Progressive educators always hated Drill and Kill. It hurts the child, we are told, and is the end of genuine learning.
For the last hundred years, our Education Establishment condemned the direct transmission of knowledge from teacher to student. These elite educators are constantly in a rage that students might be forced to prepare for a test in the traditional sense, that is, they know facts.
And yet, when it helps their agenda, the commissars will turn on a kopeck. Suddenly, 2 + 2 equals 5, or else. George Orwell, in his disquisitions on totalitarianism, explains that when power is the goal, Truth will often be tortured until it submits. 2 + 2, on another day, may equal 3.
Thus, evil Drill and Kill turns out to be the most wonderful perfect answer to your child’s literacy needs. Thank you, Big Brother.
There is one essential skill, and it is reading. However, from 1932 to the present, our Education Establishment embraced a defective method called Whole Word. The essence of this method is memorizing words as designs or sight-words. Not a few words but all the words–that was the dogma for 70 years. (Now the modified dogma is that children must start by memorizing 220 high-frequency words, such as see, it, is, was, run, see.)
And how are these words to be memorized? There’s only one way. You stare at them, draw them, and name them on flash cards, over and over, until your response is automatic. In short, Drill and Kill of the most drastic sort is the essential ingredient in learning to read, according to Whole Word theory.
So now Drill and Kill is a GOOD thing. In kindergarten and first-grade, and sometimes into second and third grade, kids are drilling and killing their little brains in an attempt to memorize the English language as graphic designs. It’s difficult for smarter children, and nearly impossible for average children.
So here we have a total about-face of the most blatant and dishonest kind. At this point, we might want to stop and marvel at the shamelessness of our Education Establishment. They are saying that 2 + 2 equals 5.
Here is a list of words that one might want to savor: obvious, patent, transparent, evident, manifest, unambiguous, open and shut, clear, straightforward, unequivocal, unmistakable. All of these words describe the obvious duplicity and hoax of saying that Drill and Kill is lethal and then, when convenient, saying it’s delightful and exactly what kids must do.
The amount of Drill and Kill required to memorize even 100 sight-words is huge. A program now used in some schools aims, in the first year, for only 36 words. If the expert is saying that 36 is a year’s work, you know this is a very hard task indeed.
Meanwhile, the relatively modest amount of memorization required to learn American history, biology, etc. is quite doable. It’s a good thing, even fun. Children learn a few facts each day and as the weeks and months go by, they become expert. But, as already noted, knowing facts is scorned, so our Education Establishments labels the whole business Drill and Kill, and tries to prejudice the community against it, thereby undercutting most academic progress.
It is unpleasant to contemplate the truth here. Drill and Kill, in the amount required to memorize the English language, is a hopeless project. One can only conclude that the Education Establishment never wanted children to be good readers, just as they didn’t want them to know much factual information. So they prescribed, at each point, exactly the medicine that would do the most harm.
Orwell wrote about the ability, among the party elite, to accept contradictory facts. The party member has to show endless enthusiasm for whatever is said to be true. One week they love a country; the next week they hate the same country.
Unfortunately, our public school teachers are conditioned in the same way to hate Drill and Kill, and then to turn around and require Drill and Kill in the teaching of reading. Arguably, teachers are as much the victims of this perversity as students and parents.
But what about the professors at the top, the ruthless elite orchestrating all this turning on a kopeck? Surely they see the huge contradiction. Or are they such good party members that they actually don’t realize that they are living in a dishonest, self-contradictory world?
When this Jesuit genocidal pogrom supporter took the throne, we knew this guy was going to be a doozy. And he has peeled away from the previous pack of popes fast. After Benny Dicked Us got his marching orders and was quarantined in some hermetically sealed apartment free from prosecution, Pope Frankie went bonkers setting new precedents and getting his billions of followers used to marching to “larger tent” orders in their robotic religious paradigm.
Just look at this latest, which would have easily driven the “faithful” crazy in an earlier era. But hey, he’s the voice of god, so what’s to question?
Pope Says Church Should Stop Obsessing Over Gays, Abortion
Pope Francis said the Catholic Church shouldn’t be “obsessed” with preaching about abortion, gay marriage and contraception and should instead try to reach out to a broader congregation.
“It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” Francis told the Catholic publication, La Civilta Cattolica. “We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the Church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”
Francis, the first non-European pope in more than 1,200 years, distinguished himself from the start of his papacy by speaking out in favor of the world’s poor. In the first six months of his papacy he’s also made overtures to other faiths and attempted to root out corruption in the Vatican Bank.
“He is getting back to the real values,” Veronica Chambers, 68, a practising Catholic who lives in Los Angeles said in a telephone interview. “Those of us who have any brains, us modern Catholics who need it, want it, will welcome this message.”
His comments marks a contrast with that of his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who struck a more conservative tone on sexuality and was criticized for not doing enough to root out sexual abuse in the clergy.
The Church should be “the home of all,” Francis said in the 12,000-word interview conducted in August at his quarters in the Vatican guest house, which he chose over the rich papal apartments of his predecessors. [Source]
The Church As “The Home of All”?
Of course they’ve been evangelizing forever but this has a new bent. We knew he’d be an activist with his Jesuit background and our globalist state of being funneled into a new world order, but he’s moving very quickly and setting a completely different tone, and a radical new direction.
How? Simply check the fairly sizable goal. “Home of all.”
With an estimated 2.2 billion Christians on the planet and over half of these maneuverable followers remote-controlled Catholics, they are bound to be a major focus of control for the ruling psychopaths. Is it any wonder then that a “progressive” program pushing Jesuit should lead the charge into promoting the acceptance of a new world religion, using “tolerance” and “acceptance” as its platform?
Isn’t that the ongoing meme we’re witnessing? All while they actually exacerbate the opposite, pitting everyone against each other while preaching otherwise to push their program? Unity under their centralized control. Pretty clever these demonic entities.
The NWO Religion Gets Birthed By Default
What is their objective? One world everything. Militarily, their coming imposed digital currency, surveillance subjugation, control and exploitation of the masses, and a “unified” belief system? All under the guise of “no more differences – we are here to save you from all of that” – after having caused it, of course.
Problem, reaction, solution… on its grandest scale.
The religious part will be a tough one, as they know how deeply entrenched “believers” are. They have to be won over in a whole other way, or manipulated to kill each other off. Such is the Christian vs. Muslim meme being perpetrated now.
Very effective, and they’re at it big time and getting away with literal murder with this one.
It’s Time to Wake Up
Just another sign of the slumber party being perpetrated on beautiful, living humanity. We, the real people, are awake and aware of this crap and are cocked and ready to release anything and everything we can to dissipate their darkness. We have the tools of empowerment,the love, the right motives and the heart to do exactly what needs to be done at the right time.
So fuck you, controllers. You are virtually sleeping pawns in the very real game of life; so why don’t you wake the hell up and champion your own kind instead of the designs of the destroying matrix? What is your problem? Fear and insecurity? Just wait untill the real forces get through with you.
You’ll know we were right then. But too late.
Why not wake up now? Especially anyone under their control. I invite you.
That’s my message.
Source: Zen Gardner | Just Wondering
“And the fifth angel sounded the trumpet, and I saw a star fall from heaven upon the earth, and there was given to him the key of the bottomless pit.” (Rev. 9:1)
In his Concise Commentary Matthew Henry identifies falling stars as tepid, indecisive, weak or apostate clergy who,
“Having ceased to be a minister of Christ, he who is represented by this star becomes the minister of the devil; and lets loose the powers of hell against the churches of Christ.”
John identifies antichrists, in this case clergy who serve the devil rather than Christ, sequentially. First, like Bultmann, Teilhard de Chardin, Robert Funk, Paul Tillich, and John Shelby Spong, they specifically deny the living, personal Holy Trinity in favor of Gnostic pagan, immanent or Eastern pantheist conceptions. Though God the Father Almighty in three Persons upholds the souls of men and maintains life and creation, His substance is not within nature (space-time dimension) as pantheism maintains, but outside of it. Sinful men live within nature and are burdened by time and mortality; God is not.
Second, the specific denial of the Father logically negates Jesus the Christ, the Word who was in the beginning (John 1), was with God, and is God from the creation of all things (1 John 1). In a pre-incarnate theophany, Jesus is the Angel who spoke “mouth to mouth” to Moses (Num. 12:6-9; John 9:20) and at sundry times and in many ways “spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all…” (Hebrews 1:1) Jesus the Christ is the incarnate Son of God who is the life and light of men, who by His shed blood on the Cross died for the remission of all sins and bestowed the privilege of adoption on all who put their faith in Him. Therefore, to deny the Holy Father is to logically deny the deity of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, hence,
“…every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist . . . and even now already is it in the world” (1 John 4:3).
According to Peter (2 Peter 2:1), falling stars will work among the faithful, teaching damnable heresies that deny the Lord, cause the fall of men into unbelief, and bring destruction upon themselves:
“The natural parents of modern unbelief turn out to have been the guardians of belief.” Many thinking people came at last “to realize that it was religion, not science or social change that gave birth to unbelief. Having made God more and more like man—intellectually, morally, emotionally—the shapers of religion made it feasible to abandon God, to believe simply in man.” (James Turner of the University of Michigan in “American Babylon,” Richard John Neuhaus, p. 95)
Falling Stars and Damnable Heresy
Almost thirty years ago, two well-respected social science scholars, William Sims Bainbridge and Rodney Stark found themselves alarmed by what they saw as a rising tide of irrationalism, superstition and occultism—channeling cults, spirit familiars, necromancers, Wiccans, Satanists, Luciferians, goddess worshippers, ‘gay’ shamans, Hermetic magicians and other occult madness at every level of society, particularly within the most influential— Hollywood, academia and the highest corridors of political power.
Like many scientists, they were equally concerned by Christian opposition to naturalistic evolution. As is common in the science community, they assumed the cause of these social pathologies was somehow due to fundamentalism, their term for authentic Christian theism as opposed to liberalized Christianity. Yet to their credit, the research they undertook to discover the cause was conducted both scientifically and with great integrity. What they found was so startling it caused them to re-evaluate their attitude toward authentic Christian theism. Their findings led them to say:
“It would be a mistake to conclude that fundamentalists oppose all science (when in reality they but oppose) a single theory (that) directly contradicts the bible. But it would be an equally great mistake to conclude that religious liberals and the irreligious possess superior minds of great rationality, to see them as modern personalities who have no need of the supernatural or any propensity to believe unscientific superstitions. On the contrary…they are much more likely to accept the new superstitions. It is the fundamentalists who appear most virtuous according to scientific standards when we examine the cults and pseudo-sciences proliferating in our society today.” (“Superstitions, Old and New,” The Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. IV, No. 4; summer, 1980)
In more detail they observed that authentic ‘born again’ Christians are far less likely to accept cults and pseudoscientific beliefs while the irreligious and liberalized Christians (i.e., progressive Catholics, Protestant emergent, NAR, word faith, prosperity gospel) are open to unscientific notions. In fact, these two groups are most disposed toward occultism.
As Bainbridge and Stark admitted, evolution directly contradicts the Bible, beginning with the Genesis account of creation ex nihilo. This means that evolution is the antithesis of the Genesis account. For this reason, discerning Christians refuse to submit to the evolutionary thinking that has swept Western and American society. Nor do they accept the evolutionary theism brought into the whole body of the Church by weak, tepid, indecisive, or apostate clergy.
