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How Your State of Mind is Affecting Your Well-Being

November 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Most of us know that the environment has a tremendous effect on our physical and mental well-being but did you know that our thoughts directly affect the way we physically feel? Remember always that we live and exist as part of a vast, elaborate, and intricate matrix of consciousness where everything affects everything else. There are numerous causes to any one effect. Reality is far more complex than we sometimes realize. It’s far easier on our brains to overly simplify Reality’s operating system yet by doing so we can end up blocking out an understanding of how we are living a shadow of the amazing life we could be experiencing. Let’s take a look at a program in the operating system of Reality that affects us on a daily basis in very intimate ways: our thoughts affecting our well-being.

Anger Makes You Physically Sick

According to a 2006 Harvard study, 10 million adult men in the United States are so angry that they’re sick. In fact, their disease has a name: intermittent explosive disorder, or IED. It’s been something recognized since 1980 but has existed for millenia before humans discovered the facts of the matter. Besides a person filled with anger and rage being an immediate threat to any property or people that may happen to be within swinging distance, there is some serious damage that is happening internally as well. People who experience frequent outbursts of anger have been found to be more likely to die of heart disease or stroke.

In fact, more than 30,000 heart attacks each year are triggered by momentary anger, according to a 2004 Harvard study. “People who have a lot of anger invest a lot of energy in trying to control it, and that kind of friction is likely to increase the probability of a heart attack,” says Charles Spielberger, Ph.D., a University of South Florida psychologist who developed the most widely used test to measure anger. “The more intense the anger, the more likely the heart attack.” Other studies have shown that angry men are three times more likely to develop premature cardiovascular disease, six times more likely to have an early heart attack, and three times more likely to have a stroke.

Your Attitude Affects How Long You Live

Research into the body-mind connection has discovered that if you expect illness you increase the odds of getting an illness and if you expect good health your chances of enjoying good health are increased. The University of Texas found people with an upbeat view of life were less likely than pessimists to show signs of frailty and disease. Another study that was published in the same journal suggests that physical performance can be influenced by mental attitude, indicating the intimate interplay between physical and mental systems.

Researchers from North Carolina State University did a study with results that showed that memory performance in older adults was lower when they were primed with negative stereotypes. In contrast, there was much less difference in performance between young and older adults primed with positive stereotypes. The researchers say their findings suggest that if older people are treated like they are competent, productive members of society, then they perform that way too. This shows that the thoughts of others about us affect the thoughts we have about ourselves if we are aware of what those thoughts are. Once again the intricate network of inter-connectivity shows itself to be very, very real.

Negative Emotions Affect Our Life Force on Subtle Levels

In the book Pranic Healing there is a more subtle look into how our thoughts and emotions affect our well-being. The following is a quote from the book on this:

Energetically speaking, anger and frustration result in pranic (chi/qi/energy) depletion around the solar plexus and abdominal areas or may manifest as pranic congestion around the solar plexus and heart area. In the first case, it manifests itself as indigestion or loose bowel movements. In the long run, it may manifest itself as ulcers or as a gall bladder problem. In the second case, it may manifest itself as a heart enlargement or other heart related problems. It seems that a certain type of negative emotion may manifest as a certain type of disease in one patient but may manifest as another type of disease in another.

Anger and intense worry devitalize the whole bioplasmic body so that the body becomes susceptible to all kinds of diseases. Negative emotions cause disturbances in the bioplasmic body so that the whole physical body becomes sick. You may have experienced that after an intense anger or an intense altercation, you felt physically exhausted or became sick. This is because both the bioplasmic and visible physical bodies are drained of prana and became susceptible to infection.

Too Much Relationship Commitment May Increase Anxiety, Depression & Hostility

This one is definitely worth elaborating on. As in my article on what happens in a relationship when passion overrides love, we can find yet again what happens when we allow our egos invest an unbalanced amount of energy and focus towards one person. Because of the dynamics of human interaction and relationships when there is a state of disequilibrium the relationships can fail and when they do the emotional pain is magnified several times over.

A study by the University of Houston has found that there is too much emotional weight placed on a relationship one or both people involved will evaluate their self-worth by the out comes of their romantic interactions. This happens so commonly psychologists even gave it a name (relationship-contingent self-esteem).

People with high levels of RCSE are very committed in their relationships but can experience manic, needy, and obsessive behaviors with regards to love. Researcher Chip Knee said that “when something happens in a relationship, these individuals don’t separate themselves from it. They immediately feel personally connected to any negative circumstance in a relationship and become anxious, more depressed and hostile.”  What goes wrong doesn’t even have to be a big event. It can be as simple as the other person not returning their texts, calls, snapchats, etc. The study doesn’t suggest that commitment is bad in itself but rather the wrong kind of commitment like the kind that arises from an egoistic desire to fill a void in a person’s life with another person that becomes a desolate wasteland when that person isn’t there in some capacity.

Being Happier Leads to Better Health

Monty Python famously sang “Always look on the bright side of life.” Yes there is death and destruction mercilessly given out but there is also compassion and creation introduced into our world. Just like the ancient adage says that the world is our mirror, so too does this apply to health through happiness.

Several studies have found that optimism does indeed lead to greater happiness and longevity. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine did a study on post-menopausal women and found that they were healthier and lived longer than their counterparts that chose to dwell in pessimism. With 100,000 women being a part of this study who were tracked for 8 years, the results are quite firm. Women in the “cynically hostile” group suffered poorer health, had a 16% higher risk of dying from any cause, and a 23% higher risk of dying from cancer.

If you have an optimistic state of mind you have a better ability to become accomplished in life, are better able to cope with stress, and can take on life challenges more resiliently…all of these have been confirmed by modern scientific studies but have been talked about by the wise ancients for millenia. In the book Being Happy! author Andrew Matthews looks to the scientific research that have been done that showing just how damaging a negative state of mind really is and the results are shocking. For instance, when blood samples taken from people who were feeling anger and fear were injected into guinea pigs they literally dropped dead in less then two minutes. Negative emotions are self-destructive and if there was ever a reason to consciously stop fear and anger in their tracks, that’s a big one for sure.

Happy a Positive Attitude Reduces Pain and Fatigue

Even when we are on death’s doorstep, happy a positive attitude about it will reduce the pain and suffering we feel. A study done by Dr Margot E Kurtz and her team from the Michigan State University with cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy found that cancer patients with more optimistic outlooks were able to feel less pain associated with the cancers. Patients who had a strong sense of control over their environment experienced less severe fatigue.

It’s difficult to stay positive when you’re face with your own mortality in such a life-changing way but if you understand that there is a degree of pain and suffering that doesn’t have to exist on top of that which you can’t control, it all becomes much easier to cope with. At the very least, we can reduce the pain and fatigue we have in these kinds of life circumstances if we find ways to elevate our spirits out of the dark depths of confronting death.

Stress Can Literally Cause Cancer

Stress is called the mother of all dis-ease and with evidence of cancer being sprung into existence with the help of stress we can truly say stress is a menace to society. Prof Xu and a team of researchers at Yale University did a study on fruit flies and found that everyday emotional stress triggers the growth of cancerous tumors. What happens is that stress opens up pathways between cells that allow mutations to spread, leading to cancer taking over.  Stress, be it physical or emotional, is never good. This seems like a given yet how often do we find ourselves unnecessarily stressing over things we either can’t control or that we blow out of proportion? Stress is something that can be controlled with things such as deep breathing, being tuned into the present moment, and of course having a regular meditation practice.

…and Bias Towards Negativity Causes Stress

Riding on the “stress causes cancer” train, researchers have found that people who notice negative information over positive information are more stressed out. This is especially true for ‘news junkies’ and ties into research that found reading the news can make you want to grab a bottle of antidepressants and swallow all the pills. Researchers from the University of Essex found that they could predict the body’s reaction to stress up to eight months after they measured a person’s bias towards positive or negative images. The results indicate that people who are biased towards negativity have a much greater risk of having an anxiety disorder as a result.

Optimists Are Less Likely To Get Heart Disease

Just by living in a positive state of mind greatly reduces your risk of heart disease according to new research. This was the first study, in fact, that made a direct connection between positive emotions and lower risk of heart disease. The study which went on for 10 years found that people that don’t dwell in positivity had a 22% greater risk of developing heart disease. That’s too large of a risk to not take to heart. Since happier people tend to sleep better and not have such erratic sleeping patterns, their bodies are less stressed and strained. Happier people are also better able to move on after something unfortunate happens to them than unhappy people who tend to dwell longer on negative experiences.

…and Fight Off Illnesses More Easily

It turns out that when we are pessimistic we actually have a weaker immune system response to illnesses such as viral infections. This can result in a prolonged cold or flu that we definitely would not enjoy. In a study where scientists tracked the well-being of students for a year and tested their immune systems, they found very strong responses to challenges to their immune systems if those students were generally optimistic. There was a clear demonstration that when they were optimistic their immune systems got stronger and when they were pessimistic their immune systems got weaker.

You Really *Are* As Old As You Feel

Obviously we won’t stay 21 forever but if we shift our perception of reality in such a way that we don’t fall into negative thinking about how we’re getting older and therefore we’re going to ache more, sleep less, weigh more, and so on, we’ll have more vitality. A study led by Markus Schafer found that if we mentally keep on imprinting our minds with the idea that we’re old (or rather, that we’re going to experience the negative effects of aging before we actually get old) it will have a direct negative effect on our physical bodies. “We found that these people who felt young for their age were more likely to have greater confidence about their cognitive abilities a decade later,” Schafer said. “Yes, chronological age was important, but the subjective age had a stronger effect.

Your Vision Can Improve If You Think It’s Improved

In a remarkable case of our thoughts shaping our reality, our eyesight can improve if we believe that we can see especially well. This finding, by psychologist Ellen Langer from Harvard University shows that perception can truly become reality, or at the very least help usher that reality into existence. Out of all the findings Langer had in her research, the most incredible one was when 20 men and women (all with normal eyesight) were shown a reverse eye chart that was arranged so the letters became larger the further down they went, not smaller. Surprisingly, they accurately reported more letters from the smallest two lines than they did when shown a traditional eye chart with the largest letters at the top. The conclusion from all of the findings was that while vision may not improve itself, out mind-set is more accurately perceiving what it is seeing.

Insecurity in Relationships Leads to Greater Risk of Heart Problems

People who feel insecure in their relationships have been found to have increased heart problems later on in life. In a study published by the American Psychological Association which examined data on 5,645 adults found that people who felt insecure in relationships or avoided getting close to others are at a higher risk of developing several chronic diseases. The cardiovascular system seems to be especially hard hit from relationship insecurity and this makes sense since a relationship is heart-based in nature.

Other Physical Effects of Negative Emotions

  • A Harvard Medical School Study of 1,623 heart attack survivors found that when subjects became angry during emotional conflicts, their risk of subsequent heart attacks was more than double that of those that remained calm.
  • Men who complain of high anxiety are up to six times more likely than calmer men to suffer sudden cardiac death.
  • A 20-year study of over 1,700 older men conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health found that worry about social conditions, health and personal finances all significantly increased the risk of coronary heart disease.
  • An international study of 2,829 people between the ages of 55 and 85 found that individuals who reported the highest levels of personal “mastery”— feelings of control over life events—had a nearly 60% lower risk of death compared with those who felt relatively helpless in the face of life’s challenges.
  • Three 10-year studies concluded that emotional stress was more predictive of death from cancer and cardiovascular disease than smoking; people who were unable to effectively manage their stress had a 40% higher death rate than non-stressed individuals.
  • A study of heart attack survivors showed that patients’ emotional state and relationships in the period after myocardial infarction are as important as the disease severity in determining their prognosis.
  • In a study of 5,716 middle-aged people, those with the highest self-regulation abilities were over 50 times more likely to be alive and without chronic disease 15 years later than those with the lowest self-regulation scores.
  • new study has found that our state of mind can either speed up or slow down how fast we heal from an illness. The study looked at diabetes patients and found that those with the worst depression were the least likely to heal quickly from foot ulcers.

“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world”. This is how I start off a detailed section on how our thoughts and states of consciousness shape our reality in my book The Creation of a Consciousness Shift. These words, said by the Buddha over 2,500 years ago, have always been true (and on many levels), yet now we have verifiable proof of it using our scientific method of understanding our world.

Now that we are more aware and better understand the power of our thoughts, it’s time to take that awareness and understanding and apply it to our lives. Why choose to live anything less then the most optimal life you can? ‘Knowledge is power’, it is said. You have the knowledge now. Use your newly-found power to your advantage and elevate you well-being.

The physical arises from the subtle. Formlessness gives birth to form. Your thoughts, leading a seemingly vaporous existence, have more power over you then you may think. Initiate the Gamechanger…let your thoughts become your ally, increasing your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. You can either empower yourself or continue living life at the behest of untamed and uncontrolled thoughts. The choice is yours. What choice will you make?

About the Author

Paul Lenda is a conscious evolution guide, author of The Creation of a Consciousness Shift, and co-founder of SHIFT>, a social community focused on anchoring in the new paradigm and assisting the positive transformation of humanity. With the drive to be aware of and experience the wider horizon of Reality, Paul has developed an extensive background in the spiritual and transformative elements of life; one that is both knowledge and experienced-based. Visit his website www.shift.is, follow him on Twitter or visit the Shift Facebook community.

Source: Waking Times

Elysium: The Technological Side of the Police State

August 27, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

“Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth.” — Pablo Picasso.

From George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World to the Wachowskis’ The MatrixStephen Spielberg’s Minority Report and most recently Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium, writers and filmmakers have used science fiction to both forecast the future while also holding up a mirror to the present. The best among these transcend what is largely escapist entertainment and engage their audiences in a critical dialogue about what happens when power, technology and militaristic governance converge.

With its dystopian vision of a post-apocalyptic Earth in which the majority of humanity is relegated to an overpopulated, diseased, warring planet while the elite live a life of luxury and perfect health on an orbiting space station, Elysium fits in perfectly alongside the futuristic books and films featured in my new book, A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, which warn of a totalitarian future at our doorsteps.

However, while much has been said about Blomkamp’s use of Elysium to raise concerns about immigration, access to healthcare, worker’s rights, and socioeconomic stratification, what I found most striking and unnerving was its depiction of how the government will employ technologies such as drones, tasers and biometric scanners to track, target and control the populace, especially dissidents. Mind you, while these technologies are already in use today and being hailed for their potentially life-saving, cost-saving, time-saving benefits, it won’t be long before the drawbacks to having a government equipped with technology that makes it all-seeing, all-knowing, and all-powerful far outdistance the benefits.

For those who insist that such things are celluloid fantasies with no connection to the present, I offer the following.

Robotic Police

Fiction: One of the most jarring scenes in Elysium occurs towards the beginning of the film, when the protagonist Max Da Costa waits to board a bus on his way to work. While standing in line, Max is approached by two large robotic police officers, who quickly scan Max’s biometrics, cross-check his data against government files, and identify him as a former convict in need of close inspection. They demand to search his bag, a request which Max resists, insisting that there is nothing for them to see. The robotic cops respond by manhandling Max, throwing him to the ground, and breaking his arm with a police baton. After determining that Max poses no threat, they leave him on the ground and continue their patrol.

Reality: The United States government is presently developing robot technology that can mimic human behavior. Consider ATLAS, an android being developed by the Department of Defense. Standing at 6 feet tall and 330 pounds, the robot moves, walks, and runs like a human. While still in testing stages, it bears an eerie resemblance to the robotic cops featured in Elysium. It’s not too far-fetched to imagine a time in the near future when artificial intelligence robots are responsible for policing citizens. Considering how difficult it is today to exercise one’s constitutional rights when confronted by SWAT-team attired police with little regard for the Constitution, imagine trying to assert your rights when confronted with autonomous machines programmed to maintain order at all costs?

