foreign affairs editor of “Chronicles.” He has a BA (Hon) in international relations from the University of Sussex (UK), a BA in political science from the University of Zagreb (Croatia), and a PhD in history from the University of Southampton (UK).

www.trifkovic.mysite.com

Dr. Srdja Trifkovic is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Gun Control Through Banning Bullets

March 7, 2015 by · 3 Comments 

The concept of banning lead was floated before, but this latest effort to impose back door gun control has all the marking of a tin horn dictator stripping the peasants of any means of resistance. Drop the pretense. All you need to know is WHY IS GOVERNMENT STOCKPILING GUNS, AMMO?, while you are being told you are not allowed to have your own horde.  How you answer this question, reveals much about your attitude towards government, and level of concern for protecting yourself from tyrannical edits. It is startling just how much of the population will accept de facto gun control for any trumped up scheme to impose further governmental mastery.

SCOPE reports on the recent announcement on M855 ammunition.

On 13 February 2015, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF) released a document [PDF ] that proposed the reclassification of “5.56mm constituent projectiles of SS109 and M855 cartridges” from the category of “primarily used for sporting purposes” to that of “armor piercing ammunition.” The 17-page document was titled

“ATF FRAMEWORK FOR DETERMINING WHETHER CERTAIN PROJECTILES ARE ‘PRIMARILY INTENDED FOR SPORTING PURPOSES’ WITHIN THE MEANING OF 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(C)” and uploaded to ATF.gov , in part to enable interested parties to review it and submit comments before 16 March 2015.

The proposal cited the Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-408, known as “LEOPA”) and referenced discussions with law enforcement agencies across the country about whether “green tip” ammunition could reasonably be construed an exempt form of sporting ammo under the 1986 guidelines. The publicly available document noted that handguns made to employ the potentially affected ammunition were not available to civilians at the time the exemption was initially granted, and that the ammo type in question did not appear to meet the standard for a sporting purpose exemption:

Applying the sporting purposes framework set-forth above, the 5.56mm projectile that ATF exempted in 1986 does not qualify for an exemption because that projectile when loaded into SS109 and M855 cartridges may be used in a handgun other than a single-shot handgun. Specifically, 5.56mm projectiles loaded into the SS109 and M855 cartridges are commonly used Framework for Deciding Sporting Purpose Ammunition pursuant to 18 USC 921(a) in both “AR-type” rifles and “AR-type” handguns.

The AR platform is the semi-automatic version of the M16 machinegun originally designed for and used by the military. The AR-based handguns and rifles utilize the same magazines and share identical receivers. These AR-type handguns were not commercially available when the armor piercing ammunition exemption was granted in 1986. To ensure consistency, upon final implementation of the sporting purpose framework outlined above, ATF must withdraw the exemptions for 5.56 mm “green tip” ammunition, including both the SS109 and M855 cartridges.

The  video BATF Ammo Ban Violates Federal Law As Well As The Constitution and Infowars article provides the legal definition: AR-15 AMMO NOT “ARMOR PIERCING” ACCORDING TO LAW, BUT ATF BANNING IT ANYWAY, both explains the dubious methods being used to circumvent the 2nd Amendment.

To be considered “armor piercing” under 18 U.S.C. 921 (a)(17)(B) , a bullet must have an entirely metal core or have a jacket weighting more than 25% of its weight, which wouldn’t include M855 rounds because their bullets are partly lead .

The definition in full:

(17)

(A) The term “ammunition” means ammunition or cartridge cases, primers, bullets, or propellent powder designed for use in any firearm.

(B) The term “armor piercing ammunition” means- (i) a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or (ii) a full jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.

(C) The term “armor piercing ammunition” does not include shotgun shot required by Federal or State environmental or game regulations for hunting purposes, a frangible projectile designed for target shooting, a projectile which the Attorney General finds is primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes, or any other projectile or projectile core which the Attorney General finds is intended to be used for industrial purposes, including a charge used in an oil and gas well perforating device.

Now all this legal mumbo jumbo may seem archaic to anyone other than gun enthusiasts, but in fact allowing the government to banish the business end of shells, because the government fears such bullets might be pointed at them, is an admission of despotic panic.

Governments have little need to feel apprehension from citizens, when their conduct is measured by legal and ethical standards. Just ask, what in the world is this contrived necessity to undertake punitive and restrictive measures to strip the public of their legitimate right for self-defense, really all about?

If there is any doubt how the people are responding, just examine the trend in gun and especially further ammo sales.

Gun sales hit new record, ammo boom to follow

“If ammunition does become the focus for gun owners, that could become another hot-button topic.

Last year, the Homeland Security Department had to explain to Congress its contracts to buy up to 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition.

Some gun owners believed the department was trying to crowd out private consumers in the ammunition market, but federal officials said their purchases amounted to a tiny fraction of the ammunition produced every year.”

Obviously, buying up the market is too slow a way to crowd out the public. With no constrains in the last two years of the Obama administration, what is one more show of contempt for the rule of law? Yet, proponents of an ammunition free zone cheer last year’s UN Arms Trade Treaty ATT as another component in the efforts to “piecemeal enactment of costly and increasingly restrictive controls on ammunition, private sales and transfers, firearms parts, registration, etc.”

Yes, Obama’s bureaucrats are walking lock step in line with the global objective of having non elites stripped of their armor. If .223 ammo is slated for a meltdown, what will be next?

The Global Gulag essay, Guns, Guts and Goons foretells the dilemma.

“Gun ownership in America is the primary reason why the internationalists fear the wrath of an armed citizenry. The destruction of the Bill of Rights is a prime objective of the beltway statists. Conversely, the elimination of the remnants of an American federalist constitutional republic is the key eliminate required for imposition of the global Illuminati matrix. The primal reason to foster a society that bears weapons is to maintain the means to fight tyranny on your native soil. The United Nations is a subversive and diabolical appendage of world despotism. The choice has never been clearer. Lock and load or kneel and grovel. Guns are mere instruments of force or defense, while government oppression is the reason why the public must possess the means of accountability.”

In the brave new world that is being engineered, going back to archery using rubber tips might be the only option, assuming that stringing for the bow would be allowed.

The list of government warfare against citizen’s right to bear arms just grows. Obama’s feds hid key data to get Calif. lead ammo ban passed in backdoor gun control move comes as no surprise. “Other states have also wrestled with the lead ammunition issue, but California is the first and only state to ban it altogether.”

From that other bastion of individual rights, the New York Times cannot conceal their joy in the item, Move to Ban a Bullet Adds to Its Appeal. However, in the spirit of balance the NYT quotes:

“Representative Robert W. Goodlatte, Republican of Virginia and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, urged the agency to reconsider the rule.

“Millions upon millions of M855 rounds have been sold and used in the U.S., yet A.T.F. has not even alleged, much less offered evidence, that even one such round has ever been fired from a handgun at a police officer,” Mr. Goodlatte writes in a letter to the agency’s director, B. Todd Jones, to be sent this week.”

Surely there must be some compelling argument missing that proposes to criminalize the magic tip projectile.

This is a laughable proposal if the underlying intentions for disarming the citizenry was not the ultimate motive were not so draconian.

Do you have the guts to stand up to the goons? You don’t need to have guns to resist if they have their way. What good is a gun without bullets? What is needed is a concerted effort to support organizations and representatives that will fight against this tyranny now, before we all bleed because Americans allowed their disarmament.

The charade of false flag gun crimes used to enact more restrictive laws and regulations needs to be exposed as absolute folly and soul-destroying despotism.

Trolling Russia

January 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The edifice of world post-1991 order is collapsing right now before our eyes. President Putin’s decision to give a miss to the Auschwitz pilgrimage, right after his absence in Paris at the Charlie festival, gave it the last shove. It was good clean fun to troll Russia, as long as it stayed the course. Not anymore. Russia broke the rules.

Until now, Russia, like a country bumpkin in Eton, tried to belong. It attended the gathering of the grandees where it was shunned, paid its dues to European bodies that condemned it, patiently suffered ceaseless hectoring of the great powers and irritating baiting of East European small-timers alike. But something broke down. The lad does not want to belong anymore; he picked up his stuff and went home – just when they needed him to knee in Auschwitz.

Auschwitz gathering is an annual Canossa of Western leaders where they bewail their historic failure to protect the Jews and swear their perennial obedience to them. This is a more important religious rite of our times, the One Ring to rule them all, established in 2001, when the Judeo-American empire had reached the pinnacle of its power. The Russian leader had duly attended the events. This year, they will have to do without him. Israeli ministers already have expressed their deep dissatisfaction for this was Russia’s Red Army that saved the Jews in Auschwitz, after all. Russia’s absence will turn the Holocaust memorial day into a parochial, West-only, event. Worse, Russia’s place will be taken by Ukraine, ruled by unrepentant heirs to Hitler’s Bandera.

This comes after the French ‘Charlie’ demo, also spurned by Russia. The West hinted that Russia’s sins would be forgiven, up to a point, if she joined, first the demo, and later, the planned anti-terrorist coalition, but Russia did not take the bait. This was a visible change, for previously, Russian leaders eagerly participated in joint events and voted for West-sponsored resolutions. In 2001, Putin fully supported George Bush’s War on Terrorism in the UN and on the ground. As recently as 2011, Russia agreed with sanctions against North Korea and Iran. As for coming for a demonstration, the Russians could always be relied upon. This time, the Russians did not come, except for the token presence of the foreign minister Mr. Lavrov. This indomitable successor of Mr. Nyet left the event almost immediately and went – to pray in the Russian church, in a counter-demonstration, of sorts, against Charlie. By going to the church, he declared that he is not Charlie.

For the Charlie Hebdo magazine was (and probably is) explicitly anti-Christian as well as anti-Muslim. One finds on its pages some very obnoxious cartoons offending the Virgin and Christ, as well as the pope and the Church. (They never offend Jews, somehow).

A Russian blogger who’s been exposed to this magazine for the first time, wrote on his page: I am ashamed that the bastards were dealt with by Muslims, not by Christians. This was quite a common feeling in Moscow these days. The Russians could not believe that such smut could be published and defended as a right of free speech. People planned a demo against the Charlie, but City Hall forbade it.

Remember, a few years ago, the Pussy Riot have profaned the St Saviour of Moscow like Femen did in some great European cathedrals, from Notre Dame de Paris to Strasbourg. The Russian government did not wait for vigilante justice to be meted upon the viragos, but sent them for up to two years of prison. At the same time, the Russian criminal law has been changed to include ‘sacrilege’ among ordinary crimes, by general consent. The Russians do feel about their faith more strongly than the EC rulers prescribe.

In Charlie’s France, Hollande’s regime frogmarched the unwilling people into a quite unnecessary gay marriage law, notwithstanding one-million-strong protest demonstrations by Catholics. Femen despoiling the churches were never punished; but a church warden who tried to prevent that, was heavily fined. France has a long anti-Christian tradition, usually described as “laic”, and its grand anti-Church coalition of Atheists, Huguenots and Jews coalesced in Dreyfus Affair days. Thus Lavrov’s escape to the church was a counter-demonstration, saying: Russia is for Christ, and Russia is not against Muslims.

While the present western regime is anti-Christian and anti-Muslim, it is pro-Jewish to an extent that defies a rational explanation. France had sent thousands of soldiers and policemen to defend Jewish institutions, though this defence antagonises their neighbours. While Charlie are glorified for insulting Christians and Muslims, Dieudonné has been sent to jail (just for a day, but with great fanfare) for annoying Jews. Actually, Charlie Hebdo dismissed a journalist for one sentence allegedly disrespectful for Jews. This unfairness is a source of aggravation: Muslims were laughed out of court when they complained against particularly vile Charlie’s cartoons, but Jews almost always win when they go to the court against their denigrators. (Full disclosure: I was also sued by LICRA, the French Jewish body, while my French publisher was devastated by their legal attacks).

The Russians don’t comprehend the Western infatuation with Jews, for Russian Jews have been well assimilated and integrated in general society. The narrative of Holocaust is not popular in Russia for one simple reason: so many Russians from every ethnic background lost their lives in the war, that there is no reason to single out Jews as supreme victims. Millions died at the siege of Leningrad; Belarus lost a quarter of its population. More importantly, Russians feel no guilt regarding Jews: they treated them fairly and saved them from the Nazis. For them, the Holocaust is a Western narrative, as foreign as JeSuisCharlie. With drifting of Russia out of Western consensus, there is no reason to maintain it.

This does not mean the Jews are discriminated against. The Jews of Russia are doing very well, thank you, without Holocaust worship: they occupy the highest positions in the Forbes list of Russia’s rich, with a combined capital of $122 billion, while all rich ethnic Russians own only $165 billion, according to the Jewish-owned source. Jews run the most celebrated media shows in prime time on the state TV; they publish newspapers; they have full and unlimited access to Putin and his ministers; they usually have their way when they want to get a plot of land for their communal purposes. And anti-Semitic propaganda is punishable by law – like anti-Christian or anti-Muslim abuse, but even more severely. Still, it is impossible to imagine a Russian journalist getting sack like CNN anchor Jim Clancy or BBC’s Tim Willcox for upsetting a Jew or speaking against Israel.

Russia preserves its plurality, diversity and freedom of opinion. The pro-Western Russian media –Novaya Gazeta of oligarch Lebedev, the owner of the British newspaper Independent – carries the JeSuis slogan and speaks of the Holocaust, as well as demands to restore Crimea to the Ukraine. But the vast majority of Russians do support their President, and his civilizational choice. He expressed it when he went to midnight Christmas mass in a small village church in far-away province, together with orphans and refugees from the Ukraine. And he expressed it by refusing to go to Auschwitz.

Neither willingly nor easily did Russia break ranks. Putin tried to take Western baiting in his stride: be it Olympic games, Syria confrontation, gender politics, Georgian border, even Crimea-related sanctions. The open economic warfare was a game-changer. Russia felt attacked by falling oil prices, by rouble trouble, by credit downgrading. These developments are considered an act of hostility, rather than the result of “the hidden hand of the market”.

Russians love conspiracia, as James Bond used to say. They do not believe in chance, coincidence nor natural occurrences, and are likely to consider a falling meteorite or an earthquake – a result of hostile American action, let alone a fall in the rouble/dollar exchange rate. They could be right, too, though it is hard to prove.

Regarding oil price fall, the jury is out. Some say this action by Saudis is aimed at American fracking companies, or alternatively it’s a Saudi-American plot against Russia. However, the price of oil is not formed by supply-demand, but by financial instruments, futures and derivatives. This virtual demand-and-supply is much bigger than the real one. When hedge funds stopped to buy oil futures, price downturn became unavoidable, but were the funds directed by politicians, or did they act so as Quantitative Easing ended?

The steep fall of the rouble could be connected to oil price downturn, but not necessarily so. The rouble is not involved in oil price forming. It could be an action by a very big financial institution. Soros broke the back of British pound in 1991; Korean won, Thai bath and Malaysian ringgit suffered similar fate in 1998. In each case, the attacked country lost about 40% of its GDP. It is possible that Russia was attacked by financial weapons directed from New York.

The European punitive sanctions forbade long-term cheap credit to Russian companies. The Russian state does not need loans, but Russian companies do. Combination of these factors put a squeeze on Russian pockets. The rating agencies kept downgrading Russian rating to almost junk level, for political reasons, I was told. As they were deprived of credit, state companies began to hoard dollars to pay later their debts, and they refrained from converting their huge profits to roubles, as they did until now. The rouble fell drastically, probably much lower than it had to.

This is not pinpoint sanctions aimed at Putin’s friends. This is a full-blown war. If the initiators expected Russians to be mad at Putin, they miscalculated. The Russian public is angry with the American organisers of the economical warfare, not with its own government. The pro-Western opposition tried to demonstrate against Putin, but very few people joined them.

Ordinary Russians kept a stiff upper lip. They did not notice the sanctions until the rouble staggered, and even then they shopped like mad rather than protested. In the face of shrinking money, they did not buy salt and sugar, as their grandparents would have. Their battle cry against hogging was “Do not take more than two Lexus cars per family, leave something for others!”

Perhaps, the invisible financiers went too far. Instead of being cowed, the Russians are preparing for a real long war, as they and their ancestors have historically fought – and won. It is not like they have a choice: though Americans insist Russia should join their War-on-Terrorism-II, they do not intend to relinquish sanctions.

The Russians do not know how to deal with a financial attack. Without capital restrictions, Russia will be cleaned out. Russian Central bank and Treasury people are strict monetarists, capital restrictions are anathema for them. Putin, being a liberal himself, apparently trusts them. Capital flight has taken huge proportions. Unless Russia uses the measures successfully tried by Mohammad Mahathir of Malaysia, it will continue. At present, however, we do not see sign of change.

This could be the incentive for Putin to advance in Ukraine. If the Russians do not know how to shuffle futures and derivatives, they are expert in armour movements and tank battles. Kiev regime is also spoiling for a fight, apparently pushed by the American neocons. It is possible that the US will get more than what it bargained for in the Ukraine.

One can be certain that Russians will not support the Middle Eastern crusade of NATO, as this military action was prepared at the Charlie demo in Paris. It is far from clear who killed the cartoonists, but Paris and Washington intend to use it for reigniting war in the Middle East. This time, Russia will be in opposition, and probably will use it as an opportunity to change the uncomfortable standoff in the Ukraine. Thus supporters of peace in the Middle East have a good reason to back Russia.