Over eighty years ago, Rev. C. Leopold Clarke wrote that priests who embrace evolution (evolutionary theists) are apostates from the ‘Truth as it is in Jesus.’ (1 John2:2) Rev. Clarke, a lecturer at a London Bible college, discerned that evolution is the antithesis to the Revelation of God in the Deity of Jesus Christ, thus it is the greatest and most active agent of moral and spiritual disintegration:
“It is a battering-ram of unbelief—a sapping and mining operation that intends to blow Religion sky-high. The one thing which the human mind demands in its conception of God, is that, being Almighty, He works sovereignly and miraculously—and this is the thing with which Evolution dispenses….Already a tremendous effect, on a wide scale has been produced by the impact of this teaching—an effect which can only be likened to the…collapse of foundations…” (Evolution and the Break-Up of Christendom, Philip Bell, creation.com, Nov. 27, 2012)
The faith of the Christian Church and of the average Christian has had, and still has, its foundation as much in the literal and historic meaning of Genesis, the book of beginnings revealed ‘mouth to mouth’ by the Angel to Moses, as in that of the person and deity of Jesus Christ. But how horrible a travesty of the sacred office of the Christian Ministry to see church leaders more eager to be abreast of the times, than earnestly contending for the Faith once delivered unto the saints (Jude 1:3). It is high time, said Rev. Clarke, that the Church,
“…. separated herself from the humiliating entanglement attending her desire to be thought up to date…What, after all, have custodians of Divine Revelation to do making terms with speculative Biology, which has….no message of comfort or help to the soul?” (ibid)
The primary tactic employed by priests eager to accommodate themselves and the Church to modern science and evolutionary thinking is predictable. It is the argument that evolution is entirely compatible with the Bible when we see Genesis, especially the first three chapters, in a non-literal, non-historical context. This is the argument embraced and advanced by mega-church pastor Timothy J. Keller.
With a position paper Keller published with the theistic evolutionary organization Bio Logos he joined the ranks of falling stars (Catholic and Protestant priests) stretching back to the Renaissance. Their slippery-slide into apostasy began when they gave into the temptation to embrace a non-literal, non-historical view of Genesis. (A response to Timothy Keller’s ‘Creation, Evolution and Christian Laypeople,” Lita Cosner, Sept. 9, 2010,creation.com)
This is not a heresy unique to modern times. The early Church Fathers dealt with this damnable heresy as well, counting it among the heretical tendencies of the Origenists. Fourth-century Fathers such as John Chrysostom, Basil the Great and Ephraim the Syrian, all of whom wrote commentaries on Genesis, specifically warned against treating Genesis as an unhistorical myth or allegory. John Chrysostom strongly warned against paying heed to these heretics,
“…let us stop up our hearing against them, and let us believe the Divine Scripture, and following what is written in it, let us strive to preserve in our souls sound dogmas.” (Genesis, Creation, and Early Man, Fr. Seraphim Rose, p. 31)
As St. Cyril of Alexandria wrote, higher theological, spiritual meaning is founded upon humble, simple faith in the literal and historic meaning of Genesis and one cannot apprehend rightly the Scriptures without believing in the historical reality of the events and people they describe. (ibid, Seraphim Rose, p. 40)
In the integral worldview teachings of the Fathers, neither the literal nor historical meaning of the Revelations of the pre-incarnate Jesus, the Angel who spoke to Moses, can be regarded as expendable. There are at least four critically important reasons why. First, to reduce the Revelation of God to allegory and myth is to contradict and usurp the authority of God, ultimately deny the deity of Jesus Christ; twist, distort, add to and subtract from the entire Bible and finally, to imperil the salvation of believers.
Scenarios commonly proposed by modern Origenists posit a cleverly disguised pantheist/immanent nature deity subject to the space-time dimension and forces of evolution. But as noted previously, it is sinful man who carries the burden of time, not God. This is a crucial point, for when evolutionary theists add millions and billions of zeros (time) to God they have transferred their own limitations onto Him. They have ‘limited’ God and made Him over in their own image. This is not only idolatrous but satanic.
Additionally, evolution inverts creation. In place of God’s good creation from which men fell there is an evolutionary escalator starting at the bottom with matter, then progressing upward toward life, then up and through the life and death of millions of evolved creatures that preceded humans by millions of years until at long last an apish humanoid emerges into which a deity that is always in a state of becoming (evolving) places a soul.
Evolution amputates the entire historical precedent from the Gospel and makes Jesus Christ unnecessary as the atheist Frank Zindler enthusiastically points out:
“The most devastating thing that biology did to Christianity was the discovery of biological evolution. Now that we know that Adam and Eve never were real people the central myth of Christianity is destroyed. If there never was an Adam and Eve, there never was an original sin. If there never was an original sin there is no need of salvation. If there is no need of salvation there is no need of a saviour. And I submit that puts Jesus…into the ranks of the unemployed. I think evolution absolutely is the death knell of Christianity.” (“Atheism vs. Christianity,” 1996, Lita Cosner, creation.com, June 13, 2013)
None of this was lost on Darwin’s bulldog, Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1985). Huxley was thoroughly familiar with the Bible, thus he understood that if Genesis is not the authoritative Word of God, is not historical and literal despite its’ symbolic and poetic elements, then the entirety of Scripture becomes a collection of fairytales resulting in tragic downward spiraling consequences as the Catholic Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation makes clear in part:
“By denying the historical truth of the first chapters of Genesis, theistic evolutionism has fostered a preoccupation with natural causes almost to the exclusion of supernatural ones. By denying the several supernatural creative acts of God in Genesis, and by downplaying the importance of the supernatural activity of Satan, theistic evolutionists slip into a naturalistic mentality which seeks to explain everything in terms of natural causes. Once this mentality takes hold, it is easy for men to regard the concept of spiritual warfare as a holdover from the days of primitive superstition. Diabolical activity is reduced to material or psychological causes. The devil and his demons come to be seen as irrelevant. Soon ‘hell’ joins the devil and his demons in the category of antiquated concepts. And the theistic evolutionist easily makes the fatal mistake of thinking that he has nothing more to fear from the devil and his angels. According to Fr. Gabriele Amorth, the chief exorcist of Rome, there is a tremendous increase in diabolical activity and influence in the formerly Christian world. And yet most of the bishops of Europe no longer believe in the existence of evil spirits….To the Fathers of the Church who believed in the truth of Genesis, this would be incredible. But in view of the almost universal acceptance of theistic evolution, it is hardly surprising.” (The Difference it makes: The Importance of the Traditional Doctrine of Creation, Hugh Owen, kolbecenter.org)
Huxley had ‘zero’ respect for modern Origenists and received enormous pleasure from heaping piles of hot coals and burning contempt upon them, thereby exposing their shallow-reasoning, hypocrisy, timidity, fear of non-acceptance, and unfaithfulness. With sarcasm dripping from his words he quipped,
“I am fairly at a loss to comprehend how any one, for a moment, can doubt that Christian theology must stand or fall with the historical trustworthiness of the Jewish Scriptures. The very conception of the Messiah, or Christ, is inextricably interwoven with Jewish history; the identification of Jesus of Nazareth with that Messiah rests upon the interpretation of passages of the Hebrew Scriptures which have no evidential value unless they possess the historical character assigned to them. If the covenant with Abraham was not made; if circumcision and sacrifices were not ordained by Jahveh; if the “ten words” were not written by God’s hand on the stone tables; if Abraham is more or less a mythical hero, such as Theseus; the story of the Deluge a fiction; that of the Fall a legend; and that of the creation the dream of a seer; if all these definite and detailed narratives of apparently real events have no more value as history than have the stories of the regal period of Rome—what is to be said about the Messianic doctrine, which is so much less clearly enunciated? And what about the authority of the writers of the books of the New Testament, who, on this theory, have not merely accepted flimsy fictions for solid truths, but have built the very foundations of Christian dogma upon legendary quicksands?” (Darwin’s Bulldog—Thomas Huxley, Russell Grigg, creation.com, Oct. 14, 2008)
Pouring more contempt on them he asked,
“When Jesus spoke, as of a matter of fact, that “the Flood came and destroyed them all,” did he believe that the Deluge really took place, or not? It seems to me that, as the narrative mentions Noah’s wife, and his sons’ wives, there is good scriptural warranty for the statement that the antediluvians married and were given in marriage; and I should have thought that their eating and drinking might be assumed by the firmest believer in the literal truth of the story. Moreover, I venture to ask what sort of value, as an illustration of God’s methods of dealing with sin, has an account of an event that never happened? If no Flood swept the careless people away, how is the warning of more worth than the cry of “Wolf” when there is no wolf? If Jonah’s three days’ residence in the whale is not an “admitted reality,” how could it “warrant belief” in the “coming resurrection?” … Suppose that a Conservative orator warns his hearers to beware of great political and social changes, lest they end, as in France, in the domination of a Robespierre; what becomes, not only of his argument, but of his veracity, if he, personally, does not believe that Robespierre existed and did the deeds attributed to him?” (ibid)
Concerning Matthew 19:5:
“If divine authority is not here claimed for the twenty-fourth verse of the second chapter of Genesis, what is the value of language? And again, I ask, if one may play fast and loose with the story of the Fall as a “type” or “allegory,” what becomes of the foundation of Pauline theology?” (ibid)
And concerning Cor. 15:21-22:
“If Adam may be held to be no more real a personage than Prometheus, and if the story of the Fall is merely an instructive “type,” comparable to the profound Promethean mythus, what value has Paul’s dialectic?” (ibid)
After much thought, C.S. Lewis concluded that evolution is the central, most radical lie at the center of a vast network of lies within which modern Westerners are entangled while Rev. Clarke identifies the central lie as the Gospel of another Spirit. The fiendish aim of this Spirit is to help men lose God, not find Him, and by contradicting the Divine Redeemer, compromising Priests are serving this Spirit and its’ diabolical purposes. To contradict the Divine Redeemer is the very essence of unfaithfulness, and that it should be done while reverence is professed,
“…. is an illustration of the intellectual and moral topsy-turvydom of Modernism…’He whom God hath sent speaketh the Words of God,’ claimed Christ of Himself (John 3:34), and no assumption of error can hold water in the face of that declaration, without blasphemy.”
Evolutionary theists are serving the devil, therefore “no considerations of Christian charity, of tolerance, of policy, can exonerate Christian leaders or Churches who fail to condemn and to sever themselves from compromising, cowardly, shilly-shallying priests”—the falling stars who “challenge the Divine Authority of Jesus Christ.” (ibid)
The rebuttals, warnings and counsels of the Fathers against listening to Origenists (and their modern evolutionary counterparts) indicates that the spirit of antichrist operating through modern rationalistic criticism of the Revelation of God is not a heresy unique to our times but was inveighed against by early Church Fathers.
From the scholarly writings of the Eastern Orthodox priest, Fr. Seraphim Rose, to the incisive analysis, rebuttals and warnings of the Catholic Kolbe Center, creation.com, Creation Research Institute, Rev. Clarke, and many other stalwart defenders of the faith once delivered, all are a clear, compelling call to the whole body of the Church to hold fast to the traditional doctrine of creation as it was handed down from the Apostles, for as God spoke and Jesus is the Living Word incarnate, it is incumbent upon the faithful to submit their wills to the Divine Will and Authority of God rather than to the damnable heresy proffered by falling stars eager to embrace naturalistic science and the devil’s antithesis— evolution. But if it seem evil to you to serve the Lord,
“…you have your choice: choose this day that which pleases you, whom you would rather serve….but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
“Britain’s Jews fall in number but grow in self-confidence” stated yesterday’sObserver headline. Ned Temko ex-editor of the rabid Zionist Jewish Chronicle reviewed the state of the Jews in the Kingdom amid the opening of a new 50 million pounds Jewish cultural centre in West Hampstead.
According to the Observer we are awaiting a “new departure for the Jews of Britain”. But don’t worry folks, this time it isn’t a new global war promoted by CFI (Conservative Friends of Israel) or advocated by Hasbara writer David Aaronovitch. This time it’s just the opening of the JW3 – the London Jewish Community Centre – a spectacular exhibition of British Jews and their gift. “Its initial menu of nearly 1,000 events features well-known figures including Kevin Spacey, Nicholas Hytner, Zoë Wanamaker and Ruby Wax, as well as the former editor of the Times, James Harding, who is now head of BBC news.”