Drones

Fiction: In another scene ripped from the present, Max Da Costa is hunted by four drones while attempting to elude the authorities. The drones, equipped with x-ray cameras, biometric readers, scanners and weapons, are able to scan whole neighborhoods, identify individuals from a distance—even through buildings, report their findings back to police handlers, pursue a suspect, and target them with tasers and an array of lethal weapons. These drones, strikingly similar to currently existing Quadrotor drones, are depicted in A Government of Wolves.

Reality: Comprising an $82 billion industry, at least 30,000 drones are expected to occupy U.S. airspace by 2020. These drones, some of which will be deceptively small and capable of videotaping the facial expressions of people on the ground from hundreds of feet in the air, will usher in a new age of surveillance in American society. Not even those indoors, in the privacy of their homes, will be safe from these aerial spies, which can be equipped with technology capable of peering through walls. In addition to their surveillance capabilities, drone manufacturers have confirmed that drones can also be equipped with automatic weapons, grenade launchers, tear gas, and tasers. The FBI, DEA, and US Border Patrol are already using drone technology for surveillance operations.

Biometric scanners and national IDs

Fiction: Throughout Elysium, citizens are identified, sorted and dealt with by way of various scanning devices that read their biometrics—irises, DNA, etc.—as well as their national ID numbers, imprinted by a laser into their skin. In this way, citizens are tracked, counted, and classified. The end result is that there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide to escape the government’s all-seeing eyes.

Reality: Given the vast troves of data that the government in its many forms (NSA, FBI, DHS, etc.) is collecting on all Americans, we are not far from a future where there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. In fact, between the facial recognition technology being handed out to police across the country, license plate readers being installed on police cruisers, local police creating DNA databases by extracting DNA from non-criminals, including the victims of crimes, and police collecting more and more biometric data such as iris scans, we are approaching the end of anonymity in America today. It won’t be long before police officers will be able to pull up a full biography on any given person instantaneously, including their family and medical history, bank accounts, and personal peccadilloes.

Behavior/Mood Sensors

Fiction: In a meeting with his robotic parole officer, Max finds his mood and emotions being scanned, analyzed and assessed by his android counterpart. Perceiving a heightened level of stress and frustration in Max, who is finding it difficult to reason with an automaton lacking in reason, the robot offers him mood-altering pills to counteract his perceived “aggression.”

Reality: Advances in neuroscience indicate that future behavior can be predicted based upon activity in certain portions of the brain, potentially creating a nightmare scenario in which government officials select certain segments of the population for more invasive surveillance or quarantine based solely upon their brain chemistry. Most recently, researchers at the Mind Research Center scanned the brains of thousands of prison inmates in order to track their brain chemistry and their behavior after release. In one experiment, researchers determined that inmates with lower levels of activity in the area of the brain associated with error processing allegedly had a higher likelihood of committing a crime within four years of being released from prison. While researchers have cautioned against using the results of their research as a method of predicting future crime, soon it will undoubtedly become a focus of study for government officials.

Brain to Machine Interface

Fiction: In Blomkamp’s world of Elysium, humans are not only able to store computer data in their brains and transfer this data by way of brain-computer interfaces, but they can also plug directly into computer systems that control every aspect of society and government. In such a world, a single key stroke can establish a dictatorship or unchain an enslaved population.

Reality: Although still in its infancy, there’s no limit to what can be accomplished—for good or ill—using brain-computer interfaces. Scientists have already created machines that allow people to manipulate robotic arms using just their thoughts. In the near future, we may see scientists observing human thought using “smart dust”—nanomachines the size of dust—which can be placed in the brain to observe neural behavior. Furthermore, hackers have already been able to “steal” information from human brains using extant brain-computer interfaces which read brain waves and are commercially available for $200-300. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have created a brain-to-brain interface between lab rats, which allows them to transfer information directly between brains. In one particular experiment, researchers trained a rat to perform a task where it would hit a lever when lit. The trained rat then had its brain connected to an untrained rat’s brain via electrodes. The untrained rat was then able to learn the trained rat’s behavior via electrical stimulation. This even worked over great distances using the internet, with a lab rat in North Carolina guiding the actions of a lab rat in Brazil.

Making the Leap from Fiction to Reality

When Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World in 1931, he was convinced that there was “still plenty of time” before his dystopian vision became a nightmare reality. It wasn’t long before he realized that his prophecies were coming true far sooner than he had imagined. The question that must be asked, writes Huxley in Brave New World Revisited, is what can be done about it?

Does a majority of the population think it worthwhile to take a good deal of trouble, in order to halt and, if possible, reverse the current drift toward totalitarian control of everything? … [R]ecent public opinion polls have revealed that an actual majority of young people in their teens, the voters of tomorrow, have no faith in democratic institutions, see no objection to the censorship of unpopular ideas, do not believe that government of the people by the people is possible and would be perfectly content, if they can continue to live in the style to which the boom has accustomed them, to be ruled, from above, by an oligarchy of assorted experts.

That so many of the well-fed young television-watchers in the world’s most powerful democracy should be so completely indifferent to the idea of self-government, so blankly uninterested in freedom of thought and the right to dissent, is distressing, but not too surprising.

“Free as a bird,” we say, and envy the winged creatures for their power of unrestricted movement in all the three dimensions. But, alas, we forget the dodo. Any bird that has learned how to grub up a good living without being compelled to use its wings will soon renounce the privilege of flight and remain forever grounded. Something analogous is true of human beings. If the bread is supplied regularly and copiously three times a day, many of them will be perfectly content to live by bread alone—or at least by bread and circuses alone.

“In the end,” says the Grand Inquisitor in Dostoevsky’s parable, “in the end they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, ‘make us your slaves, but feed us.’” And when Alyosha Karamazov asks his brother, the teller of the story, if the Grand Inquisitor is speaking ironically, Ivan answers, “Not a bit of it! He claims it as a merit for himself and his Church that they have vanquished freedom and done so to make men happy.” Yes, to make men happy; “for nothing,” the Inquisitor insists, “has ever been more insupportable for a man or a human society than freedom.”

Nothing, except the absence of freedom; for when things go badly, and the rations are reduced, the grounded dodos will clamor again for their wings—only to renounce them, yet once more, when times grow better and the dodo-farmers become more lenient and generous. The young people who now think so poorly of democracy may grow up to become fighters for freedom. The cry of “Give me television and hamburgers, but don’t bother me with the responsibilities of liberty,” may give place, under altered circumstances, to the cry of “Give me liberty or give me death.”

Source: John W. Whitehead  |  The Rutherford Institute

The Police State Mindset In Public Schools

August 13, 2013 by · 2 Comments 

“Is it surprising that prisons resemble factories, schools, barracks, hospitals, which all resemble prisons?” – Michel Foucault.

Once upon a time in America, parents breathed a sigh of relief when their kids went back to school after a summer’s hiatus, content in the knowledge that for a good portion of the day their kids would be gainfully occupied, out of harm’s way and out of trouble. Those were the good old days, before school shootings became a part of our national lexicon and schools, aiming for greater security, transformed themselves into quasi-prisons, complete with surveillance cameras, metal detectors, police patrols, zero tolerance policies, lock downs, drug sniffing dogs and strip searches.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, instead of making the schools safer, we simply managed to make them more authoritarian. It used to be that if you talked back to a teacher, or played a prank on a classmate, or just failed to do your homework, you might find yourself in detention or doing an extra writing assignment after school. Nowadays, students are not only punished for transgressions more minor than those—such as playing cops and robbers on the playground, bringing LEGOs to school, or having a food fight—but they are punished with suspension, expulsion, and even arrest.

As a result, America is now on a fast track to raising up an Orwellian generation—one populated by compliant citizens accustomed to living in a police state and who march in lockstep to the dictates of the government. Indeed, as I point out in my book, A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, with every school police raid and overzealous punishment that is carried out in the name of school safety, the lesson being imparted is that Americans—especially young people—have no rights at all against the state or the police. In fact, the majority of schools today have adopted an all-or-nothing lockdown mindset that leaves little room for freedom, individuality or due process.

For example, when high school senior Ashley Smithwick grabbed the wrong lunch sack—her father’s—on the way to school, the star soccer player had no idea that her mistake would land her in a sea of legal troubles. Unbeknownst to Ashley, the lunchbox contained her father’s paring knife, a 2-inch blade he uses to cut his apple during lunch. It was only when a school official searching through students’ belongings found the diminutive knife, which administrators considered a “weapon,” that Ashley realized what had happened and explained the mistake. Nevertheless, school officials referred Ashley to the police, who in turn charged her with a Class 1 misdemeanor for possessing a “sharp-pointed or edged instrument on educational property.”

Tieshka Avery, a diabetic teenager living in Birmingham, Alabama, was slammed into a filing cabinet and arrested after falling asleep during an in-school suspension. The young lady, who suffers from sleep apnea and asthma, had fallen asleep while readingHuckleberry Finn in detention. After a school official threw a book at her, Avery went to the hall to collect herself. While speaking on the phone with her mother, she was approached from behind by a police officer, who slammed her into a filing cabinet and arrested her. Avery is currently pursuing a lawsuit against the school.

In May 2013, seven students at Enloe High in Raleigh, North Carolina, were arrested for throwing water balloons as part of a school prank. One parent, who witnessed police slamming one of the arrested students on the ground, was also arrested for attempting to calmly express his discontent with the way the students were being treated.

Unfortunately, while these may appear to be isolated incidents, they are indicative of a nationwide phenomenon in which children are treated like criminals, especially within the public schools. The ramifications are far-reaching. As Emily Bloomenthal, writing for the New York University Review of Law & Social Change, explains:

 

Studies have found that youth who have been suspended are at increased risk of being required to repeat a grade, and suspensions are a strong predictor of later school dropout. Researchers have concluded that “suspension often becomes a ‘pushout’ tool to encourage low-achieving students and those viewed as ‘troublemakers’ to leave school before graduation.” Students who have been suspended are also more likely to commit a crime and/or to end up incarcerated as an adult, a pattern that has been dubbed the “school-to-prison pipeline.”

 

Moreover, as suspensions and arrests for minor failings and childish behavior become increasingly common, so does the spread of mass surveillance in our nation’s schools. In fact, our schools have become a microcosm of the total surveillance state which currently dominates America, adopting a host of surveillance technologies, including video cameras, finger and palm scanners, iris scanners, as well as RFID and GPS tracking devices, to keep constant watch over their student bodies.

For example, in May 2013, Polk County School District in Florida foisted an iris scanning program on its students without parental consent. Parents were sent a letter explaining they could opt their children out of the program, but by the time the letter had reached parents, 750 children had already had their eyes scanned and their biometric data collected.

Making matters worse, these iris scanning programs are gaining traction in the schools, with school buses even getting in on the action. As students enter the school bus, they will be told to look through a pair of binocular-like scanners which will either blink, indicating that the student is on the right bus, or honk, indicating that they’ve chosen the wrong one. This technology is linked with a mobile app which parents can use to track their child’s exact whereabouts, as each time their eyes are scanned the parent receives a print out with their photo and Google map location, along with a timestamp. Benefits aside, the potential for abuse, especially in the hands of those who prey on the young, are limitless.

Insiders expect this emerging industry to expand beyond schools to ATMs, airports, and other high security areas within the next few years. It’s definitely big business. The school security industry, which includes everything from biometrics to video surveillance, was worth $2.7 billion in 2012 and is expected to grow by 80% over the next five years and be worth $4.9 billion by 2017.

Even so, promises of profit, safety and efficiency aside, it doesn’t bode well for our nation’s youth who are being raised in quasi-prisonlike school environments where they are treated as if they have no rights and are taught even less about the Constitution. It has been said that America’s schools are the training ground for future generations. If so, and unless we can do something to rein in this runaway train, this next generation will be the most compliant, fearful and oppressed generation ever to come of age in America, and they will be marching in lockstep with the police state.

Source: John W. Whitehead  |  The Rutherford Institute

Edward Snowden

June 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

In the course of his professional life in the world of national security Edward Snowden must have gone through numerous probing interviews, lie detector examinations, and exceedingly detailed background checks, as well as filling out endless forms carefully designed to catch any kind of falsehood or inconsistency. The Washington Post (June 10) reported that “several officials said the CIA will now undoubtedly begin reviewing the process by which Snowden may have been hired, seeking to determine whether there were any missed signs that he might one day betray national secrets.”

Yes, there was a sign they missed – Edward Snowden had something inside him shaped like a conscience, just waiting for a cause.

It was the same with me. I went to work at the State Department, planning to become a Foreign Service Officer, with the best – the most patriotic – of intentions, going to do my best to slay the beast of the International Communist Conspiracy. But then the horror, on a daily basis, of what the United States was doing to the people of Vietnam was brought home to me in every form of media; it was making me sick at heart. My conscience had found its cause, and nothing that I could have been asked in a pre-employment interview would have alerted my interrogators of the possible danger I posed because I didn’t know of the danger myself. No questioning of my friends and relatives could have turned up the slightest hint of the radical anti-war activist I was to become. My friends and relatives were to be as surprised as I was to be. There was simply no way for the State Department security office to know that I should not be hired and given a Secret Clearance. 1

So what is a poor National Security State to do? Well, they might consider behaving themselves. Stop doing all the terrible things that grieve people like me and Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning and so many others. Stop the bombings, the invasions, the endless wars, the torture, the sanctions, the overthrows, the support of dictatorships, the unmitigated support of Israel; stop all the things that make the United States so hated, that create all the anti-American terrorists, that compel the National Security State – in pure self defense – to spy on the entire world.

Eavesdropping on the planet

The above is the title of an essay that I wrote in 2000 that appeared as a chapter in my book Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower. Here are some excerpts that may help to put the current revelations surrounding Edward Snowden into perspective …

Can people in the 21st century imagine a greater invasion of privacy on all of earth, in all of history? If so, they merely have to wait for technology to catch up with their imagination.

Like a mammoth vacuum cleaner in the sky, the National Security Agency (NSA) sucks it all up: home phone, office phone, cellular phone, email, fax, telex … satellite transmissions, fiber-optic communications traffic, microwave links … voice, text, images … captured by satellites continuously orbiting the earth, then processed by high-powered computers … if it runs on electromagnetic energy, NSA is there, with high high tech. Twenty-four hours a day. Perhaps billions of messages sucked up each day. No one escapes. Not presidents, prime ministers, the UN Secretary-General, the pope, the Queen of England, embassies, transnational corporation CEOs, friend, foe, your Aunt Lena … if God has a phone, it’s being monitored … maybe your dog isn’t being tapped. The oceans will not protect you. American submarines have been attaching tapping pods to deep underwater cables for decades.

Under a system codenamed ECHELON, launched in the 1970s, the NSA and its junior partners in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada operate a network of massive, highly automated interception stations, covering the globe amongst them. Any of the partners can ask any of the others to intercept its own domestic communications. It can then truthfully say it does not spy on its own citizens.

