When it gets complicated and confusing, when you’re overwhelmed with too much information, changing daily; too many explanations, some contradictory … try putting it into some kind of context by stepping back and looking at the larger, long-term picture.
The United States strives for world domination, hegemony wherever possible, their main occupation for over a century, it’s what they do for a living. The United States, NATO and the European Union form The Holy Triumvirate. The Holy Triumvirate has subsidiaries, chiefly The International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization, International Criminal Court … all help to keep in line those governments lacking the Holy Triumvirate Seal Of Approval: the IMF, WB, and WTO impose market fundamentalism, while foreign leaders who act too independent are threatened with being handed over to the ICC for heavy punishment, as the United States imposes sanctions on governments and their leaders as only the King of Sanctions can, lacking any sense of hypocrisy or irony.
And who threatens United States domination? Who can challenge The Holy Triumvirate’s hegemony? Only Russia and China, if they were as imperialistic as the Western powers. (No, the Soviet Union wasn’t imperialistic; that was self-defense; Eastern Europe was a highway twice used by the West to invade; tens of millions of Russians killed or wounded.)
Since the end of the Cold War the United States has been surrounding Russia, building one base after another, ceaselessly looking for new ones, including in Ukraine; one missile site after another, with Moscow in range; NATO has grabbed one former Soviet Republic after another. The White House, and the unquestioning American mainstream media, have assured us that such operations have nothing to do with Russia. And Russia has been told the same, much to Moscow’s continuous skepticism. “Look,” said Russian president Vladimir Putin about NATO some years ago, “is this is a military organization? Yes, it’s military. … Is it moving towards our border? It’s moving towards our border. Why?”
The Holy Triumvirate would love to rip Ukraine from the Moscow bosom, evict the Russian Black Sea Fleet, and establish a US military and/or NATO presence on Russia’s border. (In case you were wondering what prompted the Russian military action.) Kiev’s membership in the EU would then not be far off; after which the country could embrace the joys of neo-conservatism, receiving the benefits of the standard privatization-deregulation-austerity package and join Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain as an impoverished orphan of the family; but no price is too great to pay to for being part of glorious Europe and the West!
The Ukrainian insurgents and their Western-power supporters didn’t care who their Ukrainian allies were in carrying out their coup against President Viktor Yanukovych last month … thugs who set policemen on fire head to toe … all manner of extreme right-wingers, including Chechnyan Islamic militants … a deputy of the ultra-right Svoboda Party, part of the new government, who threatens to rebuild Ukraine’s nukes in three to six months. … the snipers firing on the protestors who apparently were not what they appeared to be – A bugged phone conversation between Urmas Paet, the Estonian foreign minister, and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, reveals Paet saying: “There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition.” … neo-Nazi protestors in Kiev who have openly denounced Jews, hoisting a banner honoring Stepan Bandera, the infamous Ukrainian nationalist who collaborated with the German Nazis during World War II and whose militias participated in atrocities against Jews and Poles.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on February 24 that Ukrainian Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman advised “Kiev’s Jews to leave the city and even the country.” Edward Dolinsky, head of an umbrella organization of Ukrainian Jews, described the situation for Ukrainian Jews as “dire” and requested Israel’s help.
All in all a questionable gang of allies for a dubious cause; reminiscent of the Kosovo Liberation Army thugs Washington put into power for an earlier regime change, and has kept in power since 1999.
The now-famous recorded phone conversation between top US State Department official Victoria Nuland and the US ambassador to the Ukraine, wherein they discuss which Ukrainians would be to Washington’s liking in a new government, and which not, is an example of this regime-change mentality. Nuland’s choice, Arseniy Yatseniuk, emerged as interim prime minister.
The National Endowment for Democracy, an agency created by the Reagan administration in 1983 to promote political action and psychological warfare against states not in love with US foreign policy, is Washington’s foremost non-military tool for effecting regime change. The NED website lists 65 projects that it has supported financially in recent years in Ukraine. The descriptions NED gives to the projects don’t reveal the fact that generally their programs impart the basic philosophy that working people and other citizens are best served under a system of free enterprise, class cooperation, collective bargaining, minimal government intervention in the economy, and opposition to socialism in any shape or form. A free-market economy is equated with democracy, reform, and growth; and the merits of foreign investment in their economy are emphasized.
The idea was that the NED would do somewhat overtly what the CIA had been doing covertly for decades, and thus, hopefully, eliminate the stigma associated with CIA covert activities. Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, declared in 1991: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”
NED, receives virtually all its financing from the US government ($5 billion in total since 1991 ), but it likes to refer to itself as an NGO (Non-governmental organization) because this helps to maintain a certain credibility abroad that an official US government agency might not have. But NGO is the wrong category. NED is a GO. Its long-time intervention in Ukraine is as supra-legal as the Russian military deployment there. Journalist Robert Parry has observed:
For NED and American neocons, Yanukovych’s electoral legitimacy lasted only as long as he accepted European demands for new “trade agreements” and stern economic “reforms” required by the International Monetary Fund. When Yanukovych was negotiating those pacts, he won praise, but when he judged the price too high for Ukraine and opted for a more generous deal from Russia, he immediately became a target for “regime change.”
Thus, we have to ask, as Mr. Putin asked – “Why?” Why has NED been funding 65 projects in one foreign country? Why were Washington officials grooming a replacement for President Yanukovych, legally and democratically elected in 2010, who, in the face of protests, moved elections up so he could have been voted out of office – not thrown out by a mob? Yanukovych made repeated important concessions, including amnesty for those arrested and offering, on January 25, to make two of his adversaries prime minister and deputy prime minister; all to no avail; key elements of the protestors, and those behind them, wanted their putsch.
Carl Gershman, president of NED, wrote last September that “Ukraine is the biggest prize”. The man knows whereof he speaks. He has presided over NED since its beginning, overseeing the Rose Revolution in Georgia (2003), the Orange Revolution in Ukraine (2004), the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon (2005), the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan (2005), the Green Revolution in Iran (2009), and now Ukraine once again. It’s as if the Cold War never ended.
The current unbridled animosity of the American media toward Putin also reflects an old practice. The United States is so accustomed to world leaders holding their tongue and not voicing criticism of Washington’s policies appropriate to the criminality of those policies, that when a Vladimir Putin comes along and expresses even a relatively mild condemnation he is labeled Public Enemy Number One and his words are accordingly ridiculed or ignored.
On March 2 US Secretary of State John Kerry condemned Russia’s “incredible act of aggression” in Ukraine (Crimea) and threatened economic sanctions. “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text.”
Iraq was in the 21st century. Senator John Kerry voted for it. Hypocrisy of this magnitude has to be respected.
POSTSCRIPT: Ukraine’s interim prime minister announced March 7 that he has invited the NATO Council to hold a meeting in Kiev over the recent developments in the country. “I invited the North Atlantic Council to visit Kiev and hold a meeting there,” Arseny Yatsenyuk said during a visit to Brussels, where he met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and EU officials. “We believe that it will strengthen our cooperation.”
- Guardian Weekly (London), June 27, 2001
- RT television (RT.com, Moscow/Washington, DC), March 1, 2014
- Deputy Mikhail Golovko, RT, March 1, 2014
- RT, March 5, 2014, “The EU’s Ukraine policy and moral bankruptcy”; the phone conversation is believed to have taken place February 26.
- NED 2012 Annual Report
- Washington Post, September 22, 1991
- Victoria Nuland, speaking at the National Press Club, Washington, DC, December 13, 2013
- Washington Post, September 26, 2013
- “Face the Nation”, CBS, March 2, 2014
I just finished reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “David and Goliath” — wherein Gladwell says that, in the course of any human interaction, there will always be a graphic curve of diminishing returns when it comes to maximizing the use of force in order to achieve one’s goals.
In other words, always punching other people’s lights out in order to get your own way can very quickly become counterproductive. Good grief, I think that Gladwell might be onto something here.
If the maximum use of force in order to obtain one’s goals had been successful in Iraq (and assuming that said goals were to depose a dictator and not just to create chaos and steal oil), then the Bush-led invasion would never have been such a dismal failure and there never would have been such a disastrous resistance war there — one that still keeps rolling right along to this day. So much for Shock and Awe.
If maximum use of force really worked, then Europe would still be saluting Hitler.
Slavery would still be on the books in Georgia and Alabama because of all those happy slaves it created. Or, alternatively, segregation would still be a huge success and MLK would have had no effect at all on it.
Descendants of Genghis Khan would still be running Russia and China.
There would be no Child Protective Services anywhere and parents would still be beating their kids to within an inch of their lives. And I would still be lovingly obeying my mean older sister.
Women would look forward to being placed in harems and having a dozen babies each and would never demand the right to be pro-choice. “Barefoot and pregnant.” They would know their place as slaves to their husbands and not strive for anything else. Rape would not be a problem for women and girls.
Those viscous stormtroopers who illegally seized control of Palestine 65 years ago by ruthlessly wiping out hundreds of villages and slaughtering Christians and Muslims by the thousands? They would not still be getting resistance from the Occupied Territories even now. And the current Israeli neo-cons’ constant brutal “eye for an eye” faux cleverness wouldn’t have forced Al Qaeda out of the remote caves of Afghanistan where it was holed up in 2001 — and forced it into not-so-remote southern Syria where Al Qaeda is now, right at Israel’s front door.
And there would not have been 30 years of The Troubles in Northern Ireland either.
And in South America, Pinochet’s ghost would still be running Chile, Argentina’s Dirty War would have made Henry Kissinger proud, the billions Reagan spent on killing peasants in Guatemala would not have been wasted, Batista’s grandson (not Castro’s brother) would still be ruling Cuba and all those tin-pot dictators that the CIA supported in Central and South America over the years would be in Heaven right now — not in Hell. And phrases like “Banana Republic” and “Military Junta” and “Drug Cartel” would all stir our hearts with pride instead of just making us queasy.
The Soviet Union would still exist — and Afghans and Chechyans would just love being a part of it. People there would stop praising Tolstoy, Tchaikovsky and Baryshnikov and start even more fan clubs for Stalin.
We would have “Fascism” and “Corporatism” engraved on our dimes now instead of just that stupid old word “Liberty”. And “Mein Kampf” — not “Romeo and Juliette” — would be required reading in all American high schools.
All seven billion of us human beings, when we were babies, would have been spanked every time we cried, been locked in closets for days for the slightest infraction and would have thrived on harsh whippings — and that would have been that. And as a result we would all have grown up to become obedient citizens, not axe-murdering psychopaths.
Jesus would have been just another loser with wild ideas. Even Mohammed and the Buddha would have been buked and scorned (and sent to bed without any Last Supper). http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Everyone in America would be happily welcoming the NSA and the militarization of our police forces with open arms right now. More tanks driving down Main Street? More surveillance on our phones? More destruction of our Constitutional rights? Bring it on!
And Baby Doc and his Bon Ton Macoute would still be running Haiti and Jean-Bertrand Aristide would have been laughed out of the country instead of becoming a hero almost as legendary as Toussaint L’Ouverture.
So why don’t whips and chains and oppression and torture work out so well in the long run? One would think that they would. Isn’t Fear the greatest motivator? According to Gladwell, apparently not.
And why is “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” still such a hot item? You tell me. Which way would you prefer to be treated? As a friend or as a slave? Which way of being treated would piss you off to the degree that you would take torches and pitchforks in hand rather than live under a tyrant?
“When also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers; and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which He had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord’s anger…they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths.” Judges 2:10-13
In his book “New Evangelicalism: the New World Order,” Paul Smith, the younger brother of Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel, reports that the second generation sons of faithful evangelicals and evangelical pastors are going astray. Among those who have already done so are Daniel Fuller, Frank Schaeffer, Rick Warren, and Chuck Smith Jr. (p. 177)
“New” evangelicals are traveling the broad smooth road to compromise, syncretism, universalism and evolutionary pantheism taken years ago by mainline Protestantism. Already some apostate evangelicals have embraced and are teaching pantheist conceptions of Jesus Christ.
In the “The Christ of the New Age Movement,” Ron Rhodes notes that apostate evangelical, now New Age theologian David Spangler defines Christ as a cosmic principle:
“Any old Christ will not do, not if we need to show that we have something better than the mainstream Christian traditions. It must be a cosmic Christ, a universal Christ, a New Age Christ.” The Christ is not so much a religious figure, “but rather a cosmic principle, a spiritual presence whose quality infuses and appears in various ways in all the religions and philosophies that uplift humanity and seek unity with spirit.” (“The Christ of the New Age Movement: Part One in a Two-Part Series on New Age Christology,” cited in “A Quantum Cosmic Christ,” Herescope BlogSpot, June 2012)
The cosmic Christ is the Omega refashioned. The Omega is the Hermetic Hindu-pantheist divine One Substance featured by apostate Catholic theologian Teilhard de Chardin in his New Religion and now by Leonard Sweet in his Quantum Spirituality.
Leonard Sweet, preacher, scholar, and ordained United Methodist clergyman teaches a version of de Chardin’s New Religion that he calls Quantum Spirituality. Sweet has remolded Omega as an embodiment of God in process of evolving within the substance of creation:
“Quantum spirituality bonds us to all creation as well as to other members of the human family…. This entails a radical doctrine of embodiment of God in the very substance of creation…. But a spirituality that is not in some way entheistic (whether pan- or trans-), that does not extend to the spirit-matter of the cosmos, is not Christian.” (ibid, Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality: A Postmodern Apologetic “)
The fall of the Christian Church is not limited to the Evangelical Church but rather the disaster is manifest over the entire denominational spectrum from the Presbyterian Church USA, which has lost hundreds of churches in the last few years, to the Episcopal and Catholic denominations.
In “Tidings of Discomfort and Joy,” Jamie Dean describes a scorched earth policy being conducted by the apostate Episcopal Church against faithful Anglicans leaving the TEC:
“TEC leaders have fought dozens of court battles to force congregations leaving the denomination to forfeit the buildings they, their parents, and their grandparents paid for.” (Jamie Dean, World Magazine, Dec. 28, 2013)
Phil Ashey of the American Anglican Council, an advocacy group for parishes and dioceses leaving the TEC, says these conflicts are a kind of “first fruits” of what faithful Christians outside TEC could face in coming years.
Since the TEC consecrated openly homosexual Gene Robinson as its first ’gay’ bishop a decade ago, hundreds of churches have fled the denomination. Departing churches emphasize TEC’s approval of open homosexuality as an outgrowth of deeper doctrinal problems: TEC leadership has questioned the authority of Scripture for decades.
Under Katherine Jefferts Schori, the first female presiding bishop, the scorched earth policy has reached new heights. The apostate Schori said this is because,
“Bad behavior must be confronted.” (ibid)
Schori preaches a brand of evolutionary pantheism while masquerading as a Christian bishop. As she mocks the crucial doctrines of the Christian faith, including the God of creation, the Incarnation, and the Trinity, she calls on Christians to boldly cross the frontier to become God while she taunts the Lord by use of the name Big Man,
“… and then points her finger at everyone listening and tells them that they have “missed the boat.” Jefferts Schori then proclaims that she has the answer for this. We all need the “act of crossing boundaries” to become God after which our hands become a “sacrament of mission.” In this way Schori continues “her mission of destroying the Christian faith through her rhetorical device of dismissive ridicule. (The False Theology of Episcopalian Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori,” Sarah Frances Ives, PhD, VirtueOnline, Wednesday, July 11, 2012)
Within the Catholic Church losses have also been devastating, said Patrick Buchanan:
“…Catholic losses have been staggering (and) Catholics who remain in the Church are not nearly as firm in the faith or devout as their parents were. The institutional shrinkage mirrors a spreading disbelief in doctrines that define the faith. Millions of Catholic children are being taught their faith by heretics.” (Suicide of a Super Power: Will America Survive to 2025? pp. 91-93)
Evolutionary pantheism quietly infiltrated the Catholic Church years ago. Bishop Fulton J. Sheen identifies the infamous heretic Teilhard de Chardin as the main villain:
“As one looks at the various trends in our day, one sees that Teilhard’s conception of spirituality is in the forefront. He knew that he had to pass through many hazards, but he was directed principally to the cosmic world…..His fundamental orientation was “to attain heaven through the fulfillment of earth. Christify matter.” (Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, Footprints In A Darkened Forest, p. 73)
By any name, Quantum Spirituality, Evolutionary Christianity, Schori’s brand of evolutionary pantheism or Teilhard’s New Religion, all are a synthesis of heresies whose primary doctrine is evolution.