Just a few days ago, in spite of relentless pressure by the Jewish Lobby, the English speaking empire just managed to escape a new immoral interventionist war in Syria. By the weekend, the Observer was kind enough to remind us how influential Jews in this country are. “Despite their major impact in areas such as the professions, science, culture and the arts, the Jews of Britain now comprise a grand total of some 260,000 souls – less than 0.5% of the population. Outwardly, they are more self-confident, especially younger Jews who have grown up in an increasingly multicultural Britain.”
Notwithstanding all those ‘progressive’ voices who insist that Jews are drifting away from Israel and Zionism, The Observer article suggests the complete opposite. “Whatever their own views on Israeli policies, for many Jews on British campuses, ‘anti-Israel’ invective has sometimes come to feel not a lot different from antisemitism.” Jews in general and secular Jews in particular, do identify with Israel and for obvious reasons – It is that image of empowerment which they draw from the state that defines itself as ‘their State’. Consequently, they regard criticism of Israeli politics as an assault against their own existence and ‘right to be’. Similarly, the so-called Jewish anti- Zionist Jews, fall into the exact same trap. They also regard criticism of their vague political agenda as a racially motivated assault and an attempt to rob them of their elementary rights.
Stephen Miller, an emeritus professor of social research at City University throws some light on the matter when he repeats the line I myself presented in my latest book The Wandering Who. “They (the Jews)”, says Miller, may identify ethnically, culturally, socially or through an engagement with Israel; they may describe themselves as ‘secular Jews’. But the research shows their sense of belonging and pride in their Jewishness are, on average, not very different from their more observant counterparts.” I guess Miller’s observation won’ surprise my readers. And the next question to ask is obviously what this ‘Jewishness’ is all about?
Mixed salad is the answer offered by JW3’s programme. “a rich mixture of Torah and Talmud sessions, debates on Israel and other communal staples. But there will also be comedy nights, jazz sessions, dance and fitness classes, even a taxidermy workshop – after which there will be time for socialising in a kosher restaurant run by proteges of the celebrated Israeli-born chef Yotam Ottolenghi.” Once again we are confronted with the true meaning of contemporary Jewish culture – a chicken soup peppered with a bit of political discussion and smooth jazz in the background. Very impressive.
Raymond Simonson who runs the massive Jewish centre, hopes to bring in, not only the widest range of affiliated Jews, but others. “People who aren’t going to synagogue. People who may have married non-Jewish partners. People who haven’t been involved in anything Jewish since they were teenagers.” People who have stayed away because, in his words, they may have feared “they would be judged”.
Being one of the very few people who, ideologically and theoretically, confronts Jewish power I wonder: should I wait for JW3 to invite me to discuss the topic at their liberal Jewish centre? Perhaps I’d better not hold my breath. After all, I’m not a Jew anymore.
I could barely make out Barack Obama’s Syria speech to the nation on my old car radio as I negotiated the narrow curves of Route 79 on the western banks of the Mississippi River in central Missouri last Tuesday night. What I could hear sounded very much like more of Obama’s by now standard if stunning arch-mendacity.
“To Take This Debate to Congress”
Looking at the speech transcript and video online recently, my suspicions were richly confirmed. Speaking from the end of the same long red carpet where George W. Bush delivered his demented announcement of the invasion of Iraq, Obama claimed that he has turned to Congress for authorization to use force against Syria because “I’m…the President of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy” and “believe[s]…it [is] right, in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security, to take this debate to Congress.”
That is certainly a lie. He did no such thing in the case of Libya, subjected to a five-week U.S. bombing campaign (though it posed no “direct or imminent threat to [Americans’] security”) because he didn’t have to, politically. This time it’s different, as the liberalMiddle East historian Juan Cole has explained: “Obama did not need Congress in the case of Libya. He had the Arab League, the UN Security Council, and NATO…But [he has] became more and more isolated [on Syria]. The Arab League declined to call for intervention… Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and other Arab countries forthrightly denounced the idea of foreign military intervention in Syria, a very different stance than many of them took in 2011 with regard to Libya…Then NATO declined to get involved, with Poland, Belgium, and others expressing reluctance…Then the British Parliament followed suit.” Failure to garner any meaningful fig leaf of formal international support is why Obama ran to Congress this time.
“I Possess the Authority”
Obama claimed he has gone to Congress “even though I possess the authority to order military strikes.” The former “liberal” constitutional law professor with a degree from Harvard Law certainly knows that the U.S. Constitution grants war-making authority in Congress alone. He should know further that it is thoroughly criminal under international law for him to attack any sovereign nation in the absence of any direct or imminent threat to the U.S.
Claims of Humanitarian Concern
Obama’s claim to be moved to act by civilian deaths in Syria, citing the horrors of “children writhing in pain, and going still on a cold hospital floor.” This claim is contradicted by the grim determination with which he has regularly murdered innocent civilians (including large numbers of women and children) in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and elsewhere – “collateral damage” in the dirty global war on/of terror he inherited from Cheney-Bush and then expanded. One horrific example – neither the first nor the last among many – occurred in the May of 2009. That’s when U.S. air-strikes killed 140 civilians in Bola Boluk, a village in western Afghanistan’s Farah Province. Ninety-three of the dead villagers torn apart by U.S. explosives were children. Just 22 were males 18 years or older. Villagers brought tractor trailers full of the pieces of human bodies to the provincial governor’s office to prove that the casualties had occurred. “Everyone at the governor’s office was crying, watching that shocking scene,” one observer reported.”
The initial response of the Obama administration and Pentagon to this appalling incident (one of many mass civilian-butchering U.S. aerial killings in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other parts of the Muslim world under Obama) was to absurdly blame the civilian deaths on “Taliban grenades.” Obama’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed “regret” about the loss of innocent life, but the administration refused to issue an apology or acknowledge U.S. responsibility for the blasting apart of civilian bodies in Farah Province.
The matter was quickly dropped and forgotten, sent down George Orwell’s memory hole, with deep media complicity, as the Pentagon wrote checks to the Afghan government to give families a couple thousand dollars per corpse. The U.S. subsequently conducted a dubious “investigation” that reduced the civilian body count drastically and blamed the Taliban for putting civilians in the way of U.S. bombs.
There have been many crimes like Bola Boluk under Obama. People who command glass houses of a sociopathic, mass-murderous empire should not expect to be taken seriously when throw “humanitarian” stones at other butchers.
If Obama is so dismayed by the spectacle of a government “killing its own people,” why is he not calling for missile strikes against the military dictatorship in Egypt, which recently slaughtered hundreds if not thousands of civilians to stop popular protests against the regime? Is it okay to kill your own civilians as long as you are a U.S.-allied regime and/or do the killing with “conventional” weapons?
But why does Obama think we should believe that he can advance humanitarian goals by lobbying cruise missiles at anyone? Two days after Obama’s speech, the New York Times published an Opinion-Editorial from Russian president Vladimir Putin. “The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders,” Putin reasonably observed. “A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.”
Selective History and Terrible Weapons
In his discussion of the past horrors of chemical weapons (by European powers during World War I and by the Nazi holocaust) last Tuesday night, Obama deleted the United States’ vicious deployment of dioxin during the Vietnam War. That example of chemical warfare caused an explosion of birth defects among other terrible results in Southeast Asia. The president also failed to mention that Washington helped Saddam Hussein use nerve gas against Iranian soldiers and the U.S. Marines used white phosphorous in their massive assaults on the civilian population of Fallujah, Iraq in November of 2004.
Will Obama threaten Tel Aviv with cruise missiles for using white phosphorous against Palestinian civilians in Gaza? Of course not: the Palestinians are officially unworthy victims, like the East Timorese and countless others who have been killed and tortured by governments that are allied with the inherently good United States and therefore officially incapable (like the U.S.) of crimes against humanity.
Obama painted out Syria as a rogue state because it has not signed a treaty against chemical weapons like “189 governments that represent 98 percent of humanity.” He did not mention that Syria’s neighbors Syria and Egypt (both U.S. allies) have also not signed the treaty.
Obama had nothing to say, of course, about the even greater dreadfulness of nuclear and radioactive ordnance. The U.S. stands alone in having incinerated and poisoned civilians with atomic weapons – quite unnecessarily in August of 1945. And thanks to America’s deployment of depleted uranium in Iraq, the toxic legacy of the U.S. attacks on Fallujah was worse was that of the atom-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. An epidemic of cancer, leukemia, and birth defects quickly followed in Fallujah.[5A]
“We Know the Assad Regime was Responsible”
“We know,” Obama said, “the Assad regime was responsible” for the Syrian chemical weapons attack of August 21, 2013. Not so. The proof offered by the president, a former lawyer, was hardly impressive. It contained nothing remotely like a smoking gun. Obama made no attempt to disprove other theories of what might have happened, including some German journalists’ finding that the attack was conducted by a rogue Syrian officer acting without Assad’s approval. Nor did he address what left commentator Glen Ford rightly calls “credible reports (everybody’s reports are more credible than the Americans) that rebels under U.S. allied control were told to prepare to go on the offensive following an American retaliation to chemical attack that would be blamed on Assad’s forces.”
“No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria,” Putin wrote in his Times editorial: “But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with [Islamic] fundamentalists.” That is a reasonable judgment.
Nobody should doubt the monstrosity of the Assad regime, but Obama’s proof of Assad’s culpability for the attack in questions amounts pretty much to this: “because I say so.”
“These Things Happened:” The Memory Hole
“When dictators commit atrocities, they depend upon the world to look the other way until those horrifying pictures fade from memory,” Obama said. “But these things happened. The facts cannot be denied.”
An interesting thing to hear from an American president! “From the end of World War Two through the present, the U.S. Empire has caused “the extinction and suffering of countless human beings. The United States,” William Blum Pilger noted eight years ago, “attempted to overthrow fifty governments, many of them democracies, and to crush thirty popular movements fighting tyrannical regimes. In the process, twenty-five countries were bombed, causing the loss of several million lives and the despair of millions more.”
The leading American imperial crimes include a massive U.S. assault on the peasant nation of Vietnam – an epic attack that killed 3 million Indochinese – and the illegal invasion of oil-rich Mesopotamia, whose terrible human consequences (including at least 2 million Iraqis dying prematurely) remain essentially unmentionable in “mainstream” (dominant) U.S. media. Chemical weapons were deployed in both of these grand imperial transgressions.
Over these decades, the U.S. has been what Noam Chomsky calls “ a rogue state, the leading rogue state, radically violating international law, refusing to accept international convention” and even maintaining “self-authorization to commit genocide.”
Is it any wonder that, as Putin noted in the Times, “Millions around the world …see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan ‘you’re either with us or against us’” (emphasis added).
“The Anchor of Global Security”
There should be little surprise that knowledgeable observers the world over cringe and/or roll their eyes when U.S. presidents say things like this, from Obama’s Tuesday night address:”My fellow Americans, for nearly seven decades, the United States has been the anchor of global security…The burdens of leadership are often heavy, but the world is a better place because we have borne them” (emphasis added).
That is a blatant lie, as Obama surely knows. Tell it to the survivors of the millions who have been snuffed out by rogue state America, consistently identified by the global populace for many years as the leading threat to peace and security in the world. Tell it to the people of Chile. Two days ago they commemorated the 40th anniversary of their 9/11 – the September 11, 1973 coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of socialist president Salvador Allende. The coup was assisted and supported by Washington, determined to install a vicious military dictatorship that executed thousands of leftists and others and became a leading center of international terror. The U.S. would not permit the continued existence of democratic socialist government in “our hemisphere.”