Apart from specifically-targeted individuals and institutions, the ECHELON system works by indiscriminately intercepting huge quantities of communications and using computers to identify and extract messages of interest from the mass of unwanted ones. Every intercepted message – all the embassy cables, the business deals, the sex talk, the birthday greetings – is searched for keywords, which could be anything the searchers think might be of interest. All it takes to flag a communication is for one of the parties to use a couple or so of the key words in the ECHELON “dictionary” – “He lives in a lovely old white house on Bush Street, right near me. I can shoot over there in two minutes.” Within limitations, computers can “listen” to telephone calls and recognize when keywords are spoken. Those calls are extracted and recorded separately, to be listened to in full by humans. The list of specific targets at any given time is undoubtedly wide ranging, at one point including the likes of Amnesty International and Christian Aid.

ECHELON is carried out without official acknowledgment of its existence, let alone any democratic oversight or public or legislative debate as to whether it serves a decent purpose. The extensiveness of the ECHELON global network is a product of decades of intense Cold War activity. Yet with the end of the Cold War, its budget – far from being greatly reduced – was increased, and the network has grown in both power and reach; yet another piece of evidence that the Cold War was not a battle against something called “the international communist conspiracy”.

The European Parliament in the late 1990s began to wake up to this intrusion into the continent’s affairs. The parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee commissioned a report, which appeared in 1998 and recommended a variety of measures for dealing with the increasing power of the technologies of surveillance. It bluntly advised: “The European Parliament should reject proposals from the United States for making private messages via the global communications network [Internet] accessible to US intelligence agencies.” The report denounced Britain’s role as a double-agent, spying on its own European partners.

Despite these concerns the US has continued to expand ECHELON surveillance in Europe, partly because of heightened interest in commercial espionage – to uncover industrial information that would provide American corporations with an advantage over foreign rivals.

German security experts discovered several years ago that ECHELON was engaged in heavy commercial spying in Europe. Victims included such German firms as the wind generator manufacturer Enercon. In 1998, Enercon developed what it thought was a secret invention, enabling it to generate electricity from wind power at a far cheaper rate than before. However, when the company tried to market its invention in the United States, it was confronted by its American rival, Kenetech, which announced that it had already patented a near-identical development. Kenetech then brought a court order against Enercon to ban the sale of its equipment in the US. In a rare public disclosure, an NSA employee, who refused to be named, agreed to appear in silhouette on German television to reveal how he had stolen Enercon’s secrets by tapping the telephone and computer link lines that ran between Enercon’s research laboratory and its production unit some 12 miles away. Detailed plans of the company’s invention were then passed on to Kenetech.

In 1994, Thomson S.A., located in Paris, and Airbus Industrie, based in Blagnac Cedex, France, also lost lucrative contracts, snatched away by American rivals aided by information covertly collected by NSA and CIA. The same agencies also eavesdropped on Japanese representatives during negotiations with the United States in 1995 over auto parts trade.

German industry has complained that it is in a particularly vulnerable position because the government forbids its security services from conducting similar industrial espionage. “German politicians still support the rather naive idea that political allies should not spy on each other’s businesses. The Americans and the British do not have such illusions,” said journalist Udo Ulfkotte, a specialist in European industrial espionage, in 1999.

That same year, Germany demanded that the United States recall three CIA operatives for their activities in Germany involving economic espionage. The news report stated that the Germans “have long been suspicious of the eavesdropping capabilities of the enormous U.S. radar and communications complex at Bad Aibling, near Munich”, which is in fact an NSA intercept station. “The Americans tell us it is used solely to monitor communications by potential enemies, but how can we be entirely sure that they are not picking up pieces of information that we think should remain completely secret?” asked a senior German official. Japanese officials most likely have been told a similar story by Washington about the more than a dozen signals intelligence bases which Japan has allowed to be located on its territory.

In their quest to gain access to more and more private information, the NSA, the FBI, and other components of the US national security establishment have been engaged for years in a campaign to require American telecommunications manufacturers and carriers to design their equipment and networks to optimize the authorities’ wiretapping ability. Some industry insiders say they believe that some US machines approved for export contain NSA “back doors” (also called “trap doors”).

The United States has been trying to persuade European Union countries as well to allow it “back-door” access to encryption programs, claiming that this was to serve the needs of law-enforcement agencies. However, a report released by the European Parliament in May 1999 asserted that Washington’s plans for controlling encryption software in Europe had nothing to do with law enforcement and everything to do with US industrial espionage. The NSA has also dispatched FBI agents on break-in missions to snatch code books from foreign facilities in the United States, and CIA officers to recruit foreign communications clerks abroad and buy their code secrets, according to veteran intelligence officials.

For decades, beginning in the 1950s, the Swiss company Crypto AG sold the world’s most sophisticated and secure encryption technology. The firm staked its reputation and the security concerns of its clients on its neutrality in the Cold War or any other war. The purchasing nations, some 120 of them – including prime US intelligence targets such as Iran, Iraq, Libya and Yugoslavia – confident that their communications were protected, sent messages from their capitals to their embassies, military missions, trade offices, and espionage dens around the world, via telex, radio, and fax. And all the while, because of a secret agreement between the company and NSA, these governments might as well have been hand delivering the messages to Washington, uncoded. For their Crypto AG machines had been rigged before being sold to them, so that when they used them the random encryption key could be automatically and clandestinely transmitted along with the enciphered message. NSA analysts could read the messages as easily as they could the morning newspaper.

In 1986, because of US public statements concerning the La Belle disco bombing in West Berlin, the Libyans began to suspect that something was rotten with Crypto AG’s machines and switched to another Swiss firm, Gretag Data Systems AG. But it appears that NSA had that base covered as well. In 1992, after a series of suspicious circumstances over the previous few years, Iran came to a conclusion similar to Libya’s, and arrested a Crypto AG employee who was in Iran on a business trip. He was eventually ransomed, but the incident became well known and the scam began to unravel in earnest.

In September 1999 it was revealed that NSA had arranged with Microsoft to insert special “keys” into Windows software, in all versions from 95-OSR2 onwards. An American computer scientist, Andrew Fernandez of Cryptonym in North Carolina, had disassembled parts of the Windows instruction code and found the smoking gun – Microsoft’s developers had failed to remove the debugging symbols used to test this software before they released it. Inside the code were the labels for two keys. One was called “KEY”. The other was called “NSAKEY”. Fernandez presented his finding at a conference at which some Windows developers were also in attendance. The developers did not deny that the NSA key was built into their software, but they refused to talk about what the key did, or why it had been put there without users’ knowledge. Fernandez says that NSA’s “back door” in the world’s most commonly used operating system makes it “orders of magnitude easier for the US government to access your computer.”

In February 2000, it was disclosed that the Strategic Affairs Delegation (DAS), the intelligence arm of the French Defense Ministry, had prepared a report in 1999 which also asserted that NSA had helped to install secret programs in Microsoft software. According to the DAS report, “it would seem that the creation of Microsoft was largely supported, not least financially, by the NSA, and that IBM was made to accept the [Microsoft] MS-DOS operating system by the same administration.” The report stated that there had been a “strong suspicion of a lack of security fed by insistent rumors about the existence of spy programs on Microsoft, and by the presence of NSA personnel in Bill Gates’ development teams.” The Pentagon, said the report, was Microsoft’s biggest client in the world.

Recent years have seen disclosures that in the countdown to their invasion of Iraq in 2003, the United States had listened in on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, UN weapons inspectors in Iraq, and all the members of the UN Security Council during a period when they were deliberating about what action to take in Iraq.

It’s as if the American national security establishment feels that it has an inalienable right to listen in; as if there had been a constitutional amendment, applicable to the entire world, stating that “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the government to intercept the personal communications of anyone.” And the Fourth Amendment had been changed to read: “Persons shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, except in cases of national security, real or alleged.” 2

The leading whistleblower of all time: Philip Agee

Before there was Edward Snowden, William Binney and Thomas Drake … before there was Bradley Manning, Sibel Edmonds and Jesselyn Radack … there was Philip Agee. What Agee revealed is still the most startling and important information about US foreign policy that any American government whistleblower has ever revealed.

Philip Agee spent 12 years (1957-69) as a CIA case officer, most of it in Latin America. His first book, Inside the Company: CIA Diary, published in 1974 – a pioneering work on the Agency’s methods and their devastating consequences – appeared in about 30 languages around the world and was a best seller in many countries; it included a 23-page appendix with the names of hundreds of undercover Agency operatives and organizations.

Under CIA manipulation, direction and, usually, their payroll, were past and present presidents of Mexico, Colombia, Uruguay, and Costa Rica, “our minister of labor”, “our vice-president”, “my police”, journalists, labor leaders, student leaders, diplomats, and many others. If the Agency wished to disseminate anti-communist propaganda, cause dissension in leftist ranks, or have Communist embassy personnel expelled, it need only prepare some phoney documents, present them to the appropriate government ministers and journalists, and – presto! – instant scandal.

Agee’s goal in naming all these individuals, quite simply, was to make it as difficult as he could for the CIA to continue doing its dirty work.

A common Agency tactic was writing editorials and phoney news stories to be knowingly published by Latin American media with no indication of the CIA authorship or CIA payment to the media. The propaganda value of such a “news” item might be multiplied by being picked up by other CIA stations in Latin America who would disseminate it through a CIA-owned news agency or a CIA-owned radio station. Some of these stories made their way back to the United States to be read or heard by unknowing North Americans.

Wooing the working class came in for special treatment. Labor organizations by the dozen, sometimes hardly more than names on stationery, were created, altered, combined, liquidated, and new ones created again, in an almost frenzied attempt to find the right combination to compete with existing left-oriented unions and take national leadership away from them.

In 1975 these revelations were new and shocking; for many readers it was the first hint that American foreign policy was not quite what their high-school textbooks had told them nor what theNew York Times had reported.

“As complete an account of spy work as is likely to be published anywhere, an authentic account of how an ordinary American or British ‘case officer’ operates … All of it … presented with deadly accuracy,” wrote Miles Copeland, a former CIA station chief, and ardent foe of Agee. (There’s no former CIA officer more hated by members of the intelligence establishment than Agee; no one’s even close; due in part to his traveling to Cuba and having long-term contact with Cuban intelligence.)

In contrast to Agee, WikiLeaks withheld the names of hundreds of informants from the nearly 400,000 Iraq war documents it released.

In 1969, Agee resigned from the CIA (and colleagues who “long ago ceased to believe in what they are doing”).

While on the run from the CIA as he was writing Inside the Company – at times literally running for his life – Agee was expelled from, or refused admittance to, Italy, Britain, France, West Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway. (West Germany eventually gave him asylum because his wife was a leading ballerina in the country.) Agee’s account of his period on the run can be found detailed in his book On the Run (1987). It’s an exciting read.

Notes

  1. To read about my State Department and other adventures, see my book West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold war Memoir (2002) ↩
  2. See Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, chapter 21, for the notes for the above. ↩


William Blum is the author of:

  • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower
  • West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
  • Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire


Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org

Email to bblum6@aol.com

Website: WilliamBlum.org

William Blum is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

The Man Who Fired The Shot Heard ’Round The World

April 20, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

In II Samuel 19 there is the story about an often-overlooked man by the name of Barzillai. He was a Gileadite who helped save King David’s life. The Scripture says of him: “He was a very great man.” Today, I’m going to tell you about a very great man. In fact, I’m going to talk about several great men.

I am reminded of these men, because tomorrow I have the distinct honor of speaking at a giant freedom rally on Lexington Green, Massachusetts, on the occasion of the 238th anniversary of the famous Battle of Lexington and Concord. If you live within driving distance, please come and join us. Oath Keepers founder, Stewart Rhodes, will also be speaking at this event. I believe the rally begins at 2pm local time.

In truth, April 19, 1775, should be regarded as important a date to Americans as July 4, 1776. It’s a shame that we don’t celebrate it as enthusiastically as we do Independence Day. It’s even more shameful that many Americans don’t even remember what happened on this day back in 1775. For the record, historians call this day, “Patriot’s Day.” More specifically, it was the day that the shot heard ’round the world was fired. It was the day America’s War for Independence began.

Being warned of approaching British troops by Dr. Joseph Warren and Paul Revere, Pastor Jonas Clark and his male congregants of the Church of Lexington (numbering 60-70) were the ones that stood with their muskets in front of the Crown’s troops (numbering over 800), who were on orders to seize a cache of arms which were stored at Concord and arrest Sam Adams and John Hancock (who were known to be in the area, and who had actually taken refuge in Pastor Clark’s home).

According to eyewitnesses, the king’s troops opened fire on the militiamen without warning, immediately killing eight of Pastor Clark’s parishioners. In self defense, the Minutemen returned fire. These were the first shots of the Revolutionary War. This took place on Lexington Green, which was located directly beside the church-house where those men worshipped each Sunday. Adams and Hancock were not apprehended. A few of Pastor Clark’s men led them to safety as their Christian brothers were preparing to stand in front of the British troops. Sam Adams and John Hancock owed their lives to Pastor Clark and his brave Minutemen.

According to Pastor Clark, these are the names of the eight men who died on Lexington Green as the sun rose on April 19, 1775: Robert Munroe, Jonas Parker, Samuel Hadley, Jonathan Harrington, Jr., Isaac Muzzy, Caleb Harrington, and John Brown, all of Lexington, and one Mr. Porter of Woburn.

However, by the time the British troops arrived at the Concord Bridge, hundreds of colonists had amassed a defense of the bridge. A horrific battle took place, and the British troops were routed and soon retreated back to Boston. America’s War for Independence had begun!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, these two elements of American history are lost to the vast majority of historians today: 1) it was the attempted gun confiscation and seizure of two patriot leaders by British troops that ignited America’s War for Independence; and, 2) it was a local church pastor and his male congregants that mostly comprised the Minutemen who fired the shots that started our great Revolution.

With that thought in mind, I want to devote today’s column to honoring the brave preachers of Colonial America–these “children of the Pilgrims,” as one colonial pastor’s descendent put it.

It really wasn’t that long ago. However, with the way America’s clergymen act today, one would think that preachers such as James Caldwell, John Peter Muhlenberg, Joab Houghton, and Jonas Clark never existed. But they did exist; and without them, this country we call the United States of America would not exist.

Caldwell was a Presbyterian; Muhlenberg was a Lutheran; Houghton was a Baptist; and no one really seems to know what denomination (if any) Jonas Clark claimed, although one historian referred to Clark as a Trinitarian and Calvinist. But these men had one thing in common (besides their faith in Jesus Christ): they were all ardent patriots who participated in America’s War for Independence, and in the case of Jonas Clark, actually ignited it.

James Caldwell

James Caldwell was called “The Rebel High Priest” or “The Fighting Chaplain.” Caldwell is most famous for the “Give ’em Watts!” story.

During the Springfield (New Jersey) engagement, the Colonial militia ran out of wadding for their muskets. Quickly, Caldwell mounted his horse and galloped to the Presbyterian church, and returning with an armload of hymnals, threw them to the ground, and hollered, “Now, boys, give ’em Watts!” He was referring to the famous hymn writer, Isaac Watts, of course.

The British hated Caldwell so much, they murdered his wife, Hannah, in her own home, as she sat with her children on her bed. Later, a fellow American was bribed by the British to assassinate Pastor Caldwell–which is exactly what he did. Americans loyal to the Crown burned both his house and church. No less than three cities and two public schools in the State of New Jersey bear his name.

John Peter Muhlenberg

John Peter Muhlenberg was pastor of a Lutheran church in Woodstock, Virginia, when hostilities erupted between Great Britain and the American colonies. When news of Bunker Hill reached Virginia, Muhlenberg preached a sermon from Ecclesiastes 3 to his congregation. He reminded his parishioners that there was a time to preach and a time to fight. He said that, for him, the time to preach was past and it was time to fight. He then threw off his vestments and stood before his congregants in the uniform of a Virginia colonel.