Dr. R. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, describes our age as marked by so much spiritual and theological confusion that the God of the Bible has largely disappeared from view and been replaced by,
“…less imposing deities that are more amenable to the modern mind.” (The Disappearance of God, Mohler, p. xiii)
We are witnessing the secularization, paganization and evaporation of orthodox Biblical theism to which must be added rebellion against every vestige of authority, an inversion of history caused by evolutionary thinking, the privatization of truth and,
“…..the fact that millions of Americans claim a divine right to their own spiritual cocoon and belief system.” Americans, “now lay claim to their ‘own personal Jesus.’ This personal vision of Jesus Christ may well bear little or no resemblance to Jesus as He is revealed in the Bible.” (xiii)
We are on the very brink of an anti-orthodox Christian mentality empowered and promoted by America’s apostate paganized ‘church.’ This development is approved and applauded by America’s cultural elites. For a long time our ‘highly evolved’ cultural elites–political, legal, judicial, academic, scientific, entertainment, education—have been not only been largely post-Christian in their mentality but openly hostile:
“NBC’s sitcom “The New Normal” isn’t just trying to remake society for the Gay Left. It’s trying to remake Christianity, which is to say, destroy it.” (Brent Bozell, “The New Normal Christianity?” Townhall.com, Oct 26, 2012)
Paganized, post-Christian, sexually emancipated America is in a very advanced state of moral decay. Years ago when its’ decay was not as advanced, Pitirim Sorokin even then compared it with the morally depraved, sexually decadent social conditions in the Old Kingdom of Egypt 4,500 years ago just prior to its collapse. In his book, “The American Sex Revolution,” Sorokin reported that in the Old Kingdom:
“Sexual anarchy assumed extreme forms and spread through a large part of the population. Side by side with an increase of sexual perversions, a shameless sexual promiscuity also greatly increased. They seduced members of the same family. Relations between father and daughter…..son and mother…….Adultery, rape……prostitution greatly increased………homosexual love entered the mores of the population……all the aberrations of morbid eroticism……..unnatural relations, flagellations, and sodomy.” (p. 93)
When sodomy becomes not just socially acceptable to a people but is rather a cause for celebration then collapse cannot be far behind:
“The Southern Decadence Festival is one of our nation’s most notorious celebrations of sodomy, public sex acts, prostitution, drunkenness, and worse, but is by no means the only such festival. According to this year’s Autumn Gay Pride Calendar, decadence festivals are held over and across post-Christian America and Western Europe as well as in Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, Thailand, Brazil, Belarus, Ireland, Japan, Scotland, China, S. Africa, India and Taipei. (“Sex slaves, sexual anarchy and decadence festivals: ominous signs of something really rotten,” L. Kimball, Renew America, Oct. 25, 2012)
One of the central realities of America’s moral decay was the dawning of a post-Christian culture now rapidly transitioning into an anti-orthodox Christian society.
The anti-orthodox Christian consciousness is now well developed. Tolerance is perverted into a radical secularism that is wholly open to ‘gay’ marriage and sodomy, abortion as legalized ‘choice,’ perverse sex education for children, occult practices, Satanism, sorcery, Wicca, magic, nudity, pornography and Decadence Festivals but intolerant of God’s Authority, Moral Law and sexual ethics. The post-Christian mind is closed to the eternally unchanging higher truths of God but completely open to the idea that truth has no objective or absolute basis whatsoever. Indeed, the postmodern mind has a fanatical dedication to moral relativism, love of self, pleasure, and its own personal Jesus idols and gods, be they evolution-gods, science-gods, mystical passion-gods, Omegas, gods-of-reason or something else.
We are living in an age of deep and undeniable breakdown, an age of darkness and spreading evil where moral constraints and restraints have been thrown off in the name of a liberation that does not emancipate but enslave. Our increasingly bizarre age is marked by a fundamental failure of conviction in unison with deepening corruption and lawlessness characterized by pathological lying, hard-edged egotism and warped, distorted personalities; but then Scripture has told us that sinners love darkness rather than the light.
Something is happening to the consciousness of this age. A counter-conversion of consciousness is closing the soul to Jesus Christ while opening it to powers of darkness. If we listen closely said Albert Mohler, we can hear something,
“….like the closing of a steel door—a solemn, cataclysmic slamming of a door.” (p. 166)
No matter how much discomfort and suffering it causes us we nevertheless need to “wake up” and “see” and “comprehend” these developments in order to understand the challenges we are already facing and the those yet to come. We are in a time of shaking, and there is far worse to come. We are about to see what remains and what falls. There is a sense, said Dr. Mohler, that we are waiting for a signal for something to tell us which way we are going to go,
“Something is happening and about to happen. The landscape is changing, the skies are darkening—and this is something we know with a spiritual perception, a spiritual sense, a spiritual urgency. Something is happening that we as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ should see and understand. For we cannot say that we were not warned.” (pp. 158, 164, 166)
The events in Volgograd are part of a much larger body of events and a multi-faceted struggle that has been going on for decades as part of a cold war after the Cold War—the post-Cold War cold war, if you please—that was a result of two predominately Eurocentric world wars. When George Orwell wrote his book 1984 and talked about a perpetual war between the fictional entities of Oceania and Eurasia, he may have had a general idea about the current events that are going on in mind or he may have just been thinking of the struggle between the Soviet Union and, surrounded by two great oceans, the United States of America.
So what does Volgograd have to do with the dizzying notion presented? Firstly, it is not schizophrenic to tie the events in Volgograd to either the conflict in the North Caucasus and to the fighting in Syria or to tie Syria to the decades of fighting in the post-Soviet North Caucasus. The fighting in Syria and the North Caucuses are part of a broader struggle for the mastery over Eurasia. The conflicts in the Middle East are part of this very grand narrative, which to many seems to be so far from the reality of day to day life.
“Bandar Bush” goes to Mother Russia
For the purposes of supporting such an assertion we will have to start with the not-so-secret visit of a shadowy Saudi regime official to Moscow. Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the infamous Saudi terrorist kingpin and former House of Saud envoy to Washington turned intelligence guru, last visited the Russian Federation in early-December 2013. Bandar bin Sultan was sent by King Abdullah to solicit the Russian government into abandoning the Syrians. The goal of Prince Bandar was to make a deal with the Kremlin to let Damascus be overtaken by the Saudi-supported brigades that were besieging the Syrian government forces from Syria’s countryside and border regions since 2011. Bandar met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the two held closed-door discussions about both Syria and Iran at Putin’s official residence in Novo-Ogaryovo.
The last meeting that Bandar had with Putin was a few months earlier in July 2013. That meeting was also held in Russia. The July talks between Prince Bandar and President Putin also included Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, the head of the Security Council of the Russian Federation. One would also imagine that discussion about the Iranians increased with each visit too, as Bandar certainly tried to get the Russians on bad terms with their Iranian allies.
After Bandar’s first meeting with President Putin, it was widely reported that the House of Saud wanted to buy Russia off. Agence France-Presse and Reuters both cited the unnamed diplomats of the Arab petro-monarchies, their March 14 lackeys in Lebanon, and their Syrian opposition puppets as saying that Saudi Arabia offered to sign a lucrative arms contract with Moscow and give the Kremlin a guarantee that the Arab petro-sheikdoms would not threaten the Russian gas market in Europe or use Syria for a gas pipeline to Europe.
Russia knew better than to do business with the House of Saud. It had been offered a lucrative arms deal by the Saudi regime much earlier, in 2008, to make some backdoor compromises at the expense of Iran. After the compromises were made by Moscow the House of Saud put the deal on ice. If the media leaks in AFP and Reuters were not tactics or lies in the first place aimed at creating tensions between the Syrian and Russian governments, the purportedly extravagant bribes to betray Syria were wasted on the ears of Russian officials.
The House of Saud and the undemocratic club of Arab petro-monarchies that form the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have always talked large about money. The actions of these self portrayed lords of the Arabia Peninsula have almost never matched their words and promises. To anyone who deals with them, the House of Saud and company are known for habitually making grand promises that they will never keep, especially when it comes to money. Even when money is delivered, the full amount committed is never given and much of it is stolen by their corrupt partners and cronies. Whether it is the unfulfilled 2008 arms contract with Russia that was facilitated with the involvement of Iraqi former CIA asset Iyad Allawi or the overabundant commitments of financial and logistical aid to the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples that never materialized, the Arab petro-sheikhdoms have never done more than talk grandly and then get their propagandist to write articles about their generosity and splendor. Underneath all the grandeur and sparkles there has always been bankruptcy, insecurity, and emptiness.
A week after the first meeting with Bandar, the Kremlin responded to the media buzz about the attempted bribe by Saudi Arabia. Yury Ushakov, one of Putin’s top aides and the former Russian ambassador to the US, categorically rejected the notion that any deal was accepted or even entertained by the Kremlin. Ushakov avowed that not even bilateral cooperation was discussed between the Saudis and Russia. According to the Kremlin official, the talks between Bandar and Putin were simply about the policies of Moscow and Riyadh on Syria and the second international peace conference being planned about Syria in Geneva, Switzerland.
More Leaks: Fighting Fire with Fire?
If his objective was to get the Russians to abandon Syria, Prince Bandar left both meetings in Russia empty-handed. Nevertheless, his visit left a trail of unverifiable reports and speculation. Discretion is always needed when analyzing these accounts which are part of the information war about Syria being waged on all sides by the media. The planted story from the Saudi side about trying to buy the Russians was not the only account of what took place in the Russian-Saudi talks. There was also a purported diplomatic leak which most likely surfaced as a counter-move to the planted story about Bandar’s proposal. This leak elaborated even further on the meeting between Bandar and Putin. Threats were made according to the second leak that was published in Arabic by the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir on August 21, 2013.
According to the Lebanese newspaper, not only did Prince Bandar tell the Russians during their first July meeting that the regimes of the GCC would not threaten the Russian gas monopoly in Europe, but he made promises to the Russians that they could keep their naval facility on the Mediterranean coast of Syria and that he would give the House of Saud’s guarantee to protect the 2014 Winter Olympics being held in the North Caucasian resort city of Sochi, on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, from the Chechen separatist militias under Saudi control. If Moscow cooperated with Riyadh and Washington against Damascus, the leak discloses that Bandar also stated that the same Chechen militants fighting inside Syria to topple the Syrian government would not be given a role in Syria’s political future.
When the Russians refused to betray their Syrian allies, Prince Bandar then threatened Russia with the cancellation of the second planned peace conference in Geneva and with the unleashing of the military option against the Syrians the leak imparts.
This leak, which presents a veiled Saudi threat about the intended attacks on the Winter Olympics in Sochi, led to a frenzy of speculations internationally until the end of August 2013, amid the high tensions arising from the US threats to attack Syria and the threats coming from Iran to intervene on the side of their Syrians allies against the United States. Originating from the same politically affiliated media circle in Lebanon, reports about Russian military preparations to attack Saudi Arabia in response to a war against Syria began to circulate from the newspaper Al-Ahed also, further fueling the chain of speculations.
A House of Saud Spin on the Neo-Con “Redirection”
Seymour Hersh wrote in 2007 that after the 2006 defeat of Israel in Lebanon that the US government had a new strategy called the “redirection.” According to Hersh, the “redirection” had “brought the United States closer to an open confrontation with Iran and, in parts of the region, propelled it into a widening sectarian conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.” With the cooperation of Saudi Arabia and all the same players that helped launch Osama bin Ladin’s career in Afghanistan, the US government took “part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria.” The most important thing to note is what Hersh says next: “A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”
A new House of Saud spin on the “redirection” has begun. If there is anything the House of Saud knows well, it is rounding up fanatics as tools at the service of Saudi Arabia’s patrons in Washington. They did it in Afghanistan, they did it Bosnia, they have done it in Russia’s North Caucasus, they did it in Libya, and they are doing it in both Lebanon and Syria. It does not take the British newspaperThe Independent to publish an article titled “Mass murder in the Middle East is funded by our friends the Saudis” for the well-informed to realize this.
The terrorist bombings in Lebanon mark a new phase of the conflict in Syria, which is aimed at forcing Hezbollah to retreat from Syria by fighting in a civil war on its home turf. The attacks are part of the “redirection.” The House of Saud has accented this new phase through its ties to the terrorist attacks on the Iranian Embassy in Beirut on November 19, 2013. The attacks were carried out by individuals linked to the notorious Ahmed Al-Assir who waged a reckless battle against the Lebanese military from the Lebanese city of Sidon as part of an effort to ignite a sectarian civil war in Lebanon.
Al-Assir’s rise, however, was politically and logistically aided by the House of Saud and its shameless Hariri clients in Lebanon. He is also part of the same “redirection” policy and current that brought Fatah Al-Islam to Lebanon. This is why it is no surprise to see Hariri’s Future Party flag flying alongside Al-Qaeda flags in Lebanon. After Al-Assir’s failed attempt to start a sectarian Lebanese civil war, he went into hiding and it was even alleged that he was taken in by one of the GCC embassies.
In regard to the House of Saud’s roles in the bombings in Lebanon, Hezbollah would confirm that the attack on the Iranian Embassy in Beirut was linked to the House of Saud. Hezbollah’s leadership would report that the Abdullah Izzam Brigade, which is affiliated to Al-Qaeda and tied to the bombings, is directly linked to the intelligence services of Saudi Arabia.
Moreover, the Saudi agent, Majed Al-Majed, responsible for the attack would be apprehended by Lebanese security forces in late-December 2013. He had entered Lebanon after working with Al-Nusra in Syria. Fars News Agency, an Iranian media outlet, would report on January 2, 2014 that unnamed Lebanese sources had also confirmed that they had discovered that the attack was linked to Prince Bandar.
Wrath of the House of Saud Unleashed?
A lot changed between the first and second meetings that Prince Bandar and Vladimir Putin had, respectively in July 2013 and December 2013. The House of Saud expected its US patron to get the Pentagon involved in a conventional bombing campaign against Syria in the month of September. It is more than likely that Riyadh was in the dark about the nature of secret negotiations that the US and Iran were holding through the backchannel of Oman in the backdrop of what appeared to be an escalation towards open war.
Bandar’s threat to reassess the House of Saud’s ties with Washington is probably a direct result of the US government keeping the House of Saud in the dark about using Syria as a means of negotiating with the Iranian government. US officials may have instigated the House of Saud to intensify its offensive against Syria to catalyze the Iranians into making a deal to avoid an attack on Syria and a regional war. Moreover, not only did the situation between the US and Iran change, Russia would eventually sign an important energy contract for Syrian natural gas in the Mediterranean Sea. The House of Saud has been undermined heavily in multiple ways and it is beginning to assess its own expendability.
If one scratches deep enough, they will find that the same ilk that attacked the Iranian Embassy in Beirut also attacked the Russian Embassy in Damascus. Both terrorist attacks were gifts to Iran and Russia, which served as reprisals for the Iranian and Russian roles in protecting Syria from regime change and a destructive war. It should, however, be discerned if the House of Saud is genuinely lashing out at Iran and Russia or if it being manipulated to further the goals of Washington in the US negotiations with Tehran, Moscow, and Damascus.
In the same manner, the House of Saud wants to generously reward Hezbollah too for its role in protecting Syria by crippling Hezbollah domestically in Lebanon. Riyadh may possibly not want a full scale war in Lebanon like the Israelis do, but it does want to neutralize and eliminate Hezbollah from the Lebanese landscape. In this regard, Saudi Arabia has earnestly been scheming to recruit Lebanon’s President Michel Suleiman and the Lebanese military against Hezbollah and its supporters.
The Saud grant of three billion dollars to the Lebanese Armed Forces is not only blood money being given to Lebanon as a means of exonerating Saudi Arabia for its role in the terrorist bombings that have gripped the Lebanese Republic since 2013, the Saudi money is also aimed at wishfully restructuring the Lebanese military as a means of using it to neutralize Hezbollah. In line with the House of Saud’s efforts, pledges from the United Arab Emirates and reports that NATO countries are also planning on donating money and arms to the Lebanese military started.
In addition to the terrorists bombings in Lebanon and the attack on the Russian Embassy in Damascus, Russia has also been attacked. Since the Syrian conflict intensified there has been a flaring of tensions in Russia’s North Caucasus and a breakout of terrorist attacks. Russian Muslim clerics, known for their views on co-existence between Russia’s Christian and Muslim communities and anti-separatist views, have been murdered. The bombings in Volgograd are just the most recent cases and an expansion into the Volga of what is happening in the North Caucasus, but they come disturbingly close to the start of the Winter Olympics that Prince Bandar was saying would be “protected” if Moscow betrayed Syria.
Can the House of Saud Stand on its Own Feet?