A native of Novosibirsk, Siberia, a grandson of a professor of mathematics and a descendant of a Rabbi from Tiberias, Palestine, he studied at the prestigious School of the Academy of Sciences, and read Math and Law at Novosibirsk University. In 1969, he moved to Israel, served as paratrooper in the army and fought in the 1973 war.

After his military service he resumed his study of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, but abandoned the legal profession in pursuit of a career as a journalist and writer. He got his first taste of journalism with Israel Radio, and later went freelance. His varied assignments included covering Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the last stages of the war in South East Asia.

In 1975, Shamir joined the BBC and moved to London. In 1977-79 he wrote for the Israeli daily Maariv and other papers from Japan. While in Tokyo, he wrote Travels with My Son, his first book, and translated a number of Japanese classics.

Email at: info@israelshamir.net

Israel Shamir is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

The Babel State And The Bramble Men

January 11, 2015 by · 2 Comments 

War, Murder, And Needless Civil Strife…

Ancient warfare was more decisive than modern warfare.  Conquering armies marched into the areas to be conquered and subdued resistance.  Once an area was conquered governments were set up and it was impossible to amass a competing army; the land was occupied by the victorious force.

Modern warfare is different, it seeks to control not necessarily to occupy.  For every soldier killed in today’s battles about nine civilians die. National rulers are supported by the people; some willingly and others by coercion.  When citizens support war they deserve their fate but many do not and millions of innocent men, women, and children are killed in all modern wars.

American citizens usually support our wars and laud our soldiers – the United States is a belligerent nation.  The motto seems to be “Our Nation Right or Wrong”.  As we aggressively invade countries that do not threaten us, murdering hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens, our Christian population supports the torture of their recalcitrant prisoners.  Read here.

World War II was the first of the contemporary “all out wars” where civilian neighborhoods and populations were devastated on a daily basis.  According to Wikipedia 69 to 85 million people lost their lives during WWII.  Civilian casualties were slightly higher than military casualties.

In the recent war in Iraq U. S. casualties were 4,425 killed and 32,223 wounded.  The Iraq Body Count estimates 150,000 Iraqis killed of which 80 percent were civilians; a ratio of about 27 to 1.   Unlike U. S. civilians, Iraqi civilians did not support the war. Read here.

“Operation Iraqi Freedom” and the Vietnam War were different but there were similarities: Both were preceded by false flag operations. Both were against nations that posed no threat. Both developed an increasing appetite for more troops. Both wars were failures.  Both wars harmed the nation and neither was in our national interest. During the Vietnam War there were massive protests but during the Iraq War they were few and the few were weak.  The Vietnam War did not benefit neo-Israel but the Iraq War did.

Neocons who represent the nation’s power base are clamoring for an attack on Iran.  The safety of neo-Israel is being purchased with the lives and futures of America’s youth.

The human power centers that control our world, Rushdoony calls them bramble men (From a passage in the Book of Judges Chapter 9), are carefully omitted in all public discourse. Most of the rhetoric focuses on the results of their decrees.  Often world events defy logic and when they happen the media reports them but avoids the complete story.  The “Who” and the “Why“ are omitted and though the “What”, “When”, and “Where” are usually mentioned the “How” is also missing.

At Christmas, 2014, Daniel McAdams writes, “It will be a miserable Christmas for the overseas victims of US interventions this year. Though “regime change” proponents talk of bringing freedom and democracy to the countries they target, the end result is quite the opposite: the rise of extremism, famine, ethnic cleansing, and economic destruction are what the US government has left behind in places like Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine.”  Read here.

Americans now consider Russia an enemy.  The procedure for creating this impression has been successful but the connivance that brought it about is not discussed.

The bramble men want world government.  The inexorable progress of this Babelian scheme is invariably ignored by our press and our elected representatives. Chaos creates weakness and weak nations and tired citizens welcome order even when it is tyrannical.  Civilian support is gained by mendacious propaganda and resistance is confined the few who see through the lies.

The Triune God of Christianity seeks peace.  His servants evangelize those He has chosen.  They do not use force.  Branches of Islam conduct forcible conversions, and Talmudic Judaism seeks power through guile.

R. J. Rushdoony calls the modern state a Babel State.  He claims its destiny is confusion.  He points out the sterility of power seeking governments which value power over production.  He says their politics produce death and writes, “The politics of death seeks dominion by means of government and without work.  It seeks a monopoly on government and works to control every sphere of life: persons, families, churches, vocations, society at large, schools, the arts and sciences, and whatever else there is, in order to play god and create a good society”.

He continues, “The image of God in man requires work, responsibility, and self-government under God.  It is man, not the state, who is created in the image of God….. The state is not a person, nor a responsible conscious entity; it is an institution.  When it seeks to supplant men, it cuts itself off from men and from humanity and becomes inhuman, an ironic conclusion for the humanistic state.”

When citizens begin to shift their God given responsibilities to the state they begin to create an ungodly institution to which they, themselves will become slaves.  A responsible, Godly society need not worry about tyrannical government.  Tyranny results from lazy, sinful, faithless citizens who would rather shirk their responsibilities and live under a despot than challenge evil and define righteousness.

The United States of America has been pillaged by the bramble men and is now in a state of perpetual war – a war that seeks control, not victory. Perpetual war is destroying its youth and making slaves of tomorrow’s generations.

The generation fathered by the veterans of earlier Twentieth Century wars participated in the rioting and burning that occurred in the 1960s.  This generation succeeded in changing the moral fiber of the nation.

War is a social disease and the war-scarred children of the Baby Boomers  provided the impetus for the social disruption that swept the nation during the l960s.

A Swank and Marchand WWII study in Wikipedia  “found that after sixty days of continuous combat, 98% of all surviving military personnel will become psychiatric casualties. Psychiatric casualties manifest themselves in fatigue cases, confusional states, conversion hysteria, anxiety, obsessional and compulsive states, and character disorders.”

Wars devastate families:  War removes fathers from the home and saddles mothers with inordinate responsibilities.  War destroys moral standards, freedom, and righteousness. When soldiers return their ability to bring the steady loving hand of a mature compassionate father has often been destroyed by the violence and uncertainty of perennial war.  Children raised in war torn homes themselves become dis-functional and disillusioned.  Though the connection is seldom made, America’s decline was accelerated by the generation raised in these homes

As we progress into the Twenty-First Century the deterioration of our culture is everywhere evident.

We are living in an era of social insanity.  Army Generals sit by without protest as militant females claim they are equal to men and want combat roles.  Homosexuals are not being welcomed into an institution that is intrinsically reserved for opposite sexes while mentally challenged television personalities celebrate this repulsive cognitive dissonance.

The former “city on a hill” has now become the torture center of the world.

Physical encounters have become more violent.  Fights that used to result in a bloody nose now result in a trip to the hospital or the funeral parlor.

Manners have long been forgotten.  Women used to be deferred to as the weaker sex but serving as equals in our military they are now complaining about being raped and are attempting to get disability benefits from the government. Read here.

Many Americans are excited by the coming 2016 elections thinking that the fall of the nation can be stopped by changing the government.  This deception has been used to placate the public for centuries but has never touched the bramble men who control the world.  A definition of insanity is the constant repetition of procedures that do not work.

War has now reached its social zenith; it is no longer expected to produce a victory, instead it is a perennial operation that extends eternally into the future.

The bramble men have created the reality of the anarchic human mind.  Without the stability of God’s legal standards chaos and tyranny are inevitable.

“Thus when bramble men are in power, when men are both envious and self-righteous about their envy, and when a society begins to use its power politically, i.e., to aggrandize power, rather than economically, to produce, develop, and expand, the new Babels arise to bring in fresh confusion and destruction.”  R. J. Rushdoony  (All Rushdoony quotes are from “Systematic Theology” Volume II.)


Al Cronkrite is a writer living in Florida, reach him at: trueword13@yahoo.com

Al Cronkrite is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Crossing The Bridge Into 2015

January 1, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Quick as a wink, Christmas faded into our rear view mirrors. Up ahead, a brand spanking New Year 2015 awaits! New possibilities! Fresh ideas! A new set of 365 days to accomplish something marvelous in your life.

What actions will you take in the New Year? How will 2015 define your life? Good? Bad? Successful? Otherwise?

Do you know which month Americans gain the most weight? Answer: February. After making New Year’s resolutions to trim down, Americans hit recreation centers, personal fitness trainers and strict diets. After four weeks, they lose their discipline as well as their will power.

Their emotions dragged them back to sugar doughnuts and pizzas along with soda pops.

Unfortunately, just like a passenger on an airplane, most Americans carry “baggage” into the New Year. Emotional baggage! They lug it to the airport, toss it onto the conveyer belt and pick it up at their new destination. Regrettably, if you carry your emotional baggage into 2015, you face a repeat of your frustrations, failures and disappointments.

How do you get rid of emotional baggage?

First, forgive anyone and everyone who may have harmed you in 2014. That includes bosses, parents, friends, co-workers and strangers. Shed any anger toward anyone. Forget grievances. Come clean in your mind, body and vibrations toward the world. Forgive yourself!

Second, live in the present moment and be grateful for your health, home, job, friends and food on the table. Most Americans cannot imagine starving daily or being housed in a tent in a refugee camp for years on end. One look at Africa or the Middle East may give you an inkling of your good fortune via your birth into the American opportunity.

Third, if you suffered a poor 2014, decide by your actions to make 2015 good, better and in fact, the best year of your life. It’s up to you. Yes, you may face criticism and personal hurt in 2015. Stand up! Your life-journey calls for personal bravery. Seek the beacon of life. You will become a lighthouse of inspiration for others to follow. Become an example of excellence compared to no one.

Fourth, work out of mediocrity toward your personal best in whatever endeavor you pursue. If you’re a parent, love your kids and guide them with fairness, discipline, expectations for excellence and security. If you’re a student or employee, better yourself by working toward a degree or certificate. Make your mind and body better by your actions.

Fifth, if mean people do unkind things to you at work or play—decide to change their behaviors by changing your involvement with them. If you remember Dustin Hoffman in the movie, “Hook” where he tried to destroy Peter Pan, one of the little girls said to Hook, “You’re so mean; you just need a mommy.” That means we all need to feel loved, needed and purposeful.

Sixth, how do you find your purpose? I am currently reading a book: The Traveler’s Gift—Seven Decisions That Determine Personal Success by Andy Andrews. I highly recommend it to you. That book will improve your intellectual vibrational frequencies. Navigate toward the greatest possible you in 2015!

Seventh, write up an itinerary for the New Year. Do you want to lose weight? Make a plan. Make it a day-by-day strategy. Make it a steady commitment. Dine on fruits, vegetables, grains, fiber and whole, organic foods. Avoid fast food, packaged foods, canned foods, GMO foods and sodas of any kind. Get help from top organizations. Change your lifestyle to a lean-style.

Eighth, remember to maintain your body, mind and spirit in a wholesome, meaningful and purposeful combination daily. Take care of your spiritual health by spending time in a church that fits you, meditation that feeds you or a walk in the woods. Maintaining positive emotional, intellectual and spiritual vibrations brings balance to your life.

Ninth, construct a “Vision Board” for 2015. On it, tape pictures and quotes of things you expect to accomplish at work, play and vacations. Place it where you can see it every day and make note of it. Keep those visions in your mind.

Finally, you captain your sailboat through life. Keep a steady hand on the wheel. Adjust your direction as needed as you maneuver through 2015. Make it a good year, a good life and your best ever.

Read this quote daily by Henry David Thoreau: “If you advance confidently toward your dreams, and endeavor to live the life which you have imagined, you will meet with success unexpected in common hours. You will pass through invisible boundaries. You will engage new and liberal laws. And, you will live with the license of a higher order of beings.” (God, Dios, Great Spirit)


Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents – from the Arctic to the South Pole – as well as six times across the USA, coast to coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece.

He presents “The Coming Population Crisis in America: and what you can do about it” to civic clubs, church groups, high schools and colleges. He works to bring about sensible world population balance at his website: www.frostywooldridge.com

Frosty Wooldridge is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Will Seif al Islam Lead the Expulsion of the ISIS Affiliate, Al Fajr Libya?

November 1, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

Time will tell…

With the Abu Baker al-Siddiq Brigade, Zintan, Libya…

A second interview by this observer with Seif al Islam Gadhafi, formerly the heir apparent to his father Moammar, was sought and finally arranged as a follow up to an earlier one focusing of my interest in the Imam Musa Sadr case. That case involves a great crime against a great man and conciliator and his historic cause, and exposes those who betrayed him in Lebanon and two other countries while swearing their personal devotion and shedding crocodile tears over the past 36 years. That research is nearing completion and publication awaits DNA results from body samples more credible than the ones offered by the Bosnia laboratory two years ago and immediately demonstrated to be fraudulent. The story of why that particular lab was chosen and by who goes to the essence of the current stonewalling campaign with respect to informing the public about what exactly happened to Imam Sadr and his partners on 8/3l/1978 in Tripoli, Libya. It also identifies who instructed Gadhafi to kill them over the strong objections from the PLO’s Yassir Arafat who spoke with Gadhafi and tried to save the trio of Lebanese Shia.

But our discussion soon turned to other subject as Seif’s jailers may have taken seriously my joke that if they extended the original 20 minutes I was granted to two hours, I would deliver to them 10 US Visas and they could fill in any names the might choose. Truth told, of course I could not even get myself a passport renewal as former US Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman reportedly sneered at a US Embassy Christmas party a few years back, “Lamb will serve ten years hard time in the Feds for hobnobbing with terrorists (Hezbollah in those days…who knows today?) when we get him back home.” I admit that Jeff and I both have a problem with Hezbollah. His is because Hezbollah just may liberate Palestine and mine is that Hezbollah needs to do more in Lebanon and use 90 minutes of Parliament’s time, where it has the power, to grant Palestinian refugees in Lebanon the right to work and to own a home.

Meanwhile, Da’ish (IS) is metastasizing fast in Libya through its main affiliate al Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn) and plans to add Tripoli, to its Islamic Caliphate along with Baghdad, Damascus, Amman and Beirut during the coming months and if necessary, years. This, according to Seif al Islam and representatives of the Zintan brigades based southwest of Tripoli as well as two representatives of other tribes and militia moving toward supporting the still vital Gadhafi regime remnants.

Libya may be the lowest hanging ripe fruit within easy reach of Da’ish (IS) and its growing number of affiliates, according to US Ambassador Deborah Jones during a recent visit to the US Embassy in Malta, to discuss her own problems in Libya which include the 8/31/14 take-over by al Fajr Libya (FL) of the US embassy compound barely a month after it was evacuated and moved to Tunisia for the second time since February of 2011. Secretary of State John Kerry reassured the media in Washington recently that “the embassy was not really closed, but had moved out of Libya”. One Religion Professor at Tripoli University joked last week that “Kerry is correct, the US embassy is here but it’s in a state of occultation. We can’t see it but it’s around and watches us.” A Libyan photographer who was at the embassy compound when Al Fajr Libya (FL) arrived reported that the Da’ish (IS) affiliate had moved into buildings inside the embassy complex claiming that they would ‘protect it’ as they carted off boxes of documents for ‘safe keeping.’ FL is described by a former Dean at Tripoli U. as between al Nusra and Da’ish (IS) with a fragile partnership between the two and presenting to the public “A Good cop-Bad cop tag-team with differences to be worked out once all the infidels are vanquished.

Libya, as with the Arab Maghreb, is on the cusp of a new wave of Islamist groups, and is moving beyond al-Qaeda of Bin Laden, Zawahiri, and Abdelmalek Droukdel, to Baghdadi’s ISIS and its widely perceived logical offshoot ISIM being planted in North Africa and the Sahel. The threat of the Da’ish (Islamic State is already deeply anchored and expanding in the now lawless Libya, according to UN envoy Bernardino León. Several Libyan organizations recently announced their loyalty to IS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. This has confirmed a speculation that IS has penetrated Libyan public institutions. The Ansar al-Sharia group, affiliated with ISIS, has declared authority during the last several days over the coastal city of Darna which is located strategically between Benghazi and the Egyptian border – just 289 km (179 miles) and 333 km (206 miles), respectively.

Countless militia are forming, merging, changing names and lying low as perceived interests dictate. Soldiers of the Caliphate in Algeria was retitled, revitalized and repackaged to enhance its appeal on social media as has the Furqan Brigade of the AQIM in Tunisia. Ansar Al-Sharia is another one becoming very active.The Uqba bin Nafi Brigade, has just declared allegiance to ISIS as has the Islamic Caliphate in the Islamic Maghreb. al-Ummah Brigade, which operates out of Libyan coasts and airports, another is Al-Battar is attracting pro-ISIS elements. Majlis Shura Shabab al-Islam (the Islamic Youth Shura Council), or MSSI. According to Libyan sources and journalist Adam al-Sabiri, writing in Al Akbar, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi asked these elements to deploy to the Libyan front to counter the attacks by the Libyan army led by Khalifa Haftar as part of Operation Dignity seeking to “purge Libya of terrorists.”

