When thespians become caricatures of a popular culture that accelerates the demise of civilization, the routine loses all comic relief. The dramaturge of classic theater, relegated to the standing room galley or the cheap seats, creates a void in context and meaning. Today the promenade of audience interaction merges with the performance of a surreal life play. Looking into the rabbit hole applauds an adventure in the wonderland of narcissism by adopting the cult of celebrity.
Chris Renzo writes in Waking Times, How Celebrity Culture is Destroying Who We Are.
“We live in a world that celebrates image over substance and because of this we have lost sight of who we are. We are bombarded daily with images that celebrate vanity, debauchery, and acts of senselessness. Through the corporate mass media we are subliminally told what to think, how to interpret the way society operates, what is “right,” what is “cool,” and how to keep from looking old and unhip.”
It is said that the only thing funny about Henny Young jokes is his violin. Such quips like “My grandmother is over eighty and still doesn’t need glasses. Drinks right out of the bottle.” – seems downright dim-witted. However, the passé humor of your grandparent’s generation is benign and harmless when weigh against the licentiousness of the actual lifestyles of the celeb sect. By comparison, George Carlin appears tame. The political innuendo in his humor, “Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist.” approaches the wisdom of the Greek proverb, ”Either dance well or quit the ballroom.”
The entertainment industry does not qualify as being a cynic since their value culture never came near to being noble-minded. When they perform on stage their boogie moves and trip the light fantastic toe of their kinky art, Fred Astaire turns in his grave. Their lack of class to exit the theater and perform on the streets, set afire from the relativism of their decadent imagery, causes the pop culture to sink further into the sewer of Hollywood excess.
Gone are the days of Milton Berle, Jackie Gleason and Jack Benny. Ethnic humor, now banned from the airwaves, replaced with hip-hop, and rap music, prompts the next class in the School of the Arts to do the hood boogie-woogie. Clowns like the tame Red Skelton or the risqué Benny Hill were mild showmen judged against the likes of the Showtime staple of vulgarism. Bob Newhart’s wit replaced with Kathy Griffin’s filth is analogous about the state of mind in today’s society.
The folksy humor of Will Rogers, rides into the sunset as the “Cowboy Way”, replaced by the broke back way of life roundup, spread across the plains. Where is the humor in the eviction from the “Little House on the Prairie”?
That familiar Three Stooges carnival has become the Barak Obama circus. The spotless reflection of presidential shame, exhibited with each Leno appearance, razz the faithful follower fools. A pre-presidential appearance on Saturday Night Live video has the touchy feely and future fearless leader geared up to bring in a new era. Somehow, the skits of Moe, Larry and Curley give more confidence than the nauseating charms of the current joke POTUS.In the NeoCon publication FrontPage, Mark Tapson gives a damaging account of Actor Steven Weber Proves That ‘Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out.’
“Weber, a self-described “wise-ass” (he got that half-right anyway), posted a painfully unfunny political rant there entitled “ Comedy Relief.” As near as I can decipher it, the piece asserts that conservatives are a big joke, what with their insistence on sabotaging this country and demonizing the genius President Obama despite all the good he has accomplished.Weber clearly amuses himself, but when it comes to savagely funny and incisive political commentary, the man is no Mark Steyn. Here’s an example of his wit and insight into current events: “Bin Laden’s been gone, Qaddafi’s ka-dead, and the Arab Spring’s been sprung.” Weber actually cites these as examples of Obama’s “real foreign policy victories.”
Weber is right about his vague statement that Obama has the American people “aroused and assembling.” Yes, millions of Americans are aroused and assembling – not in support of Obama, but in opposition to his dismantling of our Constitutional rights, our military, our economy, our borders, our very exceptionalism.”
While Weber is an insignificant celebrity, his essay in the Huffington Times reinforces the gonzo ignorance of glorified groupies exhorting their devotion to political correctness. The history of Hollywood disdain towards Free Speech is legendary, when practiced by traditional conservative Christians. The political affiliation of the Screen Actors Guild members is well known.
Backstage columnist Simi Horwitz reports in In Left-Leaning Business, Conservative Actors Feel Marginalized.
“There are well-known conservative actors—including Gary Sinise, Tom Selleck, Patricia Heaton, James Woods, Robert Davi, James Belushi, Dennis Miller, and Sylvester Stallone—but according to Morris, their numbers are far fewer than those in the left-wing camp and, more important, they simply don’t have the clout. “If you think even for one instance Stallone can get the same press as Clooney, you’re nuts,” he said. “Clooney is a media darling. If he says something he’s taken seriously. If Stallone says something, it’s ‘Look what the asshole said.’ “
Well, “That’s Entertainment” in the world of star power mania.
From Big Hollywood, the Breitbart team argues back in March 2013, Andrew Was Right: CPAC Hollywood Panel Confirms Culture’s Impact On Politics.
“Andrew’s message that culture is upstream from politics could be heard loud and clear Friday during a panel of Hollywood heavy hitters who implored to directly engage the entertainment industry.
John Sullivan, director of 2016: Obama’s America, told the crowd the biggest deficit conservatives face today isn’t at the ballot box. The “cultural deficit” remains staggering, Sullivan said, estimating about $4 billion is being spent “working against conservative values” when one considers the total money spent on movies and television product.
“Republicans will come into an election year, and they’ll match the Democrats in political campaign contributions and pat themselves on the back on doing a good job,” Sullivan said, ignoring the culture imbalance.”
Now the clowns that control the organization apparatus in both criminal political parties really despise Will Rogers the moralist.
Tom Ashbrook from On Point writes,
“Before Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and Mort Sahl and Lewis Black, Americans fell in love with a cowboy comedian who told it like it was, plain and simple.
Will Rogers was famous for his lariat and rope tricks, his aw-shucks way, his common touch. Everything he knew he read in the newspapers, he said.
But in his day, Will Rogers, homespun comic, was a much bigger draw than Oprah, and a political powerhouse. His humor moved the nation.”
“He was the most incisive political commentator of his era who, beneath his humor, provided his countrymen a critically honest appraisal of American politics and world affairs. Few men touched the American moral and political conscience more deeply than Rogers. His astute observations, his ability to go straight to the heart of the matter and then put that into words that resonated with his listeners, propelled him to a level of influence unequaled in American history. When the witty one-liners are stripped away from Rogers’s message, a sobering and powerful view of his political clout appears. A closer look at whom he met, where he traveled, and the subjects of his writings and speeches reveals not so much a comedian but a true political insider with the power to shape public opinion and ultimately influence public policy.”
The intense cultural imbalance that Mr. Sullivan asserts did not exist back in the day of Will Rogers. Although the reappearance of the American innocence of nearly a century ago will never return, the character of traditional principles and values remain intact for the remnant of faithful loyalists, who adhere to the spirit of limited government and individual liberty.
Corporatists and authoritarians, of all persuasions and ideologies are essentially anti (small r) republicans. There is no humor coming out of the camps of these culturally deprived “true believers”. The achievement of crowd ignorance is significantly a product of mass media distortion and deception. Entertainment artists are not a privileged class, contrary to their own self-pronouncement.
The stupidity that Will Rogers speaks of, intentionally designed to cast a tragic play for the country, is a national pandemic. Buffoons that use comedic lingo to push a repressive agenda are not funny. Actors who lionize tyrannical outlaws and insert subliminal messages in the recital of their play-acting are wretched role models.
Emphatically, the public needs to have the last laugh. An old fashion boycott is in order. Lost generations that swallow the poison from popular culture icons need a sanity intervention. Stop the support of your own ruin. Artists are naturally insecure. Make sure their fear becomes a permanent proviso every time they betray our heritage. Shut off the tube, turn the volume to zero and regain a healthy perspective on your own well-being.
In government, failure is success. That’s what I call DiLorenzo’s First Law of Government. When the welfare state bureaucracy fails to reduce poverty, it is rewarded with more tax dollars and more responsibilities. When the government schools fail to educate children, they are rewarded with more tax dollars and more power to meddle in education. When NASA blows up a space shuttle, it is rewarded with a large budget increase (unlike a private airline which would probably go bankrupt). And when the Fed caused the worst depression since the Great Depression in 2007, it was rewarded with a vast expansion of its powers.
DiLorenzo’s Second Law of Government is that politicians will rarely, if ever, assume responsibility for any of the problems that they cause with bad policies. No one group in society is more irresponsible than politicians. There are a few exceptions, but in general they will always blame capitalism for our economic problems even when capitalism is not even the economic system that we live under (economic fascism or crony capitalism would be more accurate). Nothing is more irresponsible than knowingly destroying what’s left of our engine of economic growth with more and more governmental central planning, even if it is given the laughable name of “public interest regulation.”
DiLorenzo’s Third Law of Government is that, with few exceptions, politicians are habitual liars. The so-called “watchdog media” is more appropriately labeled the “lapdog media,” for pointing out the lies of politicians is the best way to end one’s career as a journalist. Do this, and your sources of information will cut you off.
One of the biggest governmental lies is that financial markets are unregulated and in dire need of more central planning by government. Laissez-faire is said to have caused the “Great Recession.” Fed bureaucrats have lobbied for some kind of Super Regulatory Authority to supposedly remedy this problem. This is all a lie because according to one of the Fed’s own publications (“The Federal Reserve System: Purposes and Functions”), the Fed already has “supervisory and regulatory authority” over the following partial list of activities: bank holding companies, state-chartered banks, foreign branches of member banks, edge and agreement corporations, U.S. state-licensed bank branches, agencies and representative offices of foreign banks, nonbanking activities of foreign banks, national banks, savings banks, nonbank subsidiaries of bank holding companies, thrift holding companies, financial reporting procedures of banks, accounting policies of banks, business “continuity” in case of economic emergencies, consumer protection laws, securities dealings of banks, information technology used by banks, foreign investment by banks, foreign lending by banks, branch banking, bank mergers and acquisitions, who may own a bank, capital “adequacy standards,” extensions of credit for the purchase of securities, equal opportunity lending, mortgage disclosure information, reserve requirements, electronic funds transfers, interbank liabilities, Community Reinvestment Act sub-prime lending “demands,” all international banking operations, consumer leasing, privacy of consumer financial information, payments on demand deposits, “fair credit” reporting, transactions between member banks and their affiliates, truth in lending, and truth in savings.
In addition, the Fed also engages in legalized price fixing of interest rates and creates price inflation and boom-and-bust cycles with its “open market operations.” In addition, financial markets are just as heavily regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Comptroller of the Currency, Office of Thrift Supervision, and dozens of state government regulatory agencies. All of this is the Washington, D.C. definition of “laissez-faire” in financial markets.
DiLorenzo’s Fourth Law of Government is that politicians will only take the advice of their legions of academic advisors if the advice promises to increase the state’s power, wealth, and influence even if the politicians know that the advice is bad for the rest of society. The academics happily play along with this corrupt game because it also increases their notoriety and wealth. A glaring example of this phenomenon is the fact that, in the aftermath of the onset of the “Great Recession” there was almost no discussion at all by government officials, the media, or op-ed writers about the vast literature of economics that documents the gross failures of government regulation over the past century to promote “the public interest.”
There has always been some kind of government regulation of economic activity in America, but the federal regulatory state got its first big boost with an 1877 Supreme Court case known as Munn v. Illinois. The two Munn brothers owned a grain storage business and the powerful farm lobby in their state wanted to essentially steal their property by having the state legislature impose price ceilings on grain storage. Such laws had previously been ruled unconstitutional as a violation of the Contract Clause of the U.S. Constitution. But the plunder-seeking farmers prevailed, and it was hailed by statists everywhere as a victory for “the public interest.” Thus, the very first major example of “public interest regulation” was unequivocally an act of legal plunder that benefited a very narrow special interest at the expense of the public, which would have benefited more from a free market.
Either because of ignorance or corruption (or both), the statist academics of the time sang the “public interest” tune with regards to regulation, creating the myth that markets always “fail” and that the remedy is benevolent and wise government regulation in the public interest. The academics did this despite the fact that there was glaring evidence all around them that regulation was always and everywhere a special-interest phenomenon, as indeed almost all governmental activity is.
As historian Gabriel Kolko wrote in his 1963 book, The Triumph of Conservatism, big business in the early twentieth century sought government regulation because the regulation “was invariably controlled by leaders of the regulated industry, and directed toward ends they deemed acceptable or desirable.” Government regulation has generally served to further the very economic interests that are being regulated. Chicago School economists labeled this phenomenon the “capture theory of regulation.”
Most academic economists, seduced by the prestige, employment, and money that came from being governmental advisors, ignored all of this reality and instead spent roughly fifty years—from the pre-World War I years to the 1960s—inventing myriad factually emptytheories of “market failure.” A popular book at the time was entitled Anatomy of Market Failure, by Francis Bator. This literature was (and is) based on the fraudulent technique of comparing real-world markets to an unobtainable, theoretical, Utopian ideal (“perfect competition”) and then condemning the real world for being “imperfect,” all the whileassuming that the politics of government regulation would perfectly “correct” these imperfections. Economist Harold Demsetz labeled this charade “the Nirvana Fallacy.” Comparing real-world markets to “Nirvana” will always cause one to conclude that markets are “imperfect” by comparison. The market failure theorists never once compared government to Nirvana to subject interventionism to the same criteria. The Austrian School of economics is the only school of thought within the economics profession that never participated in this farce.
To its credit, the Chicago School of economics joined with the Austrians in exposing many of the market failure/regulation—is-always-good fallacies. Hundreds of journal articles and books were published that rediscovered the old truth that “as a rule, regulation is acquired by the industry and is designed and operated primarily for its benefit,” as Nobel laureate George Stigler wrote in 1971.
This kind of research was expanded over the years to show that large corporations often support and lobby for onerous government “safety” and environmental regulations because they understand that the regulations will be so costly to enforce that they will likely bankrupt their smaller competitors while deterring others from entering the market in the first place. Businesses long ago discovered that the only way to have a long-lasting cartel is to have the cartel agreement enforced by the government. Privately-enforced cartels always break down because of cheating by the cartel members. The railroad and trucking industries were cartelized by the federal Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) for many decades, for example. The ICC set monopolistic prices in these industries and prohibited genuine competition. The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) cartelized the airline industry by prohibiting price competition until it was deregulated in the late 1970s. There was vigorous competition in the electric power industry in the U.S. until it was ended by government regulation in the early twentieth century by the creation of monopoly franchises by state and local governments. AT&T enjoyed a government-sanctioned monopoly for many decades as well.
During the period of history when government-sanctioned monopoly was increasingly the norm, the Fed was created to facilitate the creation of a banking industry cartel. As Murray Rothbard wrote in A History of Money and Banking in the United States,
the financial elites of this country … were responsible for putting through the Federal Reserve System, as a govemmentally created and sanctioned cartel device to enable the nation’s banks to inflate the money supply … without suffering quick retribution from depositors or note holders demanding cash.
In other words, giving the Fed more regulatory authority is not unlike giving an alcoholic another bottle of whisky, a murderer another gun, or a bank robber a ski mask. It is bound to make things worse, not better.
The US empire’s illusion of benign omnipotence has been broken by the heroic acts of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden writes Neil Harrison…
The grotesque climax to the manifest destiny dream. Invisible in the sky, malevolent and capricious, an Old Testament-style god rains arbitrary, brutal fate upon unsuspecting civilians.
On that Baghdad street, on that day, god existed. The Reuters journalist and his driver, gunned down for carrying an extended camera lens; the father killed taking his children to school; his children – injured and forced to witness their father’s abject death. For all of these people and more, god existed that day and his name was America.
Of course, this was the footage which finally convinced the troubled Private Bradley Manning to begin a campaign of, in his own words, “shattering the fantasy.” Thanks to Manning, no serious observer of this video, or of USA foreign policy in general, could now continue to indulge in the fantasy of America as the world’s friendly policeman, not without excercising some serious double-think. Especially not while listening to the Apache helicopter’s crew gloat and laugh as they kill and maim innocents (it somehow gets worse the more you see it).
Arguably, the video was the most important thing that Bradley Manning leaked before his arrest and incarceration. Footage of other Apache helicopter attacks in Iraq were already available on Youtube, transcripts from the attack had already been printed elsewhere in a book and the world already knew that the Reuters journalists had been killed by American forces, but images and sounds have a visceral impact which mere words often lack. A worldwide, large-scale audience was, for this particular video, guaranteed by the involvement of Wikileaks – Julian Assange’s flair for understated drama publicly piled up embarassment for the US military. Headline status meant that millions could now no longer continue with the ‘fantasy’ anymore than they could ‘unsee’ the footage. Therefore, by the time Manning’s subsequent leaks (including the war logs and the notorious diplomatic cables) came to light, they were being registered by a global public already primed with enlightened eyes and a deep sense of scepticism.
The convergence of a multitude of factors provided Manning with motive and opportunity to inflict one of the biggest clusterfucks in the American god-machine’s history of propaganda war- US government paranoia post 9/11 meant that, due to their insistence on inter-department ‘sharing,’ anyone with clearance could access virtually all government information. Manning’s genius with computers allowed him to trawl for his quarry with ease. Moreover, he felt desperately isolated. In the Mesopotamian desert, thousands of miles from home, among unsympathetic colleagues – it was far from the perfect situation for a very young man suffering deep personal turmoil. Most importantly of all, however, and the thing we should remember above all else, is that Private Bradley Manning cared.
He cared that he may have been complicit in a regime which employed (or contracted out) torture, “I was actively involved in something that I was completely against…” He cared that his fellow Americans were deliberately being kept ignorant of the true nature of their government’s foreign policy, “I want people to see the truth…without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.” Manning cared enough to risk pissing off a god.
As this week’s verdict of guilty on twenty counts (though, symbolically, not ‘aiding the enemy,’ which begs the question – if no ‘enemy’ was ‘aided’ where the hell is the crime?) could potentially result in over 130 years jail time for him, and bearing in mind the dreadful incarceration he has already endured, this god is at pains to ensure few follow suit.
The American god-machine sent its son to the Middle-east. Once there, he made a stand for truth and human compassion. For his sacrifice he is now being symbolically martyred. Does this sound familiar? You would be forgiven for finding these comparisons somewhat contrived (put it down to artistic licence). However, before dismissing the notion entirely, consider a couple of further examples.
Firstly, thanks to the actions of another brave whistleblower, Edward Snowden, we now know something of American pretensions to omnipotence. America’s National Security Agency, it is becoming ever more apparent, are now able to read private emails and listen in on telephone conversations not only in the US. but across the globe. For reasons of security, in order to protect you, the NSA needs to be able to hear your weekly takeaway order. America-god knows your favourite pizza toppings. Feel safer?