It is a widely believed that you will find the US and Israelis pulling a lot of the strings if you look behind the dealings of the House of Saud. That view is being somewhat challenged now. Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UK, threatened that Saudi Arabia will go it alone against Syria and Iran in a December 2013 article. The letter, like the Saudi rejection of their UN Security Council seat, was airing the House of Saud’s rage against the realists running US foreign policy.
In this same context, it should also be noted for those that think that Saudi Arabia has zero freedom of action that Israeli leaders have stressed for many years that Tel Aviv needs to cooperate secretly with Saudi Arabia to manipulate the US against Iran. This is epitomized by the words of Israeli Brigadier-General Oded Tira: “We must clandestinely cooperate with Saudi Arabia so that it also persuades the US to strike Iran.”
Along similar lines, some may point out that together the House of Saud and Israel got France to delay an interim nuclear agreement between the Iranians and the P5+1 in Geneva. The House of Saud rewarded Paris through lucrative deals, which includes making sure that the grant it gives to the Lebanese military is spent on French military hardware. Saad Hariri, the main Saudi client in Lebanon, even met Francois Hollande and French officials in Saudi Arabia in context of the deal. Appeasing the House of Saud and Israel, French President Hollande has replicated France’s stonewalling of the P5+1 interim nuclear deal with Iran by trying to spoil the second Syria peace conference in Geneva by saying that there can be no political solution inside Syria if President Bashar Al-Assad stays in power.
Again, however, it has to be asked, is enraging Saudi Arabia part of a US strategy to make the Saudis exert maximum pressure on Tehran, Moscow, and Damascus so that the United States can optimize its gains in negotiations? After all, it did turn out that the US was in league with France in Geneva and that the US used the French stonewalling of an agreement with Iran to make additional demands from the Iranians during the negotiations. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov revealed that the US negotiation team had actually circulated a draft agreement that had been amended in response to France’s demands before Iran and the other world powers even had a chance to study them. The draft by the US team was passed around, in Foreign Minister Lavrov’s own words, “literally at the last moment, when we were about to leave Geneva.”
Instead of debating on the level of independence that the House of Saud possesses, it is important to ask if Saudi Arabia can act on its own and to what degree can the House of Saud act as an independent actor. This looks like a far easier question to answer. It is highly unlikely that Saudi Arabia can act on its own in most instances or even remain an intact state. This is why Israeli strategists very clearly state that Saudi Arabia is destined to fall apart. “The entire Arabian Peninsula is a natural candidate for dissolution due to internal and external pressures, and the matter is inevitable especially in Saudi Arabia,” the Israeli Yinon Plan deems. Strategists in Washington are also aware of this and this is also why they have replicated models of a fragmented Saudi Arabia. This gives rise to another important question: if they US assess that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not a sustainable entity, will it use it until the burns out like a flame? Is this what is happening and is Saudi Arabia being sacrificed or setup to take the blame as the “fall guy” by the United States?
Who is Hiding Behind the House of Saud?
Looking back at Lebanon, the messages from international media outlets via their headlines is that the bombings in Lebanon highlight or reflect a power struggle between the House of Saud and Tehran in Lebanon and the rest of the region. Saying nothing about the major roles of the US, Israel, and their European allies, these misleading reports by the likes of journalists like Anne Barnard casually blame everything in Syria and Lebanon on a rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran, erasing the entire history behind what has happened and casually sweeping all the interests behind the conflict(s) under the rug. This is dishonest and painting a twisted Orientalist narrative.
The outlets trying to make it sound like all the Middle East’s problems are gravitating around some sort of Iranian and Saudi rivalry might as well write that “the Saudis and Iranians are the sources behind the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the sources behind the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq that crippled the most advanced Arab country, the ones that are blockading medication from reaching Gaza due to their rivalry, the ones who enforced a no-fly zone over Libya, the ones that are launching killer drone attacks on Yemen, and the ones that are responsible for the billions of dollars that disappeared from the Iraqi Treasury in 2003 after Washington and London invaded that country and controlled its finances.” These outlets and reports are tacitly washing the hands of actors like Washington, Tel Aviv, Paris, and London clean of blood by trying to construct a series of false narratives that either blame everything on a regional rivalry between Tehran and Riyadh or the premise that the Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims are fighting an eternal war that they are biologically programmed to wage against one another.
Arabs and Iranians and Shias and Sunnis are tacitly painted as un-human creatures that cannot be understood and savages to audiences. The New York Times even dishonestly implies that the Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims in Lebanon are killing one another in tit-for-tat attacks. It sneakily implies that Hezbollah and its Lebanese rivals are assassinating one another. Bernard, its reporter in Lebanon who was mentioned earlier, along with another colleague write:
In what have been seen as tit-for-tat attacks, car bombs have targeted Hezbollah-dominated neighborhoods in the southern suburbs of Beirut and Sunni mosques in the northern city of Tripoli.
On Friday, a powerful car bomb killed Mohamad B. Chatah, a former Lebanese finance minister who was a major figure in the Future bloc, a political group that is Hezbollah’s main Sunni rival.
The New York Times is cunningly trying to make its readers think that Hezbollah was responsible for the bombing as part of a Shiite-Sunni sectarian conflict by concluding with an explanation that the slain former Lebanese finance minister belonged to “Hezbollah’s main Sunni rival” after saying that the bombings in Lebanon “have been seen as tit-for-tat attacks” between the areas that support Hezbollah and “Sunni mosques” in Tripoli
The US and Israel wish that a Shiite-Sunni sectarian conflict was occurring in Lebanon and the rest of the Middle East. They have been working for this. It has been them that have been manipulating Saudi Arabia to instigate sectarianism. The US and Israel have been prodding the House of Saud—which does not represent the Sunni Muslims, let alone the people of Saudi Arabia which are under its occupation—against Iran, all the while trying to conceal and justify the conflict being instigated as some sort of “natural” rivalry between Shiites and Sunnis that is being played out across the Middle East.
It has been assessed with high confidence by outsiders concerned by the House of Saud’s inner dealings that Prince Bandar is one of the three Al-Saud princes managing Saudi Arabia’s security and foreign policy; the other two being Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the Saudi deputy foreign minister and one of King Abdullah’s point men on Syria due to his ties to Syria from his maternal side, and Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the interior minister. All three of them are tied to the United States more than any of their predecessors. Prince Bandar himself has a long history of working closely with the United States, which explains the endearing moniker of “Bandar Bush” that he is widely called by. “Chemical Bandar” can be added to the list too, because of the reports about his ties to the Syrian chemical weapon attacks in Ghouta.
As a US client, Saudi Arabia is a source of instability because it has been conditioned hence by Washington. Fighting the terrorist and extremist threat is now being used by the US as a point of convergence with Iran, which coincidently has authored the World Against Violence and Extremism (WAVE) motion at the United Nations. In reality, the author of the regional problems and instability has been Washington itself. In a masterstroke, the realists now at the helm of foreign policy are pushing American-Iranian rapprochement on the basis of what Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national security advisor of the US, said would be based on Tehran and Washington working together to secure Iran’s “volatile regional environment.” “Any eventual reconciliation [between the US and Iranian governments] should be based on the recognition of a mutual strategic interest in stabilizing what currently is a very volatile regional environment for Iran,” he explains. The point should not be lost either that Brzezinski is the man who worked with the Saudis to arm the Afghan Mujahedeen against the Soviets after he organized an intelligence operation to fool the Soviets into militarily entering Afghanistan in the first place.
The House of Saud did not work alone in Afghanistan during the Cold War either. It was rigorously backed by Washington. The United States was even more involved in the fighting. It is the same in Syria. If the diplomatic leak is to be believed about the meeting between Bandar and Putin, it is of merit to note that “Bandar Bush” told Putin that any “Saudi-Russian understanding” would also be part of an “American-Russian understanding.”
Has the “Redirection” Seen its Stalingrad?
Volgograd was called Stalingrad for a part of Soviet history, in honour of the Republic of Georgia’s most famous son and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. It was Volgograd, back then called Stalingrad, where the Germans were stopped and the tide of war in Europe was turned against Hitler and his Axis allies in Europe. The Battle of Stalingrad was where the Nazis were defeated and it was in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe where the bulk of the fighting against the Germans was conducted. Nor is it any exaggeration to credit the Soviets—Russian, Kazakh, Uzbek, Tajik, Tartar, Georgian, Armenian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Chechen, and all—for doing most of the fighting to defeat the Germans in the Second World War.
Judging by the bellicose 2013 New Years Eve speech of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the terrorist attacks in Volgograd will be the start of another Battle of Stalingrad of some sorts and the launch of another Russian “war on terror.” Many of the terrorists that Russia will go after are in Syria and supported by the House of Saud.
The opponents of the Resistance Bloc that Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and the Palestinian resistance groups form have called the battlefields in Syria the Stalingrad of Iran and its regional allies. Syria has been a Stalingrad of some sorts too, but not for the Resistance Bloc. The alliance formed by the US, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and Israel has begun to unravel in its efforts to enforce regime change in Syria. The last few years have marked the beginning of a humiliating defeat for those funding extremism, separatism, and terrorism against countries like Russia, China, Iran, and Syria as a means of preventing Eurasian cohesion. Another front of this same battle is being politically waged by the US and the EU in the Ukraine in a move to prevent the Ukrainians from integrating with Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan.
Volgograd and the Conquest of Eurasia
While speculation has been entertained with warning in this text, most of what has been explained has not been speculative. The House of Saud has had a role in destabilizing the Russian Federation and organizing terrorist attacks inside Russia. Support or oppose the separatist movements in the North Caucasus, the point is that they have been opportunistically aided and used by the House of Saud and Washington. Despite the authenticity of the narrative about Bandar’s threats against Russia, Volgograd is about Syria and Syria is about Volgograd. Both are events taking place as part of the same struggle. The US has been trying to encroach into Syria as a means of targeting Russia and encroaching deeper in the heart of Eurasia.
When George Orwell wrote 1984 he saw the world divided into several entities at constant or “eternal” war with one another. His fictitious superstates police language, use total surveillance, and utterly manipulate mass communication to indoctrinate and deceive their peoples. Roughly speaking, Orwell’s Oceania is formed by the US and its formal and informal territories in the Western Hemisphere, which the Monroe Doctrine has essentially declared are US colonies, confederated with Britain and the settler colonies-cum-dominions of the former British Empire (Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and South Africa). The Orwellian concept of Eurasia is an amalgamation of the Soviet Union with continental Europe. The entity of Eastasia on the other hand is formed around China. Southeast Asia, India, and the parts of Africa that do not fall under the influence of Oceanic South Africa are disputed territory that is constantly fought for. Although not specifically mentioned, it can be extrapolated that Southwest Asia, where Syria is located, or parts of it are probably part of this fictional disputed territory, which includes North Africa.
If we try to fit Orwellian terms onto the present set of global relations, we can say that Oceania has made its moves against Eurasia/Eastasia for control of disputed territory (in the Middle East and North Africa).
1984 is not just a novel, it is a warning from the farseeing Orwell. Nonetheless, never did he imagine that his Eurasia would make cause with or include Eastasia through a core triple alliance and coalition comprised of Russia, China, and Iran. Eurasia will finish, in one way or another, whatOceania has started. All the while, as the House of Saud and the other rulers of the Arab petro-sheikhdoms continue to compete with one another in building fancy towers, the Sword of Damocles is getting heavier over their heads.
Source: Global Research
Proposed solutions have included greater funding, a longer academic year, national standards, measures to reduce school violence, and educational vouchers. The only proper solution is to completely separate state and school thereby permitting education to be purchased and sold through the free market system. Consumer-financed education must replace tax-based funding of education. We need to dissolve public schools and replace them with educational businesses. By de-monopolizing public schools, we would raise standards, better motivate teachers and students, allow greater innovation, bring costs down, and meet the particularized needs of our children.
Public education is inconsistent with freedom and responsibility. Public education erodes personal freedom and thus should be replaced with parental choice, competition, and market solutions. Parents are responsible for the education of their children. Under a free market, families would decide which are the best educational vehicles for each of their children.
State schools are based on the assumptions that the government is sovereign in education that people are morally and legally obligated to fund the public school system, and that state schools can, and should, teach neutral values. Government policy imposes strict rules and regulations and a directive to use education to engineer political and social outcomes. Public education is a collectivist welfare program in which people are coerced to participate. Not only is political consensus substituted for private individual decisions, the benefits of public education are not commensurate with its costs and its subsidized prices distort individual decision-making.
In the past, families, religious groups, and private schools dominated education, but today the state is in charge. We need to eliminate state involvement in education.
A person should be free to pay for a child’s education if he wanted to. Today, people are forced to pay for schools imparting ideas that they would not voluntarily support. Freed of their educational tax burden, individuals would have the funds to pay for private education. In addition, competition would raise school quality and would make private education more affordable and available.
Totally separating education from the state means abolishing school taxes and compulsory school attendance. By divorcing education from political power, parents and their children will be free to pursue education the best serves their needs.
History and Philosophy of Public Education
Rousseau, like Plato before him and Mann and Dewey after him, believed in the perfectibility of man provided that he was educated so that he could not want to do evil. According to Rousseau, there exists a “general will” over and above wills of individuals. He taught that there is an intellectual elite who is able to discern the commands of the general will and, because of that knowledge, have the authority to implement those commands. The existence and authority of the general will is the cornerstone of Rousseau’s philosophy of education.
In Emile, Rousseau portrays the ideal education in the story of a child, who, free from the restrictions of an adult’s will, is able to study nature and thus learn what he needs to know. However, Emile has an enlightened tutor, whose purpose is to secretly manufacture the conditions under which nature will teach the student what the tutor wants the student to learn. Through the tutor’s disguised intentions, the student, by equating his own will with the will of his tutor, is conditioned to identity his own will with the general will.
German thinkers from Luther to Fichte to the Prussian monarchs developed theories of compulsory state education. Hegel viewed the state, through which the general will found expression, as the supreme earthly manifestation of the Absolute and as the embodiment of ethics. People found freedom when they recognized the state’s exalted status and accepted the state’s objectives as their own objectives. This view ultimately gave rise to American nationalism and the movement toward universal education.
For the first two hundred years in America, from the early 1600s to the early 1800s, public schools were virtually non-existent. Before the 1830s, education was primarily an informal local activity. Private education in early America included the home, church, Catholic and Protestant schools, charity schools for the poor, apprenticeships, private study, and circulating libraries. With the variety of educational systems available to our forefathers, tax-financed schools did not receive much support. For many years, the only strong advocates of state schools in the U.S. were Boston Unitarians who denied Christian teachings and accepted Rousseau’s ideas that negative behavior was the result of mis-education rather than due to man’s fallen nature.
Although tax-financed common schools existed by the 18305, most parents continued to send their children to private schools. However, the public school agenda of the Unitarians and other elites began to advance with urgency as Catholic immigration, especially from Ireland and Germany, soared in the 18405 and 18505. Protestants began to fear that Catholic immigrants and the poor would become an unassimilated mass.
Horace Mann, a Unitarian lawyer and legislator, had been appointed secretary of the newly created Massachusetts Board of Education in 1837, the first state board of education in the U.S. During his12 years as its head, Mann created a unified system of common schools including teacher-training initiatives and dedication to a Utopian vision of perfecting the moral character of the nation’s youths. Mann was a die-hard Unitarian moralist who perceived the public school as the cure for social ills and exhibited faith in human goodness given the right education and environment. Mann, an admirer of the Prussian approach to public education, said that closing down prisons would be possible, given a generation of schools according to his prescriptions.
Mann’s goal was to establish mechanisms of social control. He advocated a standard curriculum, centralization of public funds, a strongly moral character of instruction, and state leadership in training teachers dedicated to the common school agenda. Mann and his fellow reformers sought to use the state’s authority and resources to impose a single ethos on every school in the name of enlightenment and social unity.
Originally, many Protestants criticized the peculiar religious character of the common public school. Mann’s religion without salvation was attractive to an elite who was confident of its own success and of the country’s inevitable progress. Protestant critics feared that the schools’ espoused non-denominational neutrality was the same as the institution of secularism through the public schools.
However, the large influx of Catholic immigrants who tended to establish their own schools, was thought by many to be a threat to Protestantism. Encouraged by the Unitarians, many Protestants began to embrace the state school concept. Since the establishment of Protestantism as the American national church was impossible due to the nation’s emphasis on religious tolerance, it was thought the public school could perhaps become an acceptable substitute mechanism to control religion. The public school was thus seen by Protestants as a potential mechanism for instilling the true faith.
Mann’s non-denominational approach did incorporate Bible reading (the King James version), daily prayer, and hymns into its activities. Of course, as America became more secularized so did the public schools. Public education in America really began to boom after the Civil War, as government- controlled and funded schools replaced the earlier private education system. The biggest boost for state schools came when states began to enact laws of compulsory attendance.