Muhlenberg was later promoted to brigadier-general in the Continental Army, and then to major general. He participated in the battles of Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, and Yorktown. He went on to serve in both the US House of Representatives and US Senate.

Joab Houghton

Joab Houghton was in the Hopewell (New Jersey) Baptist Meeting House at worship when he received the first information regarding the battles at Lexington and Concord. His great-grandson gives the following eloquent description of the way he treated the tidings:

“[M]ounting the great stone block in front of the meeting-house, he beckoned the people to stop. Men and women paused to hear, curious to know what so unusual a sequel to the service of the day could mean. At the first, words a silence, stern as death, fell over all. The Sabbath quiet of the hour and of the place was deepened into a terrible solemnity. He told them all the story of the cowardly murder at Lexington by the royal troops; the heroic vengeance following hard upon it; the retreat of Percy; the gathering of the children of the Pilgrims round the beleaguered hills of Boston; then pausing, and looking over the silent throng, he said slowly, ‘Men of New Jersey, the red coats are murdering our brethren of New England! Who follows me to Boston?’ And every man in that audience stepped out of line, and answered, ‘I!’ There was not a coward or a traitor in old Hopewell Baptist Meeting-House that day.” (Cathcart, William. Baptists and the American Revolution. Philadelphia: S.A. George, 1876, rev. 1976. Print.)

Jonas Clark

As I said at the beginning of this column, Jonas Clark was pastor of the Church of Lexington, Massachusetts, on April 19, 1775, the day that British troops marched on Concord with orders to arrest Sam Adams and John Hancock, and to seize a cache of firearms. It was Pastor Clark’s male congregants who were the first ones to face-off against the British troops as they marched through Lexington. When you hear the story of the Minutemen at the Battle of Lexington, remember those Minutemen were mostly Pastor Jonas Clark and the men of his congregation.

On the One Year Anniversary of the Battle of Lexington, Clark preached a sermon based upon his eyewitness testimony of the event. He called his sermon, “The Fate of Blood-Thirsty Oppressors and God’s Tender Care of His Distressed People.” His sermon has been republished by Nordskog Publishing under the title, “The Battle of Lexington, A Sermon and Eyewitness Narrative, Jonas Clark, Pastor, Church of Lexington.”

Order the book containing Clark’s sermon at:

“The Battle of Lexington, A Sermon and Eyewitness Narrative, Jonas Clark, Pastor, Church of Lexington”

Of course, these four brave preachers were not the only ones to participate in America’s fight for independence. There were Episcopalian ministers such as Dr. Samuel Provost of New York, Dr. John Croes of New Jersey, and Robert Smith of South Carolina. Presbyterian ministers such as Adam Boyd of North Carolina and James Armstrong of Maryland, along with many others, also took part.

Numerous Baptist preachers participated in America’s War for Independence, so many that at the conclusion of the war, President George Washington wrote a personal letter to the Baptist people saying, “I recollect with satisfaction that the religious societies of which you are a member have been, throughout America, uniformly and almost unanimously, the firm friends to civil liberty, and the preserving promoters of our glorious Revolution.” It also explains how Thomas Jefferson could write to a Baptist congregation and say, “We have acted together from the origin to the end of a memorable Revolution.” (McDaniel, George White. The People Called Baptists. The Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, 1918. Print.)

And although not every pastor was able to actively participate in our fight for independence, because so many pastors throughout colonial America preached the principles of liberty and independence from their pulpits, the Crown created a moniker for them: The Black Regiment (referring to the long, black robes that so many colonial clergymen wore in the pulpit). Without question, the courageous preaching and example of colonial America’s patriot-pastors provided the colonists with the inspiration and resolve to resist the tyranny of the Crown and win America’s freedom and independence.

I invite readers to visit my Black Regiment web page to learn more about my attempt to resurrect America’s Black-Robed Regiment. Go to:

Black Regiment

Readers should know, too, that a brand new book co-authored by me and my constitutional attorney son, Tim, entitled, “To Keep Or Not To Keep: Why Christians Should Not Give Up Their Guns,” will be released in just a few days. This book examines the entire Bible, both Old and New Testaments, and proves conclusively that nowhere does God expect His people to surrender their arms in the face of any would-be tyrant. With hundreds of references, we show from both Natural and Revealed Law that the right of self-defense, the right to keep and bear arms, is a God-ordained right and responsibility. This book is sure to be a blockbuster. To order the book, go to:

Keep Your Arms

This is the fighting heritage of America’s pastors and preachers. So, what has happened? What has happened to that fighting spirit that once existed, almost universally, throughout America’s Christian denominations? How have preachers become so timid, so shy, and so cowardly that they will stand apathetic and mute as America faces the destruction of its liberties? Where are the preachers to explain, expound, and extrapolate the principles of liberty from Holy Writ?

I am absolutely convinced that one of the biggest reasons America is in the sad condition that it is in today is because the sermons Americans frequently hear from modern pulpits deal mostly with prosperity theology, entertainment evangelism, feelgoodism, emotionalism, and Aren’t-I-Wonderful ear tickling! One man recently wrote and told me that his ears had been tickled so much in church that he had calluses on them.

This milquetoast preaching, along with a totally false “obey-the-government-no-matter-what” interpretation of Romans 13, have made it next to impossible to find Christian men with the courage and resolve to stand against the onslaught of socialism, corporatism, and, yes, fascism that is swallowing America whole.

Tim and I also wrote a book entitled, “Romans 13: The True Meaning of Submission.” This book examines Romans 13, and the rest of Scripture, and shows that nowhere does God demand that His people yield to wicked and unjust government. To order this book, to go:

“Romans 13: The True Meaning of Submission”

As we celebrate Patriot’s Day tomorrow, please remember Jonas Clark (along with James Caldwell, John Peter Muhlenberg, Joab Houghton, and the other brave pastors of colonial America). “He was a very great man.”


Chuck Baldwin is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

You can reach him at: chuck@chuckbaldwinlive.com
Please visit Chuck’s web site at: http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com

An Orwellian Climate

March 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” (George Orwell)

In George Orwell’s novel 1984 the term “Newspeak” conveys changes not only to the language but to the nature of thought itself, where:

The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought – that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc – should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words…” [1].

Thought control is irreconcilable with the scientific method, which, since the 17th century, has hinged on the identification of natural and human realities, using systematic observation, measurement, experiment, formulation and testing of hypotheses in an endeavor to construct an accurate representation of the world. By definition, the scientific method, which along with humanism forms the basis for the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, poses a challenge to attempts at thought control [2].

In an Orwellian world the science itself would be deemed to constitute a ‘thoughtcrime’ [2].

Currently much of the world is either denying, or not acting on, the ultimate warning science has ever issued to humanity, namely, that any major interference with the atmosphere-ocean-land carbon cycle threatens to erode the very life support system of the planet.

Prior to the Neolithic, some 10,000 years ago, and the development of Great River Valley civilizations, erratic climates severely hindered cultivation of crops, requiring our ancestors to rely on hunting and gathering. Since then the relatively stable world climate has permitted the development of agriculture and civilization.  However, the release since 1750 of over 560 billion tons of carbon (Gt C), more than 40% of which accumulates in the atmosphere, at the unprecedented rate of 2 parts per million/year [3], signals the termination of stable climate, as manifested by the spate of extreme weather events [4].

As CO2 remains in the atmosphere for 1000 to 10,000 years, current emissions are condemning future generations to impossible conditions. [5]

Overlooking all that, the “powers to be” appear bent on business as usual, and have developed an Orwellian language that attempts to circumvent the scientific message. Rarely are the dominant terms used in the media questioned.  An example of such terms which have direct and indirect implications for the future of the Earth’s atmosphere include: ‘sustainable growth’ – The notion of endless growth in populations, GDP and material goods, on a finite planet, has acquired religious overtones among economists and politicians. To date no government appears to have the courage to call for a reversal of this trend.

Government statements appear to take for granted a continuation of the basic social and economic structures, taking little account of the state of the world should the IPCC-projected trajectories toward 4 degrees Celsius increase in global temperatures continue.

Rational decisions depend on the knowledge of facts. As recorded in history, the cradle of democracy in ancient Greece was destroyed by the rise of the demagogues, distorting the factual basis on which any choices could be made by voters. Modern analogues, where people grow from cradle to grave watching commercial and political propaganda by privately-owned media and by governments, are obvious.

Between 1988 and 2011 the world spent between $1.0 and $1.6 trillion annually on the military, and $1.56 trillion in 2012 [6], mostly on remote conflicts, wrecking economies and killing millions. These astronomical amounts of money are now required for the defence of the human race and other species from extinction in a world 4 degrees Celsius warmer.

There are those who see through the Newspeak. Ian Dunlop, a former an international oil, gas and coal industry executive, states in his submission to the Senate committee on extreme weather events:

Scenarios abound, setting out the implications of differing assumptions for the future of our children and grandchildren. All of which would be laudable were it not for the fact that the critical scenario, of accelerating climate change and resource scarcity, is deliberately ignored – apparently too scary for ‘political realism’ to contemplate. Which is a nonsense, for the whole idea of scenarios is to prepare for the real, and increasingly likely, risks and opportunities which we face.” [7]

However, attempts at suppression of the scientific evidence are growing.

In North Carolina a bill that could be introduced in the state General Assembly would prevent state agencies and local governments from planning for the higher seas that many scientists expect later this century as the climate warms,  making it illegal to accurately measure that sea level rise. Instead, the bill requires that any state forecast for future sea-level rise be based on the historical rise of the last century [8].

In New Zealand, the climate-change-denier organisation, the New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust went  to the High Court to challenge data published by the National  Institute of Water and Atmosphere Research showing rising temperatures in New Zealand between 1909 and 2009.  The judge threw out their claims, commenting “This Court should not seek to determine or resolve scientific questions demanding the evaluation of contentious expert opinion.” [9]

In Australia, which in 2010 became the world’s fourth-largest coal producer, after China, the United States, and India, and which exports roughly 70% of its coal production [10], climate change has become a sensitive political issue.  The government has introduced a Carbon Tax which aims at a 5% reduction in carbon emissions, while at the same time the infrastructure is built for the export of over 1 billion tons of coal in the next few decades – almost 10% of the world’s annual fossil fuel consumption –  which will all end up in the atmosphere.

Opposition by conservative parties to the Carbon Tax constitutes a mask for their denial of climate change.  Attempts at either denying the science or belittling the consequences of carbon emissions are common, including by political leaders [11, 12, 13, 14]. Only rarely are the precautionary and risk management principles mentioned. Echoing Senator James Inhofe’s attempts to challenge climate science at the US Senate [15], some call for political-based inquiries into climate science [16] –  unprecedented since Galileo.

Good planets are hard to come by.

———————————————————————————————

[1] http://www.newspeakdictionary.com/ns-prin.html

[2] http://www.netcharles.com/orwell/articles/col-thoughtcrime.htm

[3] http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v451/n7176/full/nature06588.html

[4] http://www.climatecentral.org/news/hansen-study-extreme-weather-tied-to-climate-change-14760/ ;

[5] http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/01/28/0812721106.abstract

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

[7]http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=ec_ctte/extreme_weather/submissions.htm

[8] ] http://www.politicususa.com/north-carolina-gop-truth-rising-sea-levels-illegal-ratherthan-deal.html

[9] http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/climate-change-deniers-shot-down-high-court-challenge-niwa-bd-127869

[10] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal_in_Australia

[11] http://reneweconomy.com.au/2012/newman-takes-aim-at-climate-and-renewables-95574

[12] http://www.smh.com.au/national/heat-on-ofarrell-and-newman-say-greens-20130130-2dk58.html

[13] http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/climate-propaganda-on-lnp-summit-hit-list-20120712-21ygz.html

[14]  http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/environment-ministers-climate-science-doubts-refreshing-20120605-1zthu.html

[15] http://www.desmogblog.com/james-inhofe

[16] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-08-15/liberal-climate-change-commission-ludicrous/2840070


Dr. Andrew Glikson is a Earth and paleo-climate research scientist at Australian National University. He spends much of his free time invested in efforts to address climate change issues in a timely fashion and can be contacted at: geospec@iinet.net.au.

Dr. Andrew Glikson is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Gun Confiscation For Us; Gun Protection For Them

February 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

There is a line from the movie Tombstone (one of my favorite westerns, by the way) in which Val Kilmer’s character, Doc Holliday, says to Wyatt Earp, “My hypocrisy knows no bounds.” (For the record, Kilmer should have won an Oscar for his performance of Doc Holliday in that movie.) Well, my friends, what Doc Holliday said in Tombstone could be said by virtually every prominent gun grabber in the country, because they are the biggest hypocrites the world has ever seen!

Paul Joseph Watson wrote a very enlightening report relative to the way that proponents of gun control are themselves heavily protected BY GUNS. Watson writes:

“The fact that Senator Dianne Feinstein’s gun control bill exempts government officials from the planned semi-auto assault weapons ban illustrates the astounding hypocrisy of gun control advocates who, while working feverishly to disarm the American people, own firearms and surround themselves with armed men.

“As the Washington Times reported last week, ‘Mrs. Feinstein’s measure would exempt more than 2,200 types of hunting and sporting rifles; guns manually operated by bolt, pump, lever or slide action; and WEAPONS USED BY GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS.’ (Emphasis in original)

“Back in 1995, while carrying a concealed weapon for her own protection, Feinstein simultaneously called for Mr. and Mrs. America to ‘turn em all in.’

“Feinstein’s hypocrisy has been matched or surpassed by virtually every other public figure now pushing for the second amendment to be eviscerated.”

The report continued saying:

“-While Obama claims that semi-automatic assault rifles should only be in the hands of members of the military, the Department of Homeland Security has purchased no less than 7,000 fully automatic assault weapons for the purpose of ‘personal defense,’ in addition to more than 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition over the last 10 months alone.

[Notice that when DHS purchases FULLY AUTOMATIC submachine guns, they are called “personal defense weapons,” but when you and I purchase SEMI-AUTOMATIC rifles, they are called “assault weapons.”]

“-While refusing to even consider the idea of arming teachers and school officials to prevent school shootings, Obama recently signed a law that would give him and all past and future presidents armed Secret Service protection for life.

“-During an ABC Nightline interview broadcast on December 26 yet recorded before the Sandy Hook shooting, Obama said one of the benefits of his re-election was the ability ‘to have men with guns around at all times,’ in order to protect his daughters. In addition, the school attended by Obama’s daughters in Washington D.C. has no less than 11 armed security guards on duty at all times.”

The report also said, “Michael Moore, another vehement proponent for gun control, also has armed bodyguards.” And Moore is not the only gun control hypocrite. Watson notes that “Prominent gun control advocates like Piers Morgan, who base their argument on reducing gun violence, routinely threaten violence against ideological adversaries. Morgan once spoke of his desire to use machine guns to ‘take out’ his critics, while also making jokes with his guests about murdering second amendment advocate Alex Jones with a semi-automatic assault rifle during his CNN show on January 8.”

Watson concludes his report saying, “The agenda-driven and factually bankrupt political arguments of gun control advocates may be somewhat easier to stomach if the people making them were not rampant hypocrites who–while calling for the American people to be stripped of their right to bear arms–are precluding themselves from being subjected to the same treatment.”