Finally, there exists the reality of ritual appeasement. In Slavoj Zizek’s The Year of Dreaming Dangerously, he describes how the US must:
‘…suck up a daily influx of one billion dollars from other nations to pay for its consumption and is, as such, the universal Keynesian consumer that keeps the world economy running. (So much for the anti-Keynesian economic ideology that seems to predominate today!) This influx, which is effectively like the tithe paid to Rome in antiquity (or the gifts sacrificed to the Minotaur by the Ancient Greeks), relies on a complex economic mechanism: the US is “trusted” as the safe and stable center, so that all the others, from the oil-producing Arab countries to Western Europe and Japan, and now even the Chinese, invest their surplus profits in the US. Since this trust is primarily ideological and military, not economic, the problem for the US is how to justify its imperial role – it needs a permanent state of war, thus the “war on terror,” offering itself as the universal protector of all other “normal” (not “rogue”) states.’
Herein lies the truth of the matter. America is not a god, it simply wears this diguise of ‘justification,’ therefore maintaining the inflated faux-capacity, to attempt to behave like one. In truth, the US is becoming increasingly desperate to appease and control its own economic god.
But who benefits from this global arrangement? The American people? Maybe we should ask the citizens of Detroit that one?
If we in the ‘liberal’ West really are benefitting from this international tithe-paying/war-making economic regime, then at least now, thanks to Manning and Snowden, we can appreciate the true cost it incurs. Perhaps we may yet glimpse our own future therein, because the only people who have ever genuinely benefitted, who will ever benefit, from the system Zizek describes, are in a tiny and exclusive minority. In the words of Allen Ginsberg, they are:
The Dirty Rich.
Describing the way in which “emancipatory politics,” such as socialism or feminism, work “by reaching for a future,” Terry Eagleton invokes  a useful image:
“[They insert] the thin end of the wedge of the future into the heart of the present. They represent a bridge between present and future , a point where the two intersect.”
This is exactly what Manning and Snowden have achieved. They have given us a brief view of a future in which no state can be unaccountable for its actions, however clandestine, however obscure its motives – not even the most powerful on Earth.
Our immediate task for the future is to continue forcing the ‘wedge,’ to ensure that the illusion continues to be shattered. Let no motive of those who would make war go uninterogated. Let no action of those who hoard wealth at the expense of the pain, suffering and even the lives of others go unchallenged. This is how best to honour the bravery and sacrifices of Manning, Snowden and others like them. This is how we will display our solidarity with them as they face uncertain futures. This is how we will consign the gods to history.
 Slavoj Zizek, The Year of Dreaming Dangerously, p. 10
 Terry Eagleton, Why Marx Was Right p. 69
The fact that the initiation of the Zionist project had nothing to do with the Holocaust, as it developed more than a half century earlier, and the fact of the mostly indifference to the slaughter of Jews on the part of the founders of Israel, together with its collaboration with the Nazi Party, undermines Israel’s projected, and exploited, image as innocent victim.
Both Nazism and Zionism arose in tandem from small insignificant social movements in the early part of the 20th century, arguing, with equal force, that Jews were an alien and indigestible mass living in the midst of an otherwise pure Aryan population. Both movements contributed to the more general acceptance of this argument in Europe, and particularly in Germany, as mid-century approached, and both have to be responsible for the consequences.
In 1896, journalist Theodore Herzl’s book, Der Judenstaat (The Jews’ State), Herzl expressed his understanding of inevitability, permanence, and omnipresence of anti-Semitism and argued that the only solution was a separate state for Jews. Herzl stated, in his book:
The Jewish question exists wherever Jews live in perceptable numbers. Where it does not exist, it is carried by Jews in the course of their migrations. We naturally move to those places where we are not persecuted, and there our presence produces persecution. …1
In 1912, Chaim Weizman, Israel’s first president, and the Zionist advocate who had the most to do with lobbying the British for the Balfour Declaration of 1917, echoed this view, speaking to a Berlin audience:
… each country can absorb only a limited number of Jews, if she doesn’t want disorder in her stomach. Germany already has too many Jews.2
Reflecting in 1949 in his autobiography, Trial and Error, Weizmann wrote:
Whenever the quantity of Jews in any country reaches the saturation point, that country reacts against them …
Weizmann, the chemist, invoking a metaphor from the sciences, added:
… the determining factor in this matter is not the is solubility of Jews, but the solvent power of the country. …
This cannot be looked upon as anti-Semitism in the ordinary or vulger sense of that word;
it is a universal social and economic concomitant of Jewish immigration, and we cannot shake it off …3
Ben Frommer, an American Revisionist, stated in 1935:
No matter what country he inhabits … [it] is not of the [his] tribal origins. … Consequently, the Jew’s attempt at complete identity with his country sounds spurious; his patriotism despite his vociferousness [sounds] hollow even to himself; and therefore his demand for complete equality with those who are of the essence of the nation naturally creates friction. This explains the intolerance of the Germans, Austrians, Poles and the increasing tide of antagonism in most European countries … It is presumptuous on the part of a Jew to demand that he be treated as lovingly as say a Teuton in a Teutonic country or a Pole in a Polish country. He must jealously guard his life and liberty, but he must candidly recognize that he does not ‘belong‘. The liberal fiction of perfect equality is doomed because is was unnatural. [Italics mine]4
Indeed, in 1925, Jacob Klatzkin, the co-editor of the massive Encyclopedia Judaica, wrote:
If our people is deserving and willing to live its own national life, then it is an alien body that insists on its own distinctive identity, reducing the domain of their life. It is right therefore, that they should fight against us for their national integrity … Instead of establishing societies for defense against the anti-Semites, who want to reduce our rights, we should establish societies for defense against our friends who desire to defend our rights.5
The understanding of Herzl, as well as the Zionists, about the inevitability of anti-Semitism was possibly self-fulfilling, for rather than opposing anti-Semitism in the first half of the 20th century, the Zionists found common cause with Hitler, Eichmann, and the Nazis and used anti-Semitism and Nazism as a means of achieving their end which was the establishment of a Jewish state. The two reactionary movements shared the view that German Jews were living in that country as a ‘foreign race’ and that the racial divide was essential to maintain. The Zionists’ use of Nazism involved, among other things, the blocking of avenues of escape to other countries of Europe’s Jews and diverting them to Palestine, even as the death trains began to roll in Europe. The rise of Nazism and Hitler to power was never, or almost never, opposed by the Zionists prior to the establishment of Israel.
Thus, in an article by Siegfried Moses, which appeared in the Rundschau, the official newspaper of the German Zionist Federation, and later, its head, stated:
… it is true that the defense against anti-Semitism is not our main task, it does not concern us to the same extent and is not of the same importance for us as is the work for Palestine …6
Rabbi Stephen S Wise
In 1934, Stephen Wise, head of the American Jewish Congress said:
… I cannot be indifferent to the Galuth [the Jewish diaspora living outside of Palestine] … if I had to choose between Eretz Israel and its upbuilding and the defense of the Galuth, I would say that then the Galuth must perish.7
On October 2, 1937, two SS officers, Herbert Hagen and Adolf Eichmann, disembarked in Haifa and were met by the Gestapo’s agent in Palestine, Fritz Reichert, and later in the day, Fevel Polkes, a Haganah agent, who showed the Nazi officials Haifa from Mt Carmel and then visited a kibbutz. Some years later, when Eichmann was hiding in Argentina, he taped a story of his excursion to Palestine, stating:
I did see enough to be very impressed with the way the Jewish colonists were building up their land. … In the years that followed I often said to Jews with whom I had dealings that had I been a Jew, I would have been a fanatical Zionist.8
Eichmann had read Herzl’s book, Der Judenstaat, and also studied Hebrew. In their trip report, the two SS officers paraphrased Polkes’s message to them:
The Zionist state must be established by all means and as soon as possible. … When the Jewish state is established according to the current proposals laid down in the Peel paper, and in line with England’s partial promises, then the borders may be pushed further outwards according to one wished.9
… in Jewish nationalist circles people were very pleased with the radical German policy, since the strength of the Jewish population in Palestine would be so far increased thereby that in the foreseeable future the Jews could reckon upon numerical superiority over the Arabs in Palestine.10
During his February trip to Berlin, Polkes proposed that the Haganah act as spies for the Nazi government and, as a sign of good faith, passed on intelligence information which was detrimental to their mutual enemies, the Communists. History might have been very different had the Zionist component of Jewry opposed Nazism; there might never have been a Holocaust. And there might never have been a state of Israel, as some Zionists well understood.
… of all of the active Jewish opponents of the boycott idea [of Nazi Germany], the most important was the world Zionists Organization (WZO). It not only bought German wares; it sold them, and even sought out new customers for Hitler and his industrialist backers.
The WZO saw Hitler’s victory in much the same way as its German affiliate, the ZVfD [the German Zionist Organization]: not primarily as a defeat for all Jewry, but as positive proof of the bankruptcy of assimilation and liberalism.11
Here Brenner is referring to the so-called Ha’avara agreement, or ‘transfer agreement’.
In 1933, Sam Cohen, owner of a citrus export company in Tel Aviv, approached the German government with the proposal that emigrants from Germany could avoid the flight tax by instead purchasing German products, which would then be shipped to Palestine, along with their purchasers, where the new arrivals in Palestine could then redeem their investments after the sale of the products by import merchants.
Heinrich Wolff, the German Consul in Jerusalem, quickly realized the utility of such an arrangement in tamping the international boycott effort of German import goods. He wrote to Berlin:
Whereas in April and May the Yishuv [the European Jewish community in Palestine] was waiting boycott instructions from the United States, it now seems that the situation has been transformed. It is Palestine which now gives the instructions… It is important to break the boycott first and foremost in Palestine, and the effect will inevitably be felt on the main front, in the United States.12
Cohen had promised Heinrich Wolff that he would work behind the scenes at the forthcoming Jewish conference in London to weaken or defeat any boycott resolution.
Dr Fritz Reichert, the Gestapo’s agent in Palestine, later wrote to his headquarters:
The London Boycott Conference was torpedoed from Tel Aviv because the head of the Transfer in Palestine, in close contact with the consulate in Jerusalem, sent cables to London. Our main function here is to prevent, from Palestine, the unification of world Jewry on a basis hostile to Germany … It is advisable to damage the political and economic strength of Jewry by sowing dissention in its ranks.12
Negotiations with the Nazi government were taken over by the World Zionist Organization and Cohen was replaced by Chaim Arlosoroff, the Political Secretary of the Jewish Agency. Arlosoroff traveled to Berlin in May of 1933. He and the Nazis reached a preliminary understanding to continue Cohen’s arrangement. Arlosoroff returned to Tel Aviv where he was assassinated, most probably by some members of the Revisionist wing of Zionism headed by Jabotinsky who opposed any accommodation with the Nazis.
Negotiations continued, however, and an agreement was signed in 1933 between the Nazis and the World Zionist Organization which persisted until 1939 and the German invasion of Poland. The Ha’arava grew to become a substantial banking and trading house with 137 specialists in its Jerusalem office at the height of its activities. The sale of German products expanded to include destinations outside of Palestine, but the arrangement remained essentially the same as the one originally negotiated by Sam Cohen – that German Jews wishing to emigrate, rather giving up most or all of their wealth to the German government, could invest their money in a German bank which would be used for purchasing German export goods. The purchaser could then redeem his investment when the goods had been sold and after he had arrived in Palestine. The German government set the rules and the emigrant would lose typically in excess of 30% of his investment and, eventually, 50%.
Indeed, there was a fundamental incompatibility with the upbuilding of a Jewish state in Palestine and opposition to the Nazi program of extermination of Europe’s Jews. The Ha’avara agreement allowed the transfer of LP 8,100,000 (Palestinian Pounds; then $40,419,000) to Palestine along with 60,000 German Jews between 1933 and 1939. But it also had the effect of undercutting the international boycott effort and providing an inflow of capital to the German government owing to the sale of German manufactured goods abroad.
This understanding is important, as the Holocaust has been central in provoking sympathy for the State of Israel and in amplifying the claims for reparations from European governments. Sympathy for the victims of the Holocaust, whether Jews or Roma, is no less justified, but the state of Israel cannot maintain an air of complete innocence nor be the justified recipient of billions of dollars or reparations, very little of which is actually dispersed to Holocaust survivors.
Nor has Israel accepted the universal principle that states must pay reparations to ethnicities whom it has harmed, as Israel has ignored or denied the catastrophe of ethnic cleansing and massacres which it prosecuted against the Palestinian people in 1948.
The model of Jews fleeing a burning building; i.e., the Nazi Holocaust, and thus creating a redoubt of safety in the form of the state of Israel cannot be maintained. Aside from the fact that the Zionist project was initiated at least by the time of Herzl’s Der Judenstaat of 1896 and his founding of the World Zionist Congress a year later, and well before the Nazi ascension to power in the 1930s, the Zionists were little concerned with the slaughter of Jews in Europe and almost exclusively focused on building a state in Palestine.
Delegates at First Zionist Congress.
A proposal by the British, in the aftermath of Kristallnacht, of November 1938, that Britain admit a thousand children directly into Britain was sternly opposed by Ben Gurion who told a meeting of the Labor Zionist in December:
If I knew that it would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England, and only half of them by transferring them to Eretz Israel, then I would opt for the second alternative. For we must weigh not only the life of these children, but also the history of the People of Israel.13
By 1943, ample reports of massacres of Europe’s Jews were arriving in the US, though it garnered little of the mainstream press.
Jabotinsky’s “revisionist zionism”At this time, Peter Bergson, a Palestinian Jew and member of the Irgun, a militant offspring of the Revisionist Zionists, and his young colleagues, shifted their attention to saving Europe’s Jews. Bergson, who had been sent to New York City, by Revisionists leader, Jaobtinsky, in order to create American support of the establishment of a Jewish army in Palestine, and his colleagues formed the Emergency Committee to Save Europe’s Jews and initiated it with a conference attended by 1500 delegates including former President Herbert Hoover and New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. The delegates ultimately adopted an eight-point rescue program, the primary feature of which was the creation of a US government agency charged with saving Europe’s Jews. They also called for their allies to immediately attack the concentration camps and bomb railroads lines leading to them.
The conference’s program sought to avoid the issue of a Jewish state in Palestine, preferring to leave that to another day. Indeed, the efforts of Bergson were perceived by the American Jewish organizations, and especially by Rabbi Stephen Wise, head of the American Jewish Conference, as an effort to divert energy and attention away from Zionism and the upbuilding of a Jewish state in Palestine.
Bergson’s group sponsored full page advertisements in the New York Timesand other newspapers with such bold headlines as, “HELP Prevent 4,000,000 People from Becoming Ghosts.” Another read, “THIS IS STRICTLY A RACE AGAINST DEATH.”
The Emergency Committee also organized public events and rallies and a march by 450 Orthodox rabbis to the White House and the US Capitol. They also staged a theatrical production, entitled, We Will Never Die, authored by Academy Award winning screen writer Ben Hecht and included actors such as Edward G. Robinson with music written by Bertoldt Brecht. The play chronicled the contributions of Jews and addressed the current situation of Europe’s Jews.
The production played to 40,000 in Madison Square Garden and, in Washington, was viewed by Eleanor Roosevelt and hundreds of members of Congress.
Though the Emergency Committee had raised the consciousness of Americans for the plight of Europe’s Jews, their efforts were strongly opposed by America’s organized Jewish groups including Rabbi Stephen Wise and his American Jewish Congress.
In Buffalo, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh, local mainstream Jewish organizations attempted to block the production of We Will Never Die.
Most significant of the Emergency Committees’ actions was to provoke the sponsorship of a resolution, introduced in the House by Baldwin and Will Rogers Jr., and in the Senate by Guy Gillette, on November 9, 1943.
The full text follows:
Whereas the Congress of the United States, by concurrent resolution adopted on March 15 of this year, expressed its condemnation of Nazi Germany’s ‘mass murder of Jewish men, women, and children,’ a mass crime which has already exterminated close to two million human beings, about 30 per centum of the total Jewish population of Europe, and which is growing in intensity as Germany approaches defeat; and
Whereas the American tradition of justice and humanity dictates that all possible means be employed to save from this fate the surviving Jews of Europe, some four million souls who have been rendered homeless and destitute by the Nazis: therefore be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives recommends and urges the creation by the President of a commission of diplomatic, economic, and military experts to formulate and effectuate a plan of immediate action designed to save the surviving Jewish people of Europe from extinction at the hands of Nazi Germany.
Senator Gillette emphasized that the bill focused only on rescue and not on the issue of Palestine or a Jewish state.
It is not to be confused with the dispute over the future of Palestine, over a Jewish state or a Jewish army. The issue is non-sectarian. The sole object here is to rescue as many as possible of Hitler’s victims, pending complete Allied victory.
Stephen Wise tried unsuccessfully to persuade the sponsors of the bill to withdraw their support. But failing that, Wise traveled to Washington and testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by Sol Bloom, stating that the resolution was ‘“inadequate” because it did not urge the British government to open Palestine to Jewish refugees” [italics mine].14
The lack of a reference to Palestine was, of course, intentionally absent from the bill.
Congressman Rogers also faced strong pressure from Zionists groups:
When it became known that I was becoming a member of the Bergson group, there was a terrific amount of pressure from all sorts of areas. I went back to Beverly Hills and I remember meeting with Rabbi Stephen S Wise in a synagogue. … He took me aside and said, ‘Now, young man. I knew your father very well. Now you are getting confused, you are getting mixed up with the wrong type of people. Let me tell you and steer you clear when it comes on, or want to meet the right people, the responsible people.’ He was quite the diplomat. He didn’t say, ‘If you get mixed up with them, you are not going to be reelected.’ He wasn’t that direct, but he made every pressure that he could, and where he know it would be effective.15
Gillette also faced strong opposition.
These people used every effort, every means at their disposal, to block the resolution. … [They] tried to defeat it by offering and amendment, insisting on an amendment to it that would raise the question, the controversial question of Zionism or anti-Zionism … or anything that might stop or block the action that we were seeking.15
On stationary with the letterhead of the American Jewish Congress, Stephen Wise wrote to Secretary of the Interior, Harold L. Ickles on December 23, 1943:
I was very sorry to note, as were others among your friends, that you had accepted the Chairmanship of the Washington Division of the Committee to Rescue European Jews. … I do not like to speak ill of you, not of us, concerning a group of Jews, but I am under the inexorable necessity of saying to you that the time will come, and come soon, when you will find it necessary to withdraw from this irresponsible group, which exists and obtains funds through being permitted to use the names of non-Jews like yourself.
Nor was Bergson beyond the crosshairs of the American Zionists. Bergson received an offer from Congressman Samuel Dickstein (D-NY) to meet with him in his DC office where it turned out that several other US Congressmen had also assembled. He was told, as paraphrased by Bergson, that unless he ‘behaved”, “we will deport you. … One shouldn’t mistake democracy with lawlessness, and don’t feel that you can just come to this country without – on temporary visitor’s visa and do whatever you wish …”15
Despite the opposition of the American Zionist community, the bill passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously only to die in the entire Senate.