Catholics felt left out of the public school system. As a consequence, the Catholic parochial school system was established in 1874. Catholics, like the Protestants, Unitarians, and others realized that whoever controls the schools controls the upcoming generation.
By altering and connecting Rousseau’s ideas of an independently existing general will with the principle of majority rule, 19th century American intellectuals thought that the “will of the majority” as interpreted by themselves, provided a unique source of beneficence and wisdom. Education controlled by that “will” would foster the public good.
John Dewey’s progressive model of active learning or pragmatism promoted a revolt against abstract learning and attempted to make education an effective tool for integrating culture and vocation. Dewey was responsible for developing a philosophical approach to education called “experimentalism” which saw education as the basis for democracy. His goal was to turn public schools into indoctrination centers to develop a socialized population that could adapt to an egalitarian state operated by an intellectual elite.
Thinking for Dewey was a collective phenomenon. Disavowing the role of the individual mind in achieving technological and social progress, Dewey promoted the group, rather than the teacher, as the main source of social control in the schools. Denying the ideas of universal principles, natural law, and natural rights, Dewey emphasized social values and taught that life adjustment is more important than academic skills.
Dewey explained that the subject matter and moral lessons in the traditional curricula were meant to teach and inspire but were irrelevant to the students’ immediate action experiences. The contradiction between the students’ real interests and those of the traditional school alienated students from their schoolwork. School-age children were caught between the opposing forces of immature, undeveloped beings and the values, meanings, and aims of subject matter constructed by a mature adult. Dewey believed that students’ energy, talent, and potential could not be realized within the structure of an archaic school system.
Dewey and other members of the Progressive movement wanted a predictable method for providing a common culture and of instilling Americans with democratic values. As a result, by the end of the 19th century, a centrally-controlled, monopolistic, comprehensive, and bureaucratic public education system was deemed to be essential for America’s future.
During the 20th century, the job of public education was expanded to inculcating moral values, providing nutrition and health, protecting children from psychological and physical abuse, and combating crime and delinquency. Later, additional social and political goals such as racial integration, democratic participation, environmental awareness and activism, and social tolerance were added.
The Nature of Public Education
Public schools are coercive political monopolies that are funded through compulsory taxation and that have a captive audience of pupils through mandatory attendance laws. People must pay for the school system even if they do not use public schools or are not satisfied with them. The state uses its coercive taxing power to take money from some, even individuals who do not have children, to fund the education of others. Since most people cannot afford to pay private tuition after bearing their school tax burden the market for private schools is artificially restrained. There would be many more, and a larger variety, of private schools in the absence of a tax-supported system. In fact, the bankruptcy of some private schools can be attributed to unfair competition from the public system.
Decisions are made from the top-down. Small groups of elected or appointed state officials ignore market forces and make decisions regarding teaching methods, curricula, textbooks, class size, teacher qualifications, etc. Public education is designed to serve the state and its ruling elite who endeavor to create a one size fits all education for a population of diverse children.
Public education views children as property of the state, undermines parents’ moral authority and responsibility, and stifles the entrepreneurial spirit. A system of force and compulsion replaces education with indoctrination. Students learn officially approved state doctrine from state-approved teachers using state-approved texts. Public schools promote agendas that conflict with parents’ rights to shape the values and beliefs of their children.
Opponents of free market education believe that only public education can impart the skills, values, knowledge, and attitudes needed for good citizenship. Political correctness and outcome-based education result from public educators’ attempts to socialize the young to make society in their own egalitarian image through the use of compulsory state education. Public education thus tends to be more formative and indoctrinating than it is informative.
Parents have been denied the right to choose the type of education they want for their children. Children do not learn in the same way, at the same rate, by the same methods, or under the same conditions. Parents are in the best position to take into account the relevant differences in their individual children and should be permitted to select the appropriate education for each of them. Not all parents want their children educated in the same way. The superior performance of home-schooled children testifies to the ability of parents compared to that of state-certified teachers.
Public educators want uniformity in the schools since in their minds there would be social inequality if everyone did not have the same education. However, specialized schools which vary in their methods, goals, materials, and assessment methods would better cater to the diversity of human beings.
Public schools do impart values, but they are the values of conformity and docility. Public schooling suppresses the individuality, initiative, and creativity of students. In its efforts to stay ideologically independent, public education is likely to sacrifice intellectual and character development. The idea has caught on that every individual has a right and a duty to be educated and that society through the government has the obligation to fund the education of its citizens. Supporters of public schooling have maintained that many children will go uneducated if education were not compulsory and if the state did not deliver it. The state assumes that parents are irresponsible and must be forced to do what they should do. Parents are not free to ignore school attendance by their children and are not free to ignore tuition payments through taxation. By avowing the legitimacy of public education, voters try to transfer their responsibility for educating their children to the state. However, parental moral responsibility for their child’s education cannot be shifted to anyone else.
Public schools get their customers through compulsory attendance laws. Public education is based on the prison concept. Tax-funded schools have coercion as part of their culture. As wards of the state, children are jailed with a mandatory sentence until they are 16. The state removes children from parents assumed to be incompetent in order to keep them from being anti-social and to make them into complacent workers and citizens.
When schooling is mandated by law, the sense of opportunity that accompanies free choice is missing. If education is not compulsory, then students are perceiving education as an opportunity rather than as a requirement. In the absence of compulsory education, students would no longer be captive to ideological and political brainwashing on the part of teachers and administrators.
Most Americans accept the propriety of forcibly taking some people’s money in order to educate other people’s children. Students are thus taught by example that they are entitled to government “gifts” and that it is proper to obtain an end through organized force. State education teaches that there are a multitude of good ends that can be attained by the state taking wealth to pay for them in the same manner as it pays for students’ educations. If children are led to believe that they are owed benefits from the government without any work or its product being exchanged, they tend to think that it is not necessary for them to perform work to obtain any of their desired possessions.
Compulsion negatively affects attitudes and poor attitudes obstruct education. Compulsory education has drawn some children into classes who do not want to be there thereby lowering the quality of education as standards are reduced to meet the lowest common denominator. Some students just don’t belong in school, but the government not only forces their attendance, it also compels those who do belong and want to be there to associate with delinquents and the uneducable. Of course, due to self interest, only a few would go uneducated if education were noncompulsory. Attendees would have a financial incentive to get the most out of their education.
When the state provides a “free education” the value of the education is decreased in the minds of parents as well as in the minds of students. Parents will not be as interested in ensuring their children’s attendance when schools are free. In addition, parents will not demand much from their children or the schools when education does not cost them anything. Quality declines when the connection between service and payments is severed. Public education breaks the link between consumers’ demands for education and their ability to control their own resources in voicing that demand.
Public education continues because it is funded through compulsory tax payments. Because public schools are guaranteed revenue, there is no incentive to strive for excellence. When a school has monopoly control over students, the motivation to produce successful students is lacking. Public education deprives parents of their right to select the kind of schooling that is best for their children. The state taxes away parents’ income and permits public bureaucrats to run the school system as they see fit.
Public schools are insulated from failure and protected from competition. Consequently, it is safe for them to ignore their customers. Public educators have little incentive to provide quality, to respect and please their customers, to pursue innovations, to produce results, to be efficient, or to control their costs.
Politicians push for higher taxes to foster their political images by exhibiting their concern for improving public schools. In addition, school administrators do not try to be efficient or cut cost because such behavior would lead to a reduced budget. This helps to explain why the U.S. spends more per student per year than any other major nation. At the same time, student performance has not kept par with the increase in resources devoted to public schooling.
Public school systems lack the entrepreneurial ingredient. The educational bureaucracy is unable to calculate net income or net loss, has no way of using cost-benefit analysis to see if expenditures were appropriately applied, and do not know if they are using taxpayers’ money to accurately respond to consumer demand.
Public education uses taxation to evade market prices. There is an immense difference between government paying for education and the parent paying for it in a free market situation. When public education is financed by the state, the real price to taxpayers is much greater than the price perceived by the consumers. The family of a student only pays part of the cost of a state-financed education with the rest of the cost being transferred to taxpayers with no or fewer children than the particular family has.
Vouchers and Other Pseudo-Reforms
Proponents of educational choice have proposed educational vouchers, charter schools, and tax deductions for private educational expenditures. The fundamental problem, public funding of education, remains under each of these alternatives. There are always strings attached when state funds are provided. Government intrusion always follows government funding.
With respect to educational vouchers, publicly-funded vouchers would be issued to parents of school-age children to spend at the government-approved school of their choice. Parents would be given a voucher worth a precise amount of public tax money. The parent would have the state-granted right to choose from among the local schools that meet the state’s standards. Vouchers are based on the assumption that the state, rather than the parents, is sovereign over education. Parents’ choices will be restricted by controlling school eligibility for reimbursement through vouchers. The state, the source of educational funding, retains its sanctioning authority under the voucher system.
Every private school that accepts a voucher payment is subject to local, state, and/or federal rules and regulations. Private enterprises cease to be private with the introduction of public funds. Since state funds support private schools in a voucher system, if follows that private schools will be accountable to the government if they are to succeed. For example, public educational officials could require open admissions, insist that a private school’s student population reflect the community it serves including proper quotas of minority students, require that vouchers must be accepted as full payment even if they are of less value than the school’s tuition, demand that voucher money not be used to finance religious education, etc. A voucher system could also be used to exclude schools that teach “politically incorrect” ideas or that employ teaching methods contrary to the prevailing orthodox methods championed by public education bureaucrats.
As long as an education is publicly funded, decisions regarding educational policy will be politically made. Under the voucher system, voucher-supported private schools become part of the state’s monopoly on education. The voucher system creates an illusion of parental authority without the substance of such authority. A voucher program violates the principle that parents are morally and financially responsible for their children’s education. In a voucher system, coercive taxation remains the source of education funding. A cosmetic change at best, a voucher program gives the appearance that parents are exercising choice, while, at the same time, transferring the evils of the public system to private schools.
Vouchers will lure students back into publicly-financed education. Currently, many parents remove their children from public education as a matter of principle. The voucher system will entice parents since its benefits will only be received if parents enroll their children in state-approved schools. Vouchers will lessen the demand for private education that is outside the taxpayer financed; education system. Parents who want to keep their children out of government-run schools will have to say no to free education in a state school, turn down vouchers for government licensed schools, and then pay additional funds to send their children to an authentically independent school! In essence, these parents will be paying for education three times while their children only receive one education each.
A charter school is a partially autonomous publicly-financed school that is operated by a group of community members, teachers, and/or parents. It operates under a charter with a local school district board of education or sometimes with an outside agency such as an institution of higher learning. Charter schools are free to a certain degree, but, like the voucher system, charters will corrupt such schools. Restrictions confronting charter schools include the source of its funding, regulations stemming from government control, and such schools’ lack of market feedback and accountability.
Some advocate private educational expense deductions for federal income tax purposes. Pre-tax dollars would be used to finance children’s education under this approval. Less beneficial than a tax credit, such a deduction would only ameliorate one’s tax penalty. In addition the main problem will still be that the educational “benefit” originates in the political order and must be utilized within the political framework.
The Educational Freedom
The best school choice plan is the free market. Education should be bought and sold through free market processes. The separation of state and education would restore intellectual freedom, academic integrity, and individual achievement. The private market can best provide high quality and efficient education services. Private educational institutions can supply a superior educational product but currently, because of subsidized tuition at public schools, most students select the lower-priced option. When a child attends a private school, the family must pay taxes to subsidize the cost of students in public education and pay the whole cost of education at a private school.
Education is an economic commodity to be purchased in the marketplace according to the preferences and valuations of education consumers. In a free education market parents and students would decide based on the perceived costs and benefits of each option. In essence, the procurement of an educational service does not differ from the acquisition of any other private good.
Outcomes in a consumer-funded education market would be the result of voluntary purchases by educational consumers. The best schools would earn the most income. Profit calculations would permit schools to gauge their performance according to customer evaluations. Parents would choose schools based on performance and reputation. Paying customers value and select competent schools and teachers. Thus, it follows that the consumers of education should be the payers.
Market-based schools have incentives to furnish quality education at a competitive price. Competition would drive poor schools from the market. Market mechanisms would provide the most efficient allocation of resources. Schools would compete for the best students and students would compete for the best teachers and schools. Teachers’ salaries would be determined by market competition. Schools would provide instruction at a variety of locations with varying philosophies, specialization areas, and costs. Schools would arise to meet the demands of various students’ abilities and needs. Where the demand for a specific type of education arises, an entrepreneur would form the desired institution of learning. With the diversity that exists among individuals, a variety of schools would appear to meet individual educational needs.
It is critical that parents purchase education directly, when, and only for as long as, they believe their children require it. Only the total separation of state and school can re-institute parental responsibility, protect parents’ rights, and allow students, schools, and teachers to flourish in a free educational environment. Parents have moral authority over, and responsibility for, their own children.
If school taxes are abolished, parents will benefit by keeping their own money. The money belongs to the parents, not the government. They would then be free to choose their own children’s schools. For example, if parents want their children to have prayer, then they would send them to a school that has prayers. If they don’t want their children to have prayer, then they would send them to a school that has no prayer. Parents should be free to send their children to religious schools, progressive schools, trade schools, home school, or even no school at all. Of course, it is likely that the pursuit of happiness will supply enough incentive for people to want their children to improve educationally. Schools privately funded and freely selected would be mediating associations like churches, corporations, and unions, and would foster a true sense of belonging and identity.
In private schools in a free market, failure to provide the promised results would lead to declining enrollments, and financial losses. Competition breeds quality. For example, the free market would encourage teachers to improve their skills and would attract others into the teaching profession. Good teachers would be rewarded and poor teachers would be forced to select other careers. The market would also indicate which teaching approaches worked best in given situations and would stimulate creative individuals to produce and market learning materials. True educational businesses would evaluate teachers and their instructional operations to determine whether or not the customers are satisfied and getting their money’s worth of education.
Educational competition would result in the lowering of costs. Competition would make private education more affordable and widely available. This means that poor families would be more able to afford the cost of financing their children’s educations. In addition, if the poor are excused from the numerous education taxes that currently exist, then they would have the funds to pay for private education. It is also likely that private scholarships and charitable assistance will be available for lower income families, especially when the person or organization funding the scholarship knows that he is paying for a superior educational product.
In a free market, consumer demand and choice would determine which schools survive and prosper. A private, non-compulsory educational system would be better able to provide for diverse student needs, backgrounds, interests, goals, and preferences. A system of voluntary, unsubsidized education means rescinding government compelled financing, attendance, credentialing, accreditation, and curriculum. It means the full separation of school and state.
As U.S. corporate profits soar to record highs, food stamps for the neediest were quietly cut. The politicians who are demanding endless cuts to social programs — Democrats and Republicans alike — insist that the U.S. is broke, all the while conveniently ignoring the mountains of tax-free wealth piling up in the pockets of the super rich.
This newest flood of cash for the nation’s wealthiest 1% is a blatant government subsidy: the Federal Reserve continues to pump out an extra $75 billion a month, the vast majority of which fattens the already-bursting overseas bank accounts of the rich. Since Obama has been president this pro-corporate policy has helped funnel 95 percent of the nation’s new income to the wealth-soaked rich.
And while it’s true that the global super rich have an estimated $32 trillion [!] stashed away abroad in off shore tax havens, an even newer way to avoid taxes has gripped the endlessly-greedy minds of U.S.-based billionaires.
Instead of shielding themselves behind the classic ‘C’ corporation structure — and all the burdensome taxes and regulations associated with it — two-thirds of new corporations have “evolved” into pseudo-legal “partnership” structures, commonly referred to as “pass throughs,” the idea being that the corporate-partnership instantly passes the profits through to the shareholders, no corporate tax necessary.
The most common form of pass throughs are “innovative” variations of a Limited Liability Company, a tax structure created in 1975 for narrowly regulated purposes. But now rich investors are performing accounting and legalistic somersaults to exploit the tax structure, practices that were illegal before the regulators were “captured” by the big banks.
The pro-billionaire Economist magazine recently discussed the pass through fad:
“A mutation in the way companies are financed and managed will change the distribution of the wealth they create…The corporation is becoming the distorporation…More businesses are now twisting themselves into forms that allow them to qualify as pass throughs.”
So, for example, imagine that nine rich guys get together and call themselves a pass through corporation of some variety. They do this because they want to avoid personal liability in case things go awry. Their partnership only buys and sells stocks and goes on to make billions, while paying zero corporate taxes. When their risky bets go bust and the partnership is sued by hoodwinked investors, the company instantly declares bankruptcy, since all profits were quickly “passed through.” The partners (the nine guys) cheerfully go home to swim through their sea of cash.