See Watson’s report at:

The Astounding Hypocrisy Of Gun Control Advocates

The examples of gun control fanatics who either use guns for personal protection or hire guns for their own protection are ubiquitous. Not long ago, a gun-grabbing State senator from North Carolina used his own firearm to shoot intruders. FOX NEWS covers the story:

“Long time Anti-Gun Advocate State Senator R.C. Soles (D-NC), 74, shot one of two intruders at his home just outside Tabor City, N.C. about 5 p.m. Sunday, the prosecutor for the politician’s home county said.”

The report continued saying, “The Senator, who has made a career of being against gun ownership for the general public, didn’t hesitate to defend himself with his own gun when he believed he was in immediate danger and he was the victim.

“In typical hypocritical liberal fashion, the ‘Do as I say and not as I do’ Anti-Gun Activist Lawmaker picked up his gun and took action in what apparently was a self-defense shooting. Why hypocritical you may ask?

“It is because his long legislative record shows that the actions that he took to protect his family, his own response to a dangerous life threatening situation, are actions that he feels ordinary citizens should not have if they were faced with an identical situation.”

See the report at:

Anti-Gun Politician Shoots Intruder

Virtually every major proponent of the banning of semi-automatic rifles, from Bob Costas to Joe Scarborough to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, all enjoy varying degrees of ARMED SECURITY–often including semi-automatic, or even fully automatic, rifles. Yet, these same people want to deny you and me the liberty of defending ourselves with a semi-automatic rifle.

And is there anyone reading this so naïve as to think that if they succeed in banning semi-automatic rifles that they would stop there? It has never happened. Disarmament is always accomplished one step at a time. Big-Government toadies will never be content until a population is, for all intents and purposes, totally disarmed. If gun-grabbers get their way, only the privileged few (including them) would be allowed to own their own firearms. The rest of us would be turned into helpless, hapless sheep: unable and incapable of defending ourselves, our homes, or our communities.

Among the thousands of emails I have received over the last few weeks was one written by a professing Christian who rebuked me saying, “The only guns anyone needs to own is a short-barreled shotgun and a large-caliber revolver.”

Does this man truly believe that if the gun-grabbers succeed in banning our semi-automatic rifles that it will stop there? If he does, he is positively delusional! Then, my next question to the gentlemen is, so what will you do when they ban your short-barreled shotgun and large caliber revolver?

The problem with this misguided Christian is that he suffers from the same sickness that many people suffer from: they truly do not understand the purpose of the Second Amendment. It was never about hunting or target shooting or anything of the sort. It was about the ability of the citizenry to be able to withstand government tyranny.

If you don’t think that the government fears an armed citizenry, pay attention to the way virtually any police agency reacts to almost any “dangerous” situation today. With full military garb, military hardware and ordinance, and almost battalion-size numbers, one would think that soldiers were headed to war against an invading army.

And as to the argument that the American people have “no chance” against the US military should the federal government decide to use it to enslave us, one must understand that a significant percentage (if not a majority) of our combat troops love freedom and liberty as much as we do and would use their skills and equipment to fight alongside of their fellow citizens in opposition to a tyrannical government. The hundreds and thousands of combat troops that have written me expressing this exact sentiment is too overwhelming to dismiss. Plus, the sheer number of armed citizens in the U.S. amounts to the largest fighting force in the world. An armed citizenry is anything but helpless.

But the reason so many people today have lost sight of the historical meaning of the Second Amendment is somewhat understandable. In the first place, it has been a long time since the American people have had to use their guns in the defense of their liberties on their own soil. It’s been several generations since the tree of liberty has been watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants (Thomas Jefferson).

In the next place, far, far too many people suffer from the affliction known as the “It Can’t Happen Here” syndrome. Americans today (especially Christians, it seems) are way too trusting of their government. Way too trusting! They seem to have lost all awareness of history–and all rational thought to boot. It is no hyperbole to say that many of today’s Americans are every bit as gullible as were the Germans who rejoiced over the rise of Adolf Hitler, or the Russians and Chinese who still revere the memories of Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse-tung. They seem incapable of believing that there could be wicked people in Washington, D.C., who would, if possible, put the shackles of slavery over our necks. In fact, these would-be tyrants attempt to do just that every day with their onerous and burdensome laws, ordinances, and regulations, which are literally strangling the life out of our liberties piece-by-piece.

I dare say if George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Sam Adams, and Patrick Henry lived today, they would have hoisted the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag a long time ago!

In the third place, pacifist preachers are literally killing America! All over the country, local church pastors and radio and TV preachers keep telling their audiences to “trust the government,” “the government is good,” “don’t resist the government,” “Romans 13 says obey the government no matter what,” ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

But what is so incredible with these “don’t resist the government” preachers is that they are the first ones to lead the cheer for America fighting unlimited undeclared, unprovoked, preemptive wars of aggression against governments all over the world. It is okay for Barack Obama to order the killings of hundreds of people (including American citizens and innocents) with no congressional authorization or oversight; it is okay for America to attack and invade sovereign states without moral or legal justification; it is okay to distrust any and all government leaders throughout the world–but never distrust our own leaders; it is okay to send other people to pick up all kinds of guns and go fight and die in hundreds of nations all around the globe in order to “preserve freedom.” But when it comes to fighting for freedom in our own country, when it comes to distrusting our own government when it proves itself to be dishonest and untrustworthy, when it comes to defending our own lives, homes, and communities with our own guns, we have no right to do so? Hogwash! Balderdash! Poppycock!

At this point, let me remind readers that my constitutional attorney son and I are right now in the process of publishing a brand new book entitled, “To Keep or Not To Keep: Why Christians Should Not Give Up Their Guns.” This book thoroughly and completely researches both the Old and New Testaments to conclusively show that the right of armed resistance is cemented in both Natural and Revealed Law. The book should be released in a matter of just a few weeks. We are now taking pre-orders for the book. To pre-order “To Keep or Not To Keep: Why Christians Should Not Give Up Their Guns,” go to:

Keep Your Arms

There seems to be no doubt that these pacifist preachers and gun-grabbing gasbags could say along with Doc Holliday in the movie Tombstone, “My hypocrisy knows no bounds.”


Chuck Baldwin is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

You can reach him at: chuck@chuckbaldwinlive.com
Please visit Chuck’s web site at: http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com

Judge: “Choose Life” Out In North Carolina

December 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Providing another example of why judicial review needs to be reviewed is U.S. District Court Judge James C. Fox, who just ruled that North Carolina may not offer its “Choose Life” license plates. And wait till you hear his reasoning (if you can call it that). Writes MyFox8.com:

A federal judge has ruled it is unconstitutional for North Carolina to issue pro-life license plates unless the state offers similar plates supporting abortion rights.

[…]Judge Fox concluded, “The State’s offering of a Choose Life license plate in the absence of a pro-choice plate constitutes viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.”

Allow me to translate: “I, Caesarean Judge, don’t like pro-life messages. So I’m going to rule against the choose-life plate — because I can.”

Question: where in the Constitution is it forbidden for states — or the feds, for that matter — to engage in “viewpoint discrimination”? The Founding Fathers included no such provision, and for good reason.

They were neither on mind-altering medication nor were insane.

The fact is that the very business of governing involves “viewpoint discrimination.” After all, the state must enact laws. And a law, by definition, is the imposition of a viewpoint.

As an example, the battle over Obamacare involved many viewpoints, two of which were “The federal government has no right to force citizens to purchase a product or service” and “The federal government does have a right to force citizens to purchase a product or service.” And the feds not only discriminated between those two viewpoints, they decided to impose one at the end of a gun.

So here is what’s implicit in Judge Fox’s reasoning: if the government’s viewpoint discrimination involves the forcible imposition of the viewpoint on others, it’s acceptable. But if the government is simply offering a vehicle through which citizens can voluntarily display a viewpoint, it’s not.

Another example of government viewpoint discrimination is public-service announcements. For instance, when the government uses tax money to promote the notion that our strength lies in our diversity, it has discriminated against the viewpoint that our strength certainly does not lie there.

Another issue here is hinted at by Chris Brook, legal director of the organization that filed the lawsuit against the pro-life plates, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation. He rendered the opinion, writes MyFox8.com, that “the government cannot create an avenue to express one side of a political issue while denying an equal opportunity to citizens with an opposing view.” He perhaps was very clever to use the word “an” as opposed to “the,” as issues can suggest far more than just two viewpoints.

Just consider the matter at hand. The ACLU would find it acceptable if NC offered an opposing message such as the euphemistic “Respect Reproductive Freedom,” but this would still leave great discrimination. What of the viewpoints, “Abortion Controls the Population,” “Abortionists Should be Aborted,” “Abortion is a Good,” and “Abortion is Racism” (an inordinate percentage of aborted babies are black)? Sure, these are fringe opinions, but so what? It is now our position that a viewpoint may suffer discrimination if it’s held only by a minority?

Of course, that is our position, as illustrated with the examples of laws and public-service announcements. Many (not all) reflect popular will that overrode opposing viewpoints whose embrace would have led to an opposing law or no legislation at all. This is called democracy.

The ACLU’s Brook also called Fox’s ruling a victory for “free speech rights.” This is nonsense as well, much like Sandra Fluke’s conflation of access to contraception with taxpayer financing of it. Citizens may display any kind of pro-abortion bumper sticker they wish on their vehicles. The government may not suppress a viewpoint, but this doesn’t mean that the government has to advocate for it equally.

Yet don’t be surprised at the conclusions drawn by Fox and Brooks. It is the reasoning of the unreasonable, the actions of those who take pride in mastering duplicitous law-craft and do what they do because they can. And I would respond in kind. If I controlled the NC government, I’d tell the judge that we will stop issuing abortion-related license plates altogether. Instead, we’ll offer one with an anti-suicide message.

It just so happens that it will also bear the words “Choose Life.”

And will have the exact same design as the pro-life plates.

You don’t expect us to spend money redesigning a plate given today’s budget crunches and all, do you?

And there’ll be no “viewpoint discrimination.” We’ll also offer a pro-suicide plate reading “Choose Death.” Fair is fair.

On the other hand, you could just resurrect the spirit of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson and tell Judge Fox that you’ve decided not to play, that judicial review has been reviewed and found wanting. I would say, you have made your ruling, judge. Now let’s see you enforce it.


Selwyn Duke is a writer, columnist and public speaker whose work has been published widely online and in print, on both the local and national levels. He has been featured on the Rush Limbaugh Show and has been a regular guest on the award-winning Michael Savage Show. His work has appeared in Pat Buchanan’s magazine
The American Conservative and he writes regularly for The New American and Christian Music Perspective.

He can be reached at: SelwynDuke@optonline.net

Selwyn Duke is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Secession Movement Explodes: WhiteHouse ’Secede’ Petitions Reach 675,000 Signatures, 50-State Participation

November 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Less than a week after a New Orleans suburbanite petitioned the White House to allow Louisiana to secede from the United States, petitions from seven states have collected enough signatures to trigger a promised review from the Obama administration.

By 6:00 a.m. EST Wednesday, more than 675,000 digital signatures appeared on 69 separate secession petitions covering all 50 states, according to a Daily Caller analysis of requests lodged with the White House’s “We the People” online petition system.

A petition from Vermont, where talk of secession is a regular feature of political life, was the final entry.

Petitions from AlabamaFloridaGeorgiaLouisianaNorth CarolinaTennessee and Texas residents have accrued at least 25,000 signatures, the number the Obama administration says it will reward with a staff review of online proposals. (RELATED: Will Texas secede? Petition triggers White House review)

The Texas petition leads all others by a wide margin. Shortly before 9:00 a.m. EST Wednesday, it had attracted 94,700 signatures. But a spokesperson for Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday afternoon that he does not support the idea of his state striking out on its own.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/11/14/white-house-secede-petitions-reach-660000-signatures-50-state-participation/#ixzz2CCvWggvc

MAP of U.S.States petitioning for secession:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=4358712057342&set=a.4187690941921.159646.1573992709&type=1&ref=nf

Source: investmentwatchblog.com

The Modern US Army: Unfit For Service?

September 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Gone are the days of the all-American army hero. These days, the US military is more like a sanctuary for racists, gang members and the chronically unfit…

US military: unfit for service?
Overweight. Unfit. Ex-con. Racist… meet the modern American army. Illustration by Sarah Plane for GNM imaging.

My journey into the dark underworld of the US military begins on a rainy Tuesday morning in March 2008, with a visit to Tampa, Florida. I am here to meet Forrest Fogarty, an American patriot who served in the US army for two years in Iraq. Fogarty is also a white supremacist of the serious Hitler-worshipping type.

We meet in his favourite hangout, the Winghouse Bar & Grill. In our brief phone call, I’d asked how I would recognise him. “Just look for the skinhead with the tattoos,” he said. And sure enough, sitting straight to my right as I walk in is a youngish-looking man, plastered in tattoos, with cropped hair and bulging biceps. “You’re British, right,” he says, as we order. “I remember seeing black guys with British accents in Iraq, shit was so crazy.”

Fogarty tells me he was bullied at his LA high school by Mexican and African-American children, and was just 14 when he decided he wanted to be a Nazi. He has no qualms about flaunting his prejudice. When black people come into the bar, he emits a hiss of disapproval. “I just don’t want to be around them,” he tells me. “I don’t want to look at them, I don’t want them near me.”

As a young man, Fogarty was obsessed withIan Stuart Donaldson, the legendary singer in the British band Skrewdriver, who is hero-worshipped in the neo-Nazi music scene. At 16, he had an image from one of Skrewdriver’s album covers – a Viking carrying an axe, an icon among white nationalists – tattooed on his left forearm. Soon after, he had a Celtic cross, an Irish symbol appropriated by neo-Nazis, emblazoned on his stomach. A few years later, he started his own band, Attack, now one of the biggest Nazi bands in the US. But it was never his day job. “I was a landscaper when I left school,” he says. “I kind of fell into it. I didn’t give a shit what I was doing, I was just drinking and fighting.”

For the next eight years he drifted through jobs in construction and landscaping, and began hanging out with the National Alliance, at the time one of the biggest neo-Nazi organisations in the US. He soon became a member. He had always seen himself as a fighter and warrior, so he resolved to do what two generations of Fogartys had done before him: join the military.

US army: Forrest Fogarty
Forrest Fogarty, a neo-Nazi who served in Iraq as a part of the military police from 2004 to 2005. Photograph: Courtesy Matt Kennard

Fogarty was not the first extremist to enter the armed forces. The neo-Nazi movement has had a long and tense relationship with the US military. Since its inception, the leaders of the white supremacist movement have encouraged their members to enlist. They see it as a way for their followers to receive combat and weapons training, courtesy of the US government, and then to bring what they learn home to undertake a domestic race war. Not all far-right groups subscribe to this vision – some, such as the Ku Klux Klan, claim to prefer a democratic approach – but a large portion see themselves as insurrectionary forces. To that end, professional training in warfare is a must.The US military has long been aware of these groups’ attempts at infiltration, but it wasn’t until 1996 that supremacist and neo-Nazi groups were specifically banned from the military, after the murder in 1995 of two African-Americans by a neo-Nazi paratrooper stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Fogarty was recruited the year after.

He knew that the tattoo he had riding up his forearm could be a problem when it came to enlistment. In a neo-Nazi underworld obsessed with secrecy, racist tattoos remain one of the clearest indicators of extremism for a recruiter, and in an effort to police the matter, the US military requires recruits to explain any tattoos. “They just told me to write an explanation of each tattoo and I made up some stuff and that was that,” he says.