According to a State Department memorandum, Rabbi Stephen Wise had expressed to State Department John Pehle, that Wise “had gone so far as to inform Mr Pehle that he regarded Bergson as equally great an enemy of the Jews as Hitler, for reasons that his activities could only lead to increased anti-Semitism.”11
Reports of atrocities and mass murders in the Ukraine began arriving in the west in 1941. In January 1942, the Soviets issued a report of the working of the Einsatzgruppen, or the SS, and in May of that year, the Bund, the Jewish Workers Union of Poland and Russia, which was anti-Zionist, sent London a radio message that 700,000 people, most Jews, were exterminated in Poland. This message was repeated on the BBC two months later.
In April, even before the Bund broadcast, Moshe Shertok, later to become Israel’s second Prime Minister, wrote to British General and commander of the British Eight Army in North Africa:
The destruction of the Jewish race is a fundamental tenet of the Nazi doctrine. The authoritative reports recently published show that that policy is being carried out with a ruthlessness which defies description … An even swifter destruction, it must be feared, would overtake the Jews of Palestine.16
The focus here is on the hypothetical Nazi attack on Palestine, not on the slaughter actually taking place in Europe, but based, nonetheless, on Shertok’s understanding that such a slaughter was, in fact, taking place.
Despite the amply sufficient reports of massacres and exterminations, essentially nothing at all was done by the Zionist organizations, and reports of atrocities were consistently minimized.
Bernard Joseph (later Dov Yosef)
Dov Joseph, acting director of the Jewish Agency’s Political Department cautioned:
… against publishing data exaggerating the number of Jewish victim, for if we announce that millions of Jews have been slaughtered by the Nazis, we will justifiably be asked where the millions of Jews are, for whom we claim that we shall need to provide a home in Eretz Israel after the war ends.17
Yitzhak Gruenbaum, leader of the Jewish Agency’s Vaad Hazalah (Rescue Committee) who, in 1942 also believed the reports of atrocities taking place in Europe were exaggerated, offers a defense in his post war book, Bi-mei Hurban ve Sho’ah (In the Days of Holocaust and Destruction):
I want to destroy this assumption [that the Zionist leadership was to blame that it did not do everything possible to help the European Jews] in order to take out people from the occupied countries … it would be necessary for the neutral countries to provide refuge, that the warring nations open their gates to the refugees. …
How is it possible that in a meeting in Yerushalayim people will call: “If you don’t have enough money you should take it from Keren Hayesod [the Palestine Foundation Fund], you should take the money from the bank, there is money there.” I thought it obligatory to stand before this wave … .
And this time in Eretz Yisrael, there are comments: “Don’t put Eretz Yisrael in priority in this difficult time, in the time of destruction and European Jewry.’ I do not accept such sayings. And when some asked me: ‘Can’t you give money from the Keren Hayesod to save Jews in the Diaspora’? I said: no! And again I say no! … I think we have to stand before this wave that is putting Zionist activity into second row. … I think it necessary to say here Zionism is over everything… [Italics mine]
… [W]e must guard Zionism. There are those who feel that this should not be said at the time a Holocaust is occurring, but believe me, lately we see worrisome manifestations in this respect: Zionism is above all – it is necessary to sound this whenever a Holocaust diverts us from our war of liberation in Zionism. Our war of liberation does not arise from the fact of the Holocaust in a straight forward manner and does not interlock with actions for the benefit of the Diaspora … And we must guard – especially in these times – the supremacy of the war of redemption [Italics mine].18
The irony is overwhelming. Though the memory and imagery of the Holocaust is not far from the lips of every Israel leader, particularly the present one, and though this imagery is exploited for the sake of gaining tolerance and forbearance from the international community, as well as reparations which go well beyond actuarial merits, there was little serious concern on the part of organized Zionism for those facing extermination in Europe. Rather the Holocaust was regarded as a threat which had the potential of diverting energy and resources from the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine which was by far their highest priority.
The fact that the initiation of the Zionist project had nothing to do with the Holocaust, as it developed more than a half century earlier, and the fact of the mostly indifference to the slaughter of Jews on the part of the founders of Israel, together with its collaboration with the Nazi Party, undermines Israel’s projected, and exploited, image as innocent victim.
At the end of the war a document, dated 11 January 1941, produced by Avraham Stern, proposing a military alliance and an understanding between the Third Reich and the Zionists was found in the German embassy in Ankara. It had been presented to two German diplomats in Lebanon, under Vichy at that time. The document was entitled, “Proposal for the National Military Organization (Irgun Zvai Leumi) Concerning the Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe and the Participation of the NMO in the War on the side of Germany.” The NMO, later to adopt the name Lohamamei Herut Yisrael, or lehi for short, was universally known by its British designation as the Stern gang.
The document read:
The evacuation of the Jewish masses from Europe is a precondition for solving the Jewish question; but this can only be made possible and complete through the settlement of these masses in the home of the Jewish people, Palestine, and through the establishment of a Jewish state in its historical boundaries … The NMO, which is well acquainted with the goodwill of the German Reich government and its authorities towards Zionist activity inside Germany and towards Zionist emigration plans, is of the opinion that:
1. Common interests could exist between the establishment of a New Order in Europe in conformity with the German concept, and the true national aspirations of the Jewish people as they are embodied by the NMO.
2. Cooperation between the new Germany and a renewed volkish-national Hebrium would be possible; and,
3. The establishment of the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, and bound by a treaty with the German Reich, would be in the interest of a maintained and strengthened future German position of power in the Near East.
Proceeding from these considerations, the NMO in Palestine, under the condition the above-mentioned national aspirations of the Israeli freedom movement, are recognized on the side of the German Reich, offers to actively take part in the war on Germany’s side [italics mine].
This offer by the NMO … would be connected to the military training and organization of Jewish manpower in Europe, under the leadership and command of the NMO. These military units would take part in the fight to conquer Palestine, should such a front be decided upon.
The indirect participation of the Israeli freedom movement in the New Order in Europe, already in the preparatory stage, would be linked with a positive-radical solution of the European Jewish problem in conformity with the above-mentioned national aspirations of the Jewish people. This would extraordinarily strengthen the moral basis of the New Order in the eyes of all humanity.19
The Irgun, (the MNO) under Manachem Begin, and the Stern Gang, are sometime blamed, by mainstream Zionism, as being uniquely responsible for the more grotesque atrocities of Israel’s fight against both the Arabs and against the British in its quest for statehood; for example, the bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946, in which 96 mostly civilians were killed, and the massacre at Deir Yassin. In fact, both of these actions involved the coordination of these ‘dissident groups’ with the Haganah — the military under the direction of David Ben Gurion.
Yitzhak Yzernitsky — later to call himself Yitzhak Shamir,
Yitzhak Yzernitsky — later to call himself Yitzhak Shamir, and later to become Israeli Prime Minister, in fact, the longest serving Prime Minister of Israel except for David Ben Gurion — became the operations commander of the Stern Gang after Avraham Stern was killed by the British army in February of 1942. Under Shamir’s leadership, 14 assassinations were attempted of British officials with two successful ones, of Lord Moyne, the British Minister Resident in the Middle East, sitting in Cairo, and the UN Representative to Palestine, Count Folke Bernadotte, who received three bullets in the heart on the order of Stern’s operations commander and future Prime Minister – Yitzhak Shamir.
The Charter of the Stern Gang, or more accurately, the principles promulgated by Stern, included the establishment of a Jewish state “from the Nile to the Euphrates”, the ‘transfer of the Palestinian Arabs to regions outside of the Jewish state, and the building of the Third Temple in Jerusalem. It maintained offices outside of the Middle East – including Warsaw, Paris, London, and New York City, the latter headed by Benzion Netanyahu, the present Prime Minister’s father.
- Herzl, Theodore, The Jewish State, p 9, 2007, BN Publishing [?]
- Weizmann [?]
- Weizmann, Chaim, Trial and Error, pv90-91 [?]
- Frommer, Ben, The Significance of the Jewish State, Jewish Call, (Shanghai, 1935), p 10-11. [?]
- Agus, Jacob, The Meaning of Jewish History, vol II, p 435. [?]
- Edelheim-Muehsam, Margaret, Reactions of the Jewish Press to the Nazi Challenge, Leo Baeck Institute Year Book, vol V, (1960), p 312. [?]
- Rabbi Wise, The New Palestine (14 February 1934), p 5-7. [?]
- Eichmann, Adolf, “Eichmann Tells His Own Damning Story”, Life (28 Nov. 1960) p 22. [?]
- Polkehn, Klaus, “The Secret Contacts: Zionism and Nazi Germany 1933-41″, Journal of Palestine Studies (Spring 1976), p 337. [?]
- Hohne, Heinz, The Order of the Death’s Head, p 337. [?]
- Brenner, Lenni, Zionism in the Age of Dictators, Lawrence Hill, (1983). [?] [?]
- In Yisraeli, David, “The Third Reich and the Transfer Agreement,” Journal of Contemporary History, vol. VI (1971), P 131. [?] [?]
- Gelber, Yoav, “Zionism and the Fate of European Jewry (1939-42),” Yad Vashem Studies, vol. XII, p 171. [?]
- Brownfield, Peter Egill, “The Jewish Establishment’s Focus on Palestine: Did it Distract from Holocaust Efforts?” (Summer 2003). [?]
- Ibid. Also, Brenner Lenni, Zionism in the Age of Dictators. [?] [?] [?]
- Laqueur, “Jewish Denial and the Holocaust,” Commentary (December 1979, p 46. [?]
- Gelber, Zionist Policy and the Fate of European Jewry, p 195. [?]
- Gruenbaum, Yitzhak, Bi-Mei Hurban ve Sho’ah, p 62-70. [?]
- Brenner, op. cit., p 267. [?]
William James Martin has written many articles on the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Middle East. He can be reached at : email@example.com.
It didn’t surprise. Earlier she refused to dismiss aiding the enemy charges. She let multiple Espionage Act violations stand. She did so disgracefully. Manning faces possible life in prison.
We’ll know once sentence is imposed. We’ll know more if it holds on appeal. We know plenty now. Lind threw the book at Manning except entirely.
She exonerated him of aiding the enemy. She convicted him of 20 of 22 charges. They include five Espionage Act counts. Expect sentencing to be harsh. Manning faces longterm imprisonment. He may never be free again.
According to Brennan Center for Justice Liberty and National Security Program co-director Elizabeth Goitein:
“Manning is one of very few people ever charged under the Espionage Act (prosecuted) for leaks to the media. The only other person who was convicted after trial was pardoned.”
“Despite the lack of any evidence that he intended any harm to the United States, Manning faces decades in prison. That’s a very scary precedent.”
Lind is chief judge, 1st Judicial Circuit, US Army Trial Judiciary. She served in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps for 25 years.
Her service includes 4 years as a military judge in Europe, Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Washington, DC.
She’s Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University Assistant Professor of National Security Studies.
She’s chief counsel, US Army Government Appellate Division, general counsel, Fort Belvoir, VA.
She’s Army Joint Service Committee on Military Justice working group member.
She’s supervisory defense counsel, senior prosecutor, and special assistant US attorney. She’s a New York Bar member.
Ahead of her verdict, the Bradley Manning Support Network said the following:
“In an ominous sign for (judicial fairness), military judge Denise Lind altered important charges last week in order to assist prosecutors ahead of verdict.”
“In so doing, defense attorney David Coombs explained, ‘The Government has pushed this case beyond the bounds of legal propriety.’ ”
” ‘If the Government meant information, it should have charged information.’ ”
“Up until last week, Manning was charged with stealing entire databases. The Defense has no way to defend Manning against these new charges after the fact.”
“Army private Bradley Manning faces a potential life sentence for passing hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents to the transparency website WikiLeaks, to expose US criminality in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and further abuses around the world.”
“Never in the history of American military law has a person been charged with Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Law, ‘Aiding the Enemy,’ for providing information to the media in the public interest.”
“However, Manning faces life in prison tomorrow if convicted of this charge alone – despite all evidence to the contrary.”
” ‘I believed that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the informationâ¤|this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general,’ Manning said in a February statement.”
A sentencing hearing’s scheduled for Wednesday. Expect it unless postponed. It could last weeks. Each side plans calling numerous witnesses.
Obama pronounced Manning guilty by accusation. He did so before trial proceedings began. He acted callously and unconscionably. Media scoundrels piled on. They still do.
Lead prosecutor Capt. Ashden Fein called Manning an anarchist/hacker/traitor. He “knew exactly what he was doing,” he said. His actions represented “general evil intent.”
“He was not a whistleblower. He was a traitor, a traitor who understood the value of compromised information in the hands of the enemy and took deliberate steps to ensure that they, along with the world, received it.”
In February, Manning pled guilty to 10 lesser charges. They’re punishable up to 20 years in prison.
Aiding the enemy and other Espionage Act violations could put him away for life.
After sentencing, it’s reviewed. It’s Major General Jeffrey Buchanan’s responsibility. He heads Washington’s Military District.
He may or may not order leniency. It’s unlikely. Expect tokenism at best. Obama wants his head. So do media scoundrels.
No military or civil judge will countermand the president and commander-in-chief. None dares challenge court of public opinion sentiment.
If bad conduct discharge is ordered, a dishonorable one, or imprisonment for a year or more (on top of time served), further review is required.
It’s the Army Court of Criminal Appeals responsibility. It can go higher. The US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces is its highest judicial authority.
Manning can appeal to the Supreme Court. It’s nearly always unsympathetic. Petitions for hearings are summarily rejected. A one-sentence comment does so, saying: “Petition for writ of certiorari denied.”
On July 24, defense counsel Coombs petitioned for mistrial. He said in part:
“The Defense submits that the Government has made an utter mess of the section 641 offenses by pursuing one charge (that PFC Manning stole databases) and at the last minute pursuing a different charge (that PFC Manning stole information).”
“The Defense did not know that ‘database’ or ‘records’ meant ‘information’ and has suffered irreparable prejudice as a result.”
“Under RCM 915, a military judge may declare a mistrial when ‘manifestly necessary in the interest of justice because the circumstances arising during the proceedings which cast substantial doubt upon the fairness of the proceedings.’ ”
Prosecutorial charges against Manning reflect injustice. He exposed serious war crimes. He’s victimized for doing so. Claiming he aided the enemy flies in the face of reality.
According to Duke Law School Professor Scott Silliman:
“Most of the aiding-the-enemy charges historically have had to do with POWs who gave information to the Japanese during World War II, or to Chinese communists during Korea, or during the Vietnam War.”
According to visiting University of Pittsburgh Law Professor David Frakt:
Convicting Manning on this charge “would essentially create a new way of (doing so) in a very indirect fashion, even an unintended fashion.”
Prosecutors cited Union soldier Henry Vanderwater’s 1863 court martial. He was convicted of aiding the enemy. He gave an Alexandria, VA newspaper command roster information it published.
Coombs said Civil War-era cases involved coded messages. Advertisements disguised them. All modern cases involve military personnel giving aid and comfort to the enemy directly.
Convicting Manning sends a chilling message to whistleblowers. Do the right thing and be criminalized. Do it above and beyond the call and it’s longterm or life.
On July 28, the Bradley Manning Support Network discussed altering charges ”to assist Gov’t ahead of verdict.”
Coombs calls doing so “push(ing) this case beyond the bounds of legal propriety.”
Altering charges isn’t “semantic,” he said. “Legally, it’s substantially different than the original charges, and more to the point, it comes long after the government rested its case, precluding the defense from going back to question witnesses differently.”
It’s an unprecedented hostile act. No legitimate judge would allow it. Manning faces kangaroo court justice. Irreparable damage doesn’t matter.
Nor does rule of law compliance. Manning was pronounced guilty before proceedings began. Defense council’s blamed for prosecutorial misconduct.
Manning’s trial was a travesty of justice. Conviction came on the same day Washington first protected whistleblowers. Congressional members did so unanimously.
On July 30, 1778, the Continental Congress declared it the “duty of all persons in the service of the United States, as well as all other the inhabitants thereof, to give the earliest information to Congress or other proper authority of any misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors committed by an officers or persons in the service of these states, which may come to their knowledge.”
Crimes then paled by comparison to today’s. They continue daily. Congress supports them. It does so by funding illegal wars.
It permits torture and other forms of abuse. It’s silent about witch-hunt justice. It’s in bed with Wall Street, war profiteers, and other corporate crooks.
It supports America’s worst. It ignores persecution of its best. It’s guilty of crimes charged against others. It’s the best government money can buy.
Whistleblowers are heroes. They’re public enemy number one. Doing the right thing risks prison hell. It’s the American way.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
There was a time during the 30-month covert dirty war on Syria when the Western governments and mainstream media would make a clamor over reported massacres.
Why? Because it is increasingly clear that the groups committing these crimes against thousands of Syrian civilians are the foreign-backed mercenaries, whom the Western media and their governments have tried to lionize as “rebels” fighting for “democratic freedom”.
That charade is rapidly disintegrating, exposing not just criminal Western governments sponsoring the violence against civilians, but an entire media industry that is also guilty of war crimes through its willful complicity.
This is not mere hyperbole. To disseminate false information and lies about conflict – under the guise of independent news – is to be complicit in covering up war crimes. You can hardly get more serious misconduct than to tell lies about crimes against humanity.
These toxic lies and propaganda are now being exposed as the Western-backed plot to subvert the sovereign state of Syria unravels; this unraveling is accentuated by the West’s death squads becoming even more unhinged as they stare at looming defeat at the hands of the Syrian army.
The latest massacre occurred in the town of Khan al-Assal in the northern province of Aleppo. Some 150 people, mostly civilians, were reportedly slaughtered in cold blood. Many of the victims were shot in the head execution-style. The groups claiming responsibility are the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front and Ansar al Khalifa.
Reliable sources say that the killers tried to cover up their barbaric crimes by mutilating the corpses and burning the remains. Only days before this orgy of murder, the same groups are believed to have massacred at least seven civilians in the town of Maqbara in the province of Hasakah.
Elsewhere, as the Syrian national army makes searing advances against the militants, it is apparent from the identities of the dead that the majority of these fighters are foreigners, from Saudi Arabia, Libya, Jordan, Turkey, as well as from the US and Europe, including Britain, France and Germany.
Just last week, it was reported that Saudi Arabia bought $50 million-worth of heavy arms from Israel to supply this foreign network in its endeavor to terrorize the people of Syria into submission.
Already, the US, Britain and France have stumped up over $200 million which they claim is provided to “the Syrian opposition” in the form of “non-lethal aid”.
This is just cynical semantics to cover up the fact that the Western governments and their regional Turk, Arab and Israeli proxies are sponsoring genocide in Syria.