In real life shady pass throughs make massive wealth. Richard Kinder, who co-founded the biggest pass through, named Kinder Morgan, personally received $376 million in dividends last year alone [!], according to the Economist.
The pass through fad is on track to becoming the dominant way that the super rich get together to make huge amounts of money — pass throughs were 63 percent of all corporate profits in 2008, and are likely higher now, since many of the big private-equity companies making a killing by the cheap fed dollars are organized under pass through umbrella structures.
There is a huge society-wide risk for this type of behavior, which resembles the reckless gambling that destroyed the economy in 2008. As an ever-larger share of wealth is poured into these risky, non-regulated vehicles, the potential grows for them to self-destruct and pull down the broader economy with them. Pass throughs — which include most private-equity firms — function “efficiently” when the government is handing them cheap money; when interest rates go up, the pass throughs go bust, with predictable outcomes.
“But wait,” the billionaire will protest, “we pay individual taxes, which help fund social services.” Not necessarily. If the billionaire investor paid their legal obligation of “capital gains” taxes, they’d already be paying far less than the average worker. But the pass-through billionaires excel at avoiding all taxes. The Economist again:
“For a [pass through] partner a payout can be considered merely a return of capital rather than a profit, and consequently no tax is due until the sale of the underlying security. When tied to nuances of estate law, this may mean no tax at all.”
This type of blatantly criminal behavior used to be actually illegal, but as Wall Street bought Congress, the rules were either bent or ignored.
The Economist explains:
“The limitations on becoming [a pass through] seem to be tied more to legal dexterity [!] and influence [buying politicians] than any underlying principle. Politicians want to extend the benefits of [pass through] partnerships to industries they have come to favor either on the basis of ideology [of the corporate type], or astute lobbying [bribery], or a bit of both.”
The rest of society is affected because public services are being starved of funds, while these new pass throughs face vastly less regulation than the standard C corporations, and push wealth inequality to new heights while threatening a deeper recession.
Historically, government began regulating corporations because everyone realized the profound effects these institutions were having on the rest of society; the nation was becoming more unequal, the labor force more exploited and the environment torn to shreds.
As the super wealthy organized themselves into corporations they took most of society’s wealth with them; government realized that a semi-functioning country would need to tax these institutions and regulate their behavior, since the “natural” behavior of the capitalist — greed — was capable of pushing the rest of society into the dregs.
The new pass through fad is also indicative of the current state of U.S. capitalism; instead of investing profits in a company to buy machines or hire new workers, all the cash is either sitting in overseas bank accounts, or is being instantly funneled, via pass throughs, into the hands of ever-richer billionaires, who are proving to everyone that there is no bounds to the amount of cash they can accumulate. Where there are barriers to accumulation (regulations and taxes), they will supersede them while paying politicians of both major parties to ignore it or make it legal.
This dynamic occurs, in part, because the wealthy are basically refusing to invest in the real economy, as they fear the unstable economic conditions are not safe enough to make long term investments, which they believe won’t yield long term higher rates of profits. Safer to speculate on risky stocks, pocket the money and be the first one out when things go bust, as they did in 2008.
Of course the big name C corporations are up to their eyes in fraud too. Apple made big news when it only paid 2 percenttaxes on $74 billion in profits, by “declaring” its profits in Ireland, a corporate tax haven.
This occurs while other giant companies simply use clever accounting tricks to pay zero taxes, including giants like WellsFargo, Boeing, Verizon and General Electric. In fact, General Electric even finagled a rebate.
When it comes to oversea tax havens, it’s estimated that the U.S. national budget is annually starved of $280 billion in tax revenue.
Politicians have been struggling with ways to deal with the problem, since even in their mind some amount of tax collection needs to happen, if only to fund the military, provide more subsidies to corporations, and please the public by appearing to try to reduce the billionaire’s obscene behavior.
One popular idea among the politicians is to declare a corporate “tax holiday,” where the trillions of off-shore profits can be ceremoniously brought back to the U.S. while the feds look the other way. The idea is that, once the money is actually back in the U.S., the wealthy will want to spend it on something which will eventually help the economy — trickle down economics at its finest.
What seems certain to happen is that lowering corporate taxes will be a central piece of any “grand bargain” that eventually emerges, since there is a clear bi-partisan consensus that corporations need to pay lower taxes.
Some argue that if corporate taxes are low enough — and regulations removed — the corporations will reward the nation by not stockpiling their profits abroad and not creating pass through loopholes.
Of course all of this implies that the wealthy have a stranglehold over the U.S. economy. It’s telling that politicians want to deal with corporate tax evasion by lowering the corporate tax rate, instead of actually sending the IRS after them and throwing them in jail, as they do with working and middle class people.
The above dynamics create an ever-increasing wealth inequality that claws at the thinning strings holding society together. The bankruptcy and social disintegration of Detroit is a foreshadowing event for the rest of the country, unless this dynamic is stopped.
When the next crash happens the nation will have learned its lessons: the big banks and wealthy investors who destroyed the economy in 2008 are back at it, encouraged by Obama’s pro-corporate behavior and the Federal Reserve’s money flooding.
It’s becoming increasingly obvious that breaking the power of the super wealthy is the first step towards balancing the budget, job growth, protecting the safety net, and creating a semblance of a rational society. Until then the U.S. will lurch from one crisis to another, while blaming everyone but the real culprits.
We often hear talk about the all-powerful global elite and how they are invincible. They are not invincible, they are blinded by their avarice, decadence and insatiable desire to dominate a humanity that they hold in such disdain.
As I have studied their playbook and have learned their mindset, as a result, I have learned that they have vulnerabilities. Just like a quarterback that doesn’t like pressure as they attempt to pass from the “pocket”, they can be forced to scramble.
I have seen time and time again that when their evil agendas are exposed in the light of day, they run for cover. The latest example of this global elite acquiescence to the will of the people was in Syria when their agenda was exposed by the truthful media. The alternative media was relentless in our exposing the fact that the CIA shipped in the chemical weapons so that al-Qaeda would use them on the Syrian civilians. As a result, the puppet Obama had to run for cover and we have not hear the word “Syria” come from his mouth or the mouth of warmonger, John McCain, since the globalist agenda was exposed. Enlightenment and education would seem to be the keys to turning back the globalist invasion of the United States.
Why Aren’t There More Syria’s?
I have recently been wondering why don’t we have more “Syria’s”? If we can make these criminal central bankers retreat in the face of one of their most important objectives, the temporary preservation of the Petrodollar which would be accomplished by taking out Syria and then Iran, then why can’t we take dismantle the rest of their agenda? When we look at our victory over the Syrian issue, it is baffling to try and explain why we could be so stupid in so many other areas.
What kind of nation would tolerate endless wars of occupation which are serving to bankrupt the country?
What kind of nation would tolerate criminal Wall Street bankers engaging in an illegal Ponzi scheme (i.e. the derivatives) and then bailing out these felons with our own tax money?
What kind of nation would tolerate a Nancy Pelosi who has admitted to engaging in insider trading in the stock market and then let her also get away with telling the people that we need to pass Obamacare to see what’s in it?
What kind of nation would tolerate a Senator, like Diane Feinstein and her husband, making a billion dollars from the sale of post office buildings?
What kind of nation would tolerate a US senator, John McCain, who has given aid and comfort to al-Qaeda in Libya and Syria and then defend their murderous ways
What kind of nation would tolerate a president who has a half-brother, Malick Obama, running finance for the Muslim Brotherhood and then having this president support the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Libya?
What kind of nation would murder 53 million, and counting, of its most vulnerable citizens without blinking an eye?
What kind of citizenry would tolerate its elected leaders while they pass and implement a health care system based upon the British NHS which pays bonuses for euthanizing the elderly?
What kind of citizenry would tolerate its elected leaders handing over control of the military to the United Nations?
What kind of nation would tolerate the specter of sex rings (you will be hearing a lot about this in upcoming weeks) in and around the White House?
What kind of nation would tolerate its megabanks and their laundering of drug money and child sex trafficking money through their institutions? Oh yes, they have paid fines, but nobody has gone to jail.
What kind of a nation would tolerate the prevalence of false flag events, from the Boston Marathon Bombing to the 7/7 London Bombings to the attacks on 9/11 to the contrived Gulf oil explosion and not think the nation is not in grave danger as November 13th and the Grid EX II drill approaches?
What kind of citizenry would tolerate these violations of the public trust? The answer is simple. Only an incredibly stupid and dumbed down population would tolerate these abuses from their banker-controlled government?
The Globalist Number One Weapon
The number one weapon that is used against humanity in order to further the globalist agenda is induced stupidity. Many older foreigners are in awe as they witnessed the dumbing down of America in just a few short decades.
We Americans were once known for our culture, innovations, creativity and work ethic. Phrases like “made in America” use to mean something. There was a time in this country when our elected leaders feared the people. Today, leaders like Feinstein, Pelosi, Reid, Obama and McCain mock America on a daily basis as they tell the same lies and engage in the same criminal behaviors with impunity.
How Dire is America’s Intellectual Deficit?
America’s intellectual deficit starts right at the top of the intelligence pyramid, namely with its intelligence quotient (IQ). The USA scores the lowest in national average IQ among the developed countries of the world, at a national average score of 98. The data is obtained from IQ and Global Equality by Dr. Richard Lynn (professor of Psychology, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland) and Dr. Tatu Vanhanen (University of Tampere, Finland).
Take a look at this poster child for American stupidity.
A Snapshot of Stupidity
Are we really surprised at the following?
- 50% of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were married.
- 55% of the U.S. population does not know that the Sun is a star.
- 25% believe we won our independence from a country OTHER than Great Britain.
- 29% couldn’t name the Vice President.
- 73% couldn’t correctly say why we fought the Cold War.
The following are facts which should inspire a collective sense of national shame.
- 3% can identify the first President of the United States.
- 10% know how many justices sit on the Supreme Court.
- 14% know who wrote the Declaration of Independence.
- 23% can correctly identify the two houses of the U.S. Congress.
- 22% of Americans could name all five Simpson family members, compared with just 1 in 1,000 people who could name all five First Amendment freedoms.
And, please explain to me, how in the hell did we elect this moron, TWICE?
And how many stupid people would sign this petition to repeal the First Amendment?
The greatest weapon the central banksters have at their disposal is the inducement of mass stupidity. The masses of this country are so stupid that one has to wonder if this country is even worth saving. Can America be saved despite the widespread ignorance which has spread across the country like an out of control pandemic?
The number one enemy facing the American people are not the Chinese, the Iranians, the Bilderbergers or any other liberty-destroying group. The number one enemy facing America is its profound level of stupidity!
Why did America rise up and collectively tell Obama “no” to invading Syria? As I search for an answer, I realize that if a lazy dog does not move, the sun will still shine on its posterior once a day. Is that what happened in Syria? Or was it likely that the alternative and truthful media in this country were unified in their voice and their approach to the public, for a 30 day period, got our message got through. Psychologists call this the “confirmation bias” which works by repeating a belief often enough that the recipients of the message come to believe it. We see this with the global warming phenomenon. Despite the shoddy science behind the claims of an impending eco-disaster, the people are willing to “go green”. Perhaps if we redoubled our efforts in the alternative media, we might see dramatic results in terms of waking up a dumbed down population.
We can debate the causes of our national stupidity, but it does not matter. The fact remains is that we are a stupid people. The lesson learned here is that America’s stupidity manifests itself in making us into becoming a nation of sheep. Sheep are waiting to be led and they will follow the loudest voice. This means that all of us in the alternative media need to redouble our efforts. We probably will not stop the coming crash, but we might soften the landing and make it easier to pick up the pieces after the fact.
Source: Dave Hodges | The Common Sense Show
A talk at Rhodes Forum, October 5, 2013…
First, the good news. American hegemony is over. The bully has been subdued. We cleared the Cape of Good Hope, symbolically speaking, in September 2013. With the Syrian crisis, the world has passed a key forking of modern history. It was touch and go, just as risky as the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. The chances for total war were high, as the steely wills of America and Eurasia had crossed in the Eastern Mediterranean. It will take some time until the realisation of what we’ve gone through seeps in: it is normal for events of such magnitude. The turmoil in the US, from the mad car chase in the DC to the shutdown of federal government and possible debt default, are the direct consequences of this event.
Remember the Berlin Wall? When it went down, I was in Moscow, writing for Haaretz. I went to a press-conference with Politburo members in the President Hotel, and asked them whether they concurred that the end of the USSR and world socialist system was nigh. I was laughed at; it was an embarrassing occasion. Oh no, they said. Socialism will blossom, as the result of the Wall’s fall. The USSR went down two years later. Now our memory has compacted those years into a brief sequence, but in reality, it took some time.
The most dramatic event of September 2013 was the high-noon stand-off near the Levantine shore, with five US destroyers pointing their Tomahawks towards Damascus and facing them – the Russian flotilla of eleven ships led by the carrier-killer Missile Cruiser Moskva and supported by Chinese warships. Apparently, two missiles were launched towards the Syrian coast, and both failed to reach their destination.
It was claimed by a Lebanese newspaper quoting diplomatic sources that the missiles were launched from a NATO air base in Spain and they were shot down by the Russian ship-based sea-to-air defence system. Another explanation proposed by the Asia Times says the Russians employed their cheap and powerful GPS jammers to render the expensive Tomahawks helpless, by disorienting them and causing them to fail. Yet another version attributed the launch to the Israelis, whether they were trying to jump-start the shoot-out or just observed the clouds, as they claim.
Whatever the reason, after this strange incident, the pending shoot-out did not commence, as President Obama stood down and holstered his guns. This was preceded by an unexpected vote in the British Parliament. This venerable body declined the honour of joining the attack proposed by the US. This was the first time in two hundred years that the British parliament voted down a sensible proposition to start a war; usually the Brits can’t resist the temptation.
After that, President Obama decided to pass the hot potato to the Congress. He was unwilling to unleash Armageddon on his own. Thus the name of action was lost. Congress did not want to go to war with unpredictable consequences. Obama tried to browbeat Putin at the 20G meeting in St Petersburg, and failed. The Russian proposal to remove Syrian chemical weaponry allowed President Obama to save face. This misadventure put paid to American hegemony , supremacy and exceptionalism. Manifest Destiny was over. We all learned that from Hollywood flics: the hero never stands down; he draws and shoots! If he holsters his guns, he is not a hero: he’s chickened out.
Afterwards, things began to unravel fast. The US President had a chat with the new president of Iran, to the chagrin of Tel Aviv. The Free Syrian Army rebels decided to talk to Assad after two years of fighting him, and their delegation arrived in Damascus, leaving the Islamic extremists high and dry. Their supporter Qatar is collapsing overextended. The shutdown of their government and possible debt default gave the Americans something real to worry about. With the end of US hegemony, the days of the dollar as the world reserve currency are numbered.
World War III almost occurred as the banksters wished it. They have too many debts, including the unsustainable foreign debt of the US. If those Tomahawks had flown, the banksters could have claimed Force Majeure and disavow the debt. Millions of people would die, but billions of dollars would be safe in the vaults of JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs. In September, the world crossed this bifurcation point safely, as President Obama refused to take the fall for the banksters. Perhaps he deserved his Nobel peace prize, after all.
The near future is full of troubles but none are fatal. The US will lose its emission rights as a source of income. The US dollar will cease to serve as the world reserve currency though it will remain the North American currency. Other parts of the world will resort to their euro, yuan, rouble, bolivar, or dinar. The US military expenditure will have to be slashed to normal, and this elimination of overseas bases and weaponry will allow the US population to make the transition rather painlessly. Nobody wants to go after America; the world just got tired of them riding shotgun all over the place. The US will have to find new employment for so many bankers, jailers, soldiers, even politicians.
As I stayed in Moscow during the crisis, I observed these developments as they were seen by Russians. Putin and Russia have been relentlessly hard-pressed for quite a while.
- The US supported and subsidised Russia’s liberal and nationalist opposition; the national elections in Russia were presented as one big fraud. The Russian government was delegitimised to some extent.
- The Magnitsky Act of the US Congress authorised the US authorities to arrest and seize the assets of any Russian they deem is up to no good, without a recourse to a court.
- Some Russian state assets were seized in Cyprus where the banks were in trouble.
- The US encouraged Pussy Riot, gay parades etc. in Moscow, in order to promote an image of Putin the dictator, enemy of freedom and gay-hater in the Western and Russian oligarch-owned media.
- Russian support for Syria was criticised, ridiculed and presented as a brutal act devoid of humanity. At the same time, Western media pundits expressed certainty that Russia would give up on Syria.