Libyan friends, some from three years ago, advise that more people have been killed in the past three years than during the 2011 revolution and they now fear a Somalia-like “failed state” given all the weapons, lawlessness, and growing number of Islamists. The South of Libya has not been spared the lawlessness, as tribal battles continue for control of a lucrative smuggling trade. Friends point out that the country no longer even bothers to celebrate the National Holiday commemorating the 10/23/2011 “total liberation of Libya.” “It’s a cruel joke” my friend Hinde advised as she explains that many Libyans yearn for the stability of the Gadhafi days. “Maybe wanting to turn the clock back is the same in Iraq and Egypt and Syria?” she wondered.

“The rampant regional, ideological and tribal conflicts are worse than the rule of the dictator,” said Salah Mahmud al-Akuri, a doctor in Benghazi. “Some Libyans are looking back to the old regime.”

Amidst all the chaos, Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni claimed last week that groups loyal to the IS, such as al Fajr Libya, are presently in control of the city of Derna and other Libyan towns and have begun summoning townspeople to public squares to witness declarations of fealty to Da’ish (IS), even beginning their signature public executions. Libya’s “government” claims that its “army” is preparing to expel Fajr Libya (FL) and retake the capital, as more militia rush to join FL. Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani’s said in a statement this week that he gave orders to the government forces to “advance toward Tripoli to liberate it and to free it from the grip of al Fajr Libya”. The Libyan embassy in Washington told a House Foreign Affairs committee staffer that they expect that residents in Tripoli will launch “a civil disobedience campaign until the arrival of the army.” Walking around the former “Green Square” this observer saw no signs of this rather he observed citizens stocking up on necessities or packing their cars. Later, Thani added, military forces in the strife-torn country “have absolutely united to also recapture Libya’s second city Benghazi from the local IS affiliate, al Fajr Liyba (FL). Leading one to wonder whether the Libyan “army” will fare better than Maliki’s did in Mosul and Anbar.

According to students and staff at Tripoli University, (known as Fatah University during the Gadhafi decades) a few of whom this observer first met in the summer of 2011, and who lived the political events in their country since while some of their friends and relatives, as in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, are preparing to leave and start a new life somewhere. Hasan, a Gadhafi supporter I was with nearly daily three years ago in Tripoli still curses what, “NATO did this to our country. The Gadhafi regime was changing as you know Franklin, but the reformers were prevented from making the changes that Seif al Islam and his associates got their father to agree to. Remember when Saif said “My father wants to live in a tent where he is most happy and write a history of the Jamahiriya (land of the masses). He will offer advice but have just a ceremonial role out of politics? You remember that? We believed Seif didn’t we?. Anyhow, khalas!, Libya is finished! NATO gave it to Da’ish just as they gave Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria to Iran.”

Libya is now moving beyond al-Qaeda of Bin Laden, Zawahiri, and Abdelmalek Droukdel, to Baghdadi’s ISIS and its widely perceived logical offshoot Islamic State in the Islamic Maghreb (ISIM-Damis) now expanding in North Africa and the Sahel. Former rebels who fought against Gadhafi have formed powerful militias and seized control of large parts of Libya in the past three years. Back in mid-august of 2011, the late American journalist Marie Colvin and I stood on the balcony of the Corinthia Hotel opposites the still empty Marriott where some kid was practicing sniping from the roof, at my expense, as I pointed out to Marie a body floating just off the beach of the Mediterranean across the road. We walked over and examined it and decided while it was dressed in religious garb the man may have been an army deserter; there were increasing numbers in those days, because of his military style boots. We alerted some militia guys driving along the corniche who said they would report the body and before long an ambulance did arrive. Two of the militia waded out waist deep and pulled in the bloated body to shore, unlaced his tan leather boots while holding their noses from the stench. They then threw the new boots in the back of their pick-up and drove off with no more than a smiling ‘shukran habibis’ (thanks dears). Later that day Marie and I counted a column of 143 pickups with AK-47 jubilant fist waving rebels entering along the coastal road toward downtown Tripoli having come from battles in the east around Misrata. In the next few days we discussed how there seemed to be countless ‘free-cigarettes, $200 on the first of each month and your personal Kalasnikov’ militia popping up like mushrooms after a summer rain. Three years ago one of their battle cries was “Death to Gadafi—Yes to Freedom!” Today one hears around Tripoli another slogan from the lips of young men many of whom may be the same, chanting, “Death to the kafirs (disbelievers,” or infidels) Yes to Islam!Abas (that’s all!”

Seif el Islam still resides at his cell in Zintan which, even though jail is jail, has been upgraded from when he was captured in the Sahara making his way toward Niger and his finger was cut off as a warning.

Seif, has proposed talks and is ready to participate in bringing together Libya’s warring parties and aiding the transition to what he claims he was working on before the February 17, 2011 uprising in Benzhazi which quickly spread. Seif’s team would likely include his father’s cousin and confident Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam, former Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kane, long-time Libyan diplomat, the widely respected Omar el Hamdi now is Cairo, and Seif’s sister Aisha, now living with his mother and children in the Gulf.

Seif has no illusions of returning Libya to the past, but argues that elements of the former regime deserved to be heard. “We were in the process of making broad reforms and my father gave me the responsibly to see them through. Unfortunately the revolt happened and both sides made mistakes that are now allowing extreme Islamist group like Da’ish to pick up the pieces and turn Libya into an extreme fundamentalist entity in their regional plans.”

With respect to Seifs trials, whether ins the Tripoli courthouse or at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, the odds of either happening anytime soon, ior at all, are fading as negotiations for an arrangement are reportedly progressing.

A solution is being sought, according to sources at the Justice Ministry in Tripoli because there are many problems with Seifs case which was supposed to begin earlier this year, and the case has been criticized by a number of international actors. Not least for which how Libya and the ICC have handled their cases. For example, Human Rights Watch has accused the Libyan government of failing to provide adequate legal representation and the ICC it has been unable to compel the Libyan government to allow it access — just one of many challenges to the ICC’s legitimacy in recent years. Meanwhile it is likely that Seif’s jailers, who increasing respects and admires him, may have other ideas that would enhance their own standing in Libya. In addition, certain NATO countries are said to be privately discussing with Washington, Paris London and Bonn the idea of finding a role for Seif and certain of his associates and family members in “the new Libya.”

According to Seif, and former regime officials, several NATO countries have sent messages claiming they did not intend for his father to be killed but were searching during the summer of 2011 for a refuge for his father in Africa. Seif does not believe them.

Seif al Islam still has substantial influence among tribes still loyal to Gaddafi as well as former regime officials in the army and government. The delegation Seif could assemble, including Ahmad Gadaff al-Dam, would benefit from the latter’s still strong connections with Arab governments, Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and the UAE as well as some European countries.

More on this and other subjects related to Seif and the growing international recognition over the need for expulsion of Islamists from Libya, and a possible significant role for Seif, are expected to be discussed publicly soon.


Dr. Franklin Lamb is Director, Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Beirut-Washington DC, Board Member of The Sabra Shatila Foundation, and a volunteer with the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, Lebanon. He is the author of The Price We Pay: A Quarter-Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons Against Civilians in Lebanon and is doing research in Lebanon for his next book. He can be reached at fplamb@gmail.com

Dr. Franklin Lamb is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Christian Meditation: What’s Biblical And What’s Not

September 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

In Joshua 1:8 God said: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.”  So, what exactly did God have in mind when He told Joshua to meditate on His word?  Well we can be certain of one thing.  The Lord was not suggesting that Joshua sit in the lotus position and repeat a mantra until he attained altered states of consciousness.  “These help bring one into states other than normal waking consciousness, in which a person becomes open to mystical experience, the spirit realm, or cosmic consciousness,” warns Bill Muehlenberg.

The sort of meditation God had in mind was not Eastern meditation.  He has made it clear that His people are not to adopt pagan practices and those who do are out of His will. The purpose of eastern-style meditation is to “seek the God within.”  That’s pantheism, brethren.  People who hold this view believe that God is all and all is God.  “A tree is God, a rock is God, an animal is God, the sky is God, the sun is God, you are God, etc.”  The biblical view is that God is separate from His creation.  Genesis 1:1-30

More on biblical meditation in a moment, but first…

Sit Still!

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”  There’s been a huge misunderstanding in the Christian community as to what this verse means.  Let’s take a look at noted Bible teacher Kay Arthur’s Precept Ministries International (PMI) website to see if she has it right:

Can you remember the last time you sat in total silence except for the sounds of nature – listening intently to hear the voice of God.   It is time to:

Be still and know that I am God. – Psalm 46:10

Be still (cease striving)

Rest, relax, chill out, stop fighting, drop your weapons

Know that I am God

Learn that I am God, or “see that I am God”, “Get to know me better”

God is telling His children who are living in a busy world to stop, get quiet so that they can listen and get to know Him. It is only in stillness, the quiet, that we can hear the voice of God. (Bold PMI’s – Source)

Ken Silva penned a piece Kay Arthur With Erroneous Contemplative Interpretation of Psalm 46:10, which is where I came across the above quote.  It could be a coincidence that right after Silva wrote his blog post and upbraided Kay for her erroneous teaching on Psalm 46:10, PMI’s webmaster changed the paragraph that begins with God is telling His children to As children of God, who are living in a busy world, we need to stop, get quiet and listen for His voice as we read His Word. God most often speaks in that small still voice. (Bold mine)

So, was Kay Arthur correct in explaining what be still means in context?  Not according to Ken Silva:

This passage isn’t about any kind of meditation; and it has absolutely nothing to do with sitting in some lotus position and subjectively trying to “hear” God’s voice in creeping crickets or inner burblings of bellies. Rather, this is a firm admonition and warning for all nations—particularly His people Israel—to stop worrying and to recognize God’s sovereignty. (Source)

What do Bible scholars say the meaning is?  One source, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, states, among other things, that be still is “the idea of leaving matters with God, or of being without anxiety about the issue.”  (Source – follow this link to discover what several Bible scholars say the meaning of be still is)

Low-Information Evangelicals

A growing number of low-information evangelicals (low-information people with high-profile power and/or influence — LIEs) endorse meditation, or what’s known ascontemplative/centering prayer (CP).  This is bad news for the evangelical community as it’s easily provable that CP has its roots in paganism.  In spite of this well-known fact, many LIE-celebs continue to lead people into eastern-style meditation.  Yes, you read that right.  Eastern, as in Buddhism.  Now, some of you are thinking, “Seriously?  Christian leaders are pointing people to Buddhism?”  Bingo!

Unfortunately many LIEs promote problematic pagan practices even though God is adamant when He says:

When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations theLord your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this. (Deut. 18:9-14)

There’s no question that God’s warning to Israel still pertains today.  His people are not to indulge in pagan idolatry.  This means that Christians who practice a form of meditation that brings him/her into the alpha state is actually defying the God they profess their love for!  That alone should scare the bejeebers out of believers who take that approach to prayer.  And it matters not what the reason is — even if it’s to go “deeper with God.”

Biblical meditation always includes a fully engaged mind.  Listen to Professor of Philosophy Doug Groothuis’ advice on biblical prayer:

The biblical concept of prayer assumes that rational and meaningful communication between God and humans is possible. There is no summons to suspend rational judgment even when prayer through the Holy Spirit is ‘with groans that words cannot express’ (Rom. 8:26).

The manner in which the Christian shall meditate on it day and night is through the reading and study of the Bible.

Space does not allow for a comprehensive explanation of Eastern mysticism. For several years I’ve blogged on the encroachment of mysticism into the visible Church.  For those who wish to learn more on this subject, my articles can be read here.

Christian Meditation Made Clear

Now to the subject at hand — biblical prayer.  It’s important that born again believers begin each day with the Lord.  What we call “quiet time” involves finding a place to read and pray where there are no distractions — so turn off that cell phone!  Before reading, ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate your mind and reveal truth.  Also ask Him to help you make the biblical principles you’re learning meaningful and practical in your life.  In Charles Spurgeon’s sermon “Pray Without Ceasing,” he asks four important questions:

What do these words imply? Secondly, What do they actually mean? Thirdly, How shall we obey them? And, fourthly, Why should WE especially obey them?

These are the sort of questions we should be asking as we read our bibles.  We must stop and ponder what God has spoken through the words on the page. It may be necessary to read a passage repeatedly, reflect on it, analyze it, and listen while the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth.  (John 16:13)

And always consider the context!  Apologist Greg Koukl explains how this is done:

I read the paragraph, not just the verse. I take stock of the relevant material above and below. Since the context frames the verse and gives it specific meaning, I let it tell me what’s going on.

Context, context, context!
Because many Christians lead busy lives they fail to put aside time to spend with the Lord.  In point of fact, data shows that most believers spend very little time in their bibles — but there is certainly a whole lotta prayin’ goin’ on.  In this fast food nation in which we live Christians continually fire off bullet prayers hoping God will answer them quickly. Especially if they want the God who grants their wishes to see to it that they find a parking space at the mall during the Christmas rush or stop a torrential downpour when they’re sitting in the stands at an outdoor sporting event.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  God loves it when His people pray umpteen times a day.  Moreover, we’re commanded to “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thes. 5:17)  We’re also commanded to abide in Christ:

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5).

So, not only are we to begin our day with the Lord reading His word and praying, we’re also to abide in (stay around) Christ throughout the day for the reason that there’s an ongoing relationship between the Vine and the branches. Got Questions reminds us:

We need to fill our minds constantly with the things of God; God should always be on our mind, and everything we do should be done with reference to Him (Colossians 3:17; 1 Corinthians 10:31).

When we fail to abide in Christ—fill our minds with the things of God–the fruit we bear, no matter how appealing it appears, is not off Christ’s vine!  In other words, it’s doneapart from Him.

There’s a story in Luke 10:38 of two sisters, Mary and Martha, who thought differently about how to serve their Master.  When Jesus came to their home Martha stayed in the kitchen preparing food for their guests.  She had developed her own agenda for serving Christ.  Martha became vexed that Mary wasn’t helping with the meal.  What was her sister doing that caused Martha’s consternation?  She was sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to His words.

It’s certainly no crime to prepare a nice meal for a guest; however, we must remember that we are children of God before we’re servants of God.  Like Mary, we must take time to sit at our Lord’s feet.  Martha was so busy serving Jesus that she neglected Him!

Have I hit a nerve?

Why Pray?

If your prayers are mainly the bullet variety then it would be wise to develop the biblical model of praying.  Biblical prayer is intended for praise, confession and repentance, thanksgiving and asking for others.  In our quiet time with the Lord we find His love.  Through prayer believers are conformed to God’s will.

Prayer isn’t meant to be an esoteric experience.  Nowhere in Scripture does it say that we are to go into altered states of consciousness to commune with God.   As I said above, biblical meditation does not seek the “God within.”  This is the purpose of those who cling to Eastern religion and New Age spirituality!

The Christian who truly wishes to please God will let “the words of [your] mouth and the meditation of [your] heart be acceptable in [the LORD’s] sight …” (Psalm 19:14paraphrased)

Recommended:

Psalm 46:10 Does Not Teach Contemplative-Centering Prayer—By Ken Silva

Contemplative Prayer links—On Solid Rock Resources

New Age “Spirituality” links—On Solid Rock Resources

Occult links—On Solid Rock Resources


Marsha West is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

She can be reached at: embrigade@aol.com

The Fateful Triangle: Russia, Ukraine And The Jews

June 16, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The erotic reliefs of Hindu temples with their gravity-defying and anatomy-challenging positions have found a new modern competitor in the Ukrainian crisis. Each party wants to get the Jews on their side, while claiming that the other side is anti-Jewish and a Jewish puppet at once. This impossible, Kama-Sutraesque position is the result of extremely confusing alliances: the Kiev regime lists devout Jews and fiery antisemites among its mainstays. The leading figures of the regime (including the president-elect) are of Jewish origin; strongman and chief financier Mr. Igor (Benya) Kolomoysky is a prominent Jewish public figure, the builder of many synagogues and a supporter of Israel. The most derring-do and pro-active force of the regime, the ultra-nationalists of the Svoboda party and the Right Sector, admire Hitler and his Ukrainian Quisling, Stepan Bandera, “liberators of Ukraine from the Judeo-Muscovite yoke”. Jews are ambivalent, and the sides are ambivalent about them, and a most entertaining intrigue has been hatched.

The Russians tried to pull Israel and American Jews to their side, with little success. President Putin condemned the antisemitism of the Svoboda party; he mentioned the desecration of the Odessa Jewish cemetery in his important talk. The Russians re-vitalised the World War Two narrative, fully identifying the Kiev regime with the Bandera gangs and the Nazi enemy. Still, this rhetoric is not taken seriously by Jews who refuse to feel threatened by cuddly Kolomoysky. “These Nazis are not against Jews, they are against Russians, so it is not a Jewish problem”, they say.

The Kiev regime mirrored the Russian attitude, if not Russia’s tactics. Being rather short of facts to brandish, they faked a leaflet from Donetsk rebels to local Jews calling upon them to register and pay a special poll tax “for the Jews support the Kiev regime”. This rude and improbable hoax was immediately and convincingly disproved, but not before it was used by, no less, Barak Obama and John Kerry. The American Jewish newspaper of record, The Forward, obfuscated the issue by saying that Russians and Ukrainians are antisemites by birth and their denials are to be taken with a grain of salt. This mud-slinging was effective – the hoax has made the front pages, while its debunking was published on the back pages.