Soon after Fogarty was approved, his ex-girlfriend and mother of his eldest child contacted the military. According to Fogarty, she sent a dossier of pictures to his military command that showed him at white supremacist and neo-Nazi rallies, as well as performing his racist rock with Attack. “They hauled me before some sort of committee, and showed me the pictures. I just denied it.” The committee, he says, “knew what I was about, but they let it go because I’m a great soldier”.

Fogarty remained in the reserves, until finally, in 2004, he was sent where he had always wanted to go: Iraq. Before he left for the Middle East, he joined the Hammerskin Nation – described by the Anti-Defamation League as the “the most violent and best-organised neo-Nazi skinhead group in the United States“.

Fogarty maintains that a good portion of those around him were aware of his neo-Nazism. “They all knew in my unit,” he says. “They would always kid around and say, ‘Hey, you’re that skinhead!’” He was confident enough of his carte blanche from the military that during his break from service in 2004, he flew not to see his family in the US but to Dresden, Germany, to give a concert to 2,500 skinheads, on the army’s budget.

When he was at Camp Victory in Baghdad, Fogarty even says a sergeant came up to him and said, “You’re one of those racist motherfuckers, aren’t you?” I ask how the sergeant knew about his racism. “The tattoo, I suppose. I can’t hide everything – people knew, even the chain of command.”

Another white supremacist soldier, James Douglas Ross, a military intelligence officer stationed at Fort Bragg, was given a bad conduct discharge from the army when he was caught trying to mail a submachine gun from Iraq to his father’s home in Spokane, Washington. Military police found a cache of white supremacist paraphernalia and several weapons hidden behind ceiling tiles in Ross’s military quarters. After his discharge, a Spokane County deputy sheriff saw Ross passing out fliers for the neo-Nazi National Alliance. And in early 2012, a photo emerged of a 10-strong US marine scout sniper unit posing for a photo with a Nazi SS bolts flag in Sangin, Afghanistan. According to the military, the symbolism was unknown to the soldiers. “Certainly, the use of the ‘SS runes’ is not acceptable and scout snipers have been addressed concerning this issue,” marine corps spokesman Captain Gregory Wolf said.

James Douglas
James Douglas Ross, who served in Iraq as an intelligence officer, in his barracks room. Photograph: Hunter Glass

The magnitude of the problem within the military is hard to quantify. The military does not track extremists as a discrete category, coupling them with gang members, and those in the neo-Nazi movement claim different numbers. The National Socialist Movement claimed 190 of its members are inside. White Revolution claimed 12. In white supremacist incidents from 2001 to 2008, the FBI identified 203 veterans. Because the FBI focused only on reported cases, its numbers don’t include the many extremist soldiers who have managed to stay off the radar. But its report does pinpoint why the white supremacist movements seek to recruit veterans – they “may exploit their accesses to restricted areas and intelligence or apply specialised training in weapons, tactics, and organisational skills to benefit the extremist movement”. The report found that two army privates in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg had attempted in 2007 to sell stolen property from the military – including ballistic vests, a combat helmet, and pain medications such as morphine – to an undercover FBI agent they believed was involved with the white supremacist movement (they were convicted and sentenced to six years in prison). It also found multiple examples of white supremacist recruitment among active military personnel, including a period in 2003 when six active-duty soldiers at Fort Riley were found to be members of the neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations, working to recruit their army colleagues and even serving as the Aryan Nations’ point of contact for the State of Kansas.

The degree of impunity encountered by Fogarty and countless other extremists has caused tensions within the military. The blind eye turned by the recruiters angered many investigators whose integrity was being compromised. Hunter Glass was a paratrooper in the 1980s and became a gang cop in 1999 in Fairville, North Carolina, next to Fort Bragg. “In the 1990s, the military was hard on them, they could pick and choose,” he recalls. The change came after 9/11. “The key rule nowadays is ignore it until it becomes a problem,” Glass tells me. “We need manpower. So as long as the man isn’t acting out, let’s blow it off.” He recounts one episode in early 2005 when he was requested by military police investigators at Fort Bragg to interview a soldier with blatant skinhead insignia – SS lightning bolts and hammers. Glass worked with the base’s military police investigators, who filed a report. “They recommended that he be kicked out,” he recalls, “but the commanding officers didn’t do anything.” He says there was an open culture of impunity. “We’re seeing guys with tattoos all the time … As far as hunting them down, I don’t see it. I’m seeing the opposite, where if a white supremacist has committed a crime, the military stance will be, ‘He didn’t commit a race-related crime.’ ”

By 2005, the US had 150,000 troops deployed in Iraq and 19,500 in Afghanistan. But the military wasn’t prepared in any way for this kind of extended deployment – and just two years into the war in Iraq, people were talking openly about the fact that it had reached breaking point. The slim forces needed fattening up and what followed constituted a complete re-evaluation of who was qualified to serve – a full-works facelift of the service unheard of in modern American history. In the relatively halcyon days of the first Gulf war in 1990, the US military blocked the enlistment of felons. It spurned men and women with low IQs or those without a high school diploma. It would either block the enlistment of or kick out neo-Nazis and gang members. It would treat or discharge alcoholics, drug abusers and the mentally ill. No more. While the Bush administration adopted conservative policies pretty much universally, it saved its ration of liberalism for the US military, where it scrapped many of the regulations governing recruitment.

Many of the wars’ worst atrocities are linked directly to the loosening of enlistment regulations on criminals, racist extremists, and gang members, among others. Then there are the effects on the troops themselves. Lowering standards on intelligence and body weight, for example, compromised the military’s operational readiness and undoubtedly endangered the lives of US and allied troops. Hundreds of soldiers may have paid with their lives for this folly.

On 1 December 2007, Kevin Shields was murdered in Colorado Springs in an incident involving three of his fellow soldiers, Louis Bressler, Kenneth Eastridge and Bruce Bastien Jr, who all served in Iraq as part of the Second Brigade Combat Team, Second Infantry Division. Bressler and Bastien were each put away for 60 years for their part in the murder, alongside a litany of other crimes in Colorado Springs; Eastridge is serving a 10-year prison sentence for his part. In the aftermath of the arrests, pictures emerged of Eastridge proudly displaying his SS bolts tattoo. After his arrest, Bastien told investigators that he and Eastridge had randomly fired at civilians in Iraq during patrols through the streets of Baghdad. In broad daylight, Bastien alleged, Eastridge would use a stolen AK-47 to fire indiscriminately at Iraqi civilians. At least one was hit, he said. “We were trigger happy,” said another member of the platoon, José Barco, who is serving 52 years in jail for shooting and injuring a pregnant woman in Colorado Springs. “We’d open up on anything. They even didn’t have to be armed. We were keeping scores.” So far, no one has been charged with shooting civilians in Iraq.

US marines pose with neo-Nazi flag
A US marine scout sniper unit posing with neo-Nazi SS lightning bolts flag in Sangin, Afghanistan

The military not only ignored Eastridge’s extremism, but on his return from combat awarded him a Purple Heart and Army Achievement medals. Eastridge’s lawyer, Sheilagh McAteer, becomes palpably angry when I speak to her. She claimed that the military were now knowingly sending mentally unstable young men to Afghanistan and Iraq. “The military is to some extent desperate to get people to go to fight – soldiers who are not fit, mentally and physically sick, but they continue to send them,” she told me. “Having a tattoo was the least of his concerns.”In March 2012, a US soldier, on his fourth deployment in a decade, walked out of his base and went on a shooting spree in southern Afghanistan, murdering more than a dozen Afghan civilians, including nine children. Then news came that US army staff sergeant Robert Bales, the 38-year-old suspect, was from Joint Base Lewis-McCord, in Washington state, which just four months earlier had convicted a member of an Afghanistan “kill team” of murder via a military jury.

PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] was not a new phenomenon for the military, but sending soldiers still suffering from severe mental health problems back to the frontline in such large numbers was. “I’m concerned that people who are symptomatic are being sent back,” said Dr Arthur S Blank, Jr, a Yale-trained psychiatrist. “That has not happened before in our country.” The army’s top mental health expert, Colonel Elspeth Ritchie, explicitly accepted that the reason so many mentally ill troops were being sent back was because of the demands on the military for more and more personnel. “The challenge for us,” he said, “is that the army has a mission to fight. And, as you know, recruiting has been a challenge. And so we have to weigh the needs of the mission with the soldiers’ personal needs.”

Bradley Manning, the alleged US military source of the WikiLeaks data, is another example of the mental health of recruits being ignored. Manning was a “mess of a child” who “should never have been put through a tour of duty in Iraq”, said an officer from the Fort Leonard Wood military base in Missouri, where Manning trained in 2007. Chase Madar, the author of a recent book on Manning, told me, “He would never have been kept in the army if not for record low recruitment levels in 2007 when he enlisted.” The only reason Manning made it on to active duty in Iraq, after repeated warnings about his fitness at all three of his stateside deployments, was the army’s “utter desperation for soldiers with IT and analytic skills during its historic low in recruitment”.

New recruits were physically, as well as mentally, unfit. In 1993, around 23% of prospective recruits would have been overweight – a pretty significant tranche. By 2006, this had increased to just over 27%, or more than a quarter of potential recruits, due partly to the use of “medical waivers” to make exceptions for overweight recruits.

The three most common barriers for potential recruits were failure to graduate high school, a criminal record and physical fitness issues, including obesity. The criminal record had been dealt with by “moral waivers” and the obesity problem by “medical waivers”, but dropping the standards on educational attainment would not be so easy without seriously affecting operational readiness. There was a way for non-graduates to get into the military, however: the general equivalency degree, or GED, which can afford recruits a waiver if they score well enough on the military’s entrance exam. The army accepts about 15% of recruits without a high school diploma if they have a GED. Alive to this loophole, the military instituted another program in 2008, the so-called GED Plus, to give more of America’s youth the requisite qualifications they needed to go and fight. It opened its first prep school for the purpose, targeted at tough, inner-city areas.

In fact, during the “war on terror”, the resources poured into recruiting impressionable young people skyrocketed, with 1,000 new recruiters added in one year to bring high school kids round to the military’s way of thinking. The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps expanded across the nation, and no child was free from their solicitations; even 11-year-olds were taking part in the programmes. One in 10 high school students in Chicago wore a military uniform to school and took classes on shooting guns from retired veterans.

One of the main incentives offered was money – a lot of money from the perspective of a 16-year-old. In 2005, the army moved to raise the average bonus given to recruits when they signed on the dotted line from $14,000 to $17,000, with the possibility of as much as $30,000 for hard-to-fill vacancies. Another of the military’s slogans was ”Join the Armed Forces, get a free education”, an offer many of America’s poorest kids couldn’t turn down.

A report, Soldiers Of Misfortune, by the American Civil Liberties Union, found that the US government was actually in contravention of an international protocol prohibiting the recruitment of children into military service when they are under 18 years old. It also noted that the US military disproportionately targets poor and minority public school students, but its findings were dutifully ignored.

It took a report from the Palm Center at the University of California – a group committed to discussion of homosexuals in the military – to blow the lid on yet more figures the military was trying hard to cover up. In 2007, it published information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act that found the number of convicted criminals enlisting in the US military had nearly doubled in two years, from 824 in 2004 to 1,605 in 2006. In that period, a total of 4,230 convicted felons were enlisted, including those guilty of rape and murder. On top of this, 43,977 soldiers signed up who had been found guilty of a serious misdemeanour, which includes assault. Another 58,561 had drug-related convictions, but all were handed a gun and sent off to the Middle East. “The fact that the military has allowed more than 100,000 people with such troubled pasts to join its ranks over the past three years illustrates the problem we’re having meeting our military needs in this time of war,” said Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center.

One of the most horrific of the reported atrocities by the US military in Iraq, the murder of the al-Janabi family in Yusufiyah, involved a convicted criminal, Steven D Green, whose enlistment required special dispensation because of his criminal record. But research has shown that these recruitment practices engender breakdown within the ranks as well. During the “war on terror”, one in three female soldiers reported being victims of some form of sexual assault while in service. In fact, US women service members are today more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than to be killed by enemy fire. No one knows how many Iraqi or Afghan women and girls have been subjected to similar atrocities, although cases such as the rapes and murders in Yusufiyah suggest it was equally endemic, and went equally unpunished.

In 2009, the military met its recruitment targets for the first time since 2004 and once again pledged to lock out those with criminal records. Brigadier General Joseph Anderson, deputy commander of the US Army Recruiting Command, said that the “adult major misconduct” waiver, given for felony offences, was now closed and, additionally, those with a history of juvenile criminal activity would not be allowed to recruit without a high school diploma. It was an admission of guilt, but for many in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was too late.

• Extracted from Irregular Army: Irregular Army: How The US Military Recruited Neo-Nazis, Gang Members, And Criminals To Fight The War On Terror, by Matt Kennard, is published by Verso Books on 24 September, priced £14.99. To order a copy for £11.99, with free UK p&p, visit the Guardian Bookshop.

Source:  | The Guardian

America Preparing For A Post Israel Middle East?

August 29, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Congresswoman Illena Ros-Lehtinen will have her hands full as she makes the political and social rounds at this month’s Republican National Convention.  Illena, is the only female committee chair in the House of Representatives and arguably Israel’s most ardent agent.  She is a constant thorn in the Obama administration’s side, regularly castigating the president for playing “political games with U.S. foreign policy” and being “soft on Iran” and undermining the legitimacy of Israel.  Ros-Lehtinen is a congressional cheer leader also for her Jewish voters in Florida — a key battleground in the rapidly approaching US presidential election. Most recently, Ros-Lehtinen helped shepherd through Congress yet another bill tightening sanctions against Iran while calling for US military action against the Assad regime in Syria.

The Congresswomen’s focus will likely not be on pushing the republican’s talking points regarding her party’s nominee, Mitt Romney the former “moderate Massachusetts governor” who she is aware is unlikely to win the White House. Nor, according to a source at the Democratic National Committee, frantically putting together final touches on their own Convention, to be held the week of September 3 in Charlotte, North Carolina,will Ileana spend much time with or promoting Mitt’ running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan. Ryan, an Ayn Rand (author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged as well as founder of the Objectivism movement) follower, regularly tells audiences that “ Ayn Rand’s teachings have been one of the most profound philosophical influences of my life,”  Well, except for religion and abortion, as Ayn who passed away in 1982 was an avowed atheist and strongly pro-abortion,  the opposite of  what Ryan tells audiences he is.

Rather, Ros-Lehtinen will be meeting with local, national, and international Jewish leaders in this must win state where she has been assigned the task of reassuring them that the Republican Party is Israel’s best friend and that a recent US government draft report urging a US re-think of its relationship to Israel is the responsibility of none other than Barack Obama, and it reveals his true disdain for Israel.

Helping her smear the White House with the findings in the draft  analysis will be  William Kristol, publisher of the neoconservative Weekly Standard and Director of the New American Century, an “Israel first” Washington-based lobby “promoting joint Israeli and American political and military leadership across the globe, while bringing democracy to the Middle East”.

So what is all the fuss about?

It’s a paper entitled:  Preparing For A Post Israel Middle East, an  82 page analysis that concludes that the American national interest in fundamentally at odds with that of Zionist Israel. The authors concludes that Israel is currently the greatest threat to US national interests because its nature and actions prevent normal US relations  with  Arab and  Muslim countries and, to a growing degree, the wider international community.

The study was commissioned by the US Intelligence Community comprising 16 American intelligence agencies with an annual budget in excess of $ 70 billion. The IC includes the Departments of the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Defense Intelligence Agency, Departments of Energy, Homeland Security, State, Treasure, Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency commissioned the study.