As I wrote previously, Russia had no intention to surrender Syria, for a number of good reasons: it was an ally; the Syrian Orthodox Christians trusted Russia; geopolitically the war was getting too close to Russian borders. But the main reason was Russia’s annoyance with American high-handedness. The Russians felt that such important decisions should be taken by the international community, meaning the UN Security Council. They did not appreciate the US assuming the role of world arbiter.
In the 1990s, Russia was very weak, and could not effectively object, but they felt bitter when Yugoslavia was bombed and NATO troops moved eastwards breaking the US promise to Gorbachev. The Libyan tragedy was another crucial point. That unhappy country was bombed by NATO, and eventually disintegrated. From the most prosperous African state it was converted into most miserable. Russian presence in Libya was rather limited, but still, Russia lost some investment there. Russia abstained in the vote on Libya as this was the position of the then Russian president Dmitry Medvedev who believed in playing ball with the West. In no way was Putin ready to abandon Syria to the same fate.
The Russian rebellion against the US hegemony began in June, when the Aeroflot flight from Beijing carrying Ed Snowden landed in Moscow. Americans pushed every button they could think of to get him back. They activated the full spectre of their agents in Russia. Only a few voices, including that of your truly, called on Russia to provide Snowden with safe refuge, but our voices prevailed. Despite the US pressure, Snowden was granted asylum.
The next step was the Syrian escalation. I do not want to go into the details of the alleged chemical attack. In the Russian view, there was not and could not be any reason for the US to act unilaterally in Syria or anywhere else. In a way, the Russians have restored the Law of Nations to its old revered place. The world has become a better and safer place.
None of this could’ve been achieved without the support of China. The Asian giant considers Russia its “elder sister” and relies upon her ability to deal with the round-eyes. The Chinese, in their quiet and unassuming way, played along with Putin. They passed Snowden to Moscow. They vetoed anti-Syrian drafts in the UNSC, and sent their warships to the Med. That is why Putin stood the ground not only for Russia, but for the whole mass of Eurasia.
There were many exciting and thrilling moments in the Syrian saga, enough to fill volumes. An early attempt to subdue Putin at G8 meeting in Ireland was one of them. Putin was about to meet with the united front of the West, but he managed to turn some of them to his side, and he sowed the seeds of doubt in others’ hearts by reminding them of the Syrian rebel manflesh-eating chieftains.
The proposal to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons was deftly introduced; the UNSC resolution blocked the possibility of attacking Syria under cover of Chapter Seven. Miraculously, the Russians won in this mighty tug-of-war. The alternative was dire: Syria would be destroyed as Libya was; a subsequent Israeli-American attack on Iran was unavoidable; Oriental Christianity would lose its cradle; Europe would be flooded by millions of refugees; Russia would be proven irrelevant, all talk and no action, as important as Bolivia, whose President’s plane can be grounded and searched at will. Unable to defend its allies, unable to stand its ground, Russia would’ve been left with a ‘moral victory’, a euphemism for defeat. Everything Putin has worked for in 13 years at the helm would’ve been lost; Russia would be back to where it was in 1999, when Belgrade was bombed by Clinton.
The acme of this confrontation was reached in the Obama-Putin exchange on exceptionalism. The two men were not buddies to start with. Putin was annoyed by what he perceived as Obama’s insincerity and hypocrisy. A man who climbed from the gutter to the very top, Putin cherishes his ability to talk frankly with people of all walks of life. His frank talk can be shockingly brutal. When he was heckled by a French journalist regarding treatment of Chechen separatists, he replied:
“the Muslim extremists (takfiris) are enemies of Christians, of atheists, and even of Muslims because they believe that traditional Islam is hostile to the goals that they set themselves. And if you want to become an Islamic radical and are ready to be circumcised, I invite you to Moscow. We are a multi-faith country and we have experts who can do it. And I would advise them to carry out that operation in such a way that nothing would grow in that place again”.
Another example of his shockingly candid talk was given at Valdai as he replied to BBC’s Bridget Kendall. She asked: did the threat of US military strikes actually play a rather useful role in Syria’s agreeing to have its weapons placed under control?
Putin replied: Syria got itself chemical weapons as an alternative to Israel’s nuclear arsenal. He called for the disarmament of Israel and invoked the name of Mordecai Vanunu as an example of an Israeli scientist who opposes nuclear weapons. (My interview with Vanunu had been recently published in the largest Russian daily paper, and it gained some notice).
Putin tried to talk frankly to Obama. We know of their exchange from a leaked record of the Putin-Netanyahu confidential conversation. Putin called the American and asked him: what’s your point in Syria? Obama replied: I am worried that Assad’s regime does not observe human rights. Putin almost puked from the sheer hypocrisy of this answer. He understood it as Obama’s refusal to talk with him “on eye level”.
In the aftermath of the Syrian stand-off, Obama appealed to the people of the world in the name of American exceptionalism. The United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional”, he said. Putin responded: “It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.” This was not only an ideological, but theological contradistinction.
As I expounded at length elsewhere, the US is built on the Judaic theology of exceptionalism, of being Chosen. It is the country of Old Testament. This is the deeper reason for the US and Israel’s special relationship. Europe is going through a stage of apostasy and rejection of Christ, while Russia is deeply Christian. Its churches are full, they bless one other with Christmas and Easter blessings, instead of neutral “seasons”. Russia is a New Testament country. And rejection of exceptionalism, of chosenness is the underlying tenet of Christianity.
For this reason, while organised US Jewry supported the war, condemned Assad and called for US intervention, the Jewish community of Russia, quite numerous, wealthy and influential one, did not support the Syrian rebels but rather stood by Putin’s effort to preserve peace in Syria. Ditto Iran, where the wealthy Jewish community supported the legitimate government in Syria. It appears that countries guided by a strong established church are immune from disruptive influence of lobbies; while countries without such a church the US and/or France give in to such influences and adopt illegal interventionism as a norm.
As US hegemony declines, we look to an uncertain future. The behemoth might of the US military can still wreck havoc; a wounded beast is the most dangerous one. Americans may listen to Senator Ron Paul who called to give up overseas bases and cut military expenditure. Norms of international law and sovereignty of all states should be observed. People of the world will like America again when it will cease snooping and bullying. It isn’t easy, but we’ve already negotiated the Cape and gained Good Hope.
(Language edited by Ken Freeland)
There was a time during the 30-month covert dirty war on Syria when the Western governments and mainstream media would make a clamor over reported massacres.
Why? Because it is increasingly clear that the groups committing these crimes against thousands of Syrian civilians are the foreign-backed mercenaries, whom the Western media and their governments have tried to lionize as “rebels” fighting for “democratic freedom”.
That charade is rapidly disintegrating, exposing not just criminal Western governments sponsoring the violence against civilians, but an entire media industry that is also guilty of war crimes through its willful complicity.
This is not mere hyperbole. To disseminate false information and lies about conflict – under the guise of independent news – is to be complicit in covering up war crimes. You can hardly get more serious misconduct than to tell lies about crimes against humanity.
These toxic lies and propaganda are now being exposed as the Western-backed plot to subvert the sovereign state of Syria unravels; this unraveling is accentuated by the West’s death squads becoming even more unhinged as they stare at looming defeat at the hands of the Syrian army.
The latest massacre occurred in the town of Khan al-Assal in the northern province of Aleppo. Some 150 people, mostly civilians, were reportedly slaughtered in cold blood. Many of the victims were shot in the head execution-style. The groups claiming responsibility are the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front and Ansar al Khalifa.
Reliable sources say that the killers tried to cover up their barbaric crimes by mutilating the corpses and burning the remains. Only days before this orgy of murder, the same groups are believed to have massacred at least seven civilians in the town of Maqbara in the province of Hasakah.
Elsewhere, as the Syrian national army makes searing advances against the militants, it is apparent from the identities of the dead that the majority of these fighters are foreigners, from Saudi Arabia, Libya, Jordan, Turkey, as well as from the US and Europe, including Britain, France and Germany.
Just last week, it was reported that Saudi Arabia bought $50 million-worth of heavy arms from Israel to supply this foreign network in its endeavor to terrorize the people of Syria into submission.
Already, the US, Britain and France have stumped up over $200 million which they claim is provided to “the Syrian opposition” in the form of “non-lethal aid”.
This is just cynical semantics to cover up the fact that the Western governments and their regional Turk, Arab and Israeli proxies are sponsoring genocide in Syria.
Over the weekend as the mass murders in Khan al-Assal and Maqbara emerged there was a telling silence in the Western media. A cursory glance at outlets such as New York Times, Washington Post, Voice of America, the Guardian, BBC, France 24, Deutsche Welle, Reuters, among others, showed no or negligible reports on the atrocities.
A notable exception was the London-based Financial Times, which headlined: “Syria opposition condemns rebel attack”. The FT tried to obfuscate the mass murder of civilians by claiming that “extremist rebels” had executed captured Syrian army soldiers and by giving prominence to condemnation of the “abuses” by the exile non-entity group, the Syrian National Coalition.
Similar Western silence followed another massacre last month in the village of Hatlah in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour. In mid-June, more than 60 mainly Shia inhabitants were slaughtered again by Western-backed foreign militants. Most of the victims were women and children. Syrian government appeals for international condemnation
at the United Nations were ignored.
Contrast this void in Western government and media reaction to earlier massacres. In May and June 2012, the Western media went viral with reports of mass killings in the villages of Houla and Qubair where some 108 and 78 inhabitants were murdered, many of them with throats slit. Immediately, the Western media then claimed or implied that the perpetrators were Syrian state forces and roundly condemned President Bashar al-Assad.
Back then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Assad of “ruling by murder and fear” and led the chorus of Western governments calling for Assad to step down.
It later transpired that the Houla and Qubair massacres were the work of the Western-backed foreign militants. But Western media did not follow-up with corrective reporting. This is the conduct of a propaganda ministry, not independent journalism.
The same propaganda formula of sensationalist headlines and innuendo, with minimal evidence, was repeated in subsequent massacres, such as in Tremseh in July 2012, or the bomb attack on Aleppo University in January this year in which more than 80 were killed. Also in that same month, more than 100 bodies were fished out of the Queiq River in the Bustan al-Qasr district of Aleppo – all of those victims with gunshot wounds to the head. Never mind that the district was under the control of foreign militants, the Western media continued their campaign of innuendo that it was the Syrian state forces that carried out the executions.
The Syrian government has consistently alleged that all these mass killings are the work of Western-backed militants. This sickening terrorist methodology concatenates with the Takfiri mentality of killing everyone who is deemed to be an infidel – Sunni, Shia, Alawite, Christian, non-believer alike, who does not subscribe to their fundamentalist twisted theology.
It is entirely in keeping that Western governments and Wahhabi Arab despots sponsor such groups given the long history of collusion between these protagonists, going back to the creation of al-Qaeda by Western military intelligence in Afghanistan during the 1980s to fight the then Soviet-backed government in Kabul.
The indiscriminate murder of civilians in wholesale massacres by Western-backed death squads operating in Syria to overthrow the Assad government is also consistent with the countless no-warning car bombs that have ripped through markets, streets, hospitals and schools all across Syria. Days before the latest slaughter in Khan al-Assal, a car bomb killed at least 10 in the Jaramana district of the capital, Damascus.
A few months earlier, another deadly bomb attack also targeted Jaramana, killing more than 30. The district is a mixed community of Muslim, Christian and Druze, which is largely supportive of the Assad government. As with the many other massacres in Syria, the aim is to terrorize the civilian population, to sow sectarianism and to coerce
the populace to relinquish support for the government.
As the foreign criminal conspiracy to force regime change in Syria flounders – with the turning point being the Syrian army victory in Qusayr early last month – the Western-sponsored terrorists are resorting to more and more desperate methods. This depravity was manifested yet again in the slaughter of civilians in Khan al-Assal and Maqbara. Tragically and despicably, we can expect more such atrocities in the coming weeks and months as the Western criminal conspiracy suffers more defeats.
But what is truly remarkable is how the Western governments and their propaganda machine, known euphemistically as the mainstream news media, are ignoring these latest massacres. That is because their vile game is up. They can no longer dissimulate on the reality of who is carrying out these massacres and how it is all part of a criminal genocidal campaign directed from Washington, London and Paris. That is why they are feigning to ignore such atrocities. To look into them honestly would uncover the ugly face of Western imperialism and the unconscionable role played all along by so-called Western news media.
Meanwhile, proper journalistic services like Press TV that are reporting the reality of what the Western governments are really doing in Syria via their death squads are being banned from satellite networks controlled by Western authorities.
Indeed, a very real extension of this censorship is how Press TV correspondent Maya Nasser was murdered last September by Western-backed death squads in Damascus for the very reason that he was helping to uncover the truth about what is being inflicted on Syria. Assassination is just an extreme act of censorship, as the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once noted.
Western government and media silence over the latest massacres in Syria is not just a matter of indifference or sloppy journalism. It is indicative of their complicity in the covert genocidal war on Syria.
Finian Cunningham, originally from Belfast, Ireland, was born in 1963. He is a prominent expert in international affairs. The author and media commentator was expelled from Bahrain in June 2011 for his critical journalism in which he highlighted human rights violations by the Western-backed regime. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For many years, he worked as an editor and writer in the mainstream news media, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. He is now based in East Africa where he is writing a book on Bahrain and the Arab Spring.He co-hosts a weekly current affairs programme, Sunday at 3pm GMT on Bandung Radio
Source: Press TV
Damascus — It may well have seemed like a fine idea at the European Union’s Foreign Ministers cocktail reception in Brussels, where ample alcohol freely flowed the night before last week’s vote to blacklist the “military wing” of Hezbollah. But shortly after the vote the EU appeared to be experiencing a severe hangover as the stark reality of its impetuous decision began to soak in.
After periodical discussion of the US-Israel demand for blacklisting Hezbollah for more than a year, and adding its name to the EU list of 26 organizations and 11 individuals currently being designated as ‘terrorists’ is in becoming clearer by the day the EU actions may not have been in anyone’s interest except possibly Israel’s.
It is true there was never much enthusiasm at EU HQ for taking the blacklisting step given some fundamental uncertainties of what it would mean in reality. But American and British pressure, and headlines from Israel screaming: “We told you about rising anti-Semitism from Europe” following the EU decision to blacklist illegal Zionist colonies implanted on the West Bank portion of occupied Palestine, weeks earlier. To round up EU votes, the US State Department staff designated to lobby the 28 EU foreign ministries also focused on the unproven Bulgaria bus attack, and Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria as reasons to go along with the blacklisting decision which required a unanimous vote for the 28 EU countries foreign ministers.
Minutes after the EU vote, problems began to appear and it became obvious that buying into the US-UK Hezbollah “military wing” blacklisting project was not an attractive product after all.
Some of the reportedly emphasized ‘talking points’ to the EU Foreign Ministries from Washington and London included the following:
· The EU blacklisting Hezbollah’s military wing would “compensate” Israel, as it has been demanding, for the EU vote early this month that essentially boycotted Zionist colonial projects throughout the illegally occupied West Bank
· The action would not affect UNIFIL or UNSCR 1701 because Hezbollah has good relations with UNIFIL and they would likely continue to work with the 15 European countries nations making up UNIFIL including the five EU members ,France, Spain, Italy, Poland and Ireland who have troops patrolling the Lebanon-Palestine border;
· Israel would be assuaged and can claim a victory in its war with Hezbollah;
· The Lebanese political parties backed by certain EU member states and the Gulf Countries such as Saudi Arabia would benefit in terms of establishing a new pro-March 14th dominated government, significantly pressuring Hezbollah’s delegation in Parliament and at the ballot box by the blacklisting—although it was not spelled out precisely how to would work;
· US-led western aid to the Lebanese army would likely increase and Hezbollah’s international reputation would suffer;
· There would be no damage to EU-Lebanese relations and any negative reactions would soon dye down.
However great all this may have sounded in some capitols before the ill-considered vote, a rude awakening began to dawn almost immediately after the votes were counted. Criticisms, complications and doubts from the EU action are continuing to be voiced and second thoughts are spreading despite efforts of the EU Ambassador to Lebanon, Ms. Angeline Eichhorst at damage control.
Even before the EU’s decision to blacklist Hezbollah’s “military wing” was publicly released, Ms. Eichhorst sought and was granted appointments with Hezbollah’s Ammar al-Musawi, Liaison for International Relations, and Minister of State Mohammad Fneish, at which she repeatedly offered assurances that the EU vote will have zero effect on relations with the group’s “civilian wing.” She assured the gentlemen that the EU votes do not reflect on the Lebanese government in any way, explaining that the EU “has no problem with Hezbollah participating in any future government.”
Ambassador Eichhorst declared that “this decision is a political message to Hezbollah for the attack in Burgas, Bulgaria, which is a terrorist attack on European soil.”