Over the weekend as the mass murders in Khan al-Assal and Maqbara emerged there was a telling silence in the Western media. A cursory glance at outlets such as New York Times, Washington Post, Voice of America, the Guardian, BBC, France 24, Deutsche Welle, Reuters, among others, showed no or negligible reports on the atrocities.
A notable exception was the London-based Financial Times, which headlined: “Syria opposition condemns rebel attack”. The FT tried to obfuscate the mass murder of civilians by claiming that “extremist rebels” had executed captured Syrian army soldiers and by giving prominence to condemnation of the “abuses” by the exile non-entity group, the Syrian National Coalition.
Similar Western silence followed another massacre last month in the village of Hatlah in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour. In mid-June, more than 60 mainly Shia inhabitants were slaughtered again by Western-backed foreign militants. Most of the victims were women and children. Syrian government appeals for international condemnation
at the United Nations were ignored.
Contrast this void in Western government and media reaction to earlier massacres. In May and June 2012, the Western media went viral with reports of mass killings in the villages of Houla and Qubair where some 108 and 78 inhabitants were murdered, many of them with throats slit. Immediately, the Western media then claimed or implied that the perpetrators were Syrian state forces and roundly condemned President Bashar al-Assad.
Back then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Assad of “ruling by murder and fear” and led the chorus of Western governments calling for Assad to step down.
It later transpired that the Houla and Qubair massacres were the work of the Western-backed foreign militants. But Western media did not follow-up with corrective reporting. This is the conduct of a propaganda ministry, not independent journalism.
The same propaganda formula of sensationalist headlines and innuendo, with minimal evidence, was repeated in subsequent massacres, such as in Tremseh in July 2012, or the bomb attack on Aleppo University in January this year in which more than 80 were killed. Also in that same month, more than 100 bodies were fished out of the Queiq River in the Bustan al-Qasr district of Aleppo – all of those victims with gunshot wounds to the head. Never mind that the district was under the control of foreign militants, the Western media continued their campaign of innuendo that it was the Syrian state forces that carried out the executions.
The Syrian government has consistently alleged that all these mass killings are the work of Western-backed militants. This sickening terrorist methodology concatenates with the Takfiri mentality of killing everyone who is deemed to be an infidel – Sunni, Shia, Alawite, Christian, non-believer alike, who does not subscribe to their fundamentalist twisted theology.
It is entirely in keeping that Western governments and Wahhabi Arab despots sponsor such groups given the long history of collusion between these protagonists, going back to the creation of al-Qaeda by Western military intelligence in Afghanistan during the 1980s to fight the then Soviet-backed government in Kabul.
The indiscriminate murder of civilians in wholesale massacres by Western-backed death squads operating in Syria to overthrow the Assad government is also consistent with the countless no-warning car bombs that have ripped through markets, streets, hospitals and schools all across Syria. Days before the latest slaughter in Khan al-Assal, a car bomb killed at least 10 in the Jaramana district of the capital, Damascus.
A few months earlier, another deadly bomb attack also targeted Jaramana, killing more than 30. The district is a mixed community of Muslim, Christian and Druze, which is largely supportive of the Assad government. As with the many other massacres in Syria, the aim is to terrorize the civilian population, to sow sectarianism and to coerce
the populace to relinquish support for the government.
As the foreign criminal conspiracy to force regime change in Syria flounders – with the turning point being the Syrian army victory in Qusayr early last month – the Western-sponsored terrorists are resorting to more and more desperate methods. This depravity was manifested yet again in the slaughter of civilians in Khan al-Assal and Maqbara. Tragically and despicably, we can expect more such atrocities in the coming weeks and months as the Western criminal conspiracy suffers more defeats.
But what is truly remarkable is how the Western governments and their propaganda machine, known euphemistically as the mainstream news media, are ignoring these latest massacres. That is because their vile game is up. They can no longer dissimulate on the reality of who is carrying out these massacres and how it is all part of a criminal genocidal campaign directed from Washington, London and Paris. That is why they are feigning to ignore such atrocities. To look into them honestly would uncover the ugly face of Western imperialism and the unconscionable role played all along by so-called Western news media.
Meanwhile, proper journalistic services like Press TV that are reporting the reality of what the Western governments are really doing in Syria via their death squads are being banned from satellite networks controlled by Western authorities.
Indeed, a very real extension of this censorship is how Press TV correspondent Maya Nasser was murdered last September by Western-backed death squads in Damascus for the very reason that he was helping to uncover the truth about what is being inflicted on Syria. Assassination is just an extreme act of censorship, as the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once noted.
Western government and media silence over the latest massacres in Syria is not just a matter of indifference or sloppy journalism. It is indicative of their complicity in the covert genocidal war on Syria.
Finian Cunningham, originally from Belfast, Ireland, was born in 1963. He is a prominent expert in international affairs. The author and media commentator was expelled from Bahrain in June 2011 for his critical journalism in which he highlighted human rights violations by the Western-backed regime. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For many years, he worked as an editor and writer in the mainstream news media, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. He is now based in East Africa where he is writing a book on Bahrain and the Arab Spring.He co-hosts a weekly current affairs programme, Sunday at 3pm GMT on Bandung Radio
Source: Press TV
How does one destroy an idea? Further, how does one destroy the truth? Corrupt governments have been struggling with this dilemma since men wore loincloths and worshiped fire. Fortunately for those of us in the “lower strata” of social organization, honorable ideas and indelible truths have a life of their own. Even when a culture as a whole remains oblivious and unguarded, the facts tend to rise to the surface one way or another. The reality which elitists at least partly understand, is that the truth cannot be destroyed, but it can be forgotten, at least for a time.
This is a never-ending process. New generations arise, greater awareness builds, old but astonishing concepts of freedom are rediscovered, and the machine must struggle once again to keep the cogs in line. The truth is a metaphysical force. When you do battle with the truth, you do battle with the universe, and the universe’s Kung Fu is superior to your Kung Fu.
Oligarchs and tyrants still attack the foundations of natural law and natural liberty by conning the public into believing that these inherent belief systems are “antiquated” or “passe”, but this strategy has a limited effect as long as strong freedom champions exist. Liberty based movements and organizations are often tenacious, intelligent, socially savvy, and much more willing to sacrifice themselves for their cause than the enemy is willing for his cause. The truth, when wielded by formidable warriors, rolls forward like an high velocity electric storm.
Because of this dynamic, criminal governments and their puppeteers have taken a simpler path, moving to cripple and defame the speakers of truth in a manner that they hope will stain and sully the truth itself.
In the past decade, the Liberty Movement has grown beyond all expectation. Millions of people have been jolted from their intellectual sleep to discover a nation and a world on the brink of economic, political, and moral collapse. They have seen beyond the veil. They have been disgusted. And now, they are preparing to fight back. Among those with open eyes are certain standouts; those individuals and groups who were railing against the establishment and its maniacal methods long before it was fashionable. These men and women are leaders, in the sense that they are teachers rather than managers. They do not control the movement, but they do INSPIRE the movement. It is the most dedicated and the most uplifting of activists that the system tends to target in order to demean the core strength of the overall movement and tarnish its reputation.
A recent and malicious example is the subversive electronic planting of false evidence in an attempt to connect organizations like Oath Keepers, We Are Change, and PANDA to illicit and illegal pornographic materials:
This is only one method of attack in the arsenal of slander and destabilization, and while the culprits behind the action are not yet known, the strategy is very similar to government run demonization campaigns of the past (just read up on the history of Cointelpro). The following is a list of tactics commonly used by governments to divide activist groups, reduce their momentum, or cripple their image in the public eye…
Low Hanging Fruit
A tactic used over and over again by federal agents is the “grooming” of unaware stooges, or people only loosely associated with a particular organization, otherwise known as “low hanging fruit”. This is done through carefully planned suggestive questions by undercover operatives. These questions will usually be designed to elicit an incriminating response, which is then used to arrest the activist and smear the organization he belongs to by association. For instance, if someone you have not known for very long (meaning less than several years) asked you:
“If the SHTF, what buildings would you blow up and how would you do it?”
“Which local cops do you think you would take out if you had to and how would you do it…?”
Then there is a good chance you are talking to a fed, or an informant with a wire. Charges are built using the concept of “conspiracy”, meaning, if they catch you on tape discussing anything that might be construed as committing a specific crime, you can be arrested and charged. This is exactly how the FBI pursued their case against Hutaree Militia members in 2010, which eventually fizzled. However, federal agencies have been very successful in many other incidences. Anyone participating in Liberty Movement activism should remain vigilant, and should never enter into hypothetical discussions of specific violent actions.
To stop good men from doing good things, you can kill them, but this is messy and creates many questions. If possible, it is better to simply damage their public image as “good men”. That is to say, if you make good men criminals in the eyes of the public, then no one will ask questions when you use force against them later. The sad reality is, many people WANT to believe the worst in others. Much of humanity is infected with apathy, compliance, and nihilism. They live empty lives pandering like beggars for scraps from a soulless system. They claim they want to believe in honor, courage, and clarity, but when confronted with a person who actually exhibits these qualities in abundance, they secretly feel ashamed of their own inadequacies.
A substantial part of our society revels in the snuffing of heroes, because they never want to admit how cowardly they personally are in comparison. The fall of a hero makes them feel better about themselves.
Defamation works because people assume in most cases that slander is true without evidence to support it. Depending on the nature of the supposed crime, the stain may never go away even after vindication in a court of law. If you want to poison the citizenry against a particular freedom group, why not create false accusations of thievery, rape, murder, terrorism, child pornography, etc. among its members?
Evidence planting is an old favorite of evil men, but in the digital age, such corruption has taken on more elaborate life. Computers are layered storage devices, and most computer users never deal with or touch a majority of these layers. As the Snowden/NSA scandal has now made abundantly clear, the government has the ability not to mention the legal framework to allow infiltration of your computer’s underlying structure. They can remove whatever information they wish, and, they can ADD whatever information they wish. A computer could be secretly laced with incriminating data without the user being aware.
Furthermore, arrested activists have no ability to monitor their home environment. Whatever is “found” within the home can immediately be used as evidence against the owner, even if the home has been placed out of the owner’s control. Law enforcement officials are not necessarily required to search a person’s home under owner supervision. Anything can be planted at anytime.
Make The Legal Appear Illegal
The following video was discovered within the DHS/FEMA HSEEP website archives. It portrays an imagined scenario using fictional news footage in which “militia members” are raided by federal officers under the guise of stopping terrorism:
Take note that the DHS lists semi-automatic firearms, ammo, night vision, and flak jackets as “contraband” in the video. These are all perfectly legal items today. Arrests of those within the liberty community are often accompanied by a display of stockpiled weapons, as if the stockpiling of firearms is illegal. Household chemicals, fertilizers, or reloading gunpowders are commonly presented to the public as “bomb making materials”.
During a crisis, prepping could easily be labeled “hording”, and those with the good sense to organize for their own survival might be treated as “selfish” or “treasonous” for refusing to surrender their stockpiles to emergency management bureaucrats to be parceled out as they see fit. In this way, the establishment uses the fears of the populace to open morally relative doors. That which was normal and legal before is made illegal without the law ever actually being changed.
Scatter Gun False Flags
Large scale complex false flag operations used to be a tried and true fallback for despotic regimes (I recommend deep study into the exposure of Operation Gladio for a greater understanding of how False Flags function). Lately, though, intricate false flags seem to be backfiring on the establishment. The Boston Marathon Bombing did produce an opportunity to test run large scale martial law tactics in a populated area not seen since Katrina, but the event was incredibly sloppy. Most Americans are at least partially suspicious of the nature of the attack and the government response, including the fact that the two main suspects were longtime FBI informants.
False flag events will certainly be used against the Liberty Movement, but I believe this will be done using multiple smaller scale attacks with less players involved, like a spray of shot from a scatter gun. The “crazed constitutionalist gun-nut” fantasy will be trotted out over and over again in random shootings, bombings, cop killings and so on. The media will make it seem as though stepping outside of your home is certain death by way of “right wing extremism”. Targets will be random and unassuming, giving rise to fears that anyone, no matter where they live, could be next.
Night Of Long Knives
Beyond the realm of defamation lay physical action. Every tyranny in history finalized authority using a “wiping of the slate”, as it were. Political opponents are swept away in the night, or killed in their beds in a meticulously organized and coordinated assault. This may seem like an outmoded style of government aggression, but it is still used today. Once again, the raids on members of the Hutaree Militia were handled exactly like a Night of Long Knives scenario, using multiple groups of officers in three separate states. Regardless of what you might think of the Hutaree, the point is that the establishment is training its law enforcement to use such tactics and use them in advanced ways.
Prominent Liberty Movement proponents should prepare for the worst, harden their homes, and build strong local community in case such an event arises. The process of “decapitating the leadership” of ideologically opposing organizations is a mainstay of oligarchy. In the U.S. today, the existence of the indefinite detention and rendition provisions of the NDAA and the “enemy combatant status” applied to classified White House assassination lists means this concern is not paranoia, but a cold hard reality of life for any American standing against the system.
Good Guys And Bad Guys
In order for any government or corporate aristocracy to take control of a culture, it must first assert itself as relevant. It must at least appear useful to the people, so that it can gain their support. As long as the state is viewed as the “bad guy” in the public mind, there can be no dominance. A new bad guy must be engineered, and who better to present as the great villain than your most effective political adversaries.
There will come a time in the near future when the demonization campaigns of the DHS or the SPLC today will seem like a cakewalk. Count on it. The best our movement can do for now is to expose each misstep of the establishment, and continue to weaken their position. Every time we call out a propaganda initiative, or derail it in advance of its inception, we reduce THEIR public image, and cement our own.
It’s a bit ironic, but usually what evil men want most is to be seen as saviors; as guardians and protectors. They want to be seen as benevolent knights in shining armor coming to rescue the poor oblivious multitudes. When any information war hits it’s climax, the goal of either side is to maintain the moral high ground. We already have it, and thus, they have to take it. How they will seek to do this is at once predictable, and horrifying.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
At first thought, the different philosophical positions of Emma Goldman and Ayn Rand seem to be well defined. Notwithstanding, the contrast between a propensity towards anarchism with an advocacy for laissez-faire capitalism, both Russian born “Khazar Jewish” theorists and activists shared a rejection of a theist metaphysics. When Emma Goldman states: (speaking from a Detroit pulpit in 1898, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, Women Without Superstition, p. 382), “I do not believe in God, because I believe in man. Whatever his mistakes, man has for thousands of years past been working to undo the botched job your God has made”, her mindset distinctly sets her apart from the main body of Western Civilization thought.
Published back in February 1916 in the Mother Earth journal, The Philosophy of Atheism by Emma Goldman; her core cosmology cannot be clearer.
“Only after the triumph of the Atheistic philosophy in the minds and hearts of man will freedom and beauty be realized. Beauty as a gift from heaven has proved useless. It will, however, become the essence and impetus of life when man learns to see in the earth the only heaven fit for man. Atheism is already helping to free man from his dependence upon punishment and reward as the heavenly bargain- counter for the poor in spirit.
Do not all theists insist that there can be no morality, no justice, honesty or fidelity without the belief in a Divine Power? Based upon fear and hope, such morality has always been a vile product, imbued partiy with self-righteousness, partly with hypocrisy. As to truth, justice, and fidelity, who have been their brave exponents and daring proclaimers? Nearly always the godless ones: the Atheists; they lived, fought, and died for them. They knew that justice, truth, and fidelity are not, conditioned in heaven, but that they are related to and interwoven with the tremendous changes going on in the social and material life of the human race; not fixed and eternal, but fluctuating, even as life itself. To what heights the philosophy of Atheism may yet attain, no one can prophesy. But this much can already be predicted: only by its regenerating fire will human relations be purged from the horrors of the past.”
In a famous Playboy magazine interview, Ayn Rand, while rejecting a faith-based religion, is more deferential toward the chronicle of basing a moral society on ethical standards.
Playboy: Has no religion, in your estimation, ever offered anything of constructive value to human life?
Ayn Rand: Qua religion, no – in the sense of blind belief, belief unsupported by, or contrary to, the facts of reality and the conclusions of reason. Faith, as such, is extremely detrimental to human life: it is the negation of reason. But you must remember that religion is an early form of philosophy, that the first attempts to explain the universe, to give a coherent frame of reference to man’s life and a code of moral values, were made by religion, before men graduated or developed enough to have philosophy. And, as philosophies, some religions have very valuable moral points. They may have a good influence or proper principles to inculcate, but in a very contradictory context and, on a very – how should I say it? – dangerous or malevolent base: on the ground of faith.
A concise and insightful comparison is cited from the abstract, Models of individuality in Emma Goldman’s and Ayn Rand’s theories of civil society, by Janet Elizabeth Day of Purdue University.
“This research examines different conceptions of the individual of two theorists representing different strains of libertarian thought: Emma Goldman, and Ayn Rand. The unifying and central concern for both women is the prioritization of the individual. Owing to some extent to their shared cultural heritage and intellectual influence as Russian Jewish émigrés, similarities can be identified between Goldman’s and Rand’s definition of the individual and belief that society should be organized so as to afford the individual the greatest possible freedom and autonomy; however, real and substantive distinctions exist as well. Goldman advocates a society based on free communism in which people organize according to the free association of federations. Rand advocates a society based on laissez-faire capitalism in which a limited constitutional government enforces contracts between individuals. What unites their theories is their reliance on ethical egoism as a means to producing self-directed individuals who are best prepared to live in a free society as productive members.”
What better example of the notion of ethical egoism is there, than the popular attitude associated with Secularism, Post-Secularism, Religion and the ‘Open Society’. In this paper by Reinhard Schulze, he quotes Charles Taylor accordingly.
“I want to argue that we are moving toward a sort of “fragmentation” of the spiritual, in which its previous connection with whole societies, be this in the older medieval form of sacred monarchies or in the modern form of “civil religion”, is being strained to breaking point. We are entering a ‘post-Durkheimian’ age [a situation in which faith is not connected, or only weakly connected, to a national political identity]. We end up living in what I want to call an ‘immanent frame.’”
Both Goldman and Rand would seem to be more comfortable with a humankind centric society that dismisses trust in the promise of an afterlife and shape standards for ethical conduct, grounded upon the wisdom of the ages. If Taylor is correct that the national political identity is now based upon some kind of an elusive immanent frame, just what is the role of the prevailing secular humanism ethos system?
The Council for Secular Humanism offers the following outline to the question, What Is Secular Humanism?
Secular Humanism is a term, which has come into use in the last thirty years to describe a world-view with the following elements and principles:
• A conviction that dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, must be weighed and tested by each individual and not simply accepted on faith.
• to the use of critical reason, factual evidence, and scientific methods of inquiry, rather than faith and mysticism, in seeking solutions to human problems and answers to important human questions.