The Russians had the facts on their side, and the West knew that: the US refused entry to Oleg Tyagnibok and other Svoboda leaders (now members of Kiev government) because of their antisemitism as recently as in 2013. But Russian appeals to Jewish and American sensitivities failed to make an impact. They know when to feign indignation and when to hush. Pro-Hitler commemorations are frequent in Estonia, Latvia, Croatia, and cause no lifting of a censorious brow, for these countries are solidly anti-Russian. In March of this year, the Obama administration’s special envoy on anti-Semitism, Ira Forman, flatly denied everything and said to the Forward that Putin’s assertions of Svoboda’s antisemitism “were not credible”. The US wants to decide who is an antisemite and who is not; like Hermann Goering wanted to decide who is a Jew and who is not in the Luftwaffe. In the Ukrainian crisis, the Jews remain divided, and follow their countries’ preferences.

Israel is neutral

Recently Prime Minister Netanyahu called President Putin. Putin is always available for and always courteous to Netanyahu, as opposed to President Obama, who shows signs of irritation. (Admittedly Obama has to listen to Netanyahu much more often and for hours.) Netanyahu apologised that he wouldn’t be able to come to St Petersburg for Israeli Culture Week; instead, old reliable Shimon Peres, Israel’s President, will make the trip. He apologised for leaking the news of this visit cancellation to the media, as well.

This is quite typical for the Israeli PM: at first, he asks for an invitation, Russia extends it, then he cancels his visit and leaks it to the press, thus earning brownie points with the Americans. He did it at the Sochi Olympic games, and now again, in St Petersburg. This is his way of expressing Israeli neutrality.

Israel is explicitly neutral in the Ukrainian crisis. Israelis walked out and did not vote on the UN GA Crimea resolution at all, annoying its American sponsors. The Israelis had a flimsy excuse: their Foreign Office was on strike. The Americans weren’t satisfied with this explanation. Strike or not, vote you must!

We learned from our Israeli colleagues the details of the Putin-Netanyahu phone conversation, which elaborated the reasons for Israeli neutrality. Israel is worried that as an asymmetric response to the US sanctions, Russia would deliver its potent air defence systems to Iran and Syria. Iran and Russia had signed a weapons supply contract a few years ago, Iran duly paid; then the shipment was suspended. Iran went to court demanding a massive compensation for the breach of contract. Likewise, the Syrians were supposed to get the S-300 surface-to-air missile system, able to protect its skies from Israeli raids. The deliveries commenced; PM Netanyahu beseeched Putin to put it on hold. Initially Putin objected, stressing the defensive nature of the system. Netanyahu told the Russian president that the S-300 would allow the Syrians to cover the whole North of Israel, at least all the way to Haifa, rendering important airfields unusable and endangering civil aviation as well. Putin agreed to stop the deliveries.

Vladimir Putin is friendly to Israel. He promised he would not allow the destruction of Israel; he promised to save its population if the situation should become truly dangerous. During the recent visit of PM Netanyahu to Moscow, Putin was not carried away by Netanyahu and Liberman’s hints of possible Israeli re-alliance with Moscow instead of Washington. He told the Israelis that their ties with the US are too strong for such a re-alliance being conceivable. Putin said that Russia is satisfied with the present level of friendship and does not demand that Tel Aviv weaken its ties with Washington. Putin visited Israel a few times, he received the Israeli PM in Kremlin. The Israeli ambassador Mme Golender sees Putin more often than do her American or French counterparts.

This friendly attitude has a down-to-earth reason: Putin is not fluent in English or French, while Mme Ambassador speaks Russian to him, eliminating the bothersome need of an interpreter. A deeper reason is Putin’s background: a scion of liberal elites, brought up in St Petersburg, schooled by ultra-liberal Mayor Sobchack, anointed by Boris Yeltsin, Putin is naturally friendly to Jews and to Israel. This friendly attitude annoyed some Russian ultra-patriots, who excitedly circulated his photo taken in the obligatory kippahnear the Wailing Wall. They also counted and recounted the names of Jewish oligarchs in Moscow.

True, some of them – Berezovsky, Gusinsky, Hodorkovsky – had to flee their Russian homeland, but the Russian president is surely not the Jewish-tycoons-Nemesis and the-new-Hitler he is sometimes made out to be. Abramovich and Friedman, to name just two, retain his trust and access. Putin does not mind any oligarch (Jewish or Gentile) – as long as he stays out of politics.

Putin is also friendly with Jewish intellectuals and gentlemen-of-the-media, even if they are outright hostile to him. Masha Gessen, Jewish Lesbian Putin-hater and magazine editor; Alexey Venediktov, Jewish chief editor of Echo Moskvy, a popular liberal medium that attacks Putin every day; many others enjoy access to Putin, – while no Russian nationalist including Dr Alexander Dugin can boast of having met with the president privately.

Putin’s affability does not turn him into a bountiful source for every Jewish initiative. He stopped S-300 deliveries to Iran, but rejected all Israeli overtures asking him to ditch Iran, or Syria, or Hamas. In the course of their last phone conversation, Netanyahu claimed the Israelis discovered proofs of Iranian nukes. Putin politely expressed his doubts and re-addressed him to IAEA. He agreed to receive the Israeli “experts” with their proofs in Moscow, but nothing came of it. Russia’s support for Palestine is unwavering, – there is a Palestinian embassy in Moscow, too.

Putin supported building of a spacious Jewish museum in Moscow and personally contributed to its budget – but Russian street advertising proclaims the Resurrection of Christ, Eastertide, and His Nativity at Christmas. No “season’s greetings”, but open affirmation of Christianity. Russia is not like the US or EU, where external signs of Christian faith are forbidden, Easter and Christmas can’t be mentioned and whatever Jews request must be done immediately. Western Jews are annoyed (so their organisations claim) by public displays of Christian faith, but Russian Jews do not mind; moreover, they intermarry, convert and enter the Church in previously unheard of numbers. They are not strongly pro-Israeli, those that were already left for Israel.

So the Jews of Russia are not an influential factor to the Russian President. Putin will do what is right according to the Christian faith, and what is good for Russia, as he understands it — and he can’t be convinced to give up really important points. Other considerations – such as friendship with Israel – would normally take a much lower place in his priorities. However, in the midst of the Ukrainian crisis, as the Russians are worried by sanctions and by threats of isolation, they try to pull Jews to their side. This makes them increasingly susceptible to Israeli manipulation, whether state-authorised or a private venture.

Last week, Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld visited Moscow. In 2003, he famously threatened Europe with nuclear destruction (the “Samson Option”), saying “Israel has the capability to take the world down with us, and that will happen before Israel goes under”. Now he has explained to Russians Israel’s new policy: While the US enters the period of its decline, Israel must diversify and hedge its bets by drawing close to Moscow, Beijing and Delhi, he wrote in Izvestia daily. Perhaps, but without going too far. A flirt – yes, switching sides – not yet.

Israel prefers to stick to its neutrality. This is easy, as the Israeli populace (excepting its Russians) is not interested in Russian/Ukrainian affairs, does not know the difference between Russia and the Ukraine and is rather unfriendly to Russians/Ukrainians. This goes for both the Left and Right; the Israeli Left is even more pro-American than the Israeli Right. As for Russian Israelis, they are equally divided between supporters of Russia and supporters of Kiev regime. While observing niceties towards Russia, Israel does not intend to side with Moscow. The Jewish oligarchs of Ukraine – Kolomoysky, Pinchuk, Rabinovich – are integrated within the Kiev regime, and they support Israeli right-wing on a large scale. Israeli businessmen are invested in the Ukraine, and the oligarchs are invested in Israel. Kolomoysky controls YuzhMash, the famed missile construction complex in Dnepropetrovsk, and holds the secrets of the Satan ballistic missile, the most powerful Russian strategic weapon. He allegedly intends to share these secrets with the Israelis. If Israel were to side with Moscow regarding Ukraine, the breach with Washington would be unavoidable, and Israel does not intend to provoke it.

Some marginal Israeli right-wingers support Russia; they claim that they represent Israeli public opinion and government. They try to collect on their promises before they deliver. However, this is not an ordinary scam: they are trying to turn Russia into a supporter of right-wing Zionism.

Consider Russian-Israeli far right activist Avigdor Eskin. He impossibly claims that the Israeli government has already decided to jump from the US train to join the Russian one, that Israeli commandos are on their way to fight for the Russians in Donetsk, that Israeli authorities intend to strip Mr Kolomoysky of his Israeli citizenship. Naturally, all that is a load of bunkum, but Russians swallow it hook, line and sinker.

Avigdor Eskin is a colourful personality: a convert to Jewish faith (his mother is not Jewish), an observant Jew, an ex-Kahanist who was arrested in Israel for an alleged attempt to desecrate Al Aqsa mosque and a Muslim cemetery, and who served two or three years in Israeli jail; he styles himself a “Rabbi” and wears a full beard. After serving his time in jail, he moved to Russia and built a network of Israel supporters among the Russian far right. His message is “Israel is a true friend of Russia, while Muslims are Russia’s enemies”. He also adds that Israeli settlers are anti-American and pro-Russian. (If you believe that, the tooth fairy is the next step.)

Recently he claimed that the Aliya Battalion of “experienced Israeli commandos and sharpshooters” came to warring Donbass to fight on the Russian side against the Kiev regime troops. The Aliya Battalion is a battalion in the sense Salvation Army is an army. This is an Israeli NGO, established by Russian Israelis of far-right Zionist persuasion and of some Russian military background. It is not a part of Israeli Army. For a short while, the NGO provided guards for Jewish settlements in Gaza and the West Bank, but the settlements stopped using them as they were extremely unreliable. They boasted of murdering Palestinian civilians, of torturing and killing children, but this was just a sick sadist and racist fantasy, people say. Afterwards, the Battalion leaders turned its name into a profitable scam, roaming American Jewish communities and collecting donations for their supposedly secret activities. As this scam was exposed by Israeli TV (RTVI network; it is available on the YouTube), they had disappeared from the public eye. Now Avigdor Eskin resurrected the old scam, and made a lot of headlines in the Russian media.

Eskin found a soulmate in prominent Russian media man Vladimir Solovyev. The Solovyev is of partly Jewish origin, lived abroad, then returned to Russia; he runs an important political show Sunday Eveningon Russian TV. The Saker (a well-known blogger) described him as follows: “This show is hosted by a famous personality, Vladimir Solovyev, who is a very interesting guy. Solovyev is a Jew, and he is not shy about reminding his audience about it, who was even elected as a member of the Russian Jewish Congress. He is also a Russian patriot, and he is an outspoken supporter of Putin and his policies. His position on the Ukraine is simple: he as a Jew and as a Russian has zero tolerance for Ukrainian nationalism, neo-Nazism or Banderism. He is a determined and total enemy of the new Kiev regime.”

It is possible Solovyev is going through some personal identity crisis: from celebrating his Russian roots, he moved to proclaiming his Jewish origin. Alternatively, it is possible (and more likely) that the Russian decision-makers want to pull Jews on their side, and Solovyev is acting with US Jews in mind. Stalin did it, so Putin could repeat the trick. In 1942, as Nazi onslaught threatened Russia, Stalin had sent some Russian Jews to the US, to speak Yiddish to Jewish communities and lobby for the USSR. The American Jewish community surely carries some clout… Now Solovyev and others are trying to influence Jews abroad; or at least to show to their superiors they are trying.

The price Eskin extracts for his fantasy stories is high. In Solovyev’s prime time programme, he called for the destruction of al Aqsa mosque and for the building of the Jewish temple on its place. He called Palestinians “the people of Antichrist”. Even in Israel such statements can’t be voiced on public TV. In confused Moscow, Eskin was feted and given a place in another important political programme, that of Arcady Mamontov. Who is conning whom: is Eskin conning his Russian hosts, or are his media hosts using him to con their superiors, or are their superiors trying to con the Russian people? Or is Israel hedging its bets? Who knows?

Ukrainian Jews beg to differ

Jews came to the Ukraine a thousand years ago, perhaps from Khazaria. This is not a homogeneous community; rather, they represent several communities. A lot of them emigrated to Israel; even more moved to Russia. They speak Russian and usually do not speak Ukrainian, though they picked up the vernacular over last twenty years. Normally, they wouldn’t care about Ukraine’s independence, as Jews  traditionally side with the strong, be it Poles under Polish rule, with Russians under Moscow rule, or with Germans under Vienna or Berlin. Now many of them have decided to side with the US or EU. One of the reasons why so many people of Jewish origin do well is that the ruling ethnic groups trust the Jews and rely upon their loyalty to the powerful and lack of compassion for their Gentile neighbours.

Another reason is the vague definitions. For last three or four generations, Jews have intermarried freely; children of these mixed marriages are often considered ‘Jews’. These are the ‘Jews’ to the present regime; often they have only one Jewish grandparent.

Ukraine, following its independence in 1991, moved into the Western sphere of influence, but Eastern Ukraine (Novorossia) retained its Russian character and links. Jews did well in both parts. Mr Kolomoysky is a prominent member of the Jewish community, and a mainstay of the Kiev regime.  He is a ruthless businessman, famous for his raiding of others’properties and for his Mafia connections. Rumours connect him with many killings of business adversaries.

On the other side, in Kharkov, the Mayor and the district Governor (nicknamed Dopah and Gepah) are Jewish, and they can be considered pro-Russian. It was thought that Kharkov would become the centre of rising Novorossia; president Yanukovich fled to Kharkov hoping to find allies and supporters. But Dopa and Gepa disabused him, so he continued his flight all the way to the Russian city of Rostov. Their decision to remain loyal to Kiev did not work well for them: one was shot, and the second one has been imprisoned and his attempt to run for president thwarted.

Kharkov is also home to Mr. Hodos, a wealthy and prominent Jew who fought most valiantly against Habad, the Jewish spiritual movement of which Mr Kolomoysky is a prominent member. The Jews of Novorossia apparently support the general pro-Russian trend, though there are exceptions. Practically all Ukrainian Jews have relatives in Russia, and had Russian education.

Israel has a strong network of agents in the Ukraine. They snatched a Palestinian engineer and flew him to an Israeli dungeon, and that could not be done without support of Ukrainian security services. However, the stories of Israeli soldiers fighting in Ukraine are somewhat exaggerated: these are individuals of dual citizenship who act at their own will, not a state representatives.

US Jews are divided

US Jews are divided on the Ukraine, as they were divided on Palestine. Friends of Palestine, people with a strong anti-imperialist record and sound knowledge of East European history – Noam Chomsky and Stephen F. Cohen — recognised and renounced the US attempt to sustain their hegemony by keeping brazen Russia down. A subset of people, Gilad Atzmon aptly called AZZ (anti-zionist zionists), Trots and other faux-Leftist shills for NATO like Louis Proyect – called for American intervention and brayed for Russian blood.

The notorious Israel Lobby is strictly anti-Russian. The State Dept. official Victoria (“Fuck EU”) Nuland personally directed the Kiev coup; she handpicked the government and the president of the new American colony on the Dnieper River. Her husband, Robert Kagan, is a founder of FPI, the successor of infamous PNAC, the extremist Zionist think tank which promoted wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and pushed for a war with Iran. Now they attack Russia, but they do not forget about their support for Israel.

Consider a young American gender activist and journalist, James Kirchick. He entered the Neocon network by shilling for the Lobby. He pink-washed Israel (“Israel as the best friend of gays on earth, while the Palestinians are homophobes who deserve to be bombed”). After doing the Israeli stint, he moved on to fighting Russia. He worked for the CIA-owned and US Congress-funded Radio Free Europe; stage-managed the sensational Liz Wahl’s on-air resignation from the RT and protested alleged mistreatment of gays in Russia. His dirty tricks were revealed by Max Blumenthal, a Jewish American journalist, a known anti-Zionist (working together with a Palestinian Rania Khalek).

While Israel is neutral re Ukraine, Israeli friends in EU and US are hostile to Russia and supportive of American hegemony, while friends of Palestine stand for Russia’s challenge to the Empire. The French Zionist media philosopher Bernard Henri Levy is an example of the former, while Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research is a representative of the latter. Leading critical (“anti-Zionist”) websites Counterpunch, Antiwar, Global Research sympathise with Russia, while pro-Israeli sites are hostile to Russia.

Zionists are nasty and vicious enemies, but they make even worse friends. Edward N. Luttwak is friendly to Russia; he called upon the US to make up with Russia. Strategic union of Russia and America is necessary, he says. Who cares about Ukraine? And here is his pitch line: Russia should fight China for the US benefit. Another Zionist friend, Tony Blair, also calls for peace with Russia – so Russia can fight the Muslim world for Israel. Quite similar to Eskin who offers his pathetic support to Russia in order to neutralise her positive influence and defence of Palestine.

The bottom line: Israel remains neutral for its own reasons. While Jews as individuals differ on Ukraine, there is a correlation with their stand on Palestine and on Syria. Enemies of Putin in Russia, Ukraine, Europe and US do support Israel and are hostile to Palestine, to Syria of Bashar, to Venezuela of Chavez. And the most dangerous lot are those who support Israel and Russia, as they are surely plotting some mischief.