Among the many findings that Ros-Lehtenin and Kristol and other unregistered agents of Israel will likely try to exploit politically between now and November 6, by using them to attack the Obama Administration are the following:

  • Israel, given its current brutal occupation and belligerence cannot  be salvaged any more than apartheid south Africa could be when as late as 1987 Israel was the only “Western” nation that upheld diplomatic ties with South Africa and was the last country to join the international boycott campaign before the regime collapsed;
  • The Israel leadership, with its increasing support of the 700,000 illegal settlers on the occupied West Bank is increasing out of touch with the political, military and economic realities of the Middle East;
  • The post Labor government Likud coalition is deeply complicit with and influenced by the settlers’ political and financial power and will increasingly face domestic civil strife which the US government should not associate itself with or become involved with;
  • The Arab Spring and Islamic Awakening has to a major degree freed a large majority of the 1.2 billion Arab and Muslims to pursue what an overwhelming majority believe is the illegitimate, immoral and unsustainable European occupation of Palestine of the indigenous population;
  • Simultaneous with, but predating,  rapidly expanding Arab and Muslim power in the region as evidenced by the Arab spring, Islamic Awakening and the ascendancy of Iran, as American power and influence recedes, the US commitment to belligerent oppressive Israel is becoming impossible to defend or execute consistent given paramount US national interests which include normalizing relations with the 57 Islamic countries;
  • Gross Israeli interference in the internal affairs of the United States through spying and illegal US arms transfers. This includes supporting more than 60 ‘front organizations’ and  approximately 7,500 US officials who do Israel’s bidding and seek to dominate and intimidate the media and agencies of  the US government which should no longer be condoned;
  • That the United States government no longer has the financial resources, or public support to continue funding Israel. The more than three trillion dollars in direct and indirect aid from US taxpayers to Israel  since 1967 is not affordable and is increasingly being objected to by US taxpayers who oppose continuing American military involvement in the Middle East. US public opinion no longer supports funding and executing widely perceived illegal US wars on Israel’s behalf. This view is increasingly being shared by Europe, Asia and the International public;
  • Israel’s segregationist occupation infrastructure evidenced by  legalized discrimination and increasingly separate and unequal justice systems must no longer be directly or indirectly funded by the US taxpayers or ignored by the US government;
  • Israel has failed as a claimed democratic state and continued American financial and political cover will not change its continuing devolution as international pariah state;
  • Increasingly,  rampant and violent racism exhibited among Jewish settlers in the West Bank is being condoned by the Israeli government to a degree  that the Israel government has become its protector and partner;
  • The expanding chasm  among American Jews objecting to Zionism and Israeli practices, including the killing and brutalizing of Palestinians under Israeli occupation,  are gross violations of American and International law and raise questions within the US Jewish community regarding the American responsibility to protect (R2P) innocent civilians under occupation;
  • The international opposition to the increasingly  apartheid regime can no longer be synchronized with American claimed  humanitarian values or US expectations in its bi-lateral relations with the 193 member United Nations;
  • The Draft ends with language about the need to avoid entangling alliances that alienate much of the World and condemn American citizens to endure the consequences.

Interestingly, it notes Iran as an example of a country and people that have much in common and whose citizens have a real interest in enjoy bilateral associations (here an apparent reference to Israel and its US lobby) not determined by the wishes of other countries and their agents. It also highlights the need for the US to undertake “the repairing relations with Arab and Muslim countries including the drastically curtained use of drone aircraft.

The coming days will clarity the success of Israel’s in making an issue of the finding in the soon to be published draft report and the degree to which the Republican Party will gain for its findings in the race for the White House.


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

Dr. Franklin Lamb is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Message To: DNC and Zionists of America From: An American Patriot

August 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Patriotism means to stand up for one’s homeland.

It does not mean to stand up for any political party, politician or any other another state.

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called upon the Democratic National Committee to rescind its invitation to former President Jimmy Carter to address the upcoming 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Among Carter’s ‘crimes’ are his 2007 book, “Peace Not Apartheid” which the ZOA claims is filled with “falsehoods about Israel, not least the vicious insinuation in its title that Israel resembles the evils of the apartheid regime in South Africa and that Jews living in Judea and Samaria, is the ‘primary’ obstacle to peace.”

According to a UN report, Haaretz columnist Danny Rubinstein admitted that “Israel today was an apartheid State with four different Palestinian groups: those in Gaza, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israeli Palestinians, each of which had a different status…even if the wall followed strictly the line of the pre-1967 border, it would still not be justified. The two peoples needed cooperation rather than walls because they must be neighbors.” [1]

The ZOA is also up in arms over Carter daring to mention that Israel has destroyed over 40,000 Palestinian homes, which have rendered hundreds of thousand Palestinians homeless and that Gaza is an open-air prison.

The ZOA ignores the Jewish Justice Richard Goldstone’s 575-page report of September 29, 2009, which accused both Israel and Hamas of war crimes perpetuated during the 22 days of assault on Gaza when the Israeli military launched Operation Cast Lead; a full-scale attack on Gaza that killed 13 Israelis and 1,400 Palestinians.

Over 5,000 Palestinians were injured, 400,000 were left without running water, 4,000 homes were destroyed, rendering tens of thousands who are still homeless because of Israel’s targeted attacks upon them, their schools, hospitals, streets, water wells, sewage system, farms, police stations and UN buildings.

US-supplied weapons enabled the 22 days of Israel’s attack on the people of Gaza and we the people of the US who pay taxes provide over $3 billion annually to Israel although Israel has consistently misused U.S. weapons in violation of America’s Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts.

During the 22 days of Israeli assault on Gaza, “Washington provided F-16 fighter planes, Apache helicopters, tactical missiles, and a wide array of munitions, including white phosphorus and DIME. The weapons required for the Israeli assault was decided upon in June 2008, and the transfer of 1,000 bunker-buster GPS-guided Small Diameter Guided Bomb Units 39 (GBU-39) were approved by Congress in September. The GBU 39 bombs were delivered to Israel in November (prior to any claims of Hamas cease fire violation!) for use in the initial air raids on Gaza. [2]
During Operation Cast Lead, the UN Security Council, Amnesty International, International Red Cross, and global voices of protest rose up and demanded a ceasefire, but both houses of Congress overwhelmingly endorsed resolutions to support a continuation of Israel’s so called “self defense.”

In a 71-page report released March 25, 2009, by Human Rights Watch, Israel’s repeated firing of US-made white phosphorus shells over densely populated areas of Gaza was indiscriminate and is evidence of war crimes.

“Rain of Fire: Israel’s Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza,” provides eye witness accounts of the devastating effects that white phosphorus munitions had on civilians and civilian property in Gaza.

“Human Rights Watch researchers found spent shells, canister liners, and dozens of burnt felt wedges containing white phosphorus on city streets, apartment roofs, residential courtyards, and at a United Nations school in Gaza immediately after hostilities ended in January.

“Militaries officially use white phosphorus to obscure their operations on the ground by creating thick smoke. It has also been used as an incendiary weapon, though such use constitutes a war crime.

“In Gaza, the Israeli military didn’t just use white phosphorus in open areas as a screen for its troops,” said Fred Abrahams, senior emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch and co-author of the report. “It fired white phosphorus repeatedly over densely populated areas, even when its troops weren’t in the area and safer smoke shells were available. As a result, civilians needlessly suffered and died.” [Ibid]

Last year, I attended AIPAC’s D.C. Conference and heard President Obama speak about the dangers of the spread of nuclear weapons but not a word about Israel’s still un-inspected WMD facility-which everyone in the world, except most Americans learned about 26 years ago, when Mordechai Vanunu’s photos and testimony made front page news in London’s The Sunday Times.

Obama also mentioned his visit to the Jewish Wailing Wall and how he thought about the generations who have wanted a homeland; but not a word was uttered about the generations of indigenous Palestinians who are still denied their inalienable right to return home or about the 21st century Wailing Wall: The Apartheid Wall:

Obama told of his visit to Sderot and the struggles of those residents, but he neglected to travel five minutes away into the open air prison of Gaza where 1.5 million human beings-800,000 are under the age of 16-struggle every moment of the day just to survive under a brutal siege aided and abetted by USA policy!

In 2009, I spent an evening in Sderot and learned that most everyone there would be just as happy to migrate to Las Vegas than live in Israel: Read more…



Israel’s existence is a fact of life, but what can never be accepted by people of conscience is Israel’s ‘right’ to steal land and resources of the indigenous people of Palestine and we the people of this homeland’s tax dollars that aid, abet and sustain an illegal, immoral and brutal military occupation.

All through that AIPAC conference I heard the incessant drumbeat of Israel’s rights, about the “special relationship” “shared values” “common Interests” the “Jewish State” and claims that Israel is a democracy, but Israel is not-and never has been a Democracy!

In the May 28, 1993 edition of Yedioth Ahronoth, Ariel Sharon explained:

“The terms ‘democracy’ or ‘democratic’ are totally absent from the Declaration of Independence. This is not an accident. The intention of Zionism was not to bring democracy, needless to say. It was solely motivated by the creation in Eretz-Isrel of a Jewish state belonging to all the Jewish people and to the Jewish people alone. This is why any Jew of the Diaspora has the right to immigrate to Israel and to become a citizen of Israel.”

Jeff Halper, American Israeli, co-founder and coordinator of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and Professor of Anthropology explained that, ”An ethnocracy is the opposite of a democracy, although it might incorporate some elements of democracy such as universal citizenship and elections. It arises when one particular group-the Jews in Israel, the Russians in Russia, the Protestants in pre-1972 Northern Ireland, the whites in apartheid South Africa, the Shi’ite Muslims in Iran, the Malay in Malaysia and, if they had their way, the white Christian fundamentalists in the US-seize control of the government and armed forces in order to enforce a regime of exclusive privilege over other groups in what is in fact a multi-ethnic or multi-religious society. Ethnocracy, or ethno-nationalism, privileges ethnos over demos, whereby one’s ethnic affiliation, be it defined by race, descent, religion, language or national origin, takes precedence over citizenship in determining to whom a county actually ‘belongs.’”[3]

In his Farewell Address, President George Washington warned US:

“Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all…and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave…a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils.”
Obama admitted that true friends speak open and honestly and that “the current situation does not allow procrastination. The world is moving too fast [and] the Talmud teaches as long as one has life do not abandon faith. We will never abandon universal human rights.”

It was President Harry Truman who crossed out the word ”Jewish state” on the draft of the Establishment of Israel that was cabled him and substituted ”State of Israel” which he affirmed was contingent upon Israel upholding the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Read more…

As a Member State of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, America is obligated to hold ALL other Member States to it!

As an American patriot who went online in 2005 after my first of 7 trips to Israel and Occupied Palestine, all I have been saying is that when Israel honors its founding promises and America upholds its obligation as a Member State of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, then YES WE CAN begin this world again by BUILDING IT according to the principals outlined and agreed to in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

1. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3444320,00.html

2. http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/9-us-arms-used-for-war-crimes-in-gaza/

3. Jeff Halper, An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel, Page 74


Eileen Fleming is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Eileen Fleming, Founder of WeAreWideAwake.org
A Feature Correspondent for Arabisto.com
Author of “Keep Hope Alive” and “Memoirs of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory”
Producer “30 Minutes with Vanunu” and “13 Minutes with Vanunu”

Attack of the Drones: Mysterious UAVs in Our Skies

August 5, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The emergence of new drone technologies have captured the public’s imagination, as well as sparked controversy, especially since the arrival of the US Navy’s show-stealing X-47B drone. With its triangular shape, non-existent tail, and sleek, almost saucerian look, the aircraft succeeds in resembling classic descriptions of flying saucers dating all the way back to the 1940s.

As a journalist, one never wants to spend too much time discussing his or her own experiences, opting instead to present a fair, unbiased perspective on such subjects. However, my purpose here is hardly to dissect the controversies surrounding drone use in military operations, border patrol operations, or even surveillance in urban areas. Rather, my reason for addressing the drones on a personal note has to do with my own recent observation of some variety of small, controlled aircraft for which, at present, remains unidentified… and quite perplexing.

My unusual sighting of what I take to be some variety of UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) began with the appearance of a curiously bright light moving along over Interstate 26, just outside Asheville, North Carolina, as I was heading home for the evening; I had been traveling north at about 10:22 PM on the evening of July 23, 2012, headed for the junction with Interstate 40 about a mile away. This white-orange light appeared to simply be hanging in the sky, unmoving, and though I suspected the landing lights of some commercial kind of aircraft, the object in question did not seem to move as my position changed relative to it.

Following my previously stated course, heading northbound along I-26 toward the I-40 junction, I came up alongside the object, which was partially obscured by trees at the time. At this point, I had begun to think what I must be seeing was a helicopter, as it appeared to be hovering in midair, or otherwise moving in some way inconsistent with a commercial airliner. The bright light had apparently been oriented toward the front of the craft, and on the sides I could now see a small flashing white light (making it seem like some kind of conventional craft, yet again), in addition to bluish green and red lights.

The blue lights were uncharacteristic, however, and caught my attention since this color typically does not appear on commercial aircraft of any kind (for more on this, click here for a discussion of various beacons used on airplanes for different purposes and applications). This would not be the case, however, for a hobby craft or remote-controlled stunt plane… but then again, this “plane” appeared to be hovering at the moment, hence my mind began to drift along toward the potential for a helicopter.

At this point I pulled off to the side of the road, and jumped out of my car right there on the connecting ramp between I-26 and I-40, hoping to get a better look at the craft. The object began to drift along slowly toward the south; curiously, the lighting on the craft did seem to betray a generally airplane-like shape, looking nothing like a helicopter. Furthermore, the object, which had been almost at a standstill there in the sky, had appeared to be moving silently, and as stated, quite slowly (there were few cars near me on the interstate, and I could hear no sounds that seemed to come from this object that reminded me of helicopter blades). Finally, it is also worth noting that the object appeared much smaller than the average airplane, and at a relatively low altitude (just a few hundred feet). My guess would have been that the object was roughly the size of a large automobile.

It was a very odd combination of something very conventional-looking, and yet which behaved very counter-intuitively just as well. At present, while I am leaning heavily toward this object being some kind of UAV drone, perhaps serving some military or other surveillance purposes, what’s interesting is that, in years past, I know of two other individuals who have described seeing a similar object, albeit one described as being more triangular in shape, and at the same precise location!

Sure enough, a friend of mine, Tyler Pittman, described an experience where he had seen a triangular object at the precise same spot, heading North, which at it’s closest was directly above him. He too pulled off the side of the road hoping to photograph the thing, which was about the size of a large automobile, he said; but it managed to get away before he could get to the camera on his phone. Finally, at roughly the same spot, my own brother Caleb, who had a friend in the car with him at the time, also described seeing this triangular shape in the sky a few years back, near the junction between I-26 and I-40.

It is interesting indeed that my own brother had this experience a while ago, and that all our recollections of the craft seem to correlate in terms of descriptions, for the most part. But here’s where things get even more interesting: the night after my own encounter, Caleb and a friend had been attending an outdoor showing of the original “Ghostbusters” film at an area theater, when the two of them spotted an object overhead which was, according to Caleb, obviously the same craft I’d seen. He sent me the following at 10:01 PM on Tuesday, July 24, 2012, via SMS text messages:

I’m watching ghost busters outside at (Biltmore Cinnebar Theatres) and that triangular drone you saw last night is flying around overhead. Both Dakota and I saw it. It has a very wide range, flashing lights but definitely triangular. I don’t think it’s privately owned because I don’t think they’d allow it in the air, I’m going to go with that it is a drone.