• A primary concern with fulfillment, growth, and creativity for both the individual and humankind in general.
• A constant search for objective truth, with the understanding that new knowledge and experience constantly alter our imperfect perception of it.
• A concern for this life and a commitment to making it meaningful through better understanding of ourselves, our history, our intellectual and artistic achievements, and the outlooks of those who differ from us.
• A search for viable individual, social and political principles of ethical conduct, judging them on their ability to enhance human well-being and individual responsibility.
• A conviction that with reason, an open marketplace of ideas, good will, and tolerance, progress can be made in building a better world for ourselves and our children.
Secular Humanists often argue that religion is not necessary for people to be altruistic, while Objectivists reject altruism outright and most Marxist Collectivists share Goldman’s stance, base upon a system on atheistic gratification and The Failure of Christianity,
“How much more ennobling, how much more beneficial is the extreme individualism of Stirner and Nietzsche than the sick-room atmosphere of the Christian faith. If they repudiate altruism as an evil, it is because of the example contained in Christianity, which set a premium on parasitism and inertia, gave birth to all manner of social disorders that are to be cured with the preachment of love and sympathy.”
Religionists often criticize secular humanism for not offering any eternal truths, while Objectivists tend to regard the laws by which the free market operates to be eternal truths. Goldman purports that, “All progress has been essentially an unmasking of “divinity” and “mystery,” of alleged sacred, eternal “truth”; it has been a gradual elimination of the abstract and the substitution in its place of the real, the concrete.”
The most striking difference is that Secular Humanism insists that personal liberty must be combined with social responsibility, whereas Objectivism actively rejects social responsibility in favor of individual self-interest, while Goldman the Anarchist states: “People have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want and the courage to take.”
Whether Charles Taylor’s immanent frame is real or not, the fact is that the secular doctrine that fills the couches of mindless electronic self-delusion, keep the aisles empty in the humanism churches that lost sight of the essence of eternal truths. Both Goldman and Rand reject the validity of mystic revelation and the immorality of the spiritual soul.
If the history of civilized society founded upon institutional religion, is replete with suffering and carnage; by what strange twist of belief in the ethical egoism of Goldman’s nihilist collectivism and Rand’s objectivism, could possibly make life better?
Individuals like Goldman and Rand are lost. They are solitary purdah pretentious intellectuals without the presence of God in their life. The screen curtain they erect around their egotism is a veritable veil surrounding their own lack of humanity.
At some point, one has to wonder why America’s churches are the largest block of irrelevant, impotent, and insignificant institutions in the entire country. And make no mistake about it: when it comes to influencing societal conditions, culture, and the political philosophy of the nation, for all intents and purposes, they ARE irrelevant, impotent, and insignificant.
Think about it: according to the latest available statistics, over 75% of America’s adults classify themselves as Christians. That’s over 159 million people. Over 43% of America’s adults attend the more than 300,000 churches regularly. That’s over 90 million people. Yes, both of these statistics are WAY DOWN from just a few years ago, but those statistics still represent a HUGE block of the American population. So why do these Christians and churches have so very little influence in America’s society, culture, and politics? Asking it bluntly, why is America going to hell in a handbasket with all of these churches dotting the landscape?
There is no mistaking the fact that from before the American Revolution, after the American Revolution, throughout the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries, and through the first half of the Twentieth Century, the American Church was a major voice and influence in virtually every facet and sphere of American society. However, with the exception of a temporary resurgence in the 1980s, the influence of the Church in the last half of the Twentieth Century and continuing now into the Twenty First Century is nada. Zilch.
For all intents and purposes, the activist arm of conservative churches, the Religious Right, Christian Coalition, Moral Majority, call it what you will, is clinically dead. It is not comatose; it is dead. When it comes to influencing the culture and politics of the nation, the modern Church is dead. Pastors are dead. Denominations are dead. Christian schools and universities are dead.
Think of it: 159 million Christians, 90 million churchgoers, and 300,000 churches cannot effectively influence even the smallest change of direction in America’s society, culture, and political philosophy. America is in a societal, economic, and political tailspin, and the Church sits irrelevant and impotent. And don’t forget: we are not talking about an enslaved, oppressed country such as communist China where millions of Christians are forced at gunpoint to submit to the machinations of the state.
While it is true that the underground church in China (the REAL church in China) is seeing great growth, without a revolution such as America experienced in the late 1700s, Chinese Christians will never be able to effect societal and political change in that country. And, of course, the communist government in China has all but guaranteed that such a revolution will not take place by completely disarming the citizenry.
In America, we are talking about a nation in which citizens (including Christians) are able to lobby, redress government, protest, rally, organize opposition, speak, vote, form PACs, march, petition, etc. Christians are as free to influence their societies and governments as are any other group of people in the United States. Furthermore, name the other group in this country that can boast 75% of the population who identify with it in name or 43% of the population who regularly attend its public meetings? What would the country look like if the ACLU could boast these numbers? Or the SPLC? Or labor unions?
Labor unions comprise only 11% of the adult workforce. The ACLU membership is reported to be about 500,000. And, of course, the people who belong to the SPLC could fit in a phone booth. By comparison, these groups comprise a miniscule percentage of the population as opposed to America’s churches, yet their influence is exponentially greater. So, what has happened?
The great Nineteenth Century revivalist and major contributor to America’s Second Great Awakening, Charles Finney, said this: “Christians must vote for honest men and take consistent ground in politics. God cannot sustain this free and blessed country, which we love and pray for, unless the Church will take right ground. Politics are a part of a religion in such a country as this, and Christians (and citizens) must do their duty to the country as a part of their duty to God. It seems sometimes as if the foundations of the nation are becoming rotten, and Christians seem to act as if they think God does not see what they do in politics.”
Finney also said, “If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discernment, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in Christianity, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it.”
It is no hyperbole to say that, on the whole, the American Church has been mostly ineffective since immediately after World War II. The Church sat mute when God was expelled from America’s public life in the 1960s. It sat mute when the government gave license to the premeditated murder of preborn babies in the 1970s. And today it continues to sit mute in the face of a burgeoning police state. There seems to be virtually no abridgment of liberty, no national scandal, or no threat against our constitutional form of government egregious enough to warrant an outcry from America’s pastors and churches.
For the most part, today’s pastors are not prophets and watchmen; they are cheerleaders and CEOs. Our churches are not “the pillar and ground of the truth” (I Timothy 3:15 KJV); they are centers of social interaction, recreation, and feel-good indoctrination. Preachers are not reprovers, rebukers, and exhorters (II Timothy 4:2); they are ear-ticklers, entertainers, and expositors of irrelevance.
Let me ask you: what good does it do to teach the stories of Daniel and the lions’ den, and the three Hebrew children in the burning fiery furnace, and Esther, and John the Baptist, and Elijah, and Simon Peter saying, “We must obey God rather than men,” and Samson, and Gideon, etc., ad infinitum, if you are not going to apply those stories to the practical, day-to-day events we are experiencing now? What good does it do to preach expository messages on the Bible if one does not make those messages relevant to the times and circumstances in which we live? Yet, ear-tickling, entertainment, and irrelevant exposition seem to be what the modern church in America excels in. The result: ineffective, impotent, weak, unprepared, and sheepish Christians.
Yes, I know there are many churches and Christian ministries that are doing admirable work. We need homeless shelters, food banks, pregnancy resource centers, addiction ministries, etc. We most definitely need pastors and churches to preach the Gospel of Christ. We need missionary outreach. But we also need pastors and churches to teach the Biblical Natural Law principles of liberty and to prepare their congregations to guard and defend our freedom.
I tell you the truth: Christians in persecuted lands are not enamored with entertainment, recreation, and irrelevant Bible exposition. You don’t have to bring in some big-name rock band to entice them to fellowship. You don’t have to give their teenagers a big gymnasium. You don’t have to give their young adults coffee shops and espresso machines. You don’t have to shy away from criticisms of tyrannical government. And you certainly are not going to score any points with your fallacious “obey-the-government-no-
The time is soon coming in this country when it is going to “rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45 KJV) Mark it down, Christian: when persecution and tribulation comes to America (and it has already begun), you and your family will NOT be exempt. When a jetliner falls out of the sky, everyone in it (Christian or not) goes down with the plane. And when a nation falls, everyone in it (Christian or not) goes down with the country.
The church was not created to teach Christian sugars how to recreate on a playground, but to teach Christian soldiers how to fight on a battlefield.
So many of our Christian brothers and sisters seem to be literally enslaved or addicted to some form of church formality. They need a certain music fix, or entertainment fix, or teaching fix, or liturgical fix, or a hundred other fixes. They demand a certain delivery, a certain style, or a certain personality. They intend to do nothing with what they hear, but it makes them feel good hearing it. The carnality, rancor, envy, and meanness inside the church is equal to, or superior to, that which is outside the church. Many Christian businessmen are just as greedy, just as dishonest, and just as duplicitous as businessmen professing no faith. Many deacons and church officers are just as untruthful and cowardly as anyone in the outside world.
What have all of these Sunday School lessons done for us? What have all of these pacifist expositional messages done for us? What have all of these gymnasiums, youth programs, self-esteem classes, and counseling centers done for us? Pastors and churches have been teaching all forms of Bible prophecy for decades. Generations of Christians have come and gone arguing over the nuances of Eschatology. What good has it done us? While we have been playing, partying, prancing, promoting, pouting, pontificating, patronizing, and philosophizing, a fire has been burning the foundations of our country; and we have not lifted a pail of water to help extinguish the inferno.
Truly did the Lord Jesus say, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” (Matthew 5:13 KJV)
The word “savour” here means “saltiness.” Salt is a preservative that retards decay and ruination. God has sprinkled “salt” in the form of Christian people all over the country. We are here to be a preservative and protection against rot and ruin. But when Christians lose their saltiness, Jesus said, they are “good for nothing” and are destined to be “trodden under foot of men.” That is a word description of tyranny and oppression. Can anyone say Jackboot?
Unfortunately, many pastors and churches today are “good for nothing.” They have lost their saltiness; they no longer preserve and protect. And, ladies and gentlemen, the Jackboots have gotten out the shoe polish as we speak.
It doesn’t matter that America has 300,000 churches, 90 million people attending those churches, and 159 million people calling themselves Christians unless those churches and Christians are actively and tenaciously preserving and protecting the foundations and pillars upon which both the church and the country are built.
As God pruned Gideon’s army down from 32,000 to 300, so, too, God may need to prune the Church in America. Let the majority of churches rot on the vine; let them intoxicate themselves on the opiate of entertainment and feelgoodism; let the hirelings in the pulpit lust after ease and social acceptance; let the willfully blind bask in their ignorance; and let the sheepish servants in the sanctuary lick the hands of their oppressors.
Those who choose to fight with Gideon’s army, leave these fancy churches, which are nothing more than ornate tombs, and run to the sound of battle! Gideon’s captains are strategically placed all around the mountains. Join them! God has never needed a majority to prevail; He never will.
The great Christian patriot and “Father of the American Revolution,” Sam Adams, said, “It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in the people’s minds.”
Let the majority of churches be irrelevant, impotent, and insignificant. Even now, God is raising up unconventional fellowships. A fire for liberty churches is ablaze in the hearts of millions of Americans. The establishment churches are dead; shake off the dust of your feet and move on. Already, we have over 700 patriot pastors and churches that appear on our Black Regiment web page. There may be one near you.
See the list of patriot pastors and churches here:
If you can’t find a patriot pastor near you, consider watching our service live at Liberty Fellowship each Sunday afternoon at approximately 2:30pm Mountain Time. Watch us here:
If you cannot watch the service live, you can watch my archived messages at:
A majority of pastors, churches, and Christians may be irrelevant, impotent, and insignificant; but you and I don’t have to be. Already, God is resurrecting Gideon’s army. Will you join us?
Almost two months have passed since the death of Giulio Andreotti, arguably the most powerful politician in Italy’s post-World War II history. In recent weeks I have struggled with a draft obituary of this complex man who deserves to be better known abroad, but the task proved daunting. There are too many loose ends, strange events, and unexplained mysteries in Andreotti’s long life that require detailed expert knowledge of the setting and dramatis personae, harking all the way back to the Fascist era; so I’ve asked Slobodan Janković, a research fellow at Belgrade’s Institute of International Politics and Economy, an alumnus of Rome’s La Sapienza and a leading expert on Italian politics, to help me tell the story.
That story needs to start with Italy’s current predicament. Since April 28 the country has had a new government, headed by “a new Mario Monti,” Enrico Letta (46). This man, oddly charmless for an Italian, is a fanatical Eurocrat, a participant in the deliberations of the Trilateral Commission, an associate of the Bilderberg Group, and vise-president of the Aspen Institute in Italy; in other words, a member of the globalist elite par excellence. As a prominent leader of Italy’s “center-left,” in 2006-2007 he was Secretary to the Council of Ministers in the second Prodi Cabinet. (Interestingly, he was preceded and succeeded in that post by his uncle Gianni Letta, a stalwart Berlusconi loyalist.)
Having started his political career in 1990 in the youth organization of the Italian Christian Democrats, Enrico Letta quickly rose to the presidency of the youth division of the European People’s Party (EPP), a conservative bloc in the European Parliament. By the mid-1990’s, however, he moved to the Partito Popolare Italiano, which marked his decisive turn to the left following the collapse of Christian Democracy (DC). At 31 he became the PPI’s deputy leader. Within years he joined a motley crew of ex-communists and leftists to form the Ulivo (olive tree) party, on whose list he was elected first to the European Parliament and then to the Italian parliament, before rising to the senior government post under Prodi. In 2007, Ulivo joined the former communists to form the Democratic Party (PD). Once again, Letta was in the middle of the action, as Der Spiegel’s commentator has noted; but when he set out to become party leader, he was badly beaten: “When it came time to tally the ballots—which were filled out not only by party members but by all interested citizens—he ended up with just 11 percent, putting him in third and last place. His victorious rival Walter Veltroni received about 75 percent of the vote. By the time he was nominated … for Rome’s top political office, he had more or less put his career in party politics behind him.”
Letta’s career indicates the extent to which Italy is ruled by men who are devoid of popular support, whose sole ideology is power, and who are servile to supranational interest groups in order to enjoy the privileges that come with such servility. As Slobodan Janković says, how else can we explain the fact that Emma Bonino was first considered for the post of the President of Italy, and then on April 28 was appointed the country’s foreign minister, in spite of her crushing defeat in the general election of February 24-25, when her list received one-fifth of one percent (0.20%) of the popular vote? How can someone so odious to Italy’s voters be in the race for presidency, and then receive a key cabinet post? “Maybe for that very reason,” according to Janković. “Perhaps this was the way to give yet another European nation a slap in the face, to tell that nation that such choices are not made by her people but by someone else.” Bonino’s appointment was suggested by another protégé of the transnational elite, former prime minister Mario Monti.
This was a strange choice, coming from the man who last February headed an electoral list that included the remnant of the Christian Democratic remnant. “Bonino is a prominent hater of life,” Janković points out. “She was Italy’s leading advocate of free abortion on demand in the 1970’s, ostentatiously taking part in illegal abortions well before the procedure was made lawful in 1978, and gloating that she’d have a good laugh while throwing fetuses into trash.” Bonino was arrested once, having been caught red handed while performing ‘vacuumization’ with a bicycle pump, but was let off scot free. She went into politics instead of going to jail, making a name for herself as an advocate of “LGBT rights,” euthanasia, and legalization of hard drugs. Far from being “a radical rebel,” Bonino soon became a participant in the Bilderberg Group meetings, a friend of George Soros, and the recipient of his Open Society Foundation’s annual award for 2004. Bonino’s career is but one of countless examples of Italy’s multifaceted decline, Janković says:
“If the process of Italy’s transformation from a traditional Roman Catholic country into the current spiritually and materially devastated land is to be linked to a single name, that name is Giulio Andreotti . . . The life-long Senator died last May 6, and took many secrets to the grave. For decades he was the éminence grise of Italian politics, helping make it what it is today. On top of that, there is ample evidence that for much of his political career Andreotti was the true capo di tutti capi.“
The extent of Andreotti’s power is incomprehensible without some grasp of the remarkable influence of Freemasonry, first on the Risorgimento, and later on the political, economic and social life of modern Italy. Giuseppe Mazzini, the founder of Young Italy and the prophet of Risorgimento, became a mason as a student and died a 33rd degree master. An early advocate of the United States of Europe, in 1831 Mazzini joined the Carbonari, a secret society dedicated to Italy’s unification, which was strongly anti-Catholic and organized in the fashion of Masonic lodges. His vision of a future united Italy was reflected in the crude mockery of Christian rites he staged at the Vatican on Easter Sunday 1849.
Giuseppe Garibaldi was the best known grand master of the Grand Orient of Italy, receiving the highest, 33rd degree of initiation in 1864. His landing in Messina, and his subsequent conquest of Sicily and the South, would not have been possible without the help of local British masons among the merchant expatriate community, and the support from The Royal Navy. The capture of Rome in 1870 was the moment of triumph of Freemasonry over the Catholic Church. The pope was confined to the walls of the Vatican, and the new Kingdom became part-Masonic El Dorado, part-Tammany Hall.
The Vatican’s reconciliation with the Italian state became possible only after 1925, when Mussolini simultaneously and successfully clamped down on rural banditry in the South and outlawed Freemasonry. The latter paved the way for the Concordat of 1929. As Janković points out, at the time of the Concordat for the first time since the fall of the Western Roman Empire Italy had a strong central power—but Italian Freemason émigrés did not give up: “In the 1930’s they regrouped in exile. One of their leaders, Randolfo Pacciardi (a 30th degree initiate) went to Spain in 1937 to lead the Italian battalion Garibaldi, an important unit within the notorious International Brigades which fought Franco’s forces.”
After the Spanish Civil War Pacciardi repeatedly visited the United States. After 1945 he was a prominent member of four successive Italian governments, most of that time as defense minister (1948-1953). In that capacity he arranged Italy’s entry into NATO, campaigned against monarchy, and enthusiastically supported the country’s accession to the European Coal and Steel Community. In these endeavors he worked closely with two fellow Masons who spent the war years in the United States, foreign minister Carlo Sforza and Italy’s first postwar ambassador in Washington Alberto Tarchiani.