A native of Novosibirsk, Siberia, a grandson of a professor of mathematics and a descendant of a Rabbi from Tiberias, Palestine, he studied at the prestigious School of the Academy of Sciences, and read Math and Law at Novosibirsk University. In 1969, he moved to Israel, served as paratrooper in the army and fought in the 1973 war.

After his military service he resumed his study of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, but abandoned the legal profession in pursuit of a career as a journalist and writer. He got his first taste of journalism with Israel Radio, and later went freelance. His varied assignments included covering Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the last stages of the war in South East Asia.

In 1975, Shamir joined the BBC and moved to London. In 1977-79 he wrote for the Israeli daily Maariv and other papers from Japan. While in Tokyo, he wrote Travels with My Son, his first book, and translated a number of Japanese classics.

Email at: info@israelshamir.net

Israel Shamir is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Sociopath Officials And Establishment Idiots

May 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Few will dispute that careerist politicians often demonstrate psychopathic behavior. In the article, Who Controls our Government? The Psychopathic Corporate Elites of America, Richard Gale and Dr. Gary Null attempt to answer several fundamental questions:

“Is the problem, therefore, we the people? Are we at fault for having been seduced by those in power to sell us blank bill of goods, drugs, products and policies that are more harmful than beneficial? Are we at fault for having deceived our selves by being convinced that their illusion is the truth? Or is the elite, the best and brightest in Wall Street, Washington and throughout the top stories of the multinational corporate networks, the real obstacle to a promising future for all? Are the oligarchic elite, including corporate Democrats and corporate Republicans in all branches of government, not in fact a special breed of psychopath with no moral compass, striving solely to maintain their power, control and wealth? In this article we explore this phenomena with two leading experts on the psychopathic nature of our CEOs, business leaders and politicians who rule America from their residences on Psycho Street.”

What may be revealing to the average person is that many of the same sociopathic characteristics exhibited in the policy manipulators exist in the general population. Martha Stout, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and former Harvard Medical school instructor and author of  The Sociopath Next Door. The article, Psychopaths and sociopaths share many characteristics: seem to coincide, cites she “estimates that one in 25 people, 4 percent of the population, are sociopathic. Dr. Stout describes sociopaths as those who, through grand schemes of contrivance, manipulation and deceit, seek to undermine and manipulate simply because they can.”The tendencies for government officials, who prefer the designation authorities, project their dictatorial attitude upon a compliant public. “Most disturbing of all, Stout says at least six out of 10 people “will blindly obey an official-looking authority to the bitter end.”

The essay, Age of the Psychopaths, by Michael Colhaze links the operations of the power elite to an authoritarian culture, which ordinary citizen willingly obey.

“As Prof. Robert Hare coined it so simply yet fittingly: Serial killer psychopaths ruin families. Corporate psychopaths ruin societies.

Particularly if the latter have aligned themselves, due to bonds of blood and faith, with the political psychopaths, which means in fact that a whole country has fallen into the hands of men who normally would be locked away in a mental hospital. What is more, under the cover of an imaginary terrorist threat illegal laws have been promulgated that have curtailed the guaranteed democratic liberties. Crowned by the so-called NDAA, a Christmas present signed by the Neocon lackey, does the whole body signify a legal garrote that has turned the USA into a virtual police state.”

This malady of assimilation and submission is the result of decades of cultural engineering and social propaganda, going back to the application of Edward Bernays’ psychological mind control, upon a naïve citizenry.

“No serious sociologist any longer believes that the voice of the people expresses any divine or specially wise and lofty idea. The voice of the people expresses the mind of the people, and that mind is made up for it by the group leaders in whom it believes and by those persons who understand the manipulation of public opinion. It is composed of inherited prejudices and symbols and clichés and verbal formulas supplied to them by the leaders.”

In the book, Why People Obey the Law, Tom R. Tyler concludes with the following erroneous assumption that an intrinsic duty to obey, exists.

“Why People Obey the Law makes the argument that the relationship between the members of groups, organizations, and societies and the authorities and institutions which govern them need not be based upon an instrumental exchange of rewards or be a threat-based approach to social control. It is also possible to engage the values of the population, which leads to a self-regulatory stance toward governance, in which people voluntarily defer to authorities and institutions because they view doing so as part of the obligation they have to their leaders.”

How can governance ever be self-regulating when the entire system operates under a delusional mental illness? Establishment idiots that rationalize compliance, when government “public servants” turn into despotic tyrants, usually are timid cowards or seek to extract some kind of perceived benefit from their psychopathic masters. These “so called” civic employees are perpetuating the political psychosis of the cognizance dissident society.

Low-Information-Voter-Thoughts.jpg

Then factor in the deranged “true-believers” who bow down to an absurd reading of scripture. In Romans 13:1–7 and the problem of bad governments, Deacons and Dragons writes:

“I think there is the basis here for active Christian resistance to governments that have gone profoundly wrong. When a government has so abandoned its task of enacting right that it can no longer be seen to be an “authority”, then there is, I suggest, room for resistance to be the right action. However, I say this very cautiously, because the far more obvious approach to this kind of situation in the Bible is to suffer. The Christian martyrs in Revelation suffer under unjust rulers; they don’t try to blow them up. Nevertheless, I think there is more to be said than this. O’Donovan reminds us that John of Salisbury, in the twelfth century, spoke of the duty of tyrannicide! This, I tentatively suggest, is how we might understand Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s involvement in the attempted assassination of Hitler.”

Nonetheless, this drastic approach offers little hope, when the institutional technocrats are administrating their demonic edicts and imposing draconian burdens on the serfs, under this new feudal system of oppression and theft.

The absurdity in obeying an illegitimate authority should be self-evident to any rational person. However, there are so few stable and sane individuals, who exercise conduct by conscience, that the sociopaths can easily control the masses, by keeping their autocratic officials following orders.

The perfect example of government hooligan goons from the Bureau of Land Management was unmistakably on display at the Bundy Ranch recently. In spite of this illegitimate storm trooper federal deployment, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott questions the BLM’s authority to seize 90,000 acres belonging to Texas landholders along the Texas/Oklahoma line.

“I am deeply concerned about the notion that the Bureau of Land Management believes the federal government has the authority to swoop in and take land that has been owned and cultivated by Texas landowners for generations,” General Abbott wrote. “The BLM’s newly asserted claims to land along the Red River threaten to upset long-settled private property rights and undermine fundamental principles—including the rule of law—that form the foundation of our democracy. Yet, the BLM has failed to disclose either its full intentions or the legal justification for its proposed actions. Decisions of this magnitude must not be made inside a bureaucratic black box.”

Before anyone gets excited about pushing back the District of Criminals Federales, the true and lasting test, requires that internal non-compliance must start and gain momentum within each level of government agencies. The career climbers operate under the psychopath principle to attain a confirmed reliability position in their respective sociopathic organization. Making your bones is an important ritual in any crime syndicate.

All the time the dumb down public pays tribute to the forces that use psychological mind control and law enforcement brute force to subdue any dissident elements that dare resist. Refusing to bow to an illicit system is a sure sign of defiance. Institutionalizing such threats in a government funded mental asylum may seem appropriate to the “PC” enabler, but why waste the money when a “double tap” gun shoot can eliminate the opposition quickly.This kind of thinking is operationally sound within the perverted and sociopathic agency culture that most government exponents support. There is a reason why the public is stupid. As the standard of living deteriorates even more and the prospect of genuine individual liberty becomes but a faint recollection in the memory of the nation, the average peon becomes but chattel to the establishment.

Doug Casey, of economic and social commentary renown offers this deduction about the sociopaths running the U.S.

“Conversely, statism and collectivism, by restricting liberty, tend to reward stupidity. Remember that political leaders are oriented toward controlling other people; they’re clever about it, but they’re basically stupid about the rest of reality. Nonetheless, their animal shrewdness is enough for them to gain and keep power over others. The immediate and direct consequences of that political power are gratifying for those who have it; the indirect and delayed consequences, however, are disastrous for everyone.

But wait. It sounds like stupidity is related to evil. Which it is. Stupidity is a signpost of evil. It’s why it often takes a while, when things are going badly, to determine whether you’re dealing with a knave or just a fool.”

Almost begs the question does the American public love evil, since they demonstrate so emphatically that they support this corrupt sociopathic establishment.


Sartre is the publisher, editor, and writer for Breaking All The Rules. He can be reached at: BATR

Sartre is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Western Secularism vs. Russian Christian Revival

April 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

When defending Western Civilization, some confuse that secular humanism, practiced as the current dominate popular culture, represents that lineage. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The decadence and decline in the West is undeniable. Yet the heritage upon which European civilization is based, owes a profound debt of gratitude to the societies that developed out of the brute force of empire and adopted principles of natural law and individual dignity. A direct correlation to the gospel of Christ becomes the centerpiece of this glorious tradition of universal brotherhood, that keeps man’s inhumanity to man in check.

The well-documented failures of institutions and regimes would have been far worse if left to the devices of pagan appetites or atheist’s hubris. However, the memory of the eternal struggle is short lived in the minds of most people. Confusion reigns because of a lack of knowledge, perspective and especially will, to admit that the New World Order is the invention of satanic factions that lust for control of the entire planet and beyond.

Therefore, the extraordinary essay by Pat Buchanan, Putin vs. Cultural Marxism: Whose Side Is God on Now?, is a required penance for all those who have sinned.

“In his Kremlin defense of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Russia is a Christian country, Putin was saying.This speech recalls last December’s address where the former KGB chief spoke of Russia as standing against a decadent West:

“Many Euro-Atlantic countries have moved away from their roots, including Christian values. Policies are being pursued that place on the same level a multi-child family and a same-sex partnership, a faith in God and a belief in Satan. This is the path to degradation.”

With Marxism-Leninism a dead faith, Putin is saying the new ideological struggle is between a debauched West led by the United States and a traditionalist world Russia would be proud to lead.”

Before dismissing Putin as just a KGB thug, read Vladimir Putin Nemesis of the New World Order. Then do your own research on Marx and Lenin’s clan of Khazar Bolsheviks. Finally, transcend the issue just about the motives of Putin and focus on the Christian roots of the Russian population.

The Orthodox Revival in Russia by Fr. Seraphim Rose cites the experiences and significance of Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Father Dimitry Dudko.Solzhenitsyn spoke of Gulag—a secular term; Fr. Dimitry speaks of Golgotha—the Christian understanding of the Soviet experience. The central part of Fr. Dimitry’s—and contemporary Russia’s—message to us is that all the sufferings inflicted by atheism have a meaning—we can find Christ in them… Here are a few passages of Fr. Dimitry’s teaching:

“In our land has occurred Golgotha; the torments of all the martyrs begin gradually to cleanse the air… The present crucifixion of Christ in Russia, the persecutions and mockings only lead to the resurrection of faith in men… This gives us strength, firmness, makes us better than we are now… Let us imagine the state of our martyrs. Did the thought of sinning occur to them at this moment? No matter what kind of sinners they may have been in this minute they become saints… And those who suffer for those condemned to death also become better. How many martyrs there have been in Russia—and therefore, how many holy feelings! Will these holy feelings really give no fruit? And perhaps we live and will live only by the feelings of the holy martyrs, being supported by them… In our country now is Golgotha. Christ is crucified. Golgotha is not merely sufferings, but such sufferings as lead to resurrection and enlighten men… Our time can be compared only with the first three centuries of Christianity, and perhaps then it was even easier; then they did not yet know all the refinements of subtle torture… If one compares the religious state here and in the West, the balance is on our side. Why? Because here we have Golgotha, and there they don’t. Does an abundance of material goods give a religious rebirth? … Here we have nothing, but if people believe they are ready to die for their faith.”

Fr. Rose provides his assessment:

“His truthfulness and fiery faith have made many enemies—sadly enough, even among Orthodox Christians. Some have found him too emotional, too apocalyptic, too messianic—and it is true that such a fiery, urgent, Orthodox preaching hasn’t been heard in Russia and probably the whole Orthodox world since the days of St. John of Kronstadt; many Orthodox people have become self-satisfied with their “correct and proper” Orthodoxy and are somehow offended when Orthodoxy is preached and communicated so warmly to everyone who will listen.”

Can you just imagine such a discussion in the western media or even among Dispensationalist Christians, who are preoccupied in taking up the sword to champion Zionism? Any comparison between the West and Mother Russia would be incomplete without the insight of the audacious Brother Nathanael Kapner, Putin’s Purge Of The Rothschild Money Changers.In a televised Christmas message on January 7 2008 Putin said:

“The Russian Orthodox Church contributes to the promotion of moral values in society. One should not completely draw a line between the culture and the church. Of course by law in our country the church is separate from the state. But in the soul and the history of our people it’s all together. It always has been and always will be.” — Here.

Brother Nathanael leaves nothing unsaid in PUTIN VS JEWS OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER.

“By 2006 Putin had paid off Russia’s debt to the Rothschilds. Russia’s financial dependence on the Jewish financiers was now over. Putin could then establish what became his Russian Unity Party’s 2007 campaign slogan: Putin’s Plan Means Victory For Russia! This slogan continues to make the New World Order Jews very nervous…Here.”

While these sentiments are several years old, make no mistake about it, they are even truer today, with the efforts of the BRICS Development Bank to replace the IMF.

For a more current description, look to Pastor Scott Lively in Report from Moscow, and a summary of a reversal of roles, read on.

“Russia is today experiencing a Christian revival and is decidedly NOT communist. Some 30,000 churches have been built in the last year, and the ones in Moscow are reportedly overflowing with worshippers on Sundays. Most of the church is Orthodox, which is steeped in tradition, but at the same time relevant to the modern society.”

“How incredibly ironic it is that Russia is now our best hope for stopping the conquest of the world by the “progressives.” On Father Dimitri’s television show, I made the point that the Americans and the Soviets both won and both lost the Cold War. The Americans broke the Soviet system through economic strategies and tactics. But before they collapsed, the Soviets poisoned the United States with Cultural Marxism, promoting moral degeneracy and family breakdown through so-called “progressive” ideology. Today, post-Soviet Russia is re-emerging as a Christian nation, while the United States is becoming a “Gay Soviet Union.” What a strange turn of events.”

 

Echoing this conclusion is the report In Russia, a religious revival brings new life to Orthodox media. “After 70 years of state-imposed atheism and 20 years that have run the gamut from glasnost to post-Soviet chaos to a revival of Russian pride, Russians have increasingly embraced their Orthodox roots.” The video Christianity Grows in Russia & Declines in the West is to the point.The Latin Papacy has lost its spiritual way often over the millenniums and the Scofield Christian-Zionist apostate bible thumpers betray the Gospel of Christ with their devotion to the Talmud perversion of the Old Testament. Both need to seek repentance. Once the enemy of Christianity, when Russia was Rothschild’s USSR, today a revival of Christianity has started.

Western Secularism, which encapsulates the immoral ethos that underpins the globalist economic model, based upon a rejection of authentic Christian teaching, is the downfall of humanity.

If Russia can salvage their society from atheist communism, surely the West has the ability to humble themselves and repent for their depraved chutzpah and wicked ways. The Totalitarian Collectivism that has destroyed the Christian culture on both sides of the Atlantic must return to their traditional roots.

Michael Hoffman on ‘Usury in Christendom’ is essential, ‘…freedom from interest on money, is essentially the battle for freedom from the Money Power’. The West has become the “Money Changers”, because the temple has subverted commerce by heretical destruction of faith and separation from God. By destroying traditional Christian religious belief, the secular body is defenseless. Such a message is radical to most, because it is reactionary to the spiritual non-believer.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has spoken of the “fruitfulness of cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and government and public institutions and called the revival of Orthodox Christianity in Russian in the past two decades a miracle.” The West needs a spiritual revival of its own conception. If the Russia Bear can be tamed, what prevents the American eagle from souring once again?


Sartre is the publisher, editor, and writer for Breaking All The Rules. He can be reached at: BATR

Sartre is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

The Final Swindle of Private American Wealth Has Begun

February 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

I began writing analysis on the macro-economic situation of the American financial structure back in 2006, and in the eight years since, I have seen an undeniably steady trend of fiscal decline.

I have never had any doubt that the U.S. economy as we know it was headed for total and catastrophic collapse, the only question was when, exactly, the final trigger event would occur. As I have pointed out in the past, economic implosion is a process. It grows over time, like the ice shelf on a mountain developing into a potential avalanche. It is easy to shrug off the danger because the visible destruction is not immediate, it is latent; but when the avalanche finally begins, it is far too late for most people to escape…

If you view the progressive financial breakdown in America as some kind of “comedy of errors” or a trial of unlucky coincidences, then there is not much I can do to educate you on the reasons behind the carnage. If, however, you understand that there is a deliberate motivation behind American collapse, then what I have to say here will not fall on biased ears.

The financial crash of 2008, the same crash which has been ongoing for years, is NOT an accident. It is a concerted and engineered crisis meant to position the U.S. for currency disintegration and the institution of a global basket currency controlled by an unaccountable supranational governing body like the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The American populace is being conditioned through economic fear to accept the institutionalization of global financial control and the loss of sovereignty.

Anyone skeptical of this conclusion is welcome to study my numerous past examinations on the issue of globalization; I don’t have the time within this article to re-explain, and frankly, with so much information on deliberate dollar destruction available to the public today I’ve grown tired of anyone with a lack of awareness.