She added, however, that this does not reflect on the Lebanese government in any way, explaining that the EU “has no problem with Hezbollah participating in any future government.” After her meeting with Hezbollah’s minister in the current caretaker government, she stated, “Financial assistance will continue, of which Minister Fneish’s ministry gets a sizable share, and we want for this cooperation to continue.”
For his part, and ever gracious towards the EU’s well-meaning Ambassador , who appeared to understand some of the diplomatic complications the EU action unlearned, Hezbollah MP Fneish reminded the ambassador that “Israel occupied our land for many years, and we did not hear a single objection (from the EU) “we were careful to maintain good relations with Europe, despite the terrible legacy Europe left behind among our people – from the Palestinian cause to colonialism – and despite this, you choose to remind us again of this painful history.”
Minister Fneish reiterated Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah’s statement that the European decision will provide Israel with political cover for any future attack on Lebanon, in which case Hezbollah would consider the EU a partner in such a crime. Eichhorst replied that the EU decision has nothing to do with Resistance to Israel or Lebanese sovereignty.”
Both Musawi and Fneish stood their ground in their discussions with EU ambassador Eichhorst, insisting that the decision was an insult to the Resistance. They dismissed the decision as politically motivated, particularly given that the outcome of the Burgas investigation is rooted in allegations and conjecture, even by the admission of the ambassador herself who conceded that there are no firm results regarding responsibility for the Burgas incident that cost innocent lives.
Ms. Eichhorst’s hosts were reportedly far too polite to ask the EU ambassador just how the EU planned to somehow go about distinguishing a “civil wing” and a “military wing”.
And they are not alone in appearing a bit puzzled. According to a lawyer at the American Society of International Law in Washington DC, the EU decision was a big mistake from an international law standpoint and could be an international lawyer’s worst nightmare or a dream come true. Which would depend if the lawyer was representing the EU in trying to unravel the civil-military conundrum or advising thousands of EU member states businesses and agencies wanting to continue any business with the Lebanese government, UNIFIL, or countless NGO’s who regularly interact with Hezbollah.
“It’s a real legal mess!” the ASIL source explained, as he described the legal confusion the EU action caused. “The best thing for EU credibility and international relations right now on this subject would be for the EU to forget what it did and to desist from any implementation whatsoever. And then let the designation be removed after the six months trial period as provided by EU regulations. Otherwise, their decision will swamp courtrooms and complicate Middle East-European political and economic relations with challenges from all points on the compass with uncertain outcomes to say the least.”
It is not only Hezbollah, the leader of the National Lebanese Resistance and American international lawyers who have expressed concerns about the EU action last week. It seems that nearly everyone else does too and this reaction is adding to the EU’s ‘morning after’ queasiness.
Many citizens of Lebanon are expressing concern that the EU brush stroke aimed at Hezbollah’s “military wing” may tar them as well due to the ‘terrorism’ label toxicity these days. A Sunni taxi driver wondered if his children could now get visas to Europe because of the ruling. Lebanon is very sensitive to the issue of Visas as they see fellow citizens are being forced out of Gulf countries due to fabricated claims of association with Hezbollah. In these countries hundreds of thousands of Lebanese have had visas for decades. It is the uncertainly among many-understandably paranoid Lebanese living and working abroad than is causing near panic among some in Lebanon.
It’s hard to find in Lebanon, even among Hezbollah detractors, a political party that is publicly endorsing the EU decision because they basically see no advantage for Lebanon of their own tightly controlled sects, whether Christian, Muslim, or Druze.
On 7/27/13 Former premier Fouad Saniora, head of al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc, no friend of Hezbollah, voiced “concern and regret over the reasons that led the European Union to take the decision of putting Hezbollah’s so-called military wing on its terror list.” Saniora added in a statement released from his party’s media office:
“We had commented on this issue in the bloc’s statement and voiced our regret and also our concern over the reasons that led the EU to take such a decision, especially that we in Lebanon have ties of solid friendship with 28 European countries, and thus none of us would have liked to see this happening.”
Saniora’s friend and colleague, Phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel argued over the week-end that the European Union’s decision to blacklist Hezbollah’s military wing is “ambiguous,” pointing out that it will have a negative impact on the country. In an interview with Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5) he argued that “The decision confused the Lebanese situation and will constitute negative repercussions on all matter especially the cabinet formation process,” Gemayel said. He pointed out that the decision targets Hezbollah members who his party considered “ghosts,” saying: “The members that are responsible for Hezbollah’s military action are unknown.”
Even Israeli officials have problems with the EU’s decision. Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman and MK Avigdor Lieberman slammed the EU’s decision to put military wing of Hezbollah on terrorist list, saying that not only military wing, but the entire organization should be blacklisted. “
As usual, Lieberman found some antisemitism lurking among the Europeans, claiming that they were satisfied with going only halfway, and like the West Bank Settlements EU decision, the EU wants to punish not the terrorists but those (like-Israel!) who reject terrorism and fight it. Half a dozen other Israeli officials including the ever garrulous Shimon Peres chimed in to form a chorus condemning the EU.
Far be it for this observer to advise the European Union’s Foreign Ministry or to promote an American association’s legal analysis and advice. However, the American Society of International Law lawyer, quoted above, makes a valid point.
The best move for the EU now, as it tries to recover from the current self-inflicted debacle is to do nothing to inflame the situation by cooking up some dubious terrorist lists. Rather, in six months the EU should assure that this month’s blacklisting decision acquiesced in under US-Israel pressure, lapses.
Facebook shadow profiles. You may have seen the term crop up on tech news sites this week, and it may given you the feeling it’s a nefarious privacy violation — or the first fun feature that Facebook has introduced in years.
But, seriously: Are shadow profiles real? Do I have one? Are they bad?
If you use Facebook, then the answer to all three of those questions is “yes.” Let’s take a trip into the shadowy recesses to learn more.
Why Are Shadow Profiles in the News?
Last Friday, just as most journalists were preparing to head home for the weekend, Facebookreleased some embarrassing news. A bug had exposed the private email addresses and phone numbers of 6 million users.
Though Facebook tried to downplay the significance of the bug, journalists forced to work on a weekend quickly realized there was more to the story than just another data leak: Many of the users whose email addresses and phone numbers were exposed had not knowingly shared that personal information with Facebook.
Instead, their contact information had been collected on the sly — stored in Facebook’s secret behind-the-scenes scaffolding, where it collects troves of data on you that you never knew about. That information comprises what’s known as your “shadow profile.”
Who Has a Shadow Profile?
Well, potentially everyone who has a Facebook account. They contain a certain amount of information you’re not surprised Facebook knows about you: your name, your interests, your relationship status, how many times you’ve liked your friends posts. But at the same time, Facebook has been able to sneakily collect other data about you. Even if you never told Facebook your phone number, for instance, it might have a record of it. As well as your second and third and fourth email addresses.
Where Did Facebook Get This Data?
Your friends! Or maybe even friends of friends. You can thank anyone who allowed Facebook to scan their mobile phone contacts through the “Find Friends” feature.
When someone uses this feature, Facebook downloads the phone’s entire contact book to its servers. This mostly includes emails and phone numbers. At the same time, Facebook is also collecting harder-to track data on how you and your friends (and friends of friends) are connected to one another. That’s how it finds people to recommend for its “people you may know” feature.
Facebook’s mobile app even provides the following message:
“Find Friends uploads contacts from your device and stores them on Facebook’s servers where they may be used to help others search for people or to generate friend suggestions for you and others.”
Do Non-Facebook Users Have Shadow Profiles?
It makes sense that, with all the contact lists uploaded to its servers every day, Facebook would be able to learn a whole lot of information about people who don’t even have Facebook accounts. But while it has stayed mum on shadow accounts as a whole, the company has asserted it does not collect information on people who don’t actually use Facebook.
Is That Legal?
In the United States, probably. Facebook mentioned collecting phone contacts in the Terms of Service that all users must agree to before using the site, so unless the company is collecting additional undisclosed information, users have already given consent.
But Europe’s data protection laws are much stronger. Max Schrems, the privacy rights advocate who founded activist group Europe v. Facebook, launched a complaint against Facebook’s European offices, headquartered in Ireland, citing seven different instances in which shadow profiles potentially violate the country’s Data Protection Act (read the PDF here). Schrems asserts that the profiles gathered “excessive amounts of information about data subjects without notice or consent by the data subject. In many cases these information might be embarrassing or intimidating for the data subject.”
How Long Has This Been Going On?
Facebook said that its user data has been leaking for over a year. It’s been catalogued at least since August 2011, when Schrems filed his complaint against the company. Facebook has had an iPhone app since August 2007, and the “Find Friends” feature launched on iPhone and Android in April 2011.
Should I Be Concerned?
There may be cause for concern, especially in light of the recent revelations regarding the National Security Agency’s intrusive spying campaign, PRISM. Facebook was one of nine companies the NSA made deals with to turn over information about users. Since Facebook won’t confirm that it hosts “shadow profiles,” it is unclear whether the information from shadow profiles could have also been passed along to the NSA. But it’s certainly possible.
In other words, you may have an email address that you’ve never listed anywhere for anyone else to see — but because one of your friends added it to his contact list, a snooping government agency may discover it.
Source: Kevin Morris | Mashable
Clare Daly in the Irish Parliament stood up in question period and truthfully and succinctly described President Obama as a “War Criminal” and “Hypocrite of the Century”. People all over the world are waking up to the fraudster in the White House, why not in America? A must watch video.
The Group of Eight leaders meeting in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, having called for an international conference on the ongoing crisis in Syria to be held “as soon as possible” could not agree on much else that might end the civil war anytime soon there. The White House now is reportedly in private agreement with Russia and Iran that the Assad government will remain in power until next year’s election.
Consequently, an 18 month old US-led Plan B has been dusted off by the Obama administration according to Washington Congressional and Beirut diplomatic sources. If successful, there is growing confidence among pro-Zionist neocons in Congress that while Syrian regime-change has failed for several reasons that thwarted the Gulf funded military campaign, Syria can still be brought to heel through an economic campaign dressed to look, well, down right “humanitarian.”
The term “equivalent of the Marshall Plan” is being employed by some in the White House and Pentagon this month to describe a proposed large-scale “humanitarian rescue program” being prepared for Syria, according to some Western diplomats based in Lebanon.
However, the 1948 Marshall Plan (officially the European Recovery Program or ERP) was an American program to aid Europe, through which the United States provided $ 13 billion, in today’s monetary terms, approximately 100 billion dollars of economic support, to help rebuild European economies devastated by war.
With respect to Syria, the “ equivalent of the Marshall Plan” currently being finalized is very different from what General George |C. Marshall explained to his Harvard University audience, 66 years ago this month, when he announced the post WW II initiative.
The already project Syria amounts to 19th century economic imperialism as a means to achieve control of Syria by hijacking its economy while shielding Israel from the rising tide of protests in this region, as armed groups across the spectrum are beginning to focus on directly confronting the Zionist theft and continuing occupation of Palestine.
What Washington has in mind constitutes an attempt to gain control over Syria by controlling its economy via contracts for rebuilding the country and “lending” the hoped for post-Assad Syrian government as much as 300 billion dollars to be secured by Syrian assets. IMF economists estimate the value of the public sector in Syria, exceeds half a trillion dollars. Under the US-led pan, creditors can take control of ownership of the public sectior, if Syria accepts the plan for pledges to secure debt. The buyers of the debt will be largely American and indirectly Israeli businessmen as well as from the Gulf. Qatar specifically is gambling on this plan, to work with “international parties”, to immerse Syria in debt, and then drive the country to sell the private sector at a very small fraction of their true values.
Some who are warning against the scheme point out that Syrians are capable of rebuilding their own country and have the labor force and raw materials to do it. Foreign aid will be welcomed by the Syrian government but not at the price of ceding the Arab Syrian Republic to a new western crafted economic order. What is hidden in the war on Syria is reported to be much bigger than has been divulged to date, and involves winding down the military actions in favor of economic aggression against the Syrian population which the layers of US sanctions to date is just a harbinger.
In this context, according to Western Diplomatic sources, the US government and some Gulf countries have tried to bribe Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of Syria’s President, to break with the government and leave the country. Some other well-known figues have also been offered large sums of cash to break ranks. Last month, one prominent Syrian nationalist who works with the government told this observer of receiving a $ 50 million dollar offer to defect and leave Syria. The official rejected the bribe and ridiculed the government that made the offer by explaining that as proud Syrian nationalists, no amount of money would break the sacred bond between Syrians and their country.
With respect to Mr. Maklouf, he did not react to being placed on the US Treasury Department’s “Specially Designated Nationals” (SDN) list which blocks assets and prohibits, under severe penalties, U.S. citizens from dealing with them, nor did he dignify an American clemency offer with even a reply. Rather he has maintained his steadfast support for Syria in the face of several attempts to assassinate him as well as targeting him, as a leader of the Syrian business community, with American orchestrated (OFAC) defamatory media campaigns, to pressure Presidenrt Bashar al-Assad to break with him. Rather than rejecting Syria for American offers of protection, Makhlouf channeled much of his assets for the benefit of domestic charities and rehabilitative projects, providing jobs for the unemployed and loans for small investors as well as “at cost” family housing for many of the internally displaced. This initiative continues. Makhlouf has provided his borse shares in the largest telecommunications companies in Syria to charity associations in order to insure financial independence and resources that the Authority can rely upon, to ease somewhat, the devastating effects on the current crisis on the Syrian civil society.
According to analysts among the Western diplomatic corps in Beirut, many wealthy Syrian capitalists fell into the U.S. trap, wherein SDN economic sanctions prompted them to leave Syria and defect from the regime. The United States and its European partners continue to wage an economic war against Syria by imposing crippling sanctions which are affecting the lives of ordinary citizens in many ways from food and fuel costs to medical care.
Why Rami Makhlouf and other strong nationalists in Syria’s business community are being targeted as a prelude to fully launching the US-led “Syrian Marshall Plan” is that their bonds with Syria as well as their business acumen are blocking the Western scheme because they provide the Syrian government with much needed additional financial strength to rebuild Syria, in cooperation with other countries, but without being subject to the economically fatal conditions the US-led plan envisages. Many in the financial and academic community view the proposed SMP plan as nearly certain to hold the Syrian economy hostage to foreigners for scores of years.
The US Treasury Department considers Makhlouf and others like him in the Syrian business community as fully capable, if allowed, of helping Syria’s government to collect huge sums from international investors to help rebuild Syria without being subject to Western domination.
“The anti-Mahhlouf black propaganda campaign, according to a Washington DC source familiar with the intensified preparations, commented that the SMP was designed to include a wide ranging assault in the visual and written media, audio, as well as in the electronic media: “ Almost certainty funded by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, both of which like their western partners who are actually constructing the SMP project, view Makhlouf as a key obstacle to realizing their plans to hijack and control the Syrian economy as part of a soft war, whereby the US and its allies, western and middle eastern, controls Arab economies while keeping US boots off the grounds of Arabia or spending more US treasure in this region.”
Targeting Rami Makhlouf, and other Syrian businessmen by Qatari media and other Arabic paid media outlets, is designed to hit Syria economically, because weakening the Syrian economic security at its core, is a more certain path, than endless military campaigns, to quickly smash the state. Makhlouf and his colleagues are seen as preventing this.
The ultimate goal of Qatar and certain Gulf countries, with US complicity, is not just expanding their investments in this region, as much as Doha is intent on connecting the Arab world to the American-Zionist axis politically and economically. The speed with which Israeli, Gulf, and Western businessmen showed up at the Corinthian, Radisson, and Rixos hotels in Tripoli, Libya, literally within days of the murder of Maoammar Qaddafi, “to help rebuild this country” is instructive on these same interests seeking to control a war damaged country by removing obstacles. Indeed, Russian intelligence reported at the time that the salafists who apprehended Qaddafi in Serte on October 20, 2011, as he attempted to flee, received verbal instructions from a Gulf country (UAE) to kill him in order to eliminate competition for dominating the Libyan econnomy and to silence those who might torpedo their best laid plans..
The targeting of Mr. Rami Makhlouf and dozens of like-minded Syrian businessmen, who refused to abandon their country, continues. Yet today, like thousands of other Syrian volunteers including the approximately 10,000 who work with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society (SARCS) their time and resources serve their country in order to lessen the suffering of the civilian population. They have stood firm and did not flee, as did some corrupt former supporters and officials of the government.
This week, Syria’s President put the goal of the Marshall Plan for Syria succinctly, without identifying it, “What is happening in Syria is a project for those states to push a non-submissive state towards the brink and to look for a new president who says ‘yes’ (to their orders). They have not found and they will not find in the future,” Assad stressed while adding, “The interference is a blatant violation of international law and the sovereignty of this country; they (western states and their Gulf allies) want to destabilize the country and spread chaos and backwardness.”