What would Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., say about Obama’s claim that the U.S. has been “the anchor of global security” since World War II? In 1967, well within the timeframe of Obama’s sweeping historical claim, King identified the U.S. as “the leading purveyor of violence in the world today.” The Vietnamese, King said, “must see Americans as strange liberators” as they “languish under our bombs….as we he herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps. They know they must move or be destroyed by bombs. They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops [with chemical weapons]. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals, with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one ‘Vietcong’-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them – mostly children…” 
Looking at the historical literature on the Cuban Missile Crisis and subsequent moment of supreme nuclear danger, a living King (who would be 84 today had he not been assassinated or perhaps executed inside “the anchor of global security” exactly one year to the day after publicly declaring his opposition to the Vietnam War at the Riverside Church in New York City) today might also like to mention (among other things) the remarkable degree to which the Ahabs of Washington have been willing to risk global thermonuclear war (very barely averted in October 1962) in their quest for unchallenged global supremacy.
“It Never Happened”
But in the U.S, and indeed across much of the West, the record of ongoing, mass-murderous American criminality is airbrushed out of the official history and mass culture. It is tossed down Orwell’s memory hole, consistent with Big Brother’s dictum in Nineteen Eighty Four: “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” As Harold Pinter noted in his biting acceptance of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature, the reigning Western cultural authorities behave as if U.S. crimes simply did not occur. When it comes to America’s transgression against civilized norms and international law, “nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening,” Pinter added, “it never happened. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest.” Dominant U.S.-led Western cultural codes mandate that the only victims meriting acknowledgement and compassion are those assaulted by officially designated enemies. The larger number victimized by the U.S. and its clients and allies (e.g., the Palestinians suffering under Israeli occupation and apartheid) do not qualify for sympathy or even existence. They don’t exist. The crimes against them didn’t take place.
Detour and Lost Cool
Eleven minutes into his war speech, Obama had to strangely shift gears and acknowledge the need to delay his hoped-for war vote in light of Russia and Syria’s last-minute proposal to demolish Syria’s chemical weapons under international supervision and control. He tried to save militaristic face by attributing the Russian and Syrian move to his threatened use of force. He seemed to expect his listeners to preposterously believe that a peaceful, diplomatic, and international solution is his idea. Obama wants us to think that the United Nations route was his preferred path all along.
That’s nonsense. Obama is an aggressive commander of a rogue military state that prefers force and unilateral action in the names of unimpeded hegemony and “American exceptionalism.” He and many of his fellow fake-humanitarian cruise missile liberal imperialists have been itching for a bigger war in the Middle East, one that will let him attack the great regional enemy Iran and wrap the remainder of his lame-duck presidency in the splendor of war-fed patriotism.
Like the British Parliament’s vote against attacking Syria, Putin and Assad’s peace gambit is a great humiliation for Obama. It knocked more stuffing out of his failing fake-humanitarian effort to rally a reluctant, war-weary citizenry plagued by massive domestic problems (including remarkably durable “homeland” poverty and unemployment alongside stunning, New Gilded Age levels of inequality that have only increased under Obama’s supposedly progressive presidency) behind another expensive imperial campaign.
Expect the defeated president to do his best to get the nation back on a unilateral war footing. For now, he has been defeated not simply by other politicians but also by public opinion – by the citizenry in whose name he claims to speak. Imagine that. Along the way, Barack “The Empire’s New Clothes” Obama may well have lost his public cool, the swagger in his step, once and for all. Syria may prove his undoing –the moment when the outwardly nice and smooth-talking “leader” is most clearly revealed for what he really is: a cold-blooded sociopath and pathological liar. That’s long overdue, but its better late than never.
Paul Street (email@example.com) is the author of many books, including The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama in the Real World of Power (2010), Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics (2008), Crashing the Tea Party (2011), and They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm Publishers, forthcoming in January 2014).
2. Carlotta Gall and Taimoor Shah, “Civilian Deaths Imperil Support for Afghan War,” New York Times, May 6, 2009.
3. Gall and Shah, “Civilian Deaths;”
4. Paul Street, “Niebuhr Lives, Civilians Die in the Age of Obama,” ZNet (June 15, 2009), read athttp://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/21701. By contrast around the same time in 2009, there was a brief media frenzy over a very different occurrence, enough to elicit a full apology and to fire a White House official. The problem was that the White House had scared New Yorkers with an ill-advised Air Force One photo-soot flyover of Manhattan that reminded people below of 9/11. SeeChristina Boyle, “President Obama Calls Air Force One Flyover ‘Mistake’ After Low-Flying Plane Terrifies New York,” New York Daily News, April 28, 2009; Michel Muskai, “Presidential Plane’s Photo-Op Over New York Coast as Much as $357,000,” Los Angeles Times, May 9, 2009; Peter Nicholas, “Louis Caldera Resigns Over Air Force One Flyover Fiasco,” Los Angeles Time, May 9, 2009.
5. Vladimir Putin, A Plea for Caution From Russia,” New York Times, September 12, 2013.
5A. Patrick Cockburn, “Toxic Legacy of U.S. Assault on Fallujah ‘Worse Than Hiroshima,” The Independent, July 24, 2010,http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/toxic-legacy-of-us-assault-on-fallujah-worse-than-hiroshima-2034065.html; “Fallujah More Radioactive Than Hiroshima,” RT, uploaded on July 29, 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWIy9-cfMIo. A useful history of U.S. use and encouragement of chemical and biological weapons at home and abroad can be found in William Blum,Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (Monroe. ME: Common Courage, 2005), 136-160.
6. Glen Ford, “Obama’s Humiliating Defeat,” Black Agenda Report (September 11, 2013),http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/obama%E2%80%99s-humiliating-defeat
7. Blum, Rogue State, 1-2. Honduras and Libya must (at the very least) be added to the list of countries where the U.S. has acted to overthrow governments since Blum wrote. Libya and Somalia must (at the least) added to the list of countries bombed by the U.S.
8 Noam Chomsky, “Instead of Illegal Threat to Syria, U.S. Should Back Chemical Weapons Ban in All Nations,” Democracy Now! (September 11, 2013), http://www.democracynow.org/2013/9/11/chomsky_instead_of_illegal_threat_to
9. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Beyond Vietnam – a Time to Break the Silence” (Riverside Church, New York City, April 4, 1967), audio recording at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k29PAUSyrlA
10. Noam Chomsky, Address to Left Forum, New York City, 2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yvHMtgac0Q
11.Quoted in John Pilger, Freedom Next Time: Resisting the Empire (New York: Nation Books, 2007), 4.
Via Z Net
In the early 1960s, Yale professor Stanley Milgram conducted a serious of famous psychological experiments to measure people’s obedience to authority. A volunteer was instructed by an experimenter to help administer a simple test to a subject in another room. Cards were drawn to determine which of two “volunteers” would play each role, but the cards were rigged such that the actual volunteer was always given the same role each time, and the other role was played by an actor. This gave the volunteers the impression that the role they happened to be assigned was arbitrary.
The test subject (i.e. actor) could be heard but not seen by the volunteer. Whenever a test question was answered incorrectly by the subject-actor, the volunteer was instructed to administer a shock by pressing a button on a control panel. These shocks began at a negligibly low voltage, but with each wrong answer, the shocks were to be increased in 15-volt increments until eventually the final level of 450 volts was reached. The shocks were fake, so no one was physically harmed, but the volunteers didn’t know that the shocks were fake.
As these shocks were administered, the subject in the next room (who again could be heard but not seen by the volunteer), would express discomfort in a manner befitting the severity of the shock, including complaining of a heart condition, screaming louder and louder, and banging on the wall. After a certain voltage was passed, the shock-receiver eventually become completely silent (as if to simulate unconsciousness or death). Even after this point, the volunteer was instructed to continue administering shocks.
Milgram’s experiment was intended to test how far the average person would go. At what point would they refuse to give out any more shocks, despite being told by the experimenter to continue?
If you haven’t already heard of this experiment, what would your prediction be? What percentage of people would go all the way to the end?
Before the first experiment was run, senior psychology students polled by Milgram collectively predicted that only 1.2% of the test volunteers would go all the way to 450 volts. They expected that about 99% of people would stop before that point, figuring that most people are not so sadistic. Similar polling of professional psychiatrists yielded a prediction that about 0.1% would go all the way to 450 volts, meaning that 99.9% would stop before that point.
What was the actual result?
In reality, 65% of volunteers made it all the way to the end of the experiment, which required pushing the 450-volt button not just once but three times in a row.
This experiment has been repeated numerous times with highly consistent results, even when the experiment was updated to conform to today’s stricter experimental ethics guidelines. Compliance rates are generally in the 61-66% range, meaning that most people go all the way to administering the full 450 volts.
Milgram himself reported 19 variations on this experiment that he conducted. By tweaking different factors, such as whether a fellow volunteer participant (played by an actor) voiced strong objections and quit, or obeyed until the end, Milgram found that the compliance rate could be tweaked up or down. In one variation he was able to achieve a compliance rate of 92.5%, while in another he was able to get it down to 10%. The effect of peer pressure had a strong influence on the results.
Incidentally, the compliance rate was the same for men and women alike, so the female volunteers were no more or less obedient than the male ones.
Instead of being blindly obedient or downright sadistic, the volunteer would usually object to going further at some point, often around 135 volts. In response to each verbal objection voiced by the volunteer, the experimenter would instruct the volunteer to continue with the following statements:
- Please continue.
- The experiment requires that you continue.
- It is absolutely essential that you continue.
- You have no other choice. You must go on.
If the volunteer objected a fifth time, then the experiment was halted. And of course the experiment would end if the volunteer objected more strongly at any point such as by getting up and walking out of the room. So the experimenter would eventually take no for an answer — but not right away.
There were also a few custom responses that the experimenter would give as replies to specific types of objections. For instance, if the objection was about doing irreparable harm to the subject, the experimenter would assure the volunteer that although the shocks were strong, no permanent tissue damage would occur.
As payment for participating in the experiment, which took about an hour, each volunteer received $4.
How Nazi Are You?
Milgram’s experiments were partly conceived in response to the trials of Nazi war criminals after WWII. Did the Nazis have to recruit unusually sadistic people to implement their plans? Did they have to use fear and force to get people to obey? Or is it actually much easier to get people to obey a perceived authority, even when it runs contrary to the person’s conscience?
I recently returned from a 30-day trip to Europe, during which I visited Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. This was an interesting progression as it relates to WWII since I went from the the aggressor (Germany) to an occupied country (Netherlands) to one of the victors (UK). I visited WWII-related museums and sights in each country and talked to locals about their perceptions of this phase of European history.
It was a compelling experience to visit some of the actual WWII-related locations I’d previously only read about in school or had seen in movies. I visited an old WWII bunker. I walked through the Secret Annex where Anne Frank hid from the Nazis. I explored the underground war rooms used by Winston Churchill and his staff. I caught trains at some of the stations that were once used to transport Jewish people to concentration camps.
Other than Pearl Harbor (which I visited when I was a teenager) and various constructed memorials, the USA is largely devoid of significant WWII sights. I can’t just stroll around Las Vegas and point to places where bombings or battles occurred. But when walking around certain European cities, such locations are hard to miss.
In many American WWII films, the Nazis are depicted as a society of evil, inhuman sadists. A great example of this portrayal can be seen in the role of Amon Göth (played by Ralph Fiennes) in the movie Schindler’s List. The real Amon Göth, who was the commandant of a concentration camp, would do things like make the Jews pay for their own executions, taxing them to compensate the Germans for the bullets used to kill them. After the war he was tried as a war criminal, found guilty, and executed by hanging at age 37. Apparently it took three tries to hang him before the execution was successful, due to a miscalculation of the rope length. As an SS Captain in charge of a concentration camp, Göth had plenty of people under his command to carry out his orders. So why did people obey him? More importantly, how many factors (like the threat of punishment) can we strip away and still see people obeying orders from someone like Göth?
Stanley Migram set out to discover some deeper truths. What would it take for a typical person to override his/her conscience and obey commands to hurt or kill others? As it turns out, for most people it doesn’t take much at all. If someone assumes an air of authority and tells people what to do, there will be plenty of people willing to obey, even if the commands contradict a person’s sense of ethics and morality.