If you continue to believe that the Fed actually exists to “help” stabilize our economy or our currency, then you will never find the logic behind what they do. If you understand that the goal of the Fed and the globalists is to dismantle the dollar and the U.S. economic system to make way for something “new”, then certain recent events and policy initiatives do start to make sense.

The year of 2014 has been looming as a serious concern for me since the final quarter of 2013, and you can read about those concerns and the evidence that supports them in my articleExpect Devastating Global Economic Changes In 2014.

At the end of 2013 we saw at least three major events that could have sent America spiraling into total collapse. The first was the announcement of possible taper measures by the Fed, which have now begun. The second was the possible invasion of Syria which the Obama Administration is still desperate for despite successful efforts by the liberty movement to deny him public support for war. And, the third event was the last debt ceiling debate (or debt ceiling theater depending on how you look at it), which placed the U.S. squarely on the edge of fiscal default.

As we begin 2014, these same threatening issues remain (along with many others), only at greater levels and with more prominence. New developments reinforce my original position that this year will be remembered by historians as the year in which the final breakdown of the U.S. monetary dynamic was set in motion. Here are some of those developments explained…

Taper Of QE3

When I first suggested that a Fed taper was not only possible but probable months ago, I was met with a lot a bit of criticism from some in the alternative economic world. You can read my taper articles here and here.

This was understandable. The Fed uses multiple stimulus outlets besides QE in order to manipulate U.S. markets. Artificially lowering interest rates is very much a form of stimulus in itself, for instance.

However, I think a dangerous blindness to threats beyond money printing has developed within our community of analysts and this must be remedied. People need to realize first that the Fed does NOT care about the continued health of our economy, and they may not care about presenting a facade of health for much longer either. Alternative analysts also need to come to grips with the reality that overt money printing is not the only method at the disposal of globalists when destroying the greenback. A debt default is just as likely to cause loss of world reserve status and devaluation – no printing press required. Blame goes to government and political gridlock while the banks slither away in the midst of the chaos.

The taper of QE3 is not a “head fake”, it is very real, but there are many hidden motivations behind such cuts.

Currently, $20 billion has been trimmed from the $85 billion per month program, and we are already beginning to see what APPEAR to be market effects, including a flight from emerging market currencies from Argentina to Turkey. A couple of years ago investors viewed these markets as among the few places they could exploit to make a positive return, or in other words, one of the few places they could successfully gamble. The Fed taper, though, seems to be shifting the flow of capital away from emerging markets.

The mainstream argument is that stimulus was flowing into such markets, giving them liquidity support, and the taper is drying up that liquidity. Whether this is actually true is hard to say, given that without a full audit we have no idea how much fiat the Federal Reserve has actually created and how much of it they send out into foreign markets.

I stand more on the position that the Fed taper was actually begun in preparation for a slowdown in global markets that was already in progress. In fact, I believe central bankers have been well aware that a decline in every sector was coming, and are moving to insulate themselves.

Is it just a “coincidence” that the central bankers have initiated their taper of QE right when global manufacturing numbers begin to plummet?

http://www.agweb.com/article/us_stocks_drop_as_manufacturing_gauge_falls_more_than_forecast_BLMG/

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-01/china-manufacturing-gauge-falls-to-six-month-low.html

Is it just “coincidence” the taper was started right when the Baltic Dry Index, a global indicator of shipping demand, has lost over 50% of its value in the past few weeks?

http://investmenttools.com/futures/bdi_baltic_dry_index.htm

Is it just “coincidence” that the taper is running tandem with dismal retail sales growth reports from across the globe coming in from the final quarter of 2013?

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-02-04/euro-is-near-10-week-low-before-retail-sales-data-ecb-meeting

http://www.scmp.com/business/economy/article/1421025/no-christmas-cheer-hong-kongs-retailers

http://business.time.com/2013/11/14/walmart-sales-dip-as-low-income-americans-close-wallets/

And, is it just a “coincidence” that the Fed taper is a accelerating right as the next debt ceiling debate begins in March, and when reports are being released by the Congressional Budget Office that over 2 million jobs (in work hours) may be lost due to Obamacare?

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/04/us-usa-fiscal-obamacare-idUSBREA131B120140204

No, I do not think any of this is coincidence.  Most if not all of these negative indicators needed months to generate, so they could not have been caused by the taper itself.  The only explanation beyond “coincidence” is that the Federal Reserve WANTED to launch the taper program and protect itself before these signals began to reach the public.

Look at it this way – The taper program distances the bankers from responsibility for crisis in our financial framework, at least in the eyes of the general public. If a market calamity takes place WHILE stimulus measures are still at full speed, this makes the banks look rather guilty, or at least incompetent. People would begin to question the validity of central bank methods, and they might even question the validity of the central bank’s existence. The Fed is creating space between itself and the economy because they know that a trigger event is coming. They want to ensure that they are not blamed and that stimulus itself is not seen as ineffective, or seen as the cause.

We all know that the claims of recovery are utter nonsense. Beyond the numerous warning signs listed above, one need only look at true unemployment numbers, household wage decline, and record low personal savings of the average American. The taper is not in response to an improving economic environment. Rather, the taper is a signal for the next stage of collapse.

Stocks are beginning to plummet around the world and all mainstream pundits are pointing fingers at a reduction in stimulus which has very little to do with anything. What is the message they want us to digest? That we “can’t live” without the aid and oversight of central banks.

The real reason stocks and other indicators are stumbling is because the effectiveness of stimulus manipulation has a shelf life, and that shelf life is over for the Federal Reserve. I suspect they will continue cutting QE every month for the next year as stocks decline.  Will the Fed restart QE?  If they do, it will probably not occur until after a substantial breakdown has ensued and the public is sufficiently shell-shocked.  The possibility also exists that the Fed will never return to stimulus measures (if debt default is the plan), and QE stimulus will eventually be replaced by IMF “aid”.

Government Controlled Investment

Last month, just as taper measures were being implemented, the White House launched an investment program called MyRA; a retirement IRA program in which middle class and low wage Americans can invest part of their paycheck in government bonds.

That’s right, if you wanted to know where the money was going to come from to support U.S. debt if the Fed cuts QE, guess what, the money is going to come from YOU.

For a decade or so China was the primary buyer and crutch for U.S. debt spending. After the derivatives crash of 2008, the Federal Reserve became the largest purchaser of Treasury bonds. With the decline of foreign interest in long term U.S. debt, and the taper in full effect, it only makes sense that the government would seek out an alternative source of capital to continue the debt cycle. The MyRA program turns the general American public into a new cash stream, but there’s more going on here than meets the eye…

I find it rather suspicious that a government-controlled retirement program is suddenly introduced just as the Fed has begun to taper, as stocks are beginning to fall, and as questions arise over the U.S. debt ceiling. I have three major concerns:

First, is it possible that like the Fed, the government is also aware that a crash in stocks is coming? And, are they offering the MyRA program as an easy outlet (or trap) for people to pour in what little savings they have as panic over declining equities accelerates?  Bonds do tend to look appetizing to uninformed investors during an equities route.

Second, the program is currently voluntary, but what if the plan is to make it mandatory? Obama has already signed mandatory health insurance “taxation” into law, which is meant to steal a portion of every paycheck. Why not steal an even larger portion from every paycheck in order to support U.S. debt? It’s for the “greater good,” after all.

Third, is this a deliberate strategy to corral the last vestiges of private American wealth into the corner of U.S. bonds, so that this wealth can be confiscated or annihilated? What happens if there is indeed an eventual debt default, as I believe there will be? Will Americans be herded into bonds by a crisis in stocks only to have bonds implode as well? Will they be conned into bond investment out of a “patriotic duty” to save the nation from default? Or, will the government just take their money through legislative wrangling, as was done in Cyprus not long ago?

The Final Swindle

Again, the next debt ceiling debate is slated for the end of this month. If the government decides to kick the can down the road for another quarter, I believe this will be the last time. The most recent actions of the Fed and the government signal preparations for a stock implosion and ultimate debt calamity. Default would have immediate effects in foreign markets, but the appearance of U.S. stability could drag on for a time, giving the globalists ample opportunity to siphon every ounce of financial blood from the public.

It is difficult to say how the next year will play out, but one thing is certain; something very strange and ugly is afoot. The goal of the globalists is to engineer desperation. To create a catastrophe and then force the masses to beg for help. How many hands of “friendship” will be offered in the wake of a U.S. wealth and currency crisis? What offers for “aid” will come from the IMF? How much of our country and how many of our people will be collateralized to secure that aid? And, how many Americans will go along with the swindle because they were not prepared in advance?

Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market

The Sharing Economy: An Introduction To Its Political Evolution

January 23, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Can the sharing economy movement address the root causes of the world’s converging crises? Unless the sharing of resources is promoted in relation to human rights and concerns for equity, democracy, social justice and sustainability, then such claims are without substantiation – although there are many hopeful signs that the conversation is slowly moving in the right direction. 

In recent years, the concept and practice of sharing resources is fast becoming a mainstream phenomenon across North America, Western Europe and other world regions. The internet is awash with articles and websites that celebrate the vast potential of sharing human and physical assets, in everything from cars and bicycles to housing, workplaces, food, household items, and even time or expertise. According to most general definitions that are widely available online, the sharing economy leverages information technology to empower individuals or organisations to distribute, share and re-use excess capacity in goods and services. The business icons of the new sharing economy include the likes of Airbnb, Zipcar, Lyft, Taskrabbit and Poshmark, although hundreds of other for-profit as well as non-profit organisations are associated with this burgeoning movement that is predicated, in one way or another, on the age-old principle of sharing.

As the sharing economy receives increasing attention from the media, a debate is beginning to emerge around its overall importance and future direction. There is no doubt that the emergent paradigm of sharing resources is set to expand and further flourish in coming years, especially in the face of continuing economic recession, government austerity and environmental concerns. As a result of the concerted advocacy work and mobilisation of sharing groups in the US, fifteen city mayors have now signed the Shareable Cities Resolution in which they officially recognise the importance of economic sharing for both the public and private sectors. Seoul in South Korea has also adopted a city-funded project called Sharing City in which it plans to expand its ‘sharing infrastructure’, promote existing sharing enterprises and incubate sharing economy start-ups as a partial solution to problems in housing, transportation, job creation and community cohesion. Furthermore, Medellin in Colombia is embracing transport-sharing schemes and reimagining the use of its shared public spaces, while Ecuador is the first country in the world to commit itself to becoming a ‘shared knowledge’-based society, under an official strategy named ‘buen saber’.

Many proponents of the sharing economy therefore have great hopes for a future based on sharing as the new modus operandi. Almost everyone recognises that drastic change is needed in the wake of a collapsed economy and an overstretched planet, and the old idea of the American dream – in which a culture that promotes excessive consumerism and commercialisation leads us to see the ‘good life’ as the ‘goods life’, as described by the psychologist Tim Kasser – is no longer tenable in a world of rising affluence among possibly 9.6 billion people by 2050. Hence more and more people are rejecting the materialistic attitudes that defined recent decades, and are gradually shifting towards a different way of living that is based on connectedness and sharing rather than ownership and conspicuous consumption. ‘Sharing more and owning less’ is the ethic that underlies a discernible change in attitudes among affluent society that is being led by today’s young, tech-savvy generation known as Generation Y or the Millennials.

However, many entrepreneurial sharing pioneers also profess a big picture vision of what sharing can achieve in relation to the world’s most pressing issues, such as population growth, environmental degradation and food security. As Ryan Gourley of A2Share posits, for example, a network of cities that embrace the sharing economy could mount up into a Sharing Regions Network, then Sharing Nations, and finally a Sharing World: “A globally networked sharing economy would be a whole new paradigm, a game-changer for humanity and the planet”. Neal Gorenflo, the co-founder and publisher of Shareable, also argues that peer-to-peer collaboration can form the basis of a new social contract, with an extensive sharing movement acting as the catalyst for systemic changesthat can address the root causes of both poverty and climate change. Or to quote the words of Benita Matofska, founder of The People Who Share, we are going to have to “share to survive” if we want to face up to a sustainable future. In such a light, it behoves us all to investigate the potential of sharing to effect a social and economic transformation that is sufficient to meet the grave challenges of the 21st century.

Two sides of a debate on sharing

There is no doubt that sharing resources can contribute to the greater good in a number of ways, from economic as well as environmental and social perspectives. A number of studies show the environmental benefits that are common to many sharing schemes, such as the resource efficiency and potential energy savings that could result from car sharing and bike sharing in cities. Almost all forms of localised sharing are economical, and can lead to significant cost savings or earnings for individuals and enterprises. In terms of subjective well-being and social impacts, common experience demonstrates how sharing can also help us to feel connected to neighbours or co-workers, and even build community and make us feel happier.

Few could disagree on these beneficial aspects of sharing resources within communities or across municipalities, but some controversy surrounds the broader vision of how the sharing economy movement can contribute to a fair and sustainable world. For many advocates of the burgeoning trend towards economic sharing in modern cities, it is about much more than couch-surfing, car sharing or tool libraries, and holds the potential to disrupt the individualist and materialistic assumptions of neoliberal capitalism. For example, Juliet Schor in her book Plenitude perceives that a new economics based on sharing could be an antidote to the hyper-individualised, hyper-consumer culture of today, and could help rebuild the social ties that have been lost through market culture. Annie Leonard of the Story of Stuff project, in her latest short video on how to move society in an environmentally sustainable and just direction, also considers sharing as a key ‘game changing’ solution that could help to transform the basic goals of the economy.

Many other proponents see the sharing economy as a path towards achieving widespread prosperity within the earth’s natural limits, and an essential first step on the road to more localised economies and egalitarian societies. But far from everyone perceives that participating in the sharing economy, at least in its existing form and praxis, is a ‘political act’ that can realistically challenge consumption-driven economics and the culture of individualism – a question that is raised (although not yet comprehensively answered) in a valuable think piece from Friends of the Earth, as discussed further below. Various commentators argue that the proliferation of new business ventures under the umbrella of sharing are nothing more than “supply and demand continuing its perpetual adjustment to new technologies and fresh opportunities”, and that the concept of the sharing economy is being co-opted by purely commercial interests – a debate that was given impetus when the car sharing pioneers, Zipcar, were bought up by the established rental firm Avis.

Recently, Slate magazine’s business and economics correspondent controversially reiterated the observation that making money from new modes of consumption is not really ‘sharing’ per se, asserting that the sharing economy is therefore a “dumb term” that “deserves to die”. Other journalists have criticised the superficial treatment that the sharing economy typically receives from financial pundits and tech reporters, especially the claims that small business start-ups based on monetised forms of sharing are a solution to the jobs crisis – regardless of drastic cutbacks in welfare and public services, unprecedented rates of income inequality, and the dangerous rise of the precariat. The author Evgeny Morozov, writing an op-ed in the Financial Times, has gone as far as saying that the sharing economy is having a pernicious effect on equality and basic working conditions, in that it is fully compliant with market logic, is far from valuing human relationships over profit, and is even amplifying the worst excesses of the dominant economic model. In the context of the erosion of full-time employment, the assault on trade unions and the disappearance of healthcare and insurance benefits, he argues that the sharing economy is accelerating the transformation of workers into “always-on self-employed entrepreneurs who must think like brands”, leading him to dub it “neoliberalism on steroids”.

Problems of definition

Although it is impossible to reconcile these polarised views, part of the problem in assessing the true potential of economic sharing is one of vagueness in definition and wide differences in understanding. The conventional interpretation of the sharing economy is at present focused on its financial and commercial aspects, with continuous news reports proclaiming its rapidly growing market size and potential as a “co-commerce revolution”. Rachel Botsman, a leading entrepreneurial thinker on the potential of collaboration and sharing through digital technologies to change our lives, has attempted to clarify what the sharing economy actually is in order to prevent further confusion over the different terms in general use. In her latest typology, she notes how the term ‘sharing economy’ is often muddled with other new ideas and is in fact a subset of ‘collaborative consumption’ within the entire ‘collaborative economy’ movement, and has a rather restricted meaning in terms of “sharing underutilized assets from spaces to skills to stuff for monetary or non-monetary benefits” [see slide 9 of the presentation]. This interpretation of changing consumer behaviours and lifestyles revolves around the “maximum utilization of assets through efficient models of redistribution and shared access”, which isn’t necessarily predicated on an ethic of ‘sharing’ by any strict definition.

Other interpretations of the sharing economy are far broader and less constrained by capitalistic assumptions, as demonstrated in the Friends of the Earth briefing paper on Sharing Cities written by Professor Julian Agyeman et al. In their estimation, what’s missing from most of these current definitions and categorisations of economic sharing is a consideration of “the communal, collective production that characterises the collective commons”. A broadened ‘sharing spectrum’ that they propose therefore not only focuses on goods and services within the mainstream economy (which is almost always considered in relation to affluent, middle-class lifestyles), but also includes the non-material or intangible aspects of sharing such as well-being and capability [see page 6 of the brief]. From this wider perspective, they assert that the cutting edge of the sharing economy is often not commercial and includes informal behaviours like the unpaid care, support and nurturing that we provide for one another, as well as the shared use of infrastructure and shared public services.