Throughout the colorful history of organized crime in the United States, periodic eruptions of inter-gang Mafia violence have dotted the criminal landscape. When turf wars broke out between competing crime families in major cities such as New York and Chicago, the combatants would conduct their warfare from unsavory redoubts such as abandoned warehouses or low-rent hotels and apartments. In such locations, the soldiers would spend their off hours sleeping on rented mattresses until the internecine conflicts had run their course; hence the expression “going to the mattresses.”
Well, there is another turf war going on, a worldwide one, one that threatens the entire economic and political landscape of the planet. It is between all the hard working savers on the planet and the ever greedy criminal bankers and their cohorts in government. The real big canary singing out an extreme danger warning to all traditional savers who wish to entrust their wealth to banks and other paper vehicles – stocks, bonds, etc., is the incredible emergency banking shutdown in the tiny island nation of Cyprus. Granted, Cyprus represents only .02% of the population of the European Union. Yet what is occurring there is the harbinger of great risk to traditional savers on every continent; and equally important, there are many more scary danger signs raising their ugly heads as well.
To recap for a moment, let’s briefly itemize the situation in Cyprus. Cyprus, like just about every other country on the planet, has for decades been politically committed to a socialist based economy. In this scenario, politicians have promised benefits to the various voting classes which have far exceeded their annual tax revenue. This has caused its government to continually accumulate deficits that have resulted in a very large national debt in relation to its GDP. This debt has been collateralized by sovereign bonds sold to and purchased by large banks in Europe and elsewhere. Now this debt has become so large the government of Cyprus can no longer afford to pay even the interest, let alone reduce principal. What happens at this juncture, is that a powerful international banking institution, in this case, the European Central Bank (substitute your favorite lender of last resort – the Federal Reserve, the IMF, the World Bank, etc., etc.), has agreed to come to the rescue of the cash strapped government and help it make its current annual debt payment.
However, this emergency funding comes with a draconian penalty for the trusting taxpaying savers. In this instance, the European Central Bank has cut a secret deal with the Cypriot government to raid the bank accounts of all the country’s bank depositors, between six and ten percent. This proposed robbery, if it comes to pass, will confiscate billions from citizens and non-citizens alike who have placed their trust in the security of Cyprus’s banks. What has resulted, of course, is riotous response throughout the nation and frantic sell-offs in world equity markets.
What is important to understand here, though, is that this same game plan has been occurring for several years now in many countries throughout the world. Here is the short list of some of the transgressions that unscrupulous governments, under pressure from their major bank lenders, have perpetrated, and continue to perpetrate upon unsuspecting savers.
October 2008 – Argentina’s leftist government, facing a gigantic revenue shortfall, proposes to nationalize all private pensions so as to meet national debt payments and avoid its second default in the decade.
November 2010 – Headline – Hungary Gives Its Citizens an Ultimatum: Move Your Private Pension Fund Assets to the State or Permanently Lose Your Pension – This is an effective nationalization of all pensions.
November 2010 – Ireland elects to appropriate ten billion euros from its National Pension Reserve Fund to help fund an eighty-five billion euro rescue package for its besieged banks. Ireland also moves to consider a regulatory move that compels some private Irish pension funds to hold more Irish government debt, thereby providing the state with a captive investor base but hugely raising the risk for savers.
December 2010 – France agrees to transfer twenty billion euros worth of assets belonging to its Fonds de Reserve pour les Retraites (FRR), the funded portion of its retirement system, to help pay off recurring social benefits costs. No pensioners are consulted.
April 2012 – Argentina announces that its Economy Ministry has taken an emergency loan from the national pension fund in the amount of $4.3 billion. No pensioners were consulted.
June 2012 – Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner unilaterally appropriates $45 billion from US federal pension funds to help tide over US deficits for the remainder of fiscal year 2011.
January 2013 – Treasury Secretary Geithner again announces that the government has begun borrowing from the federal employees pension fund to keep operating without passing the approaching “fiscal cliff” debt limit. The move effectively creates $156 billion in borrowing authority from federal pension funds.
March 2013 – Open Bank Resolution finance minister, Bill English, is proposing a Cyprus style solution for potential New Zealand bank failures. The reserve bank is in the final stages of establishing a rescue scheme which will put all bank depositors on the hook for bailing out their banks. Depositors will overnight have their savings shaved by the amount needed to keep distressed banks afloat.
Ladies and gentlemen, this trend is JUST getting underway. Bank failures, sovereign bond collapses, and national government bankruptcy are just around the corner. Because of the interconnectedness of world debt markets and derivatives risk, counted in hundreds of trillions of dollars, the risk to traditional investment vehicles looms ever closer. We’re at critical eleventh hour crossroads where savvy investors need to head for “the mattresses” to protect their life savings. We may be biased but we strongly feel that the very surest and safest “mattress plan” in this extremely dangerous financial environment, is to invest in the one vehicle that has survived every crisis in recorded history, precious metals. When all else fails, gold and silver will be there to save you.
To learn more about the rewards of precious metals investing, including how to fund your existing IRA with gold or silver, call Liberty Gold and Silver seven days a week at 888.751.3330. To learn about the most generous referral program in the precious metals industry, please visit the Liberty Gold and Silver Referral Program.
We’re happy to spend as much time as you need to discuss the details with you.
“The 20th century (was) characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.”- Alex Carey
Recently, while at an event marking the 1,000th day of imprisonment for Bradley Manning, I began to ponder the long and storied role of propaganda that led up to his demonization and incarceration.
“A scientific method of managing behavior”
Given the unspeakable lessons learned from Joseph Goebbels and Nazi Germany, propaganda has long been a dirty word. But when public relations pioneer Edward Bernays got his start in the early 20th century, it was a word less charged but equally as potent. In fact, Bernays unabashedly named one of his books Propaganda.
“Edward Bernays was surely one of the most amazing and influential characters of the twentieth century,” explains PR watchdog, John Stauber. “He was a nephew of Sigmund Freud and helped to popularize Freudianism in the United States. Later, he used his relation to Freud to promote himself. And from his uncle’s psychoanalysis techniques, Bernays developed a scientific method of managing behavior, to which he gave the name ‘public relations.’”
The Vienna-born Bernays was heavily influenced, of course, by his uncle’s work, but it was in the service of war that he helped shape what we call “PR” today.
In what Stauber calls “perhaps the most effective job of large-scale war propaganda which the world has ever witnessed,” the Committee on Public Information, run by veteran newspaperman George Creel with the help of others like Bernays, used all available forms of media to promote the noble purpose behind World War I: To keep the world safe for democracy.
The average American was notoriously wary of any hint of their country entering the bloody conflict. As a result, men like Creel and Bernays were called upon to change some minds with some good old-fashioned propaganda and persuasion.
The Creel Committee (as it came to be known) was the first government agency for outright propaganda in U.S. history; it published 75 million books and pamphlets, had 250 paid employees, and mobilized 75,000 volunteer speakers known as “four minute men,” who delivered their pro-war messages in churches, theaters, and other places of civic gatherings.
The idea, of course, was to give the war effort a positive spin. To do so, the nation had to be convinced that doing their part to support global military conflict on a scale never before seen was indeed a good idea.
“It is not merely an army that we must train and shape for war,” President Woodrow Wilson declared at the time, “it is an entire nation.” The age of manipulated public opinion had begun in earnest.
Although Wilson won reelection in 1916 on a promise of peace, it wasn’t long before he severed diplomatic relations with Germany and proposed arming U.S. merchant ships — even without congressional authority. Upon declaring war on Germany in December 1917, the president proclaimed, “conformity will be the only virtue and any man who refuses to conform will have to pay the penalty.”
In time, the masses got the message as demonstrated by these (and other) results:
Fourteen states passed laws forbidding the teaching of the German language.
Iowa and South Dakota outlawed the use of German in public or on the telephone.
From coast to coast, German-language books were ceremonially burned.
The Philadelphia Symphony and the New York Metropolitan Opera Company excluded Beethoven, Wagner, and other German composers from their programs.
Irish-American newspapers were banned from the mails because Ireland opposed England — one of America’s allies — as a matter of principle.
German shepherds were renamed Alsatians.
Sauerkraut became known as “liberty cabbage.”
Buoyed by the indisputable success of the Creel Committee and armed with the powerful psychoanalytical techniques of his Uncle Sigmund, Bernays set about shaping American consciousness in a major way.
“Torches of Freedom”
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society,” Bernays wrote in Propaganda. “Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”
Bernays’ vision had a dominant economic component. As described by Tim Adams of the London Observer, Bernays “thought that the safest way of maintaining democracy was to distract people from dangerous political thought by letting them think that their real choices were as consumers.”
A fine illustration of Bernays’ approach involves his efforts — for the American Tobacco Company — to persuade woman to take up cigarette smoking. His slogan, “Reach for a Lucky Instead of a Sweet,” exploited women’s fear about gaining weight (arguably a fear manufactured through previous advertising and/or public relations work).
While Lucky Strike sales increased by 300 percent in the first year of Bernays’ campaign, there was still one more barrier he needed to break down: smoking remained mostly taboo for “respectable” women.
This is where some watered-down Freud came in handy. As Bernays biographer Larry Tye said, he basically wanted to take his uncle’s works and “popularize them into little ditties that housewives and others could relate to.” With input from psychoanalyst A.A. Brill, Bernays conjured up the now legendary scheme to re-frame cigarettes as a symbol of freedom.
“During the 1929 Easter Parade,” explains New York Times reporter Ron Chernow, “he had a troupe of fashionable ladies flounce down Fifth Avenue, conspicuously puffing their ‘Torches of Freedom,’ as he had called cigarettes.”
As Chernow reports, Bernays augmented this successful stunt by lining up “neutral experts” to “applaud the benefits of smoking, all the while concealing the tobacco company’s sponsorship of his activity.”
Bernays was also concealing his knowledge of tobacco’s deleterious effects. “As he hypocritically seduced American women into smoking, he was trying to wean his own wife from the nasty habit,” Chernow continues.
His daughter Anne Bernays, the novelist, recalls that whenever he discovered a pack of his wife’s Parliaments, ‘he’d pull them all out and just snap them like bones, just snap them in half and throw them in the toilet. He hated her smoking.’”
“Insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny”
With the legislative ground made fertile by men like Bernays and Creel, the Espionage Act was passed in June 1917. It read in part:
“Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully cause or attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty in the military or naval forces of the United States, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment of not more than 20 years, or both.”
This act cast a wide net and, predictably, civil liberties were trampled. In Vermont, for example, a minister was sentenced to 15 years in prison for writing a pamphlet, distributed to five persons, in which he claimed that supporting the war was wrong for a Christian.
Perhaps the best-known target of the act was noted socialist Eugene V. Debs who, after visiting three fellow socialists in a prison in June 1918, spoke out across the street from the jail for two hours. He was arrested and found guilty, but, before sentencing, Debs famously told the judge:
“Your honor, years ago, I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”
Eugene Debs remained in prison until 1921 and roughly 900 others also did time thanks to the Espionage Act.
While some of more controversial sections were repealed in 1921, the Espionage Act remains on the books today and has been used against, for example, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Daniel Ellsberg, and yes, Bradley Manning.
Never forget, comrades: This is what we’re up against.
NYC Event Note: To continue conversations like this, come see Mickey Z. in person on Mar. 19 in NYC for Occupy for All Species: Social Justice in the Age of Climate Change.
On January 16 Islamic militants staged an audacious attack on a major natural gas complex in southeastern Algeria, 800 miles southeast from the capital. A jihadist group calling itself the Masked Brigade—led by Moktar Belmoktar, the fierce one-eyed veteran of the Afghan war and a senior commander of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)—claimed responsibility for the raid on the In Amenas gas facility near the Libyan border. Dozens of foreign hostages were taken, including at least seven Americans, as well as workers from Britain, Ireland, Norway, Japan, and other countries.
On January 17 government forces launched an operation to retake the facility. On January 18 the crisis was still continuing. Some hostages have been freed but an unknown number of others were reported killed, either by their captors or by the Algerian army fire. There has been some dismay in Western capitals over the speed and ferocity of the authorities’ response. The Algerian government strongly defended its action. “Those who think we will negotiate with terrorists are delusional,” said Mohamed Said Belaid, Algeria’s communications minister. “Those who think we will surrender to their blackmail are delusional.” The assessment seems right: allowing the attackers to escape to Libya with the hostages, or settling in for a long siege, was exactly what the Masked Brigade leaders would have hoped for.
The raid on In Amenas is the most significant military event in North Africa since the end of operations in Libya in October 2011. It was more sophisticated than the attack which killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi last September 11. Its implications are far more momentous than the escalating jihadist insurgency in the landlocked and dirt-poor Mali, bordering Algeria to the south.
Western media reports have taken scant notice of the proximity of the Libyan border to In Amenas, which is a significant omission. It now seems certain that the attackers came from a stronghold in Libya, across the unguarded desert. If this is confirmed, the attack would provide further evidence that the NATO-led war—in addition to plunging Libya into chaos—has given a boost to jihadist activity in the region. It has also enabled the militants to amass a substantial arsenal of modern weaponry: Belmokhtar’s faction is known to have commandeered vast quantities of weapons from Libyan military stockpiles at the end of the war. AQIM fighters are well poised to try destabilizing Algeria again, now that they have established a cross-border sanctuary which was denied them by Qaddafy.
AQIM was formed in 2007 by veterans of two Algerian groups that fought the government during the fierce civil war in the 1990’s, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat and the Armed Islamic Group. It is one of the jihadist network’s biggest, richest and most heavily armed subsidiaries. Its “Masked Brigade” is said to have carried out the attack in retaliation for Algeria’s agreement to let France use its air space to supply French forcesbattling Islamic militants in Mali, but the assumption is too optimistic. It would have been impossible to plan such a complex operation barely a week since the beginning of the French operation in Mali. The attack must have been planned well in advance of the French military involvement, with the air space issue providing a misleading pretext which the Western media have been all to willing to accept at face value.
The Algerian extremists have bigger fish to fry. Their wider objective is to reignite the Islamic insurgency in Algeria, which the secularist government successfully suppressed over a decade ago. The authorities officially lifted the 19-year-old state of emergency in February 2011, just before the “Arab Spring” spread to Libya.
The jihadists’ new strategy may be gleaned from the fact that the assault on In Amenas is their first major attack ever on an Algerian hydrocarbon installation. Algeria is the third-largest gas supplier to Europe and one of the world’s biggest producers of liquefied natural gas. Well aware of the importance of energy revenues the rebels refrained from attacking production facilities in the 1990’s, hoping to reap the benefits after an eventual regime change. Targeting such facilities now indicates that they are smarting for a new, long fight. They are initially aiming to destroy Algeria’s image as a safe location for foreign oil and gas companies to invest and operate. In the long run they are hoping to make Algeria the next domino.
The effects of the attack were felt immediately. Snam Rete, which operates the Italian gas network, announced on January 17 that volumes of gas pumped into Italy from Algeria through a vital trans-Mediterranean pipeline had fallen from over 70 million cubic meters a day (mcm/d) to just over 60 million—a drop of 15% at a time of peak consumption.
The implications of a renewed conflict in Algeria for European energy security are immense. If similar attacks spread to the scantily protected oil and gas fields in southwest Libya, which has no effective military force controlled by the government in Tripoli, the consequences would be potentially disastrous for the consumers in Italy, France, and points further north. Algeria is the third-largest supplier of gas into the European Union (after Russia and Norway), and In Amenas’ output alone covers two per cent of total European demand, accounting for 18 per cent of Algeria’s gas exports and earning $4 billion a year in export revenues.
Russia’s Gazprom may step in to make up the shortfall, as it did in 2011 when the war in Libya brought its gas exports to an abrupt halt, but an important consequence may be to draw Europe and the United States apart on the key issue of energy politics. An ever-greater reliance on Russia’s gas runs counter to the U.S. strategy of nudging Europeans to diversify their supplies by increasing deliveries from majority-Muslim countries. Most Europeans are lukewarm about the stalled Nabucco pipeline, which has been strongly favored by the U.S., and their misgivings are bound to be reinforced by the latest developments across the Mediterranean.
The latest crisis is the direct consequence of the ill-advised, unnecessary, and self-defeating NATO intervention in Libya. It is but another reminder that Western interventionism in the Muslim world is a form of psychosis which harms the interests of the intervening powers, brings nothing but misery to the targeted lands and peoples, and benefits only the darkest enemies of civilization in today’s world.