“It is widely assumed that the Allied landing in Sicily was carried out in coordination with the Mafia.” Janković says, “It defies logic that an organization thoroughly suppressed by Mussolini could play a significant role, yet it did because the Americans wanted it that way.” Had Biaggio Max Corvo had his way, Janković adds, this would not have happened. Born in Sicily but raised in the United States since the age of 8, Corvo volunteered for the U.S Army in 1941 and on his own initiative drew up plans for operations against Mussolini. His work impressed senior officers, and he was soon transferred to the Italian Secret Intelligence branch of the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA. A devout Catholic and a life-long antifascist, in addition to rejecting contacts with the Mafia, Corvo was also opposed to cooperation with the Masonic Mazziniani—the approach favored by the British—or with the Communist-dominated resistance forces. He established links with the Catholic secret group Pro Deo (founded in Portugal in 1941) instead, and maintained friendly relations with Don Luigi Sturzo, the 1919 founder of the Italian People’s Party (Partito Popolare Italiano, PPI), who spent the war in exile in the U.S. Through his Vatican connections Corvo even managed to contact Japanese diplomats who had realized that their country was doomed and wanted to establish channels of communication with the U.S.; but in early 1945 Washington severed the link. According to Janković,
“Young Corvo was rewarded for his work with the papal Lateran Cross, but he had powerful enemies on both sides of the Atlantic. The British preempted his efforts to save Mussolini’s life in April 1945 and to obtain the trove of documents the fallen dictator was carrying on his person during that doomed trip north. Yes, the story of the British-American rivalry in Italy in the final days of the Second World War is yet to be told. In the United States Corvo’s enemies included Allen Dulles, James Jesus Angleton, and the Office of Naval Intelligence, which unabashedly cultivated the Mafia connection. In 1943 the ONI released 850 Mafia members imprisoned by Mussolini in Palermo, and subsequently relied on the advice of Lucky Luciano and Calogero Vizzini in political and personnel matters.”
Other trusties, who became uomini d’onore after the war, included personal translator to Col. Charles Poletti, the 46th governor of New York and the U.S. Army civil affairs officer in Italy. This was none other than “don” Vito Genovese, who had fled New York in the 1930s to escape prosecution for murder and subsequently became il capo di tuti capi. Another was Max Mugniano, who was placed in charge of all U.S. Army medical warehouses in Italy at a time when penicillin was worth many times its weight in gold (as per The Third Man), and who subsequently became Luciano’s superintendant of the narcotics trade.
The Mafia was backin action, after two lean decades under Mussolini. In Italy’s 1947 Peace Treaty with the Allies, a short but highly significant provision—Article 16—was inserted almost as an afterthought: “Italy shall not prosecute or molest Italian nationals, including members of the armed forces, solely on the ground that during the period from June 10, 1940, to the coming into force of the present Treaty, they expressed sympathy with or took action in support of the cause of the Allied and Associated Powers.” Of course “including members of the armed forces” was just a smokescreen. The real benefactors were the “sympathizers” and “activists” in the Allied cause, like Genovese, Mugniano, their 850 cohorts from the Palermo jail, and many other persons south of Naples, known and unknown. The Italian authorities were prevented from seeing, let alone vetting, the names of those “Italian nationals” protected by the Treaty.
After Mussolini’s murder, which was carried out by communists but arranged by the British, power was taken by an uneasy alliance of Christian Democrats and Freemasons—the latter group including Pacciardi, the International Brigades commander who duly became a born-again anticommunist. The party’s leader was Alcide De Gasperi, one of the founders of what is today the European Union. A veteran leader of the Popular Party after the Great War, persecuted by the fascist regime, De Gasperi recruited a student by the name of Giulio Andreotti into the ranks of the semi-clandestine Italian Catholic Federation of University Students (Federazione Universitaria Cattolica Italiana, FUCI) in 1941. According to Andreotti’s account, they met by chance in the Vatican Library, where De Gasperi worked at the time, and Andreotti was looking for some books. The Federation’s president was Aldo Moro, a young lecturer in law and devout Catholic from Apulia. When Moro was drafted into the Italian army in 1942, Cardinal Cesare Montini—who was to become pope Paul VI—supported De Gasperi’s suggestion that Andreotti be appointed to the newly vacant post.
In the turbulent months of 1945 De Gasperi appointed Andreotti to the provisional National Advisory Council, the precursor of Italy’s republican parliament. In 1947, at the age of 28, Andreotti became a junior minister in the prime minister’s office. In that position he had more real power and patronage than some cabinet members. “It caused envy in other politicians,” he later remembered, which caused them to wonder about the source of his power. Even as a young man, he struck others as cynical and devoid of passion. His un-Italian disdain of grimaces and gestures helped cultivate the image of focused power. His sardonic quips could be viciously funny, mostly at other people’s expense. Aloof and secretive, he was disliked by his peers but respected by the senior party leaders as a hard worker. He was elected to the Constitutional Assembly in 1947 and remained a member of parliament for 66 years; he died as a senator-for-life. Andreotti stayed as De Gasperi’s undersecretary in several successive governments (1947-1954), when at the age of 34 he became minister of the interior. In the ensuing decades he occupied one ministerial post or another 27 times, eight times as minister of defense. He was Italy’s prime minister an unprecedented seven times, known as divo Giulio to friends and enemies alike—not because he was touched by divine grace, but because he was inordinately powerful. As Andreotti acquired reputation for sinister dealings, his foes dubbed him Beelzebub. “Giulio is so capable in everything,” De Gasperi said in the late 1940’s, “that he could become capable of anything.” Many decades later Margaret Thatcher wrote in her memoirs that Andreotti “seemed to have a positive aversion to principle.”
Aldo Moro was a different type of person: deeply but unostentatiously pious, witty, scholarly. He survived the war and returned to politics, while initially maintaining a teaching position at the University of Bari. (Andreotti, by contrast, had no fall-back professional option: all his life he was a full-time politician.) Moro also was destined to occupy influential posts in the years to come. He, too, was a deputy of the constituent assembly and a lawmaker until his early death. He became head of the Christian Democrat parliamentary group in 1953, DC party secretary (1959-1964), and president from July 1976 until his murder in 1978. He was Italy’s prime minister five times. “The two men came to embody two faces of Italy’s Christian Democracy,” Janković says, “as well as Italy’s two divergent post-war paths”:
“Moro was a statesman and a patriot. In the 1950’s he put together a team of men focused on Italy’s development, on her industrialization and technological advance, and who were committed to enhancing her weight and reputation in international affairs. Moro was also a Catholic traditionalist—a political moderate and economic reformer, but culturally a conservative. Andreotti was opposed to Moro’s strategy of state-guided economic recovery, favoring foreign private investors instead. He was an economic ‘neoliberal’ in the 1950’s-60’s meaning of the term. He also opposed the 1962 Christian Democratic-Socialist (DC-PSI) coalition, which gave Italy over a decade of relative stability and unprecedented prosperity.”
Moro’s policy of creating large public enterprises, especially in the energy sector, was the foundation of Italy’s economic miracle. The banks were encouraged to provide easy credit to domestic investors, with the central bank (Banca d’Italia) playing an active role. Between 1951 and 1972 Italy’s average growth rate was 5.3 percent, slightly below that in Germany (5.7 percent) but well above that in Britain and the United States. The DC-PSI coalition reformed the dysfunctional taxation system, secured years of industrial peace through long-term agreements with the unions, and put Italy on the map as a global economic player.
By the early 1960′s Andreotti emerged as the informal leader of opposition to Moro’s strategy on the Christian Democratic “right.” Heavily Masonic in composition, Andreotti’s wing of the party included individuals connected with large multinational corporations, especially in the energy sector. There is strong evidence that some of these people were involved in the murder of Enrico Mattei in 1962. A Catholic resistance veteran, in 1945 Mattei was put in charge of dismantling the state petroleum company Agip (Azienda Generale Italiana Petroli), founded by the Fascist regime in 1926. He changed his mind about the project, however, when he realized that several U.S. oil companies were eagerly waiting to grab Agip’s assets for a song. Mattei reorganized the company into the National Fuel Trust (Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi, ENI) instead. Under his direction ENI negotiated key oil concessions in the Middle East and a drilling agreement with the Soviet Union, all of which helped break the previous stranglehold of the “Seven Sisters” (a term he coined to refer to the dominant oil companies) on the oil industry. To the multinationals’ horror, Mattei also inaugurated the ENI rule that any country in which it operated would receive 75 percent of the profits. This secured important concessions in Iran and North Africa. By the late 1950’s ENI was competing with giants like Esso andShell. In 1960, after concluding the agreement with the Soviet Union and while negotiating with China, Mattei publicly declared that the American oil monopoly was over.
On October 27, 1962 on a flight from Catania to Milan, Mattei’s executive jet crashed and all three men on board were killed: Mattei, his pilot, and an American journalist. The official inquiry—personally overseen by Giulio Andreotti, Italy’s defense minister at the time—declared it “an accident.” It is now known that crucial evidence was immediately destroyed at the crash site, and all flight instruments were dissolved in acid. In October 1995, the exhumation of Mattei’s remains resulted in the discovery of metal debris fragments—indicative of an explosion—embedded deep in his bones. In 2005 the incident was reclassified as homicide, with perpetrator(s) unknown.
(An additional mystery connected with this case remains unresolved. While working on the documentary The Mattei Affair in 1970, Francesco Rosi asked Mauro De Mauro, a prominent investigative journalist, to join the project. De Mauro soon obtained what he termed important evidence about Mattei’s final days, but disappeared eight days later without a trace. His body has never been found. Several investigators involved in the search for De Mauro were later killed, including the Carabinieri general Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa.)
Mattei’s murder did not interrupt Italy’s longest period of calm and prosperity in modern history. Starting in 1969, however, a wave of terrorist attacks hit the country, allegedly perpetrated by the far left or the far right. Most of them remain unresolved to this day. Two fascists were convicted in 1995 of planting a bomb at the railway station in Bologna which killed 85 people and wounded 200 others in August 1980. We still do not know who ordered the attack and with what motive in mind. We do know that the probe was side-tracked for 15 years by Andreotti’s associate Licio Gelli, who later gained notoriety as the grand master of the secretive Propaganda Due (P2) masonic lodge. In November 23, 1995, Italy’s Court of Cassation convicted Gelli and three other Masons, Francesco Pazienza and SISMI officers Pietro Musumeci and Giuseppe Belmonte, of obstructing investigation into the Bologna Massacre. (“He was a politician highly trained and honest, ready to tackle the tasks that were entrusted to us,” Gelli (93) said upon learning of Andreotti’s death. “He knew how to keep the secrets that were entrusted to him. Andreotti did his duty, using the secrets to promote the well-being of the people. He kept the secrets, and he took them with him. What a man…”)
One of those secrets concerns Andreotti’s role in setting up and developing a clandestine NATO “stay-behind” network in Italy during the Cold War known as Operation Gladio. The role of the CIA in sponsoring Gladio and its involvement in terrorist attacks during Italy’s Years of Lead remains contentious. The origin of the operation itself is not: it was based on confidential “NATO protocols,” committing the secret services of all member states to prevent communist parties from coming to power. A briefing minute of June 1, 1959, reveals that Gladio, “in case of a Soviet military invasion,” would organize resistance by internal subversion. More significantly, it was to play “a determining role… also in the politics of emergency.” Secret arms arsenals were set up and personnel recruited and sworn to secrecy.
Giulio Andreotti, Italy’s defense minister at the time of the 1959 memorandum, denied “unequivocally” Gladio’s existence under oath on two occasions—in 1974 and 1978—to judges investigating the 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing. On October 24, 1990, as Prime Minister, Andreotti finally acknowledged Gladio’s existence to the Chamber of Deputies; by that time it had ceased to be a secret. In his admission Andreotti described Gladio as a “structure of information, response and safeguard,” with arms caches and reserve officers. He gave the parliamentary commission in charge of investigations on bombings, a list of 622 civilians who were allegedly part of Gladio; but the list subsequently proved to be incomplete. Andreotti said that 127 arms depots had been dismantled.
Following the revelation, the P2 Lodge treasurer, General Siro Rosetti, launched a spirited defense of Gladio’s concept and importance. Later that year, a decade after the Bologna massacre, Judge Libero Mancuso—who had led the investigation and secured the initial convictions of the bombers—broke his silence to the (London) Guardian: “We [investigators] are isolated, and the objects of a campaign of aggression. This is what has happened to the commission into the P2, and to the magistrates. The personal risks to us are small in comparison to this offensive of denigration, which attempts to discredit the quest for truth. In Italy there has functioned for some years now a sort of conditioning, a control of our national sovereignty by the P2—which was literally the master of the secret services, the army and our most delicate organs of state.”
In the course of his 1990 admission, Andreotti assured the deputies that Gladio had not been involved in any of the terrorist attacks. A decade later, however, in 2000, the Italian Senate published a report which stated that “[t]hose massacres, bombs, and military actions had been organized or promoted or supported by men inside Italian state institutions and, as has been discovered more recently, by men linked to the structures of United States intelligence.” The report claimed that US intelligence agents were informed in advance about several attacks, including the December 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing in Milan and the Piazza della Loggia bombing in Brescia five years later, but did nothing to alert the Italian authorities or to prevent the attacks from taking place.
General Gianadelio Maletti, commander of the counter-intelligence section of the Italian military intelligence service from 1971 to 1975, told the March 2001 Piazza Fontana bombings trial that the CIA had foreknowledge of the event and approved terrorismas a means of preventing Italy’s leftward slide. “Don’t forget that Nixon was in charge. “Maletii added, “and Nixon was a peculiar man, a very intelligent politician but a man of rather unorthodox initiatives.” Slobodan Janković does not consider such claims too far fetched:
“The U.S. elite did not look with approval on the Italian economic model. Its financial interests were threatened outside Italy as well, especially by ENI’s expansion. The Americans tried to smear Moro by implicating him in the Lockheed bribes scandal, but he successfully defended himself in the court of law. More dangerous than public slanders were threats, especially when coming from people capable of carrying them out. According to the 1980 testimony by Moro’s widow to the parliamentary commission of investigation, during a visit to Washington in 1974 Moro was openly warned not to pursue his policy of “historic compromise” with the Left, or else he’d ‘pay a price.’ Moro paid that price on March 16, 1978, when he was kidnapped and all five of his bodyguards killed in an attack allegedly carried out by the Red Brigades. His body was found on May 9 in the trunk of a car. The kidnappers, according to the official version, saw Moro as a symbol of ‘imperialism’ who deserved punishment, but nothing could have been further from the truth. Moro was a patriot, a Catholic, a statesman and a family man. On the day of his kidnapping a new government, headed by Giulio Andreotti, was supposed to be formed. This was eventually done, but because of Moro’s kidnapping the historic compromise was abandoned.”
During his seven-week captivity, Aldo Moro wrote several letters to various political figures, including Andreotti. In October 1990, a cache of previously unknown letters was discovered in a Milan apartment which had once been used as a Red Brigade hideout. One of those letters made reference to the involvement of both NATO and the CIA in an Italian-based secret “parallel army.” That safe house had been searched at the time of Moro’s death by Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa, the head of counter-terrorism division who was put in charge of investigating the kidnapping. Dalla Chiesa was murdered in 1982.
Moro’s kidnapping and murder were also investigated by a government committee under the guidance of then-prime minister Giulio Andreotti. It included the heads of two security agencies (General Santovito of SISMI and General Grassini of SISDE) and the commander of the Financial Police (Guardia della Finanza), General Raffaele Giudice. All three of them were members of P2. The only service chief who was not a Mason, Prefect Gaetano Napoletano ofCESIS, was removed by Andreotti in the early stages of investigation and replaced by yet another P2 member, General Walter Pelosi. The committee proceeded to make several spectacular lapses. One of them was the fact that telephone lines suddenly went down in the area where Moro and his escort were passing—five minutes before the attack—and came back to normal half an hour later. This caused a delay in alerting the authorities to the attack. Director-General of SIP (the telephone company) was Michele Principe, yet another P2 member. The police commissar in charge of liaison with SIP was Antonio Esposito—yes, you’ve guessed it, also a P2 member. Furthermore, years later it became known that someone at the SIP switchboard prevented the monitoring of phone calls which the kidnapers were making to Moro’s family.
Immediately following Moro’s death, investigative journalist Mino Pecorelli wrote that Dalla Chiesa was in danger and would be assassinated. He drew a connection between Gladio and Moro’s death. Pecorelli, who was on Licio Gelli’s list of P2 members discovered in 1980 but had fallen out with Gelli before Moro’s death, was assassinated on March 20, 1979. It was immediately suspected that Pecorelli’s murder was related to the Prime Minister, but there was no proof. Almost two decades later, when a former Mafia member testified that Andreotti had ordered the hit, the aging senator-for-life was charged and brought to trial. In 2002 Andreotti was sentenced to 24 years in prison for his role in the murder. That sentence was overturned by the Supreme Court of Appeals, however; he never went to jail.
Two days after Moro’s kidnapping and the formation of a new government, Licio Gelli (b. 1919) gathered in Rome the representatives of all 496 Grant Orient Loges of Italy. Gelli was confirmed as Italy’s grand master and as leader of the more secretive and influential P2. Gelli, known under the nickname Belfagor, was a fascist in his youth, a double (German-communist) agent during the war, a U.S. Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) asset after the war, and a key man in setting up Operation Gladio. In his diaries (Diari 1976-1979) Andreotti mentions meeting Gelli in the aftermath of Moro’s murder—but only to discuss Latin America! The security services appear to have had no active files on Gelli, which seems unbelievable in view of his prominence and activities. Some of his files were likely burned in 1974, when Andreotti ordered the destruction of 157,000 personal dossiers. Only the Financial Police kept three reports on active file, concerning Gelli’s illegal arms deals in the Middle East and South America and his contacts with Junio Valerio Borghese’s banned far-right group, prior to the latter’s mysterious death in Spain in 1974. Of the four investigators who composed those reports, one was murdered, one committed suicide, one went into early retirement… and one joined Gelli’s P2 Lodge.
When asked in 2009, about his links with the P2, Andreotti replied. “Ah, yes… That strange lodge—Gelli’s one.” The Guardian’s reporter was stunned: “He said it distractedly, with the air of a man recalling the bridge circle he had once heard was run by the wife of the friend of a very distant cousin. You would never have thought the revelation of the P2’s activities infused Italian politics with scandal for years—years in which Andreotti was a leading player, if not the leading player, on the political scene.” He denied being a mason, although the wife of Roberto Calvi, the banker found mysteriously hanged under Blackfriars Bridge in 1982, testified that he was. More than just a member, in fact: “he was accused of being the hidden string puller behind the lodge [P2] to which Calvi belonged.”
The most damaging, and most extensively proven accusations against Andreotti concerned his links to organized crime. An early connection concerned Salvatore “Salvo” Lima, described in the final report of the first Antimafia Commission (1963–1976) as one of the pillars of mafia power in Palermo. Developing his political career in the DC that began in the 1950s, Lima became close to Andreotti in 1964. He was often referred to as Andreotti’s “proconsul” in Sicily and once held a junior cabinet post, which resulted in the ministry’s most senior civil servant resigning in protest. In 1992 Lima was shot dead by a Mafia assassin, presumably for failing to deliver on some pledges. Years later the Guardian’s John Hooper put it to Andreotti that he must have known he was dealing indirectly with the mafia. “But Lima never spoke to me about these things” Andreotti replied. “A lot of people in Sicily have links with the mafia. That isn’t just true of the Christian Democrats, but of others.” “Lima never spoke to me about these things” did not sound like an overly spirited denial, especially for a man of Andreotti’s experience and acumen.