This sheds a new light on governments as the “ultimate level of sharing”, and suggests that the history of the welfare state in Europe and other forms of social protection is, in fact, also integral to the evolution of shared resources in cities and within different countries. Yet an understanding of sharing from this more holistic viewpoint doesn’t have to be limited to the state provision of healthcare, education, and other public services. As Agyeman et al elucidate, cooperatives of all kinds (from worker to housing to retailer and consumer co-ops) also offer alternative models for shared service provision and a different perspective on economic sharing, one in which equity and collective ownership is prioritised. Access to natural common resources such as air and water can also be understood in terms of sharing, which may then prioritise the common good of all people over commercial or private interests and market mechanisms. This would include controversial issues of land ownership and land use, raising questions over how best to share land and urban space more equitably – such as through community land trusts, or through new policies and incentives such as land value taxation.

The politics of sharing

Furthermore, Agyeman et al argue that an understanding of sharing in relation to the collective commons gives rise to explicitly political questions concerning the shared public realm and participatory democracy. This is central to the many countercultural movements of recent years (such as the Occupy movement and Middle East protests since 2011, and the Taksim Gezi Park protests in 2013) that have reclaimed public space to symbolically challenge unjust power dynamics and the increasing trend toward privatisation that is central to neoliberal hegemony. Sharing is also directly related to the functioning of a healthy democracy, the authors reason, in that a vibrant sharing economy (when interpreted in this light) can counter the political apathy that characterises modern consumer society. By reinforcing values of community and collaboration over the individualism and consumerism that defines our present-day cultures and identities, they argue that participation in sharing could ultimately be reflected in the political domain. They also argue that a shared public realm is essential for the expression of participatory democracy and the development of a good society, not least as this provides a necessary venue for popular debate and public reasoning that can influence political decisions. Indeed the “emerging shareability paradigm”, as they describe it, is said to reflect the basic tenets of the Right to the City (RTTC) – an international urban movement that fights for democracy, justice and sustainability in cities and mobilises against the privatisation of common goods and public spaces.

The intention in briefly outlining some of these differing interpretations of sharing is to demonstrate how considerations of politics, justice, ethics and sustainability are slowly being allied with the sharing economy concept. A paramount example is the Friends of the Earth briefing paper outlined above, which was written as part of FOEI’s Big Ideas to Change the World series on cities that promoted sharing as “a political force to be reckoned with” and a “call to action for environmentalists”. Yet many further examples could also be mentioned, such as the New Economics Foundation’s ‘Manifesto for the New Materialism’ which promotes the old-fashioned ethic of sharing as part of a new way of living to replace the collapsed model of debt-fuelled overconsumption. There are also signs that many influential proponents of the sharing economy – as generally understood today in terms of new economic models driven by peer-to-peer technology that enable access to rather than ownership of resources – are beginning to query the commercial direction that the movement is taking, and are instead promoting more politicised forms of social change that are not merely based on micro-enterprise or the monetisation/branding of high-tech innovations.

Janelle Orsi, a California-based ‘sharing lawyer’ and author of The Sharing Solution, is particularly inspirational in this regard; for her, the sharing economy encompasses such a broad range of activities that it is hard to define, although she suggests that all its activities are tied together in how they harness the existing resources of a community and grow its wealth. This is in contradistinction to the mainstream economy that mostly generates wealth for people outside of people’s communities, and inherently generates extreme inequalities and ecological destruction – which Orsi contends that the sharing economy can help reverse. The problem she recognises is that the so-called sharing economy we usually hear about in the media is built upon a business-as-usual foundation, which is privately owned and often funded by venture capital (as is the case with Airbnb, Lyft, Zipcar, Taskrabbit et cetera). As a result, the same business structures that created the economic problems of today are buying up new sharing economy companies and turning them into ever larger, more centralised enterprises that are not concerned about people’s well-being, community cohesion, local economic diversity, sustainable job creation and so on (not to mention the risk of re-creating stock valuation bubbles that overshadowed the earlier generation of dot.com enterprises). The only way to ensure that new sharing economy companies fulfil their potential to create economic empowerment for users and their communities, Orsi argues, is through cooperative conversion – and she makes a compelling case for the democratic, non-exploitative, redistributive and truly ‘sharing’ potential of worker and consumer cooperatives in all their guises.

Sharing as a path to systemic change

There are important reasons to query which direction this emerging movement for sharing will take in the years ahead. As prominent supporters of the sharing economy recognise, like Janelle Orsi and Juliet Schor, it offers both opportunities and reasons for optimism as well as pitfalls and some serious concerns. On the one hand, it reflects a growing shift in our values and social identities as ‘citizens vs consumers’, and is helping us to rethink notions of ownership and prosperity in a world of finite resources, scandalous waste and massive wealth disparities. Perhaps its many proponents are right, and the sharing economy represents the first step towards transitioning away from the over-consumptive, materially-intense and hoarding lifestyles of North American, Western European and other rich societies. Perhaps sharing really is fast becoming a counter-cultural movement that can help us to value relationships more than things, and offer us the possibility of re-imagining politics and constructing a more participative democracy, which could ultimately pose a challenge to the global capitalist/consumerist model of development that is built on private interests and debt at the cost of shared interests and true wealth.

On the other hand, critics are right to point out that the sharing economy in its present form is hardly a threat to existing power structures or a movement that represents the kind of radical changes we need to make the world a better place. Far from reorienting the economy towards greater equity and a better quality of life, as proposed by writers such as Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, Tim Jackson, Herman Daly and John Cobb, it is arguable that most forms of sharing via peer-to-peer networks are at risk of being subverted by conventional business practices. There is a perverse irony in trying to imagine the logical conclusion of these trends: new models of collaborative consumption and co-production that are co-opted by private interests and venture capitalists, and increasingly geared towards affluent middle-class types or so-called bourgeois bohemians (the ‘bobos’), to the exclusion of those on low incomes and therefore to the detriment of a more equal society. Or new sharing technology platforms that enable governments and corporations to collaborate in pursuing more intrusive controls over and greater surveillance of citizens. Or new social relationships based on sharing in the context of increasingly privatised and enclosed public spaces, such as gated communities within which private facilities and resources are shared.

This is by no means an inevitable outcome, but what is clear from this brief analysis is that the commercialisation and depoliticisation of economic sharing poses risks and contradictions that call into question its potential to transform society for the benefit of everyone. Unless the sharing of resources is promoted in relation to human rights and concerns for equity, democracy, social justice and sound environmental stewardship, then the various claims that sharing is a new paradigm that can address the world’s interrelated crises is indeed empty rhetoric or utopian thinking without any substantiation. Sharing our skills through Hackerspaces, our unused stuff through GoodShuffle or a community potluck through mealshare is, in and of itself, a generally positive phenomenon that deserves to be enjoyed and fully participated in, but let’s not pretend that car shares, clothes swaps, co-housing, shared vacation homes and so on are going to seriously address economic and climate chaos, unjust power dynamics or inequitable wealth distribution.

Sharing from the local to the global

If we look at sharing through the lens of just sustainability, however, as civil society organisations and others are now beginning to do, then the true possibilities of sharing resources within and among the world’s nations are vast and all-encompassing: to enhance equity, rebuild community, improve well-being, democratise national and global governance, defend and promote the global commons, even to point the way towards a more cooperative international framework to replace the present stage of competitive neoliberal globalisation. We are not there yet, of course, and the popular understanding of economic sharing today is clearly focused on the more personal forms of giving and exchange among individuals or through online business ventures, which is mainly for the benefit of high-income groups in the world’s most economically advanced nations. But the fact that this conversation is now being broadened to include the role of governments in sharing public infrastructure, political power and economic resources within countries is a hopeful indication that the emerging sharing movement is slowly moving in the right direction.

Already, questions are being raised as to what sharing resources means for the poorest people in the developing world, and how a revival of economic sharing in the richest countries can be spread globally as a solution to converging crises. It may not be long until the idea of economic sharing on a planetary scale – driven by an awareness of impending ecological catastrophe, life-threatening extremes of inequality, and escalating conflict over natural resources – is the subject of every dinner party and kitchen table conversation.


References:

Agyeman, Julian, Duncan McLaren and Adrianne Schaefer-Borrego, Sharing Cities, Friends of the Earth briefing paper, September 2013.

Agyeman, Julian, Just sustainabilitiesjulianagyeman.com, 21st September 2012.

Bollier, David, Bauwens Joins Ecuador in Planning a Commons-based, Peer Production Economy, 20th September 2013, bollier.org

Botsman, Rachel, The Sharing Economy Lacks A Shared Definitionfastcoexist.com, 21st November 2013.

Botsman, Rachel, The Sharing Economy Lacks a Shared Definition: Giving Meaning to the Terms, Collaborative Lab on Slideshare.net, 19th November 2013.

Childs, Mike, The Power of Sharing: A Call to Action for Environmentalists, Shareable.net, 5th November 2013.

Collaborativeconsumption.com, Shareable Cities Resolution: Passed, 26th June 2013.

Daly, Herman and John Cobb, For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future, Beacon Press, 1991.

Eberlein, Sven, Sharing for Profit – I’m Not Buying it Anymore, Shareable.net, 20th February 2013.

Enright, Michael in interview with Benita Matofska and Aidan Enns, Sharing, Not Buying at Christmas (Hr. 1), CBC Radio, 16th December 2012.

Friends of the Earth, Big Idea 2: Sharing – a political force to be reckoned with?, 26th September 2013.

Gaskins, Kim, The New Sharing Economy, Latitude, 1st June 2010.

Gorenflo, Neal, What’s Next for the Sharing Movement?, Shareable.net, 31st July 2013.

Grahl, Jodi (trans.), World Charter for the Right to the City, International Alliance of Inhabitants et al, May 2005.

Griffiths, Rachel, The Great Sharing Economy, Co-operatives UK, London UK, 2011.

Grigg, Kat, Sharing As Part of the New Economy: An Interview with Lauren Anderson, The Solutions Journal, 20th September 2013.

Heinberg, Richard, Who knew that Seoul was a leader in the sharing economy?, Post Carbon Institute, 12th November 2013.

Herbst, Moira, Let’s get real: the ‘sharing economy’ won’t solve our jobs crisis, The Guardian, 7th January 2014.

Jackson, Tim, Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet, Routeledge, 2011.

Johnson, Cat, From Consumers to Citizens: Welcome to the Sharing Cities Network, Shareable.net, 9th January 2014.

Kasser, Tim, The High Price of Materialism, MIT Press, 2003.

Kisner, Corinne, Integrating Bike Share Programs into a Sustainable Transportation System, National League of Cities, City Practice Brief, Washington D.C., 2011.

Leonard, Annie, The Story of Solutions, The Story of Stuff Project, October 2013, storyofstuff.org

Martin, Elliot and Susan Shaheen, The Impact of Carsharing on Household Vehicle Ownership, Access (UCTC magazine), No. 38 Spring 2011.

Matofska, Benita, Facing the future: share to survive, Friends of the Earth blog, 4th January 2013.

Morozov, Evgeny, The ‘sharing economy’ undermines workers’ rights, Financial Times, 14th October 2013.

Olson. Michael J. and Andrew D. Connor, The Disruption of Sharing: An Overview of the New Peer-to-Peer ‘Sharing Economy’ and The Impact on Established Internet Companies, Piper Jaffray, November 2013.

Opinium Research and Marke2ing, The Sharing Economy An overview with special focus on Peer-to-Peer Lending, 14th November 2012.

Orsi, Janelle and Doskow, Emily, The Sharing Solution: How to Save Money, Simplify Your Life and Build Community, Nolo, May 2009.

Orsi, Janelle et al, Policies for Shareable Cities: A Sharing Economy Policy Primer for Urban Leaders, Shareable / The sustainable Economics Law Centre, September 2013.

Orsi, Janelle, The Sharing Economy Just Got Real, Shareable.net, 16th September 2013.

Quilligan, James B., People Sharing Resources: Toward a New Multilateralism of the Global Commons, Kosmos Journal, Fall/Winter 2009.

Schifferes, Jonathan, Sharing our way to prosperity (Part 1)rsablogs.org.uk, 6th August 2013.

Schifferes, Jonathan, Profiting from sharing (Part 2)rsablogs.org.uk, 6th August 2013.

Schor, Juliet, Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth, Tantor Media, 2010.

Simms, Andrew and Ruth Potts, The New Materialism: How our relationship with the material world can change for the better, New Economics Foundation, November 2012.

Standing, Guy, The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class, Bloomsbury Academic, 2011.

Tennant, Ian, What’s in it for me? Do you dare to share?, Friends of the Earth blog, 8th January 2014.

Wiesmann, Thorsten, Living by the Principle of Sharing – an interview with Raphael Fellmer, Oiushare.net, February 2013.

Wilkinson, Richard and Kate Pickett, The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone, Penguin, 2010.

Yglesias, Matthew, There Is No “Sharing Economy”, Slate.com, 26th December 2013.


Adam Parsons is a guest columnist for Veracity Voice

Adam Parsons is the editor at www.sharing.org

The Mate Was A Mighty Sailin’ Man

January 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Just sit right back
And you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip…

(Theme song from the TV show “Gilligan’s Island”)

You’re probably familiar with the “scientific” expedition from Australia which got stuck in the ice in Antarctica last Christmas Eve, but you may not be aware what a rollicking good tale it is. “You’re sure to get a smile,” as the show’s theme song promises, but I promise you more than just a chuckle. There’s a moral to the story as well.

The first comic relief – other than the fact it’s summer down under, mate – comes with the introduction of the organizer of the “Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE)”, Chris Turney, self-described “scientist, explorer, writer” and ardent global warmist. Christened “The Spirit of Mawson” after an Australian scientist who led an expedition to Antarctica in 1911, the expedition’s purpose was to “meld science and adventure, repeating century old measurements to discover and communicate the changes taking place in this remote and pristine environment”. Despite the scientific veneer, the make-up of the 50-odd person crew resembled more the complement of the good ship Minnow (“The millionaire and his wife; The movie star; The professor and Mary Ann”) than that of Mawson’s S. Y. Aurora. The pseudo-scientific antics of this menage a trois of scientists, journalists, and tourists made the voyage look more like Winter Carnival at Dartmouth than Darwin aboard the Beagle.

Comments on Turney’s website (“marked shift in westerly winds… melting large sections of the Antarctic ice sheet” ) suggest he expected to find more open water than had Mawson a century earlier. Why Turney hoped to find open water when it was well known sea ice in the Antarctic was setting records is a mystery. I suspect he’d been led astray by fellow warmists like Al Gore, who predicted in 2008 “the entire North Polar ice cap may well be completely gone in five years” . Gore almost achieved prophet status in 2012 when Arctic ice shrank to its smallest extent since modern recordkeeping began, but last year the ice made a huge comeback and is now almost back to normal.

Whatever the case, the expedition’s Russian ship, the Akademik Shokalskiy, got stuck in the ice. The Australian government sent out its ice breaker, the Aurora Australis, to rescue the ship, but they could come no closer than 10 miles from their fellow countrymen. A larger icebreaker, the Chinese Xue Long, got within six miles but could get no further. The decision was made to helicopter the stranded Aussies to the Chinese ship, leaving the Russians to their fate. But for days bad weather forced postponement of the airlift.

Meanwhile, aboard the Shokalskiy it wasn’t exactly “No phone, no lights, no motor car; Not a single luxury; Like Robinson Crusoe; It’s primitive as can be”, but then our castaways weren’t exactly basking in the tropics, either. The first mate and his Skipper too, will do their very best to make the others comf’terble in their tropic island nest (make that “antipodal mess”)Courageously ignoring their life-threatening predicament (or too drunk to remember they were in one), the boozy explorers partied as if there were no tomorrow (which might be true if the weather didn’t break and the heat ran out). On New Year’s Eve the ice-olated penguin-huggers celebrated with a concerned world through

YouTube (a bit nerdy, almost makes them look like scientists).

Unable to get a good weather forecast, the expedition contacted a San Diego TV station and asked if they could help. The station’s weatherman, John Coleman, contacted some colleagues knowledgeable on the Antarctic, who came up with a

forecast which held out the hope the wind might shift to offshore, causing the ice to break up and free the vessel. But before that could happen, the expedition opted for evacuation by helicopter when the weather improved sufficiently a day or two later.

From the Xue Long, the now world-infamous Australasian Antarctic Expedition was transferred to the Aurora Australis, which then continued on its original mission to re-supply an Australian Antarctic base. Meanwhile, the Xue Long now became stuck in the ice. Fortunately, the wind shift postulated by the weathermen came to pass, and both stuck ships, the Xue Long and the Akademik Shokalskiy, were able to free themselves. As it turns out, our intrepid explorers would have gotten home sooner had they not abandoned ship as the Shokalskiyarrived back in Australia while our parka-clad party animals were still stuck in Antarctica waiting for a ride home.

If all this hasn’t given you a chuckle, you’re a diehard warmist with no sense of humor. One last attempt to tickle your funny bone. The meteorologists who predicted the weather might improve sufficiently for the Akademik Shokalskiy to free itself are global warming skeptics, or, as the still unbowed leader of the AAE might say, deniers.