According to Milgram,
“Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.”
A key to the Milgram experiments is that a person is gradually eased into overriding their conscience. They aren’t instructed to give the 450-volt shock right away. Instead they begin with a voltage that isn’t even noticed. They progress from there in small increments.
The Nazis used a similar strategy. They didn’t immediately begin shipping Jews to gas chambers. They changed the climate and the culture slowly, such as by producing lots of propaganda, progressively restricting Jews’ rights, increasing Jews’ taxes, isolating the Jewish community in ghettos, and then moving them into camps. They started small and tuned the dial several notches each year. And people went along with each incremental step, which was a little stronger than the previous step.
It’s been interesting to observe some social changes that are happening today, which strike me as part of a gradual progression. For example, Microsoft recently announced the XBox One device, which comes with a Kinect camera system. This device actually watches you while you use it. It can closely monitor your eye movements, allowing it to determine exactly which part of the screen you’re looking at. It can register small shifts in your body movement. Supposedly it can even detect an increase in your heart rate, which tells it which part of a commercial may be affecting you emotionally.
Years ago a device like this would have seemed unconscionable and incredibly creepy. Some people will undoubtedly perceive it as such today, but as part of a progression towards greater personal surveillance and less privacy, this can also be viewed as just another incremental step. It’s only an entertainment system, right? But it also helps you get used to putting a surveillance device in your home, one that watches you, collects data about you, and rewards you in accordance with behavioral conditioning practices (such as by giving you points for watching commercials). If you object to some aspects of this, you may choose to disable those aspects initially, but of course not everyone will. Society will have time to get used to each progressive step, just like Milgram’s volunteers.
You may object verbally of course, but your verbal objections won’t be an issue if you still tolerate the outcome in the long run. As Milgram discovered, just about everyone objects at some point, but most of them still obey.
Another example is Google Glass, which is slated to be released next year. This device has already been banned by many businesses, including Las Vegas casinos, largely because it can function as an unwelcome surveillance device. Google claims that the privacy concerns regarding Glass are overblown. Cell phone cameras are already ubiquitous, and this is just one incremental step beyond that.
And of course if various authorities tell us these next steps are okay, nothing to worry about, then it shouldn’t be a big deal, right?
I’m not saying that this is a terrible thing per se. But I do think these are interesting examples of how progressive acquiescence can be used to change behavior, one incremental step at a time. When people object, it doesn’t necessarily kill the progression. It just means that people may need more time to get used to the current step before moving on to the next one. Verbal objections may slow the progression, but they aren’t sufficient to stop it.
If Milgram could get people to issue painful/lethal electric shocks by having an authority figure tell them to do so, you might imagine that it’s even easier to get people to take less extreme (but still questionable) actions, such as working long hours for low pay doing meaningless busywork.
Even though many people would naturally object to throwing so much time at empty and unfulfilling work, they’ll still go ahead and do it if someone tells them to. Most people with jobs don’t like the work they do, but they still show up, even if the incentives aren’t very compelling.
What if you want to quit, but your boss, your parents, or some other perceived authority figure objects? Will you surrender and go back to work if they say something like this:
- Please don’t quit.
- We need you to keep working.
- Many people are out of work. You should be glad that you have a job at all.
- You have no choice. You have to go to work.
Getting people to do meaningless work is actually pretty easy. Most of the time, you can just have an authority figure like a boss command them to do it, and they will.
Is this a trap you’ve fallen into?
Another place where people succumb to overrule-by-authority is their relationship life.
What if you want to split up, but your partner objects? Now what if your family objects? Or you partner’s family? Or your mutual friends? Or what if you sense that society at large objects to your desire to split up? What if you’re married? Do you have the inner resources to make this decision for yourself without being overruled by someone else?
What’s especially interesting about Milgram’s experiments is that just about every volunteer resisted in some way. They verbally questioned the experiment. They sweated, squirmed, groaned, or dug their nails into their skin. Some said they didn’t want the $4 payment. A few even had seizures. The experiment produced obvious signs of stress and discomfort in the volunteers. Yet the majority of them still obeyed all the way to the end.
We see these results all the time when people stay stuck in unfulfilling jobs or relationships. They show obvious signs of distress. Some complain. Some have nervous breakdowns. Some read self-help material incessantly, looking for a way out. Yet the majority still stay in those situations, lacking the inner strength to leave.
Do you allow anyone in your life to wield authority over your relationship decisions? Do you need anyone’s approval or fear their disapproval?
Students and Authority
Many students get suckered into high-stress situations at exam time. They’re told by authoritative professors and administrators that they must be tested and that exams are necessary. But the apparent necessity of exams is a manufactured illusion of academic life. Outside of such domains, the academic examination process is largely irrelevant. No one outside of school cares what exams you have or why you think you need them. In fact, many people consider the academic testing process ludicrous and dysfunctional.
During my first run at college, I disliked exams, so I declined to show up for many of them. A predictable consequence was that I failed many classes and was soon expelled. But I learned that the decision to take or not take any exam was mine to make. No one ever forced me to take a test — my permission was always required. I could see that behavioral conditioning techniques were being used to compel me to behave a certain way, such as rewards or punishments. Once I saw through this silly game, I became free to choose for myself whether to play the role of academic student, knowing that it was entirely my choice and that it was impossible for anyone to force me to be tested if I didn’t want to be tested. This turned out to be a powerful mental shift. When I returned to college later, I found it easy to ace my exams without undue stress and generally without needing to devote extra time to studying. I understood that submitting myself to testing was always my choice and never something I had to do. I could only be tested if I chose to be tested.
As a reward for taking and passing certain exams, you may receive a slip of paper that says you know something, but you’ve probably forgotten most of that material a week after the exams anyway. The purpose of the exam was to temporarily convince someone else that you know what they want you to know. What that slip of paper really says is that you’re obedient to authority and that you’ll do the assignments and take the tests that are given to you, and that in itself is something that many employers value. But if you don’t care to submit to another authority, then that slip of paper is of minimal utility. I have one in a box in my garage from my university days, and no one has ever asked to see it. In retrospect, I regard the effort required to earn it to be largely a waste of time, even though I did it faster than most people. (Incidentally, if you still want that slip of paper and you’d like to graduate faster than normal, read “10 Tips for College Students”.)
If you’re currently a student, recognize that no one has authority over you. You don’t actually have to show up to class, take exams, and do busywork. Participating is your choice, and no one can force to you play the role of academic student without your permission. The best they can do is apply behavioral conditioning techniques to try to get you to submit to their authority, but if you see through their silly games of rewards and punishments, those techniques lose a lot of their power. You may still choose to play the academic game for your own reasons, which is perfectly fine. Just don’t fall into the trap of thinking that any part of it is being forced upon you. The whole thing is your choice.
Now that you know about this tendency of human beings to obey authority even when strong objections may be present, how shall you deal with this?
The first step is to become aware of any areas in your life where you may already be succumbing to the pressure of authority and allowing it to override your own morals, ethics, values, or desires.
If you value your time, then where are you feeling pressured to waste time or to invest in activities or responsibilities that aren’t actually important to you? For example, how much time did you invest in social media or web surfing this week? Was that a conscious decision on your part, or did you behave that way because someone or something else was conditioning your behavior with the promise of updates, information, or the illusion of pseudo-connection?
If you value freedom, where have you been encouraged to give up some of that freedom in ways that feel uncomfortable to you? What do you feel compelled or obligated to do this week? What are your have-tos? Are those genuine needs you’ve decided to fulfill, or were you progressively lured into a trap by giving your power away unnecessarily? For instance, did you choose to take on as much debt as you have now, or were you subtly enticed to go there, one easy step at a time?
What areas of your life are causing you signs of distress? Where are you sweating, squirming, complaining, or biting your nails? What parts of your life are causing you the equivalent of mild seizures?
Notice where some part of you is objecting to the state of your reality. Is this an area where you’re still obeying some kind of authority, even if you’re not happy with the results?
As you become aware of your tendency to submit to authority, even if it’s hard to stomach all the areas where you’ve been doing so, this will increase your alignment with truth. At first these realizations might sting a little. But please don’t allow yourself to sink back down to a place of denial and ignorance. Do your best to maintain this level of awareness, even if you don’t feel ready to act on it yet.
A run of one of Milgram’s experiments with a single volunteer took about an hour. That didn’t give people much time to think about their decisions — they were caught in a high-pressure situation. In real-life situations, however, you’re more likely to have some time to pause and reflect on your decisions. This is especially true when it comes to career and relationship decisions. Use this reflection time to your best advantage, and learn to trust yourself in those quiet spaces where the influence of a perceived external authority figure is minimal. For instance, pay attention to how you feel about your job when you’re not at work, and notice how you feel about your relationship when your partner is away — in these moments you’ll have access to a more accurate assessment of your feelings.
Peer pressure certainly played a role in some of the Milgram experiments, either increasing or decreasing the compliance rate. The nice thing about peer pressure is that you can consciously create your own peer pressure to align with your desires.
When it’s possible to do so, seek out the support of others. When your inner voice is being squashed by the seemingly louder voice of some perceived authority, reach out to connect with others who’ve been in similar situations and have already moved beyond them. Especially target people who already have the results you desire, such as a fulfilling career, a happy relationship, or a stress-free academic life, and seek their counsel. Ask such people what they would do in your situation and why. See if their answers resonate with you.
You’ll often find when you talk to such people that they’ll have very different attitudes towards the same authorities that tend to overpower you. I experience this all the time from the opposite side when people share their current challenges with me. They constantly fall into the trap of giving away their power to some perceived outside authority. They often don’t even realize that they can choose to disobey, and that once they get past their resistance to doing so, everything will work out just fine. Disobeying may seem very difficult before you do it, but afterwards you’ll look back and kick yourself for making such a big deal out of it. In many cases it’s as simple as saying no and meaning it.
The student can’t change his/her major because Mom and Dad would be disappointed. The unhealthy relationship can’t end because the needy partner would be hurt. The crappy job can’t be quit because the bank wants to keep receiving the monthly loan payments.
You’re the authority in your life. Not your parents. Not your partner. Not your bank.
You can expect that other people will apply behavioral conditioning techniques to get you to comply with their wishes. Parents do it. Partners do it. Bosses do it. Banks do it. But in the end they’re all powerless to force you to do anything. The only way you obey is that you mistakenly believe that you have to obey. They tell you to obey, and you obey. But like the ornery volunteers in Milgram’s experiments who refused to go all the way to 450 volts, you always remain free to stop administering shocks at any time — especially to yourself.
The good news is that you’re not alone. Other people will be delighted to support you on this path, if you choose to invite their support. But they won’t be the same people who’ve benefitted from your obedience in the past, so don’t go looking for support from the authorities who are still giving you orders. If you go complaining to Amon Göth, you’ll get a bullet in the head for your troubles.
Don’t feel you must make a dramatic shift overnight. You may find it more realistic to make gradual, step-by-step progress.
In the Milgram experiments, even the subjects who objected and quit didn’t generally do so immediately. Their resistance increased gradually as the experiment progressed. As the voice of their conscience grew louder, their willingness to blindly obey authority gradually diminished.
During the 5-year Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, the Dutch didn’t immediately jump to maximum resistance. At first they tried to accept the occupation and adapt to it, but as the Nazis grew more oppressive, the Dutch pushed back with greater levels of resistance, including helping people go into hiding, printing underground newspapers, espionage, sabotage, and armed resistance.
Members of the Dutch resistance also sought to collaborate and coordinate their efforts, working together to support each other. Individually they were weaker, but collectively they could support each other in resisting the occupation on the long journey towards Liberation Day.
Demolishing Unauthorized Authority
Ultimately the task before you is to dismantle the external forms of authority in your life that you’re no longer willing to accept.