In the mid-1990s a string of mafia informers emerged to testify that Andreotti had been Cosa Nostra’s protector in Rome, known as “uncle Giulio.” Andreotti was charged and the judges ruled that, prior to 1980, there had been “concrete collaboration” between Andreotti and the mafia, which “induced its members to feel protected at the highest level.” He was not convicted or sentenced because his crimes were covered by a statute of limitations. “The only thing they haven’t said about me,” Andreotti quipped years later, “is that I’m a freemason.” It would be funny, but for the trail of bodies and corruption which il Divo had left in his wake.
Following the Tangentopoli scandal and the Mani Pulite (“Clean Hands”) investigation, Italy’s affairs passed into the “capable” hands of Giuliano Amato—now retired on a $40,000 monthly pension—and Mario Draghi, now head of the European Central Bank. Eurofanatics and blind followers of the Washington Consensus, in the 1990’s they carried out a privatization plan as catastrophic for Italy’s economy as anything seen east of the Iron Curtain following the collapse of communism. A century and a half after Italy shook off first Austrian rule and French tutelage, it still proved vulnerable to the vincolo esterno, the external constraint—this time to the international bankers, Brussels bureaucrats, and the IMF.
Berlusconi’s three terms as prime minister did not change much. He had failed to create, enact and apply a bold vision of Italy for the 21st century. As I wrote in 2011, his private peccadilloes and dubious business practices could have been overlooked had he not left Italy, after almost ten years in office, in no better state than he found her in 1994:
“The economy is grotesquely over-regulated, yet the old system of corrupt government contracts and phony jobs for the well-connected is alive and well. The central bureaucratic machine is as bloated and inefficient as ever. An estimated third of potential tax revenues remain uncollected. Italy is, in terms of growth, the sick man of Europe: only Zimbabwe and Haiti had lower GDP growth than Italy in 2000-2010. The public debt, at $2.6 trillion, is 120% of GDP. A quarter of Italy’s under-30s are unemployed and another quarter is subsisting on dead-end, 1,000 euros-per-month jobs in mamma’s care, thus contributing to a demographic collapse far worse than that in Central and Northern Europe. There was no improvement in productivity under Berlusconi: Italy’s international competitiveness has actually declined over the past decade. Public spending has been outstripping growth for years; since 2009, it has accounted for more than one-half of the GDP.”
Slobodan Janković’s assessment is also grim: “Between 1945 and 1992 there were many ranking Italians of professional and personal integrity at all levels of the state and society who were prepared to risk much, even their lives, in the struggle against organized crime, secret societies, and power centers connected to foreign political and financial interests. In the present era of Monti, Letta and Bonino, however, the patriots and traditional Catholics have no power and no voice.”
Berlusconi’s seven-year prison sentence for abusing power and having sex with an underage prostitute changes nothing. He will appeal, the sentence will be overturned, and the current unnatural coalition will continue on its long road to nowhere in particular. The economy will continue to stagnate, and the process of moral and spiritual decay will continue to turn one of the most civilized countries in the world into a shadow of its former self.
Alas, poor Italy…
While I was listening to a recent interview with Graham Hancock about his new novel and his TED lecture, the startling claim was made that Russian President Vladimir Putin commented that war might be a necessary result of the Monsanto Protection Act.
I was skeptical, but did a little digging around, and it turns out the story checks out…
The shocking minutes relating to President Putin’s meeting last month with US Secretary of State John Kerry reveal the Russian leaders “extreme outrage” over the Obama regimes continued protection of global seed and plant bio-genetic giants Syngenta and Monsanto in the face of a growing “bee apocalypse” that the Kremlin warns “will most certainly” lead to world war.
According to these minutes, released in the Kremlin today by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation (MNRE), Putin was so incensed over the Obama regimes refusal to discuss this grave matter that he refused for three hours to even meet with Kerry, who had traveled to Moscow on a scheduled diplomatic mission, but then relented so as to not cause an even greater rift between these two nations.
At the center of this dispute between Russia and the US, this MNRE report says, is the “undisputed evidence” that a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically related to nicotine, known as neonicotinoids, are destroying our planets bee population, and which if left unchecked could destroy our world’s ability to grow enough food to feed its population.
So grave has this situation become, the MNRE reports, the full European Commission (EC) this past week instituted a two-year precautionary ban (set to begin on 1 December 2013) on these “bee killing” pesticides following the lead of Switzerland, France, Italy, Russia, Slovenia and Ukraine, all of whom had previously banned these most dangerous of genetically altered organisms from being used on the continent.
Two of the most feared neonicotinoids being banned are Actara and Cruiser made by the Swiss global bio-tech seed and pesticide giant Syngenta AG which employs over 26,000 people in over 90 countries and ranks third in total global sales in the commercial agricultural seeds market.
Important to note, this report says, is that Syngenta, along with bio-tech giants Monsanto, Bayer, Dow and DuPont, now control nearly 100% of the global market for genetically modified pesticides, plants and seeds.
Also to note about Syngenta, this report continues, is that in 2012 it was criminally charged in Germany for concealing the fact that its genetically modified corn killed cattle, and settled a class-action lawsuit in the US for $105 million after it was discovered they had contaminated the drinking supply of some 52 million Americans in more than 2,000 water districts with its “gender-bending” herbicide Atrazine.
To how staggeringly frightful this situation is, the MNRE says, can be seen in the report issued this past March by the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) wherein they warned our whole planet is in danger, and as we can, in part, read:
“As part of a study on impacts from the world’s most widely used class of insecticides, nicotine-like chemicals called neonicotinoids, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) has called for a ban on their use as seed treatments and for the suspension of all applications pending an independent review of the products’ effects on birds, terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates, and other wildlife.
“It is clear that these chemicals have the potential to affect entire food chains. The environmental persistence of the neonicotinoids, their propensity for runoff and for groundwater infiltration, and their cumulative and largely irreversible mode of action in invertebrates raise significant environmental concerns,” said Cynthia Palmer, co-author of the report and Pesticides Program Manager for ABC, one of the nation’s leading bird conservation organizations.
ABC commissioned world renowned environmental toxicologist Dr. Pierre Mineau to conduct the research. The 100-page report, “The Impact of the Nation’s Most Widely Used Insecticides on Birds,” reviews 200 studies on neonicotinoids including industry research obtained through the US Freedom of Information Act. The report evaluates the toxicological risk to birds and aquatic systems and includes extensive comparisons with the older pesticides that the neonicotinoids have replaced. The assessment concludes that the neonicotinoids are lethal to birds and to the aquatic systems on which they depend.
“A single corn kernel coated with a neonicotinoid can kill a songbird,” Palmer said. “Even a tiny grain of wheat or canola treated with the oldest neonicotinoid — called imidacloprid — can fatally poison a bird. And as little as 1/10th of a neonicotinoid-coated corn seed per day during egg-laying season is all that is needed to affect reproduction.”
The new report concludes that neonicotinoid contamination levels in both surface- and ground water in the United States and around the world are already beyond the threshold found to kill many aquatic invertebrates.”
Quickly following this damning report, the MRNE says, a large group of group of American beekeepers and environmentalists sued the Obama regime over the continued use of these neonicotinoids stating: “We are taking the EPA to court for its failure to protect bees from pesticides. Despite our best efforts to warn the agency about the problems posed by neonicotinoids, the EPA continued to ignore the clear warning signs of an agricultural system in trouble.”
And to how bad the world’s agricultural system has really become due to these genetically modified plants, pesticides and seeds, this report continues, can be seen by the EC’s proposal this past week, following their ban on neonicotinoids, in which they plan to criminalize nearly all seeds and plants not registered with the European Union, and as we can, in part, read:
“Europe is rushing towards the good ol days circa 1939, 40… A new law proposed by the European Commission would make it illegal to “grow, reproduce or trade” any vegetable seeds that have not been “tested, approved and accepted” by a new EU bureaucracy named the “EU Plant Variety Agency.”
It’s called the Plant Reproductive Material Law, and it attempts to put the government in charge of virtually all plants and seeds. Home gardeners who grow their own plants from non-regulated seeds would be considered criminals under this law.”
This MRNE report points out that even though this EC action may appear draconian, it is nevertheless necessary in order to purge the continent from continued contamination of these genetically bred “seed monstrosities.”
Most perplexing in all of this, the MRNE says, and which led to Putin’s anger at the US, has been the Obama regimes efforts to protect pesticide-producer profits over the catastrophic damaging being done to the environment, and as the Guardian News Service detailed in their 2 May article titled “US rejects EU claim of insecticide as prime reason for bee colony collapse” and which, in part, says:
“The European Union voted this week for a two-year ban on a class of pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, that has been associated with the bees’ collapse. The US government report, in contrast, found multiple causes for the collapse of the honeybees.”
To the “truer” reason for the Obama regimes protection of these bio-tech giants destroying our world, the MRNE says, can be viewed in the report titled “How did Barack Obama become Monsanto’s man in Washington?” and which, in part, says:
“After his victory in the 2008 election, Obama filled key posts with Monsanto people, in federal agencies that wield tremendous force in food issues, the USDA and the FDA: At the USDA, as the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Roger Beachy, former director of the Monsanto Danforth Center. As deputy commissioner of the FDA, the new food-safety-issues czar, the infamous Michael Taylor, former vice-president for public policy for Monsanto. Taylor had been instrumental in getting approval for Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone.”
Even worse, after Russia suspended the import and use of an Monsanto genetically modified corn following a study suggesting a link to breast cancer and organ damage this past September, the Russia Today News Service reported on the Obama regimes response:
“The US House of Representatives quietly passed a last-minute addition to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill for 2013 last week – including a provision protecting genetically modified seeds from litigation in the face of health risks.
The rider, which is officially known as the Farmer Assurance Provision, has been derided by opponents of biotech lobbying as the “Monsanto Protection Act,” as it would strip federal courts of the authority to immediately halt the planting and sale of genetically modified (GMO) seed crop regardless of any consumer health concerns.
The provision, also decried as a “biotech rider,” should have gone through the Agricultural or Judiciary Committees for review. Instead, no hearings were held, and the piece was evidently unknown to most Democrats (who hold the majority in the Senate) prior to its approval as part of HR 993, the short-term funding bill that was approved to avoid a federal government shutdown.”
On 26 March, Obama quietly signed this “Monsanto Protection Act” into law thus ensuring the American people have no recourse against this bio-tech giant as they fall ill by the tens of millions, and many millions will surely end up dying in what this MRNE report calls the greatest agricultural apocalypse in human history as over 90% of feral (wild) bee population in the US has already died out, and up to 80% of domestic bees have died out too.
Source: Political Blind Spot
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.
- To read about my State Department and other adventures, see my book West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold war Memoir (2002) ↩
- See Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, chapter 21, for the notes for the above. ↩
Hundreds of Turkish police officers backed by armored cars moved in on Istanbul’s Taksim Square early Tuesday morning and reclaimed the site after pulling out on June 1. By midday bulldozers had removed barricades of paving stones and corrugated iron. The crackdown surprised protesters, hundreds of whom had been sleeping in a makeshift camp in the adjoining Gezi Park. Some threw stones and incendiary devices in response, but the authorities are now in control of the focal point of Turkey’s most widespread anti-government protests in decades. Prior to the police action the protests appeared to be diminishing, with fewer demonstrators gathering in Taksim on Monday night than at any time since the unrest started on May 31.
That the unrest is abating has been evident from the muted reaction of the markets. In recent days the lira registered a modest decline, reaching the October 2011 level against its dollar/euro basket, but this may be seen as good news for Turkey’s export-oriented economy. The cost of insuring Turkish debt against default rose slightly but not alarmingly: it the same now as in August of last year, well below crisis levels.
A further sign of government confidence is the continuing clampdown on the Turkish army top brass. On June 6 a criminal court in Ankara approved an indictment filed by the prosecutor’s office under which 102 retired officers (76 of whom are in prison) will be tried for allegedly staging the military coup in 1997. Right now there are 450 active and retired officers accused of either toppling former governments, or making plans to unseat the current government. As The Daily Zaman’s columnist Lale Kemal noted the other day, this raises the issue of the state of the morale of the Turkish Armed Forces at a sensitive time.
In the early days of unrest, street protests in Turkey were compared in the Western media to the misnamed “Arab Spring.” The comparison was inaccurate: no regime change was on the cards, no foreign money and logistics were in evidence, and outside a few hotspots in Istanbul, Ankara, and a few other cities Turkey’s life went on as usual. The government remained firmly in control of the state apparatus, the police proved obedient, and the army—already purged of hundreds of senior officers and no longer a significant political factor—stayed silent.
Prime Minister Rejep Tayyip Erdogan’s decade-old, increasingly personal rule is being challenged, but that challenge comes from unexpected quarters: from his fellow religious conservatives who resent his authoritarian style and arrogance.
There are many influential Turks of Islamist persuasion—both within and outside the ruling AKP (Justice and Development Party)—who are increasingly disenchanted with Erdogan. They have not been adverse to the drift away from secularism at home and to the assertive pursuit of neo-Ottomanism abroad, but they believe that the power of “the Sultan” (as Erdogan is known among his friends and foes alike) needs to be curtailed. While they do not identify with the values and aspirations of the secular and liberal urban middle class which has provided the backbone of protests, some religious conservatives see recent unrest as an opportunity to persuade the “Sultan” that he needs to listen to the neglected pashas and viziers.
For the first time since he became prime minister 11 years ago, some AKP-friendly media outlets have started to criticize Erdogan, following his near-paranoid reaction to the demonstrations. His calling protesters looters, drunks, marauders, extremists, and foreign agents, his ominous hints that his “patience is running out,” and his calls for counter-rallies by his supporters have not played well with Turkey’s more cautious conservatives, especially in the business community, who see his combative style as counterproductive. They are uncomfortable with Erdogan’s portrayal of the protest as a struggle between the “white Turks” (non-religious, upper-class, urban elites) versus the ‘black Turks’ (socially conservative, lower-middle and working class Sunnis from Anatolia). Even in his hitherto reliable power base in the Anatolian heartland, President Abdullah Gul—Erdogan’s long-time ally—is now mentioned as someone who could pursue the long-term AKP project of de-Kemalizing Turkey with greater caution and tact.
The real test will come later this year, when Erdogan will try to change the constitution and inaugurate an authoritarian presidential system. On June 6 Foreign Affairs published an interesting article by Halil Karaveli which aptly summarized the “Sultan’s” problem: “Erdogan’s own party members sense the changing tide. Indeed, even before the protests, there was widespread uneasiness within the AKP ranks. Most AKP parliamentarians had little enthusiasm for Erdogan’s plan to change the constitution and introduce an executive presidency. His scheme would have concentrated all power into the hands of a supreme leader, a position that Erdogan covets, basically neutering all other government officials.”
There is unease with Erdogan in Washington, too. Nobody in the U.S. Administration wants a regime change in Ankara, but some old Turkish hands advocate more strongly worded criticism of Erdogan’s methods as a means of reining him in. His switch from neutrality to support for the rebellion in Syria a year ago was welcomed in Washington, but his continuing public advocacy of intervention is becoming wearisome in view of Bashar’s recent battlefield successes. His open support for Hamas in the Palestinian Authority, and his close links with the putative Kurdish statelet in northern Iraq, are also deemed problematic in Washington—not to mention his strident criticism of Israel, which has decisively turned Israel’s friends on the Hill against him.
The protesters cannot threaten the overall architecture of Turkish politics because the majority of Turks are in agreement with the dual policy of de-secularization of the state and capitalist-based growth. That growth has been impressive, almost on par with China after Deng, but it has not dampened political and cultural tensions. There is an inherent discrepancy at work between the Islamic stamp on the country’s cultural and political scene which Erdogan has imposed, and the deepening gap between Turkey’s haves and the have-nots which the decade of prosperity has produced. The AKP-connected new oligarchs, in many ways similar to their uncouth Russian and East European counterparts, are Erdogan’s creation. Thanks to their party political affiliations they have profited from massive government-financed construction projects—like the proposed redevelopment at Taksim that triggered off the protests two weeks ago. To a devout yet poor, unemployed or underemployed Turk, increasing social stratification is incompatible with Erdogan’s advocacy of Islamic moral and social values which are deeply egalitarian. The losers in the process of Turkey’s transition in the villages generally do not oppose further de-secularization, but their loyalty to Erdogan personally should no longer be taken for granted.
Erdogan is in trouble because the harmless Istanbul protests showed him to be an intransigent autocrat and his rivals within the establishment sense his weakness. Having scored his third consecutive election victory in 2011, Erdogan focused on empowering his core constituency through a crony capitalism. He also pushed through a series of measures for state enforcement of conservative religious mores, like banning Turkish Airways flight attendants from wearing red lipstick and restricting the sale and consumption of alcohol, which even his supporters see as unnecessarily divisive and potentially destabilizing. Abroad, they feel that he has overplayed his hand on Syria. Most Turks, AKP supporters and Kemalists alike, are opposed to Erdogan’s support for the Syrian rebels and advocacy of foreign intervention, which is perceived as an “American,” rather than “Turkish” policy. By overplaying his hand on Syria, Erdogan has forfeited his hoped-for role as the leader of the Islamic Greater Middle East. His foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s policy of “zero problems with all neighbors” has failed, not only in Syria, but also vis-à-vis Iraq and Iran, both of which support Bashar.
A powerful Sunni imam, Fethullah Gülen, may decide Erdogan’s political future. Little-known in the West—although he has lived in self-imposed exile in rural Pennsylvania for years—Gulen controls a global empire of media outlets (including Turkey’s top circulation daily), charities, businesses and schools now known simply as Hizmet (“The Service”). Shortly after the military coup in 1997, the army leaders started a purge of the movement. Gülen went abroad, was tried in absentia for seeking to overthrow Turkey’s secular order, but he was cleared in 2006, after Erdogan came to power. His is by far the most powerful religiously-based movement in Turkey, described as the country’s third power, alongside Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian AKP and Turkey’s decreasingly influential military. “While the group is often described as ‘shadowy’ or ‘mysterious,’ this is inaccurate,” according to journalist Claire Belinski, based in Istanbul. “Quite a bit is known about it. Its behavior is both observable and predictable.”