He followed with this as well:

Got a great look at it… Dakota (a mutual friend, and my brother’s roommate) and I have some decent theories of what it might be but I really have no doubt at all that it is some kind of drone. I didn’t see it hover but it was moving pretty slowly for the altitude it was at.

Like my own sighting the night before, Caleb also noted the blue lights, in addition to the triangular shape:

I saw blue, red, orange and white lights; definitely triangular. I saw it coming from pretty far away over the car dealership (Jim Barkley Toyota, on Brevard Road adjacent to the shopping mall where they were located at the time) then it flew over and headed towards the airport but circled around and flew over us again at what seemed like a different angle… maybe sideways. The lights had a pattern to them but they seemed to strobe in a slightly different manor than an airplane.

This description certainly matches my own feeling about the craft I’d seen; certain aspects reminded me very much of an airplane, while others (namely its apparent ability to hover and drift along slowly) are very unconventional. Next, I plan to touch base with local law enforcement, and see if anyone else has information on what the object may have been. Do any Mysterious Universe readers recall seeing similar objects themselves, and if so, what are your conclusions about the aircraft you had seen?

Source: Micah Hanks | MysteriousUniverse.org

The Man Who Fired The Shot Heard ’Round The World

April 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

April 19, 1775, should be regarded as important a date to Americans as July 4, 1776. It’s a shame that we don’t celebrate it as enthusiastically as we do Independence Day. It’s even more shameful that many Americans don’t even remember what happened on this day back in 1775. For the record, historians call this day, “Patriot’s Day.” More specifically, it was the day that the shot was fired that was heard ’round the world. It was the day America’s War for Independence began.

Being warned of approaching British troops by Dr. Joseph Warren, Pastor Jonas Clark and his male congregants of the Church of Lexington (numbering 60-70) were the ones that stood with their muskets in front of the Crown’s troops (numbering over 800), who were on orders to seize a cache of arms which were stored at Concord and to arrest Sam Adams and John Hancock (who were known to be in the area, and who had actually taken refuge in Pastor Clark’s home).

According to eyewitnesses, the king’s troops opened fire on the militiamen almost without warning, immediately killing eight of Pastor Clark’s parishioners. In self defense, the Minutemen returned fire. These were the first shots of the Revolutionary War. This took place on Lexington Green, which was located directly beside the church-house where those men worshipped each Sunday. Adams and Hancock were not taken. They owed their lives to Pastor Clark and his brave Minutemen–albeit eight of those men gave their lives protecting Adams and Hancock.

According to Pastor Clark, these are the names of the eight men who died on Lexington Green: Robert Munroe, Jonas Parker, Samuel Hadley, Jonathan Harrington, Jr., Isaac Muzzy, Caleb Harrington, and John Brown, all of Lexington, and one Mr. Porter of Woburn.

By the time the British troops arrived at the Concord Bridge, hundreds of colonists had amassed a defense of the bridge. A horrific battle took place, and the British troops were routed and soon retreated back to Boston. America’s War for Independence had begun!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, these two elements of American history are lost to the vast majority of historians today: 1) it was attempted gun confiscation by the British troops that ignited America’s War for Independence, and 2) it was a pastor and his flock that mostly comprised the “Minutemen” who fired the shots that started our great Revolution.

With that thought in mind, I want to devote today’s column to honoring the brave preachers of Colonial America–these “children of the Pilgrims,” as one Colonial pastor’s descendent put it.

It really wasn’t that long ago. However, with the way America’s clergymen act today, one would think that preachers such as James Caldwell, John Peter Muhlenberg, Joab Houghton, and Jonas Clark never existed. But they did exist; and without them, this country we call the United States of America that would not exist.

Caldwell was a Presbyterian; Muhlenberg was a Lutheran; Houghton was a Baptist; and no one really seems to know what denomination (if any) Jonas Clark claimed, although one historian referred to Clark as a Trinitarian and a Calvinist. But these men had one thing in common (besides their faith in Jesus Christ): they were all ardent patriots who participated in America’s War for Independence, and in the case of Jonas Clark, actually ignited it.

James Caldwell

James Caldwell was called “The Rebel High Priest” or “The Fighting Chaplain.” Caldwell is most famous for the “Give ’em Watts!” story.

During the Springfield (New Jersey) engagement, the colonial militia ran out of wadding for their muskets. Quickly, Caldwell galloped to the Presbyterian church, and returning with an armload of hymnals, threw them to the ground, and hollered, “Now, boys, give ’em Watts!” He was referring to the famous hymn writer, Isaac Watts, of course.

The British hated Caldwell so much, they murdered his wife, Hannah, in her own home, as she sat with her children on her bed. Later, a fellow American was bribed by the British to assassinate Pastor Caldwell–which is exactly what he did. Americans loyal to the Crown burned both his house and church. No less than three cities and two public schools in the State of New Jersey bear his name.

John Peter Muhlenberg

John Peter Muhlenberg was pastor of a Lutheran church in Woodstock, Virginia, when hostilities erupted between Great Britain and the American colonies. When news of Bunker Hill reached Virginia, Muhlenberg preached a sermon from Ecclesiastes 3 to his congregation He reminded his parishioners that there was a time to preach and a time to fight. He said that, for him, the time to preach was past and it was time to fight. He then threw off his vestments and stood before his congregants in the uniform of a Virginia colonel.

Muhlenberg later was promoted to brigadier-general in the Continental Army, and later, major general. He participated in the battles of Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, and Yorktown. He went on to serve in both the US House of Representatives and US Senate.

Joab Houghton

Joab Houghton was in the Hopewell (New Jersey) Baptist Meeting House at worship when he received the first information regarding the battles at Lexington and Concord. His great-grandson gives the following eloquent description of the way he treated the tidings:

“[M]ounting the great stone block in front of the meeting-house, he beckoned the people to stop. Men and women paused to hear, curious to know what so unusual a sequel to the service of the day could mean. At the first, words a silence, stern as death, fell over all. The Sabbath quiet of the hour and of the place was deepened into a terrible solemnity. He told them all the story of the cowardly murder at Lexington by the royal troops; the heroic vengeance following hard upon it; the retreat of Percy; the gathering of the children of the Pilgrims round the beleaguered hills of Boston; then pausing, and looking over the silent throng, he said slowly, ‘Men of New Jersey, the red coats are murdering our brethren of New England! Who follows me to Boston?’ And every man in that audience stepped out of line, and answered, ‘I!’ There was not a coward or a traitor in old Hopewell Baptist Meeting-House that day.” (Cathcart, William. Baptists and the American Revolution. Philadelphia: S.A. George, 1876, rev. 1976. Print.)

Jonas Clark

As I said at the beginning of this column, Jonas Clark was pastor of the Church of Lexington, Massachusetts, on April 19, 1775, the day that British troops marched on Concord with orders to arrest Sam Adams and John Hancock, and to seize a cache of firearms. It was Pastor Clark’s male congregants who were the first ones to face-off against the British troops as they marched through Lexington. When you hear the story of the Minutemen at the Battle of Lexington, remember those Minutemen were Pastor Jonas Clark and the men of his congregation.

On the One Year Anniversary of the Battle of Lexington, Clark preached a sermon based upon his eyewitness testimony of the event. He called his sermon, “The Fate of Blood-Thirsty Oppressors and God’s Tender Care of His Distressed People.” His sermon has been republished by Nordskog Publishing under the title, “The Battle of Lexington, A Sermon and Eyewitness Narrative, Jonas Clark, Pastor, Church of Lexington.”

Order the book containing Clark’s sermon at:

www.NordskogPublishing.com

Of course, these four brave preachers were not the only ones to participate in America’s fight for independence. There were Episcopalian ministers such as Dr. Samuel Provost of New York, Dr. John Croes of New Jersey, and Robert Smith of South Carolina. Presbyterian ministers such as Adam Boyd of North Carolina and James Armstrong of Maryland, along with many others, also took part.

So many Baptist preachers participated in America’s War for Independence that, at the conclusion of the war, President George Washington wrote a personal letter to the Baptist people saying, “I recollect with satisfaction that the religious societies of which you are a member have been, throughout America, uniformly and almost unanimously, the firm friends to civil liberty, and the preserving promoters of our glorious Revolution.” It also explains how Thomas Jefferson could write to a Baptist congregation and say, “We have acted together from the origin to the end of a memorable Revolution.” (McDaniel, George White. The People Called Baptists. The Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, 1918. Print.)

And although not every pastor was able to actively participate in our fight for independence, so many pastors throughout colonial America preached the principles of liberty and independence from their pulpits that the Crown created a moniker for them: The Black Regiment (referring to the long, black robes that so many colonial clergymen wore in the pulpit). Without question, the courageous preaching and example of colonial America’s patriot-pastors provided the colonists with the inspiration and resolve to resist the tyranny of the Crown and win America’s freedom and independence.


Chuck Baldwin is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

You can reach him at: chuck@chuckbaldwinlive.com
Please visit Chuck’s web site at: http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com

The 50-State Foreclosure Settlement

February 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Why Hasn’t Anyone Gone to Jail?

Under the terms of the 50-state mortgage foreclosure settlement, US taxpayers could end up paying billions in penalties that were supposed to be paid by the banks. That’s the gist of a front-page story which appeared in the Financial Times on Thursday, February 17. The widely-cited article by Shahien Nasiripour notes that the 5 banks that will be effected by the settlement — Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Ally Financial – will be able to use Obama’s mortgage modification program (HAMP) to reduce loan balances and “receive cash payments of up to 63 cents on the dollar for every dollar of loan principal forgiven.”

And that’s not all. If borrowers stay current on their payments after their loans are restructured, the banks could qualify for additional government funds which (according to the FT) “could then turn a profit for the banks according to people familiar with the settlement terms.”

How do you like them apples? Leave it to the bank-friendly Obama administration to turn a penalty into a windfall. In effect, the settlement will help the banks avoid losses on mortgages that are vastly overpriced on their books and which were probably headed into foreclosure anyway.

Taxpayers will stump up the money for the principle writedowns that will allow the banks to extract even more tribute from underwater homeowners. What kind of penalty is that?

Here’s how Mark Gongloff sums it up over at Huffington Post:

“Banks will get government cash as an incentive to work down mortgages as part of a settlement that is supposed to punish them for their malpractice. Banks have been getting taxpayer money under loan modification programs like HAMP all along: $615 million in modification incentives so far. Those incentives were tripled on Jan. 28 just days before the mortgage settlement was announced, making the deal appear even sweeter for the banks.

“You can’t say this settlement has anything to do with deterrence or is punitive in nature if money is flowing into banks from taxpayers as part of the settlement,” said New York University Law professor Neil Barofsky, former special inspector-general of the Troubled Asset Relief Program.” (“Mortgage Foreclosure Settlement: Who Pays?”, Huffington Post)

Of course, no one knows for sure how many perks and “bennies” the banks will eventually nab,  because the written copy of the settlement still hasn’t been released. Our guess is that the banks’ will come out smelling like a rose and that the 50 Attorneys General will end up looking like fools for taking their victory lap too soon.

Keep in mind, that the banks are really only on the hook for $5 billion in cash. The rest of the $25 billion settlement will be shrugged off onto investors in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) many of who are retirees and pensioners. They’re going to get clobbered while the perpetrators of this nationwide crime walk away Scott-free.

It’s also worth reviewing what this case is all about, which is industrial-scale fraud directed at millions of people whose lives have been ruined by the banks. Here’s a clip from an article in Reuters that helps to put it all in perspective:

“A report this week showing rampant foreclosure abuse in San Francisco reflects similar levels of lender fraud and faulty documentation across the United States, say experts and officials who have done studies in other parts of the country.

The audit of almost 400 foreclosures in San Francisco found that 84 percent of them appeared to be illegal, according to the study released by the California city on Wednesday.

“The audit in San Francisco is the most detailed and comprehensive that has been done – but it’s likely those numbers are comparable nationally,” Diane Thompson, an attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, told Reuters.

Across the country from California, Jeff Thingpen, register of deeds in Guildford County, North Carolina, examined 6,100 mortgage documents last year, from loan notes to foreclosure paperwork.

Of those documents, created between January 2008 and December 2010, 4,500 showed signature irregularities, a telltale sign of the illegal practice of “robosigning” documents.” (“Foreclosure abuse rampant across U.S., experts say”, Reuters)

Repeat: “84 percent of them appeared to be illegal …(and) those numbers are comparable nationally.”

So, why are we talking about “mortgage foreclosure settlements” instead of criminal prosecutions? Why hasn’t anyone gone to jail with evidence this compelling?

Look: The banks have been foreclosing on homes they don’t even legally own. That’s what robosigning is. Would you be willing to accept a measly $2,000 for being tossed out of your home and onto the street by someone who doesn’t even own the mortgage? Of course, not.

9 million homes have been lost to foreclosure since 2007, and there will be another 9 million before we’re done. Homeowners have lost $8 trillion in home equity (in the last 4 years) and 11 million people are currently underwater on their mortgages. All of this is unprecedented. All of this is the result of fraud.

Forget about the mortgage-foreclosure settlement. It means nothing. Someone has to go to jail. That’s what matters.


Mike Whitney is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com

500 U.S. Deaths From Police Tasers

February 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

On February 13, Johnnie Kamahi Warren died after a police officer used a Taser on him at least twice outside an Alabama bar. The police had been called when Warren became disorderly and combative at the bar.

Warren’s death raises the Taser-related death toll in the U.S. to at least 500.

Warren was unarmed. And that is not uncommon. In fact, a 2008 report by Amnesty International (AI) examined data on hundreds of deaths related to police Taser use and found that an alarming number of those who died were unarmed.

According to the report, “Tasers are frequently deployed in situations where firearms or other weapons would not be an option. For example, police have used Tasers on unarmed people who fail to comply immediately with instructions, who struggle while they are being handcuffed or who try to run or walk away from minor incidents. People who are intoxicated or verbally disruptive, but not committing, or threatening to commit, a serious crime have also had Tasers used against them.”

More recently, AI cited the case of Roger Anthony, who last November “fell off his bicycle and died after a police officer in North Carolina shot him with a stun gun. The officer reportedly shocked Anthony – who had a disability and hearing problems – because he did not respond to an order to pull over.” Anthony, too, was unarmed.

In the wake of the grim new milestone of 500 Taser-related deaths, AI is repeating its call for tighter limits on police use of lethal weapons. “Of the hundreds who have died following police use of Tasers in the United States, dozens and possibly scores of deaths can be traced to unnecessary force being used,” said Susan Lee, Americas program director for AI. “This is unacceptable, and stricter guidelines for their use are now imperative.”

AI is calling for strict national protocols for police use of Tasers and similar stun weapons that would effectively replace local police policies that permit a wider use of the weapons, often in situations that do not warrant such a high level of force.

While law enforcement agencies defend the use of Tasers, saying that they save lives and can be used to subdue dangerous or uncooperative suspects, AI contends that the weapons “should only be used as an alternative in situations where police would otherwise consider using firearms.” Indeed, as we’ve seen at least 500 times now, Tasers can be just as lethal as firearms. And too often misused.

And so I contend that the unnecessary overuse of Tasers against unarmed and unthreatening individuals can only be called lazy and cowardly at best.


Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views appear regularly in a variety of newspapers, magazines, and websites. Note that the ideas expressed here are the author’s own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Amnesty International or any other organization with which she may be associated. E-mail:mary@maryshawonline.com

Mary Shaw is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

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