One memorable act of rebellion from my own life was when I was 17 years old and realized that I didn’t actually believe in the religious gobbledegook that had been fed to me throughout my childhood. For the first few months, I held this awareness only to myself, not having anyone in my life that I could safely confide in.
When I eventually shared my honest beliefs openly, the reaction from others was predictably negative. Initially this was a stressful time for me. What kept me going was the feeling of certainty that I was in the right, which was largely something created from within.
I experienced a powerful shift when I stopped giving my power away to the old perceived authority figures in my life. I stopped believing that they were smarter or wiser than I was. I finally allowed myself to believe that they could be wrong, mistaken, or deluded. By seeing them as fallible, I no longer held them up as worthy authorities over me.
In other words, I de-authorized those previous authorities. I rescinded permission for them to wield authority over me. Once I experienced that shift in my thinking, I then had the power to think and choose for myself, and no amount of behavioral conditioning tactics (i.e. rewards or punishments) would cause me to yield. As people recognized this shift in me and realized that they no longer had my permission to wield such authority over my thinking and behaviors, they soon gave up on trying to control me. Really I gave them no choice.
The power of Milgram’s experiment lies in the volunteers’ belief in the authority of the experimenter. By giving this person permission to wield authority over their decisions, they gave their power away and became capable of denying responsibility for the pain they may have caused. This allowed them to justify their participation as that of a cog in a machine.
One way to opt out of such an experiment before reaching the end is to place anyone who tries to claim authority over you on a lower rung than yourself on your mental ladder of authority. Don’t assume the experimenter is smarter or wiser than you. Realize that they may be mistaken, wrong, or unethical in their dealings and that you may be right. Stop doubting what your own mind is telling you.
Who or what have you authorized to be a greater authority than yourself in your life? If someone in a position of authority tells you that something is okay, but inside you feel creeped out by their actions, do you go along with them, or do you listen to yourself and say no? What if most of your friends and family go along for the ride? Will you succumb to that kind of peer pressure, even if you feel something isn’t right?
Note that the word authority includes the word author. To wield authority over your life is to become the author of your life. You can’t consciously author much of your life if you give someone or something else authority over you.
Objecting to the misapplied use of authority isn’t enough. Just about everyone objects at some point. People object yet still obey. At some point you have to be able to object and disobey, which means to obey your own inner guidance above the demands of any perceived external authority.
Subjectively speaking, there is no external authority. What’s happening internally (within your own mind) is that you’re stressing yourself out. The stress is a result of trying to deny your own power and authority, make yourself weak, and act like a cog in a machine. This is stressful because it contradicts your true nature. The reality is that you’re very powerful and creative, and if you desire to change some aspect of your reality that doesn’t suit you, you can do so. But in order to do so, you must recognize and accept your power. If you don’t like the way the world is right now, you can step up and do something about it. Pretending to be a powerless victim of circumstance doesn’t suit you.
Becoming an Authority
If you de-authorize the phony authorities in your life and become your own authority, you’ll begin to experience the flip side of Milgram’s experiment. Instead of being the hapless follower, you’ll soon find other people following your lead.
This is where the authority game becomes much more interesting. Instead of being a blind follower, you can transform yourself into a conscious leader. By authoring your own life more proactively, you’ll inspire others to follow your example.
I think that’s the secret fear that many people have when it comes to authority. Once you regain your personal authority, it’s an easy progression into the land of greater public responsibility. When you take charge of your life, you’ll attract others who want to follow your lead and do something similar. You won’t even have to try — those people will come to you.
If you know in advance that authoring your own life will result in others wanting to experience a similar story, is this something you can accept? Are you willing to step into the role of leader? Can you welcome that role into your life? Or would you rather keep playing the follower for a while?
You can follow, or you can lead, and there isn’t much of a space in between. If you’re not willing to lead, you’ll end up following by default.
If you’re willing to lead, then how are you going to lead? When people recognize the authority you have over yourself and become attracted to it, how will you deal with that? Will you try to ignore them? Will you accept that kind of responsibility and do your best? Will you abuse it and become a sadist?
One benefit of leadership is that you can learn a great deal more about your own path when you have a chance to see it reflected in those who seek to join you. Just as Milgram’s experimenters could observe when their volunteers were experiencing stress in response to the unethical demands placed upon them, you can also gauge the response to the authorship of your life from public feedback — but without giving your power away to that feedback. Allow the requests of others to serve as input, but make your own decisions from your personal sense of authority, wisdom, and conscience.
Reclaiming Your Power
Incidentally, Stanley Milgram was only 27 years old when he began conducting his famous experiments (he died at age 51), so don’t make the mistake of assuming that he was some wizened old senior professor. In his day he was quite the rabble-rouser, shaking up the status quo by challenging people’s beliefs.
As a result of going against the grain, Milgram had some authority-based pressure used against him as well. He moved from Yale to Harvard, but he was denied tenure at Harvard, probably because of the controversial nature of his experiments. His membership application to the American Psychological Association was also put on ice for a year.
Many of Milgram’s peers challenged the ethics of his experiments because the experiments caused significant stress to the volunteer participants. Yet most of the original participants, when interviewed about it later, were glad to have been part of the study. Some of them even wanted to work with Milgram. They understood the significance of his work, even though helping him with his research was stressful.
If Milgram’s experiments were indeed unethical, then wouldn’t it also be unethical for teachers to use their authority to stress out their students with exams and grades, for companies to control their employees with rewards and punishments, and for parents to demand that their children comply with family traditions and expectations? When is it okay to use stressful psychological tactics to control the behavior of another?
When stress-producing tactics are used on you in order to manipulate you into behaving a certain way, try to recognize these tactics for what they are — an invitation for you to give your power away. Realize that you can always decline this invitation, reclaim authority over your own life, and make your own conscious choices.
Even if most people continue to give their power away, you don’t have to be one of them. You can stop the shocks whenever you want. The shocks were never real to begin with.
Source: Steve Pavlina
It’s now painfully clear that Obama’s war on Syria is a replay of Bush’s march to war in Iraq, both built on lies. Zero evidence has been put forth that proves the Syrian government used chemical weapons. On the contrary, evidence has been collected that suggests the U.S.-backed Syrian rebels are responsible for the attack.
If Obama wages an aggressive attack on Syria — especially without UN authorization — he’ll be committing a major international crime that will, by any standard, make him a war criminal, just like Bush before him.
And because Obama’s attack on Syria followed Bush’s logic, you’d assume that liberal, progressive, and other Left groups would do what they did when Bush went to war: denounce it unconditionally and organize against it.
But that’s not what happened. Because this didn’t happen, less accurate information was made available to the public, and fewer public mobilizations have occurred, thus re-enforcing Obama’s ability to wage an aggressive war.
There are four pieces of information that all left groups have a duty to report about Syria, but they have either ignored or minimized:
1) Obama presented zero evidence to back up his main justification for war: that the Syrian Government used chemical weapons against civilians.
2) A top UN investigator, Carla Del Ponte, blamed a previous chemical weapons attack on the U.S.-backed rebels.
3) Any attack on Syria, no matter how “limited,” has a high risk of expanding into neighboring countries if Syria exercises its right as a sovereign nation to defend itself.
4) A war against Syria will be a violation of international law, since it is not approved by the UN, and therefore will make President Obama a war criminal.
There has been a broad spectrum of leftist failure to address these issues and condemn Obama’s war, ranging from those who take an overtly pro-war position to those who use anti-war slogans that are stained with pro-war justifications. A consistent “Hands Off Syria” message was hard to find.
The most guilty parties who have aided and assisted Obama’s expected war plans will have blood-stained hands after the bombing begins. Perhaps the best example of this coterie is Van Jones, the former adviser to Obama who founded the Rebuild The Dream organization. On CNN, Jones announced his new appetite for foreign war (Preview) :
“I think we need to stand behind this president and send a clear message to Assad that this type behavior is not acceptable.”
Many liberals took Jones’ “stand by our president” approach, even if it wasn’t stated as directly as Jones did, and even after “our president” was unable to present any sensible reason for waging another aggressive war in the Middle East.
A notch lower on the leftist spectrum of Syria war guilt is MoveOn.org, which has done everything in their power not to portray President Obama’s actions in their true light. But MoveOn had to take a more creative approach to covering up for Obama in Syria.
MoveOn organized a “teach-in” that was streamed on their website. The panel of speakers — with one exception — presented Obama’s position in a very evenhanded, “objective” way, presenting the president as an entirely reasonable person for wanting to bomb Syria, even if it might not be the best way to deal with the situation.
Instead of pointing out the flagrant similarities between Obama’s Syria war rationale and George Bush’s Iraq War lies, these similarities were papered over, thus legitimizing Obama’s criminal actions.
The worst Obama apologist on the panel was Matt Duss from the Center for American Progress, who explained that, although he was against a war on Syria, he “respects” that “other progressives of good faith may come to a different view.”
Phyllis Bennis from the Institute of Policy Studies was the only consistent anti-war panelist, who appeared as a fringe element when compared to the rest of the panel, only because she offered a common sense, consistent anti-war message.
The teach-in ended with a “what can we do” segment to influence the situation. Instead of mobilizing in the streets against Obama, the panelists discussed “contacting congressmen,” “calling the White House’s comment line,” “tweeting,” “email,” “petitions,” but no call was made for doing what was done against Bush: mobilize people in the streets to demand that the war be stopped.
MoveOn further exposed their pro-Obama, pro-war attitude on the website, where for days the featured petition being promoted was titled: “President Obama: Don’t Strike Syria Without Congressional Approval.”
Again, there is no basis for any strike on Syria, period — Congressional approval or otherwise. Even if Congress doesn’t approve Obama’s actions in Syria, it’s likely that he’ll attack Syria anyway, just as happened in Libya after Congress refused authorization.
On the lower end of the spectrum of leftist failure on Syria sits the International Socialist Organization (ISO). After Obama announced his intention to attack Syria, the ISO’s main article, “Imperial Hypocrisy to Justify an Assault,” neglected to address any of the above-stated four critical points about the situation in Syria.
But the ISO’s article went beyond mere neglect of facts; in several instances it re-enforced Obama’s war plans by unquestionably accepting Obama’s claim that there was “evidence” that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against civilians.
“The mass killing in Ghouta was so awful that it forced the debate on Syria to a head. The warheads filled with sarin gas were targeted not at rebel fighters, but women and children in their beds. Their lungs filled with fluid, suffocating them. Hundreds more suffered severe and crippling injuries. Anyone with a sense of justice will be incensed by such a calculated effort to terrorize a vulnerable civilian population.”
Nowhere in the ISO article does it say “Hands Off Syria” or does it clearly denounce Obama’s pending attack on Syria. The article merely states that the U.S. is acting “hypocritically,” which, although true, falls tragically short of the needed response, therefore allowing more political space for Obama to wage a brutal attack.
It’s important to note that the above groups and individuals also politically failed BEFORE Obama announced a direct military intervention, since they did not sound the alarm bells of the long-approaching attack.
For example, the U.S. has been training, funding, and arming Syrian rebels for almost two years now, while having led the diplomatic organizing efforts of a group of rich Syrian exiles that Obama refers to as the “legitimate” government of Syria. Obama stated several times that “Assad must go.” The political Left had a duty to explain the significance of these events and their likely outcome, direct U.S. military intervention.
All of the above groups are also guilty of demonizing Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad, buying in on the propaganda that he is worse than the Al Qaeda-linked rebels who are attacking him. This is a crucial element of justifying any aggressive war. Every head of state that is targeted by the U.S. government must be portrayed as an inspiring “Hitler,” since attacking a nation led by “Hitler” is, of course, a “good” thing to do.
And although opinion is certainly divided over Assad, those in the U.S. wishing to stop an aggressive war must focus on the actions of their own country.
“Hands Off Syria” is a united front demand, meaning that it’s intentionally aimed to create a broad based appeal in an effort to mobilize as many people as possible. No anti-war movement — or any social movement — is powerful without massive, ongoing mobilizations.