Having supported Erdogan’s rise to power in 2002, Gülen was able to expand his network within the political establishment. The two men had a strategic partnership at first, with Gülen providing the AKP with votes while Erdogan protected the “cemaat,” as the former’s network is known. Already by 2004 one-fifth of the AKP’s members of parliament were members of the Gülen movement, including the justice and culture ministers. In 2006, former police chief Adil Serdar Sacan estimated that the “Fethullahcis” held more than 80 percent of senior positions in the Turkish police force. As we noted in these pages last August, for all his philanthropic pretenses Gülen controls a fundamentalist sect calling for a New Islamic Age based on the “Turkish-Islamic Synthesis.” By now it is all-pervasive, with many rich businessmen, judges and senior civil servants donating an average of 10 percent of their income to thecemaat.
Gülen now feels strong enough to engineer Erdogan’s comeuppance that will not disrupt the regime while increasing the power of his followers. The rift between Erdogan (a fellow imam) and Gülen is now in the open. Speaking in the U.S. last week, the latter effectively blamed Erdogan for the protests: “Are the ones at fault those who were unconcerned, who underestimated [the protest] by labeling it as ‘this and that’? … If innocent people are killed, if some are choked with gas bombs and if some are blind enough not to see this, the fire could rage.” Shortly before the protests erupted Gülen warned against the arrogance of power, saying “even if a person is a believer, they can morally be a pharaoh… He may always look at people from on high, telling them ‘stay in your place’.”
Gülen seems to think that the power structure will not be unduly strained if Erdogan is weakened or even replaced. The army has been neutered and there is no strong leader in the ranks of secularists and liberals. The protesters have unwittingly aided Fethullahcis, ominously Stalinist in their steady march through Turkey’s institutions, against Erdogan’s Trotsky-like zeal for rapid re-Islamization.
The End of Syria As We Know It?
Beirut — The short answer is Iran and Hezbollah according to Congressional sources. “The Syrian army’s victory at al-Qusayr was more than the administration could accept given that town’s strategic position in the region. Its capture by the Assad forces has essentially added Syria to Iran’s list of victories starting with Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iraq, as well as its growing influence in the Gulf.”
Other sources are asserting that Obama actually did not want to invoke direct military aid the rebels fighting to topple the Assad government or even to make use of American military power in Syria for several reasons. Among these are the lack of American public support for yet another American war in the Middle East, the fact that there appears to be no acceptable alternative to the Assad government on the horizon, the position of the US intelligence community and the State Department and Pentagon that intervention in Syria would potentially turn out very badly for the US and gut what’s left of its influence in the region. It short, that the US getting involved in Syria could turn out even worse than Iraq, by intensifying a regional sectarian war without any positive outcome in sight.
Obama was apparently serious earlier about a negotiated diplomatic settlement pre-Qusayr and there were even some positives signs coming from Damascus, Moscow, and even Tehran John Kerry claimed. But that has changed partly because Russia and the US have both hardened their demands. Consequently, the Obama administration has now essentially thrown in the towel on the diplomatic track. This observer was advised by more than one Congressional staffer that Obama’s team has concluded that the Assad government was not getting their message or taking them seriously and that Assad’s recent military gains and rising popular support meant that a serious Geneva II initiative was not going to happen.
In addition, Obama has been weakened recently by domestic politics and a number of distractions and potential scandals not least of which is the disclosures regarding the massive NSA privacy invasion. In addition, the war lobby led by Senators McClain and Lindsay Graham is still pounding their drums and claim that Obama would be in violation of his oath of office and by jeopardizing the national security interest of the United States by allowing Iran to essentially own Syria once Assad quells the uprising.” Both Senators welcomed the chemical weapons assessment. For months they have been saying that Obama has not been doing enough to help the rebels. “U.S. credibility is on the line,” they said in a joint statement this week. “Now is not the time to merely take the next incremental step. Now is the time for more decisive actions,” they said, such as using long-range missiles to degrade Assad’s air power and missile capabilities. Another neo-con, Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) said the opposition forces risk defeat without heavier weapons, but he also warned that may not be enough. “The U.S. should move swiftly to shift the balance on the ground in Syria by considering grounding the Syrian air force with stand-off weapons and protecting a safe zone in northern Syria with Patriot missiles in Turkey,” Casey said.
According to some analysts, Obama could alternatively authorize the arming and training of the Syrian opposition in Jordan without a no-fly zone. That appears unlikely according to this observers Washington interlocutors because the Pentagon wants to end the Syrian crisis by summers end, the observer was advised “rather than working long term with a motley bunch of jihadists who we could never trust or rely on. The administration has come to the conclusion apparently that if they are in for a penny they are in for a pound, meaning would not allow Iran to control Syria and Hezbollah to pocket Lebanon.”
Secretary of State Kerry had meetings with more than two dozen military specialists on 5/13/13. The Washington Post is reporting that Kerry believes supplying the rebels with weapons might be too little and too late to actually flip the balance on the Syrian ground and this calls “for a military strike to paralyze Al-Assad’s military capacities.” A Pentagon source reported that the USA, France, and Britain are considering a decisive decision to reverse the current Assad momentum and quickly construct one in favor of the rebels” within a time period not exceeding the end of this summer.
Shortly after the meetings began, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia quickly returned to Saudi Arabia from his palace at Casa Blanca, Morocco after receiving a call from his intelligence chief, Prince Bandar Bin Sultan. Bander reportedly had a representative at the White House during the meetings with President Obama’s team. King Abdullah was reportedly advised by Kerry to be prepared for a rapid expansion of the growing regional conflict.
What happens between now and the end of summer is likely to be catastrophic for the Syrian public and perhaps Lebanon. The “chemical weapons-red line” is not taken seriously on Capitol Hill for the reason that the same “inclusive evidence” of months ago is the same that is suddenly being cited to justify what may become essentially an all-out war against the Syrian government and anyone who gets in the way. Hand wringing over the loss of 125 lives due to chemical weapons, whoever did use them, pales in comparison to the more 50,000 additional lives that will be lost in the coming months, a figure that Pentagon planners and the White House have “budgeted” as the price of toppling the Assad government.
“We are going to see a rapid escalation of the conflict”, a staffer on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee emailed this observer: “The president has made a decision to give whatever humanitarian aid, as well as political and diplomatic support to the opposition that in necessary. Additionally direct support to the (Supreme Military Council), will be provided and that includes military support.” The staffer quoted the words of Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes to the media on 5/13/13 to the same effect.
A part of this “humanitarian assistance” the US is going to established in the coming weeks a “limited, humanitarian no-fly zone, that will begin along several miles of the Jordanian and Turkish borders in certain military areas into Syrian territory, and would be set up and presented as a limited bid to train and equip rebel forces and protect refugees. But in reality, as we saw in Libya a Syrian no fly zone would very likely include all of Syria.
Libya’s no-fly zones made plain that there is no such thing as a “limited zone”. Put briefly, a “no-fly zone” means essentially a declaration of all-out war. Once the US and its allies start a no fly zone they will expand it and intensify it as they take countless other military actions to protect its zones until the Syrian government falls. “It’s breathtaking to contemplate how this in going to end and how Iran and Russia will respond,” one source concluded.
The White House is trying to assuage the few in Congress as well as a majority of the American public that it can be a limited American involved and that the no-fly zone would not require the destruction of Syrian antiaircraft batteries. This is more nonsense. During the no-fly zone I witnessed from Libya in the summer of 2011 the US backed it up with all manner of refueling, electronic jamming, special-ops on the ground and by mid-July a kid peddling his bike was not safe. Over the 192 days of patrolling the Libyan no-fly zones, NATO countries flew 24,682 sorties including 9,204 bomb strike sorties. NATO claimed it never missed its target but that was also not true. Hundreds of civilians were killed in Libya by no-fly zone attack aircraft that either missed their targets and emptied their bomb bays before returning to base while conducting approximately 48 bombing strikes per day using a variety of bombs and missiles, including more than 350 cruise Tomahawks.
At a Congressional hearing in 2011, then US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates got it right when he explained which discussing Libya “a no-fly zone begins with an attack to destroy all the air defenses … and then you can fly planes around the country and not worry about our guys being shot down. But that’s the way it starts.”
According to the accounts published in American media, Obama could alternatively authorize the arming and training of the Syrian opposition in Jordan without a no-fly zone. That appears unlikely because the Pentagon wants to end the Syrian crisis by summers end, the observer was advised “rather than working long term with a motley bunch of jihadists who we could never trust or rely on. The administration has come to the conclusion apparently that if they are in for a penny they are in for a pound.”
In response to a question from this observer about how he thought event might unfold in this region over the coming months, a very insightful long-term congressional aid replied: “Well Franklin, maybe someone will pull a rabbit out of the hat to stop the push for war. But frankly I doubt it. From where I sit I’d wager that Syria as we have known it may soon be no more. And perhaps some other countries in the region also.”
I have written on more than one occasion about the value of preaching and repeating to the choir on a regular basis. One of my readers agreed with this, saying: “How else has Christianity survived 2,000 years except by weekly reinforcement?”
Well, dear choir, beloved parishioners, for this week’s sermon we once again turn to Afghanistan. As US officials often make statements giving the impression that the American military presence in that sad land is definitely winding down—soon to be all gone except for the standard few thousand American servicemen which almost every country in the world needs stationed on their territory—one regularly sees articles in the mainstream media and government releases trying to explain what it was all about. For what good reason did thousands of young Americans breathe their last breath in that backward country and why were tens of thousands of Afghans dispatched by the United States to go meet Allah (amidst widespread American torture and other violations of human rights)?
The Washington Post recently cited a Defense Department report that states: The United States “has wound up with a reasonable ‘Plan B’ for achieving its core objective of preventing Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for al-Qaeda and its affiliates.”
“Preventing a safe haven for terrorists”—that was the original reason given back in 2001 for the invasion of Afghanistan, a consistency in sharp contrast to the ever-changing explanations for Iraq. However, it appears that the best and the brightest in our government and media do not remember, if they ever knew, that Afghanistan was not really about 9–11 or fighting terrorists (except the many the US has created by its invasion and occupation), but was about pipelines.
President Obama declared in August 2009: “But we must never forget this is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans.” 
Never mind that out of the tens of thousands of people the United States and its NATO front have killed in Afghanistan not one has been identified as having had anything to do with the events of September 11, 2001.
Never mind—even accepting the official version of 9/11—that the “plotting to attack America” in 2001 was devised in Germany and Spain and the United States more than in Afghanistan. Why didn’t the United States bomb those countries?
Indeed, what actually was needed to plot to buy airline tickets and take flying lessons in the United States? A room with a table and some chairs? What does “an even larger safe haven” mean? A larger room with more chairs? Perhaps a blackboard? Terrorists intent upon attacking the United States can meet almost anywhere. At the present time there are anti-American terrorist types meeting in Libya, Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, London, Paris, and many other places. And the Taliban of Afghanistan would not be particularly anti-American if the United States had not invaded and occupied their country. The Taliban are a diverse grouping of Afghan insurgents whom the US military has come to label with a single name; they are not primarily international jihadists like al-Qaeda and in fact have had an up-and-down relationship with the latter.
The only “necessity” that drew the United States to Afghanistan was the desire to establish a military presence in this land that is next door to the Caspian Sea region of Central Asia—reportedly containing the second largest proven reserves of petroleum and natural gas in the world—and build oil and gas pipelines from that region running through Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is well situated for such pipelines to serve much of South Asia and even parts of Europe, pipelines that—crucially—can bypass Washington’s bêtes noire, Iran and Russia. If only the Taliban would not attack the lines. Here’s Richard Boucher, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, in 2007: “One of our goals is to stabilize Afghanistan, so it can become a conduit and a hub between South and Central Asia so that energy can flow to the south.” 
Since the 1980s all kinds of pipelines have been planned for the area, only to be delayed or canceled by one military, financial or political problem or another. For example, the so-called TAPI pipeline (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) had strong support from Washington, which was eager to block a competing pipeline that would bring gas to Pakistan and India from Iran. TAPI goes back to the late 1990s, when the Taliban government held talks with the California-based oil company Unocal Corporation. These talks were conducted with the full knowledge of the Clinton administration, and were undeterred by the extreme repression of Taliban society. Taliban officials even made trips to the United States for discussions. 
Testifying before the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific on February 12, 1998, Unocal representative John Maresca discussed the importance of the pipeline project and the increasing difficulties in dealing with the Taliban:
The region’s total oil reserves may well reach more than 60 billion barrels of oil. Some estimates are as high as 200 billion barrels . . . From the outset, we have made it clear that construction of the pipeline we have proposed across Afghanistan could not begin until a recognized government is in place that has the confidence of governments, leaders, and our company.
When those talks with the Taliban stalled in 2001, the Bush administration reportedly threatened the Taliban with military reprisals if the Afghan government did not go along with American demands. On August 2 in Islamabad, US State Department negotiator Christine Rocca reiterated to the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef: “Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold [oil], or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.”  The talks finally broke down for good a month before 9–11.
The United States has been serious indeed about the Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf oil and gas areas. Through one war or another beginning with the Gulf War of 1990–1, the US has managed to establish military bases in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.
The war against the Taliban can’t be “won” short of killing everyone in Afghanistan. The United States may well try again to negotiate some form of pipeline security with the Taliban, then get out, and declare “victory.” Barack Obama can surely deliver an eloquent victory speech from his teleprompter. It might even include the words “freedom” and “democracy,” but certainly not “pipeline.”
“We are literally backing the same people in Syria that we are fighting in Afghanistan and that have just killed our ambassador in Libya! We must finally abandon the interventionist impulse before it is too late.”—Congressman Ron Paul, September 16, 2012 
How it all began: “To watch the courageous Afghan freedom fighters battle modern arsenals with simple hand-held weapons is an inspiration to those who love freedom. Their courage teaches us a great lesson—that there are things in this world worth defending. To the Afghan people, I say on behalf of all Americans that we admire your heroism, your devotion to freedom, and your relentless struggle against your oppressors.”—President Ronald Reagan, March 21, 1983
1. Talk given by the president at Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, August 17, 2009
2. Talk at the Paul H. Nitze School for Advanced International Studies, Washington, DC, September 20, 2007
3. See, for example, the December 17, 1997 article in the British newspaper, The Telegraph, “Oil barons court Taliban in Texas.”
4. Pepe Escobar, Asia Times, September 12, 2012 (Information Clearing House) ↩
5. The Hill, daily congressional newspaper, Washington, DC
When women start doing what men have traditionally done, yours is a civilization of the setting sun. This is brought to mind when pondering a recent Pew Research Center study showing that women are now the primary or sole breadwinners in 40 percent of American households. You may have heard the story — it created quite a stir on Fox News, with Greta Van Susteren and Megyn Kelly (who became quite hysterical) taking exception to male colleagues’ warnings about the development’s sociological implications. But if these two ladies, and the other critics, had reacted rationally and not emotionally, they would realize what is obvious:
The rise in female breadwinners is a sign of a civilization in decline.
Let’s start by first examining the study. While the term “breadwinner” conjures up images of pleasingly plump paychecks, the real story here is the rise of poor single mothers. Among the 40 percent of women in the breadwinner group, 63 percent are single mothers. This isn’t surprising, since the out-of-wedlock birthrate has risen from about 4 percent in the 1940s to 41 percent today (72 percent in the black community). So what kind of “bread” are we talking about? Writes Amy Langfield of CNBC, “The median income for a single mother who has never been married was $17,400 as of 2011.” And, obviously, having large numbers of single mothers, with essentially fatherless children, struggling to make ends meet isn’t good for the women, the children, or the society as a whole.
The picture looks better for the married 37 percent of the breadwinner group, but only by comparison. Twenty-nine percent of these women’s husbands are unemployed. Moreover, Pew describes these women as older, college-educated, and white. Translation: they’re the one-child wonders. These are often women who postpone childbirth in deference to careerism and then, perhaps after dropping a tidy sum at a fertility clinic, have their sole son or daughter. Why does this warrant mention? Because as the documentary Demographic Winter points out, this phenomenon is a significant contributing factor to the plummeting birth rates among Western peoples. Outside New Zealand, there isn’t one major European-descent group with a replacement-level birth rate. And for all you secular-feminist chauvinists so proud of your cultural hegemony, what do you think happens to values that cause people to erase themselves?
So why can’t the Megyn Kellys of the world perceive the rise in female breadwinners as the warning sign it is? Because their feminist dogma teaches that any female “gain” relative to men is positive, and any criticism of it is blind male chauvinism. These are the people who cheer girls’ “better” performance in schools even though this is largely attributable to boys’ worsening performance (and improved female test scores aren’t relevant, because the exams, like the boys, have been dumbed down). It’s a mindset that would consider it a good thing if women won every future marathon because men either lost their legs or stopped running.
And that is the point. If a warring nation must move a few divisions from the southern front to shore up the northern, it isn’t a victory for those divisions; it means the war effort is waning. And if the divisions’ generals view it as a personal victory because they’ll have the opportunity to distinguish themselves, they’re self-centered and ignorant.
Likewise, it was a sign of crisis when women had to assume men’s roles in the factories during WWII, but the idea was that the crisis would end and normalcy resume. But today we are in perpetual war — culture war — in a never-ending crisis in which we fight ourselves and confuse losses with gains. No, the intersex wage gap isn’t a bad thing, and it isn’t good when it starts to close. The size of that gap correlates with the health of the nuclear family; the larger it is, the greater men’s ability to support their families and women’s opportunity to stay at home with the children. No, it isn’t good when girls outshine boys in school, as this reflects a society of undisciplined lads and a hostile yet permissive, feminist-oriented academia.
And, no, it isn’t good when you destroy patriarchy. Why? G.K. Chesterton put it best when he wrote, “What is called matriarchy is simply moral anarchy, in which the mother alone remains fixed because all the fathers are fugitive and irresponsible.” If you want matriarchy, just go into the black community. Women rule the roost there, but they reign in a hell born of degraded morals and family breakdown. There has never been a successful matriarchy — the notion of a matriarchal prehistory is a myth — and there never will be.
This is why, ultimately, the feminist model is destined for the dustbin of history. The only system that ensures the perpetuation of civilization (replacement-level birth rates) is patriarchy; the only system that compels women and men to fulfill their responsibilities to hearth and home is patriarchy. And this is why, barring the end of man or a dystopian future in which children are lab-created assembly-line style to be the collective’s drones, patriarchy is inevitable.
There is no substitute for tradition. The Soviets learned this the hard way, for after undermining the family, sex roles, and religion, mass murderer Joseph Stalin actually outlawed abortion in a vain attempt to combat a bottomed-out birth rate. But today Russia’s population is still declining by 700,000 per year — the wages of their statist sin.
When a people would be invaded or conquered years ago, the men and boys above a certain age would sometimes be killed. Emasculate a society, and it’s no longer a force to be reckoned with. But we have emasculated ourselves, killing off manhood by neutering men emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. This won’t end well, but for sure it will end. Because the feminist band can play on, but the rising water will soon drown out their music — for good.