Not so funny (even by my warped standards) is the hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of dollars someone, maybe the Australian taxpayer, is going to have to ante up to cover the cost of the rescue. The AAE vowed prior to departure to plant trees in New Zealand to offset the carbon emissions resulting from their expedition. Adding in the emissions spewed out by the fossil fuel-guzzling icebreakers, this should result in a forest of taigan proportions, which, like its Siberian counterpart, will be a tribute to the awesome, fear-inspiring forces of nature.

On the bright side, the expedition fared better than Mawson’s in one respect: they all came back alive. Mawson and two companions were forced to make a 300-mile trek across the ice back to their base camp. Losing his companions to the harsh conditions along the way, Mawson stumbled into the camp after a months-long trek only to see the S. Y. Aurora steaming away in the distance. Living off the provisions left behind, Mawson spent the winter alone on Terra Australis, dreaming of that other “Land of the South” from whence he came and to which he would belatedly return the next summer.

The moral of the story? Global warming is real. Just kidding. The true moral is not to defy settled science, the science that is settled being that there is a lot about the climate we don’t understand. To see everything through the prism of a still young, still baffling warming trend is to risk, to put it ironically, snow blindness. The attribution of the recent Polar Vortex-induced cold wave in the United States to

global warming is a case in point. An obsessively global warming-centric view of the world can lead to errors of the fatal variety, as almost befell our Gilliganesque lot, but perhaps even more dangerous in the long run, to errors of science.


Ken Meyercord is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice.

Ken Meyercord produces a public access TV show called Worlddocs which “brings the world to the people of the Washington, DC area through documentaries you won’t see broadcast on corporate TV.” He has a Master’s in Middle East History from the American University of Beirut. He can be contacted at kiaskfm@verizon.net.

The Siege of Yarmouk

January 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Damascus – At the Palestine Embassy in Beirut recently, a young lady showed this observer a video of a gentleman in Yarmouk camp in Damascus. The video showed the man killing and eating a cat. Food ran out in Yarmouk weeks ago, and nearly 18,000 refugees are facing death from starvation and other conflict-related causes. This siege has been ongoing since July 2013, and it has become viciously lethal.

The Palestinians living here have been targeted. They are part of the quarter million people—children, women, and men—trapped and dying from hunger and illness all across Syria as a direct, predictable result of using the siege of civilians as a weapon of war. It isn’t just Yarmouk. Throughout Syria, neighborhoods are being blockaded. Residents are running out of supplies, unable to get basic services. Among the Syrian towns under siege at this time are Nubul and Al-Zahraa in Aleppo province, the old city of Homs, and the towns of Eastern Ghouta, Daraya and Moadamiyet al-Sham in rural Damascus.

Truly a crisis of horrifying proportions, yet perhaps nowhere is this more the case than in the systematic starvation of Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk camp, where this past week eight more Palestinians died from malnutrition. These include 80-year-old, Jamil al-Qurabi, 40-year-old, Hasan Shihabi, and a 50-year-old woman named Noor. In addition, 10-year-old Mahmoud al-Sabbagh and two 19-year-olds—Majid Imad Awad and Ziad al-Naji—were killed while protesting the blockade of the camp. And reports have also emerged that two other men, Muhammad Ibrahim Dhahi and Hasan Younis Nofal, were tortured and killed.

In December 2013, UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi, issued a statement concerning the situation in Yarmouk camp, in which he said: “Since September 2013 we have been unable to enter the area to deliver desperately needed relief supplies.”

Based on conversations with Palestinians who were able to literally crawl out of the area from sewage pipes on the South side of Yarmouk, more than 100 people, as of 1/15/14, have died from starvation in the past four months—that is since mid-August 2013. Other causes of death have included three dozen cases of death by dehydration, and also malnutrition (differing slightly from starvation in that it pertains to inadequate nutrition rather than a total absence of ingestible substances) (you still die from it, though). More than three dozen miscarriages have also resulted from the food shortages, while infants have succumbed due to lack of milk. There have also been deaths by hypothermia for lack of fuel, and recently I spoke with a gentleman whose niece, an infant girl, died of suffocation in her neonatal intensive care unit due to a power cut.

In January of 2013 the UN estimated that one million people needed urgent humanitarian assistance. Today, twelve months later, the figure is nearly ten million. That assessment is from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who spoke last week at yet another aid conference. A commission of inquiry set up by the UN Human Rights Council has found war crimes, crimes against humanity, and gross human rights violations committed in Syria on a daily basis. According to its conclusion, “All sides in the conflict have shown a total disregard for their responsibilities under the international humanitarian and human rights law.”

International law relevant to situations of this nature was created specifically to stop the targeting of civilians. Its principles, standards and rules demand that such targeting cease, and they call for the prosecution of perpetrators irrespective of which side in the civil war in Syria they may support. A civil war is an armed conflict located on the territory of one state, between the armed forces of the State and dissident armed forces or other organized armed groups under responsible command. These are groups that maintain control over part of the land, or that are able to carry out armed operations of a continuous and coordinated nature. The applicable statutes include Common Article 3 of Protocol II (1977) the Geneva Conventions of 1949. Whether it is regime armed forces and their allies, or anti-government militia, both are legally bound to respect the Geneva Conventions and must lift the siege on Yarmouk. If not, they risk prosecution at an existing international court or at a possible Special Tribunal for Syria being contemplated among some at the United Nations.

The following is from Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949: Part IV: Civilian Population:

Article 13.PROTECTION OF THE CIVILIAN POPULATION.

  1. The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against the dangers arising from military operations.
  2. To give effect to this protection, the following rules shall be observed in all circumstances.

  3. The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.
  4. Civilians shall enjoy the protection afforded by this Part, unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.

Article 14. PROTECTION OF OBJECTS INDISPENSABLE TO THE SURVIVAL OF THE CIVILIAN POPULATION. Starvation of civilians as a method of combat is prohibited. It is therefore prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless, for that purpose, objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as food stuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works.

Article 15. PROTECTION OF WORKS AND INSTALLATIONS CONTAINING DANGEROUS FORCES. Works or installations containing dangerous forces, namely dams, dykes and nuclear electrical generating stations, shall not be made the object of attack, even where these objects are military objectives, if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces and consequent severe losses among the civilian population.

This body of international law requires that all warring parties immediately end the siege of Yarmouk and allow the entry of food supplies, while permitting those who want to leave the camp to do so. The safety of those who wish to return to their homes is also mandated. Additionally the law requires guarantees of safe passages to relief teams, UN fact finding missions, and unobstructed entry of medicines, medical staff and medical equipment. Those today who are preventing this are subject to international criminal prosecution, and as noted above, they are subject to future prosecution at any time, as the level and nature of their crimes prevent the application of any Statute of Limitations.

According to human rights activists, attempts to evacuate civilians from Yarmouk camp failed in spite of efforts and agreements between the Syrian government and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Those attempting to leave were arrested, in some cases with serious bodily and mental harm inflicted on them. Others were shot at near the camp’s entry points. This occurred particularly in the last two months of 2013 and early January 2014. Several agreements between the warring parties, being the Syrian government forces and the rebels assaulting Yarmouk, have not been honored by either. Attempts to evacuate civilians from Yarmouk have consistently failed in spite of efforts and agreements between the regime and the PLO, and some who attempted escape were arrested, beaten or shot at.

The several attempts to lift the siege usually include versions of the following language from Yarmouk’s Popular Committee that “based on our principled position of positive neutrality and keeping the Palestinians and their camps out of the confrontations in Syria, we propose that all the Palestinian camps – and Yarmouk camp in particular – be secure and safe areas, free of weapons and fighters, by taking the following steps:

  • End all public display of weapons and fighters, with guarantees to those who wish to do so.
  • Avoid the use of the camps as areas of confrontation and cease all forms of fighting, including sniping and shelling.
  • Allow the free movement of people, food, medical supplies and vehicles in and out of the camp, which will encourage the return of the displaced to their homes.
  • Restore services, including electricity, water, telecommunications, schools, and hospitals.
  • Provide amnesty to all those camp residents who have been detained if their involvement in the fighting cannot be confirmed.”

Despite an official policy of neutrality announced by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and despite also unequivocal statements by Palestinian delegations acquitting the regime of any responsibility in the besieging, bombing and targeting of the camp and its inhabitants, it has not been enough to ensure the entry of humanitarian aid convoys.

But there is hope that relief may come. Against the backdrop of accusations and condemnations being circulated, many are looking to Russia to step in and, much as it did when it induced the Assad government to get rid of its chemical weapons, pressure the government to at least lift its own part of the siege.

There are critics of the idea, however. Mr. Ibrahim Amin, Editor in Chief of Lebanon’s Al Akbar daily newspaper, argues that somehow because Palestinians have been given many more civil rights in Syria than, for example, Lebanon—which to Syria’s great credit is true—then the refugees must somehow be at fault for their own slaughter and siege at Yarmouk. It is nonsense, of course, as also is his statement that, “In Syria, Palestinians were citizens.”—nonsense because, for example, Palestinians cannot vote in Syrian elections. Amin should know this, and he should know that they have never been made citizens of Syria, for this is common knowledge.

Nevertheless, writing in the January 13 issue of his newspaper, Editor Amin piles blame on the victims, rather than the perpetrators, by seeming to argue that they deserved it—the babies dying of malnutrition, the people suffering from dehydration and disease caused by the siege of their camp. He demands to know, “What pushed Palestinians in this camp to believe in toppling Bashar al-Assad? No sane person ever figured that much of the camp would raise their weapons in the face of Syria.”

More nonsense from the Editor-in-Chief since virtually every Palestinian organization and leader, and virtually every resident living in any one of UNWRA’s 54 camps, including the ten in Syria, have repeatedly proclaimed their non-involvement in the Syria conflict. Presumably in his line of work Mr. Amin would know this. And presumably, if he took the time to speak to any Palestinians about the conflict in Syria, he would likely be advised that they are grateful to the Syrian people for hosting them. He might also be advised that they regret that some of their leaders got involved with the conflict in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, since innocent Palestinian civilians paid dearly, and that they will not repeat the mistake in Syria. It is a fact that some individual Palestinians, following the intense December 12-17, 2012 shelling and bombing of parts of Yarmouk, turned against those who were blamed for targeting them.

“Those who stayed are the ones who refused to go through a new displacement, as well as members of armed groups and their families,” Mr. Amin states, though without offering any evidence. He goes on: “In a few months the camp was transformed into a haven for groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Nusra Front.” Again his assertions are false and politically motivated. Those who stayed are overwhelmingly those refugees who cannot escape. The Syrian army to its credit has not invaded the camp, but it does surround and seals most of it. Some rebel groups are hiding inside and terrorizing the camp.

It is egregious for Mr. Amin to misrepresent the facts of Palestinian neutrality in Syrian camps; it is doubly egregious for him to do so apparently wishing to gain approval from Syrian or Resistance leaders. Neither is likely to be other than embarrassed by Mr. Amin’s gross misrepresentations or his gratuitous ad hominem attacks on refugee camp victims of war crimes. The Editor-in-Chief’s distortions do not help the Resistance but rather harm it. As does his insistence that the murder of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri eight years ago was done with a ‘secret missile’ fired from the Zionist regime occupying Palestine. There are a fair number of “Resistance groupies” and bloggers, well-meaning perhaps, but who in many cases actually aid enemies of the Resistance through their clumsy attempts at water carrying while ignoring reality.

But there is good news awaiting Mr. Amin if he will accept an invitation from one who considers himself to have been “Hezbollah” long before the 1985 “Open Letter” announcing the organizing of the Party of God next to where this observer gets his motorbike repaired in Ouzai. That is to say “Hezbollah” in the sense that since studying international law in law school this observer has supported the liberation of Palestine while rejecting the last of the 19th century’s colonial enterprise still occupying Palestine, and in the sense that this observer shares Hezbollah’s resistance goals and their declared responsibility to continue the struggle until achieving the full Right of Return. Oh yes, to be sure, this observer is not a card-carrying member of the Resistance, as I want to remind dear friend Jeff Feltman, who swore at an embassy Christmas party a while back that “Lamb faces ten years hard time in the feds when he dares to set foot on American soil for hobnobbing with terrorists”—though given the fact that Jeff had been imbibing some Christmas cheer when he made that statement to an embassy staffer, he has perhaps forgotten it now, which would be good news.

But at any rate, for Mr. Amin, here is what a fellow supporter of the Resistance is willing to do to possibly help him re-assess his conclusion about what is going on in Yarmouk: I invite Mr. Amin to appear in the lobby of the Dama Rose hotel in Damascus at 9 a.m. sharp on January 24. I will buy him breakfast, and as we dine, two contacts from Yarmouk will brief him on our morning program—a program that will include Mr. Amin discretely accompanying us to the south side of Yarmouk, where, depending on conditions that morning, we will arrive in front of the Zakerin Mosque in Al-Buweida, maybe 300 yards from the Az-Zain neighborhood. Mr. Amin will then need to join us crawling through a rather claustrophobic and smelly 30” diameter drain pipe that is approximately 40 yards in length. We will at this point hopefully end up safely in the basement of “Abu Ali’s” remaining half-house, where several refugees are still trapped. Mr. Amin can also visit with others next door. He should bring some cash, however, because his host doesn’t have much and we may need a bit to bribe a couple of gun-kids from one of the militias to facilitate our exit in case we are ratted out, so to speak.

Finally Mr. Amin will be able to see for himself, and listen to direct testimony, about what presently is, and has been, happening inside Yarmouk. He can ask the weakened residents about the conclusions he confidently presented in his Al Akbar article in which he claimed that the Yarmouk tragedy and crimes are their fault, or, as he so confidently put it, “Today, the unfolding events (in Yarmouk) are 100 percent a Palestinian responsibility.” He may be surprised at what he learns about camp residents still trapped there, people scrabbling to feed themselves, and who have had no say or active role in the deplorable events that have overtaken them.

Just maybe, then, Mr. Amin will be motivated to edit a bit his earlier ridiculous broadside attacking the victims of the Yarmouk siege. And should he feel any contrition, maybe he will devote some of his energy and space in his newspaper to actually working for two elementary civil rights for Palestinians in Lebanon—the right to work and home ownership. Their achievement will benefit Lebanon and the Resistance, both of which Mr. Amin claims to support.


Dr. Franklin Lamb is Director, Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Beirut-Washington DC, Board Member of The Sabra Shatila Foundation, and a volunteer with the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, Lebanon. He is the author of The Price We Pay: A Quarter-Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons Against Civilians in Lebanon and is doing research in Lebanon for his next book. He can be reached at fplamb@gmail.com

Dr. Franklin Lamb is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Gun Owners: Be Careful If You Pass Through Maryland

January 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

A Florida concealed carry permit holder had an unpleasant run-in with a Maryland police officer while traveling through the state.

John Filippidis and his family drove from Florida to New Jersey last December for Christmas and a wedding. He knew he’d be traveling through states that aren’t gun-friendly, so he left his gun at home.

“I know the laws and I know the rules,” Filippidis said. “There are, after all, ways gun owners can travel legally with firearms through hostile states. But I just think it’s a better idea to leave it home.”

Filippidis was followed by a Maryland cop on I-95 after passing through the Fort McHenry tunnel. He said the cop flanked him, pulled ahead of him, and then got behind them. After about ten minutes of that, the officer pulled Filippidis over.

“Ten minutes he’s behind us,” John says. “We weren’t speeding. In fact, lots of other cars were whizzing past.”

The officer was from the Transportation Authority Police. He asked Filippidis for his license and registration. Around ten minutes later, he returned and asked John to exit his vehicle.

Filippidis told the officer his gun was at home in his safe.

Apparently the officer didn’t believe Filippidis, because he began questioning his wife, Kally, next:

“Your husband owns a gun. Where is it?”

First Kally said, “I don’t know.” Retelling it later to the Tampa Tribune, she said, “And that’s all I should have said.” Instead, attempting to be helpful, she added, “Maybe in the glove [box]. Maybe in the console. I’m scared of it. I don’t want to have anything to do with it. I might shoot right through my foot.”

That’s when things escalated. The officer confronted Filippidis:

“You’re a liar. You’re lying to me. Your family says you have it. Where is the gun? Tell me where it is and we can resolve this right now.”

Of course a gun could not be produced, since it was home in Filippidis’ safe.

This prompted the officer to call for backup, as the Tampa Tribune reports:

Kally’s failure to corroborate John’s account, the officer would tell them later, was the probable cause that allowed him to summon backup — three marked cars joined the lineup along the I-95 shoulder — and empty the Expedition of riders, luggage, Christmas gifts, laundry bags; to pat down Kally and Yianni; to explore the engine compartment and probe inside door panels; and to separate and isolate the Filippidises in the back seats of the patrol cars.

Almost two hours later, after no weapon was found, the Filippidis family was given a written warning (the offense was not noted) and the ordeal ended.

How the officer knew that Filippidis owns a gun has not been revealed. MTAP is conducting an investigation and could not comment.

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Lesson #1:  Guys, please try to find a girl with at least an iota of common sense, it will save you a lot of trouble down the road.

Lesson #2:  Never register your firearms.  Ever.  Otherwise, this is what will happen to you on regular basis as socialist state governments complicit with the federal government continue to debase the 2nd Amendment.

Source: The Daily Sheeple via Alt-Market

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