Within the united front demand of Hands Off Syria there is plenty of room for other tactics and room to discuss the deeper politics of the movement, but creating the largest possible mobilizations must be the base ingredient, and this can only be done under a demand that is capable of bringing together broad sections of the U.S. public.
The question of war sadly remains the greatest immediate threat the world faces, especially in light of an increasingly conflict-ridden and dangerous Middle East.
The United States government is hell-bent on reckless wars that are increasingly likely to spiral out of control as they bring abject misery to the affected populations around the world while funneling money for badly needed social programs here in the U.S. into campaigns of death and destruction. Unequivocally denouncing U.S. foreign aggression is the duty of all working people who value peace, hate war, and aspire to create a better world.
Hands Off Syria! Bring the Troops Home NOW!
A US drone has just taken a photo of Mullah Omar riding on a motorcycle through the streets of Damascus. 1
So what do we have as the United States refuses to rule out an attack on Syria and keeps five warships loaded with missiles in the eastern Mediterranean?
- Only 9 percent of Americans support a US military intervention in Syria. 2
- Only 11% of the British supported a UK military intervention; this increased to 25% after the announcement of the alleged chemical attack. 3
- British Prime Minister David Cameron lost a parliamentary vote August 29 endorsing military action against Syria 285-272
- 64% of the French people oppose an intervention by the French Army. 4 “Before acting we need proof,” said a French government spokesperson. 5
- Former and current high-ranking US military officers question the use of military force as a punitive measure and suggest that the White House lacks a coherent strategy. “If the administration is ambivalent about the wisdom of defeating or crippling the Syrian leader, possibly setting the stage for Damascus to fall to Islamic fundamentalist rebels, they say, the military objective of strikes on Assad’s military targets is at best ambiguous.” 6
- President Obama has no United Nations approval for intervention. (In February a massive bombing attack in Damascus left 100 dead and 250 wounded; in all likelihood the work of Islamic terrorists. The United States blocked a Russian resolution condemning the attack from moving through the UN Security Council)
- None of NATO’s 28 members has proposed an alliance with the United States in an attack against Syria. NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that he saw “no NATO role in an international reaction to the [Syrian] regime.” 7
- The Arab League has not publicly endorsed support of US military action in Syria; nor have key regional players Saudi Arabia and Qatar, concerned about a possible public backlash from open support for US intervention. 8
- We don’t even know for sure that there was a real chemical attack. Where does that accusation come from? The United States? The al-Qaeda rebels? Or if there was such an attack, where is the evidence that the Syrian government was the perpetrator? The Assad regime has accused the rebels of the act, releasing a video showing a cave with alleged chemical-weapon equipment as well as claiming to have captured rebels possessing sarin gas. Whoever dispensed the poison gas – why, in this age of ubiquitous cameras, are there no photos of anyone wearing a gas mask? The UN inspection team was originally dispatched to Syria to investigate allegations of earlier chemical weapons use: two allegations made by the rebels and one by the government.
- The United States insists that Syria refused to allow the UN investigators access to the site of the attack. However, the UN request was made Saturday, August 24; the Syrian government agreed the next day. 9
- In rejecting allegations that Syria deployed poison gas, Russian officials have argued that the rebels had a clear motivation: to spur a Western-led attack on Syrian forces; while Assad had every reason to avoid any action that could spur international intervention at a time when his forces were winning the war and the rebels are increasingly losing world support because of their uncivilized and ultra-cruel behavior.
- President George W. Bush misled the world on Iraq’s WMD, but Bush’s bogus case for war at least had details that could be checked, unlike what the Obama administration released August 29 on Syria’s alleged chemical attacks – no direct quotes, no photographic evidence, no named sources, nothing but “trust us,” points out Robert Parry, intrepid Washington journalist.
So, in light of all of the above, the path for Mr. Obama to take – as a rational, humane being – is of course clear. Is it not? N’est-ce pas? Nicht wahr? – Bombs Away!
Pretty discouraging it is. No, I actually find much to be rather encouraging. So many people seem to have really learned something from the Iraqi pile of lies and horror and from decades of other American interventions. Skepticism – good ol’ healthy skepticism – amongst the American, British and French people. It was stirring to watch the British Parliament in a debate of the kind rarely, if ever, seen in the 21st-century US Congress. And American military officers asking some of the right questions. The Arab League not supporting a US attack, surprising for an organization not enamored of the secular Syrian government. And NATO – even NATO! – refusing so far to blindly fall in line with the White House. When did that last happen? I thought it was against international law.
Secretary of State John Kerry said that if the United States did not respond to the use of chemical weapons the country would become an international “laughingstock”. Yes, that’s really what America and its people have to worry about – not that their country is viewed as a lawless, mass-murdering repeat offender. Other American officials have expressed concern that a lack of a US response might incite threats from Iran and North Korea. 10
Now that is indeed something to laugh at. It’s comforting to think that the world might be finally losing the stars in their eyes about US foreign policy partly because of countless ridiculous remarks such as these.
United States bombings, which can be just as indiscriminate and cruel as poison gas. (A terrorist is someone who has a bomb but doesn’t have an air force.)
The glorious bombing list of our glorious country, which our glorious schools don’t teach, our glorious media don’t remember, and our glorious leaders glorify.
- Korea and China 1950-53 (Korean War)
- Guatemala 1954
- Indonesia 1958
- Cuba 1959-1961
- Guatemala 1960
- Congo 1964
- Laos 1964-73
- Vietnam 1961-73
- Cambodia 1969-70
- Guatemala 1967-69
- Grenada 1983
- Lebanon 1983, 1984 (both Lebanese and Syrian targets)
- Libya 1986
- El Salvador 1980s
- Nicaragua 1980s
- Iran 1987
- Panama 1989
- Iraq 1991 (Persian Gulf War)
- Kuwait 1991
- Somalia 1993
- Bosnia 1994, 1995
- Sudan 1998
- Afghanistan 1998
- Yugoslavia 1999
- Yemen 2002
- Iraq 1991-2003 (US/UK on regular no-fly-zone basis)
- Iraq 2003-2011 (Second Gulf War)
- Afghanistan 2001 to present
- Pakistan 2007 to present
- Somalia 2007-8, 2011 to present
- Yemen 2009, 2011 to present
- Libya 2011
- Syria 2013?
The above list doesn’t include the repeated use by the United States of depleted uranium, cluster bombs, white phosphorous, and other charming inventions of the Pentagon mad scientists; also not included: chemical and biological weapons abroad, chemical and biological weapons in the United States (sic), and encouraging the use of chemical and biological weapons by other nations; all these lists can be found in William Blum’s book “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower”.
A story just released by Foreign Policy magazine, based on newly-discovered classified documents, reports how, in 1988, the last year of the 8-year Iraq-Iran War, America’s military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks by Iraq far more devastating than anything Syria has seen. 11 Indeed, during that war the United States was the primary supplier to Iraq of the chemicals and hardware necessary to provide the Saddam Hussein regime with a chemical-warfare capability. 12
Now, apparently, the United States has discovered how horrible chemical warfare is, even if only of the “alleged” variety.
Some of those currently advocating bombing Syria turn for justification to their old faithful friend “humanitarian intervention”, one of the earliest examples of which was the 1999 US and NATO bombing campaign to stop ethnic cleansing and drive Serbian forces from Kosovo. However, a collective amnesia appears to have afflicted countless intelligent, well-meaning people, who are convinced that the US/NATO bombing took place after the mass forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stopthis “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic forced deportations of large numbers of people from Kosovo did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a Serbian reaction to it, born of extreme anger and powerlessness. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, and the few days after. Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads:
… with the NATO bombing already begun, a deepening sense of fear took hold in Pristina [the main city of Kosovo] that the Serbs would NOW vent their rage against ethnic Albanian civilians in retaliation.
On March 27, we find the first reference to a “forced march” or anything of that sort.
But the propaganda version is already set in marble.
If you see something, say something. Unless it’s US war crimes.
“When you sign a security clearance and swear oaths, you actually have to abide by that. It is not optional.” – Steven Bucci, of the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation, speaking of Chelsea Manning (formerly known as Bradley) 13
Really? No matter what an individual with security clearance is asked to do? No matter what he sees and knows of, he still has to ignore his conscience and follow orders? But Steven, my lad, you must know that following World War II many Germans of course used “following orders” as an excuse. The victorious Allies of course executed many of them.
Their death sentences were laid down by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Germany, which declared that “Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.”
Nuremberg Principle IV moreover states: “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”
Manning, and Edward Snowden as well, did have moral choices, and they chose them.
It should be noted that Barack Obama has refused to prosecute those under the Bush administration involved in torture specifically – he declares – because they were following orders. Has this “educated” man never heard of the Nuremberg Tribunal? Why isn’t he embarrassed to make this argument again and again?
I imagine that in the past three years that Manning has had to live with solitary confinement, torture and humiliation, adding mightily to her already existing personal difficulties, the thought of suicide has crossed her mind on a number of occasions. It certainly would have with me if I had been in her position. In the coming thousands and thousands of days and long nights of incarceration such thoughts may be Manning’s frequent companion. If the thoughts become desire, and the desire becomes unbearable, I hope the brave young woman can find a way to carry it out. Every person has that right, including heroes.
The United States and its European poodles may have gone too far for their own good in their attempts to control all dissenting communication – demanding total information from companies engaged in encrypted messaging, forcing the closure of several such firms, obliging the plane carrying the Bolivian president to land, smashing the computers at a leading newspaper, holding a whistle-blowing journalist’s partner in custody for nine hours at an airport, seizing the phone records of Associated Press journalists, threatening to send a New York Times reporter to jail if he doesn’t disclose the source of a leak, shameless lying at high levels, bugging the European Union and the United Nations, surveillance without known limits … Where will it end? Will it backfire at some point and allow America to return to its normal level of police state? On July 24, a bill that would have curtailed the power of the NSA was only narrowly defeated by 217 to 205 votes in the US House of Representatives.
And how long will Amnesty International continue to tarnish its image by refusing to state the obvious? That Cheleas Manning is a Prisoner of Conscience. If you go to Amnesty’s website and search “prisoner of conscience” you’ll find many names given, including several Cubans prominently featured. Can there be any connection to Manning’s omission with the fact that the executive director of Amnesty International USA, Suzanne Nossel, came to her position from the US Department of State, where she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organizations?
A phone call to Amnesty’s office in New York was unable to provide me with any explanation for Manning’s omission. I suggest that those of you living in the UK try the AI headquarters in London.
Meanwhile, at the other pre-eminent international human rights organization, Human Rights Watch, Tom Malinowski, the director of HRW’s Washington office, has been nominated by Obama to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Is it really expecting too much that a high official of a human rights organization should not go to work for a government that has been the world’s leading violator of human rights for more than half a century? And if that designation is too much for you to swallow just consider torture, the worst example of mankind’s inhumanity to man. What government has been intimately involved with that horror more than the United States? Teaching it, supplying the manuals, supplying the equipment, creation of torture centers in much of the world, kidnaping people to these places (“rendition”), solitary confinement, forced feeding, Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Chicago … Lord forgive us!
One of the reactions of the United States to Russia granting asylum to Edward Snowden was reported thus: “There was a blistering response on Capitol Hill and calls for retaliatory measures certain to infuriate the Kremlin. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), long one of the Senate’s leading critics of Moscow, blasted the asylum decision as ‘a slap in the face of all Americans’ and called on the administration to turn up the pressure on Moscow on a variety of fronts, including a renewed push for NATO expansion and new missile-defense programs in Europe.” 14
But we’ve long been told that NATO expansion and its missiles in Europe have nothing to do with Russia. And Russia has been told the same, much to Moscow’s continuous skepticism. “Look,” said Russian president Vladimir Putin about NATO in 2001, “this is a military organization. It’s moving towards our border. Why?” 15 He subsequently described NATO as “the stinking corpse of the cold war.” 16
We’ve been told repeatedly by the US government that the missiles are for protection against an Iranian attack. Is it (choke) possible that the Bush and Obama administrations have been (gasp) lying to us?
America’s love affair with Guns
Adam Kokesh is a veteran of the war in Iraq who lives in the Washington, DC area. He’s one of the countless Americans who’s big on guns, guns that will be needed to protect Americans from their oppressive government, guns that will be needed for “the revolution”.
On July 4 the 31-year-old Kokesh had a video made of himself holding a shotgun and loading shells into it while speaking into the camera as he stood in Freedom Plaza, a federal plot of land in between the Washington Monument and the Capitol. This led to a police raid of his home and his being arrested on the 25th for carrying a firearm outside his home or office. The 23-second video can be seen on YouTube. 17
I sent Kokesh the following email:
“Adam: All your weapons apparently didn’t help you at all when the police raided your house. But supposedly, people like you advocate an armed populace to protect the public from an oppressive government. I’ve never thought that that made much sense because of the huge imbalance between the military power of the public vs. that of the government. And it seems that I was correct.”
I received no reply, although his still being in jail may explain that.
Kokesh, incidentally, had a program on RT (Russia Today) for a short while last year.
- The three preceding jokes are courtesy of my friend Viktor Dedaj of Paris ↩
- Reuters/Ipsos poll, August 26, 2013 ↩
- Sunday Times (UK), YouGov poll, August 25 ↩
- Le Parisien, August 30, 2012 ↩
- Christian Science Monitor, August 29, 2013 ↩
- Washington Post, August 29, 2013 ↩
- The Wall Street Journal, August 30, 2013 ↩
- Washington Post, August 31, 2013 ↩
- UN Web TV, August 27, 2013 (starting at minute 12:00) ↩
- The Washington Post, August 31, 2013 ↩
- Shane Harris and Matthew M. Aid, “CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran”, Foreign Policy, August 26, 2013 ↩
- William Blum, “Anthrax for Export”, The Progressive (Madison, Wisconsin), April 1998 ↩
- Washington Post, August 22, 2013 ↩
- Washington Post, July 31, 2013 ↩
- Associated Press, June 16, 2001 ↩
- Time magazine, December 2007 ↩
- Washington Post, August 13, 2013 ↩
Just like a broken clock, it tells correct time twice a day. Barack Hussein Obama’s promise to have Congress vote upon his Syria’s strike force plans is a first since the historic constitutional betrayal in the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Even the feeble attempt in The War Powers Act of 1973, to place accountability on Imperial Presidents, routinely ignored by other POTUS, struck new heights of arrogance and abuses under this infamous Nobel Peace Prize President.The War Powers Resolution, generally known as the War Powers Act, was passed by Congress over President Nixon’s veto to increase congressional control over the executive branch in foreign policy matters, specifically in regard to military actions short of formally declared war. Its central provision prohibited the President from engaging in military actions for more than sixty days, unless Congress voted approval.
The key Section 1541(c) reads:
(c) Presidential Executive Power as Commander-in-Chief; Limitation The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.
The proposed authorization approval in both bodies of Congress on extending permission for unwarranted aggression against Syria promises to be the most significant vote on foreign policy in the last half century. How many false flag cons can a war weary public endure from the neoconservatives and liberal interventionists? The answer becomes clear, every measure of pain and suffering that the fifth column Zionists can extract.
From Before It is News, the Hacked Email of US Intelligence Colonel Shows Pentagon’s Involvement In Chemical Attack In Syria article concludes that this documentation proves that the chemical attack was indeed a false flag operation.
James Corbett provides a compelling summary in the YouTube video, Who Is Really Behind the Syrian War? He references an even more alarming analysis of the ”Oded Yinon Plan“ from Global Research. Their report “Greater Israel”: The Zionist Plan for the Middle East, by Michel Chossudovsky is a most significant account.
“Greater Israel” requires the breaking up of the existing Arab states into small states.
“The plan operates on two essential premises. To survive, Israel must 1) become an imperial regional power, and 2) must effect the division of the whole area into small states by the dissolution of all existing Arab states. Small here will depend on the ethnic or sectarian composition of each state. Consequently, the Zionist hope is that sectarian-based states become Israel’s satellites and, ironically, its source of moral legitimation… This is not a new idea, nor does it surface for the first time in Zionist strategic thinking. Indeed, fragmenting all Arab states into smaller units has been a recurrent theme.” (Yinon Plan, see below)
Viewed in this context, the war on Syria is part of the process of Israeli territorial expansion. Israeli intelligence working hand in glove with the US, Turkey and NATO is directly supportive of the Al Qaeda terrorist mercenaries inside Syria.
The Zionist Project also requires the destabilization of Egypt, the creation of factional divisions within Egypt as instrumented by the “Arab Spring” leading to the formation of a sectarian based State dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood.
The rabid sociopathic jingoism of the NeoCons is not in defense of the United States or the American people. No, their allegiance is to Zionism. The destructive foreign policy of the last four administrations is a strategic departure from post World War II objectives. Since an open debate about the harmful consequences, stemming out of a blind support for Israel is nearly nonexistent on Capital Hill, the task of setting the record straight falls upon a Canadian journalist, Joshua Blakeney to explain why Israel and client states want nobody to rule Syria.
“It ought to be kept in mind that the post-WWII US military doctrine for the Middle East was the Eisenhower Doctrine which promoted the fomentation of stability in the region to facilitate the flow of oil to Americans. This was fine if you were safely ensconced in Houston or Dallas with your oil companies raking in profits from Middle East oil fields but for Israel this policy was disastrous. The funneling of petro-dollars to Israel’s adversaries like Saddam Hussein, who fired scud missiles at Israel in 1991, and to the likes of President Assad was intolerable. Therefore a schism in the Empire soon emerged and two distinct US-Zionist visions for the Middle East crystallized.
From the perspective of anti-neocon Realists, such as Walt (Stephen Walt, professor of International Relations at Harvard), the US has a vested interest in propping up Arab strongmen (like President Assad) who can create stability in their countries thus making them potentially hospitable for US corporations. For Zionist-neocons and their evil twin brothers, Liberal Interventionists, it is Israel’s regional dominance rather than US commerce which is of primary importance.”
The prevailing attitude out of Israel regarding Syria is most revealing. The Jerusalem Post reports, Israelis want US, Europe to attack Syria, but against IDF intervention. “The US and European countries should attack Syria, but Israel should not be involved in the assault, two polls in weekend Hebrew newspapers found.”
When Congress voices their will, their true colors will show. Mournfully, most beltway tools are dual loyalists, no matter what their heritage. Just who will be making the decision? AIPAC must be burning up multi IOU’s. When representative ”pols” see only white and blue in their flag and forget the red tint that stands for the sacrifice of patriotic blood on foreign soil, the country is betrayed.
Mr. Blakeney continues on the danger of relinquishing a pro America First foreign policy:
“The Israeli-neocon 9/11 coup d’état allowed the pro-destabilization, Zionist faction of the US elite to seize the reins of power. Since then we’ve seen the implementation of the Destabilization Doctrine, which, as stated, is the polar opposite of the less malignant post-WWII Eisenhower Doctrine. The now notorious Oded Yinon plan, authored by the Israeli geostrategic analyst in 1982, offers the clearest manifesto for the Israeli destabilization of the Middle East. Yinon argued the following:
“Lebanon’s total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precedent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula and is already following that track. The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target. Syria will fall apart, in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in present day Lebanon, so that there will be a Shia Alawi state along its coast, a Sunni state in the Aleppo area, another Sunni state in Damascus hostile to its northern neighbor, and the Druzes who will set up a state, maybe even in our Golan, and certainly in the Hauran and in northern Jordan. This state of affairs will be the guarantee for peace and security in the area in the long run, and that aim is already within our reach today.”
Many Americans are chumps when they think Israel is our ally. When will the anti-war progressives mount an Occupy Wall Street style effort to avoid another dangerous and avoidable involvement? Norman Solomon writing in antiwar.com warns. “The administration is about to launch a ferocious propaganda blitz that will engulf a wide range of U.S. media. And as a fallback, the president is reserving the option of attacking Syria no matter what Congress does.”
Pat Buchanan has it correct as usual. “The idea that we would launch unilaterally a war against a country that has not attacked us or threatened us without the authorization of the Congress, which has the power to declare war — it seems to me is an act of almost insanity.”
A record of indisputable conduct proves that the foreign policy establishment routinely operates against the best interests of the nation. Just how many citizens realize that the Yinon Plan is actually the operational context under which stratagem functions?
It is certainly likely that the puppet president will just lie his way out of another box of his own creation. However, what is it gonna take for the public to break with the incompetent buffoon, who sits on the nuclear codes?
Syria is a target for the reason Buchanan cites. “The neocons realize that if they can get us to attack Syria and there’s a real possibility that there will be retaliatory attacks on Americans or attacks on Israel which will then cause the Israelis or the Americans to attack Syria’s allies in Iran — Syria is the backdoor to war with Iran.”
Almost sounds like the Yinon Plan is following the script that the Zionists provided to their U.S. benefactors.
Ever since there has been such a thing as a formal school, teachers first focus on words and numbers.
Allan Tate, a fairly famous poet and critic during the middle decades of the 20th century, said: “The purpose of education is not happiness; it is not social integration, or political system. Its purpose is . . . the discipline of the mind for its own sake; these ends are to be achieved through the mastery of fundamental subjects which cluster around language and number, the two chief instruments by which man knows himself and understands his relation to the world.”
Here, the word “education” means what it has meant for many thousands of years, and what it still means to virtually every parent.
John Dewey and his Progressives substituted a new definition. They were not interested in the mind. They were deeply interested in social integration and political system. To achieve their goals, they were willing to slight the 3Rs. This may understate the situation. These people were like celebrants at a New Year’s Eve party throwing confetti out a window. The confetti in this case being A, B, C and 1, 2, 3. Traditional education fluttered away on the wind. Ignorance and Illiteracy swaggered into town.
Traditionally, reading, writing and arithmetic were a foundation for geography, history, science, and the arts. These seven subjects, Dewey believed, were anachronisms and a waste of time. The practical strategy for Progressives was to denigrate these obsolete topics, while substituting a host of new ones such as cooperative projects and discovery learning. The main goal is that everyone play well together. If children are doing that, the school is a success.
Dewey and his cult could not snap their fingers and change things overnight. Old-fashioned opinions were in the way. So the Progressives, starting in the early 1900s, whittled away. Progressives lamented the emphasis on geography, history, and grammar. They said that no child needs to know the multiplication tables or dates. They attacked science, physics, and higher math. In short, facts and knowledge were unnecessary baggage.
A principal named Lauchner said in 1951 that learning to bake a cherry pie was as important as learning to read. This is inane. No one needs to make a cherry pie; everyone needs to read. The striking thing is his candor. He said aloud what our entire Education Establishment believed.
Visualize, circa 1913, real education taking place. Then imagine that the people in charge chip away a hardly-noticed 2% each year. A century later education will be deflated to less than 15% of what it was.
The interesting thing is the gathering paralysis as people know less, and can think less clearly. It’s like someone trapped in a cave; the oxygen runs out; you get lightheaded and can’t think efficiently. Even dumb ideas sound promising.
So we arrive in the present. We have 50 million functional illiterates. A majority of children are below “proficient” in reading. They don’t know how to write their own signatures (because cursive has been denounced for many years). Illiteracy struts upon the stage.
Meanwhile, children weren’t required to know the capitals of the states; then they weren’t required to know the names of the states; and finally they weren’t required to know much of anything. Ignorance preens.
Never suppose that these shifts are accidental, that they are the fault of parents, movies, the Internet, teenage hormones, or anything else.
Let’s face the reality: our Education Establishment worked hard–and continues to work hard–to bring about this result.
The pigs in Animal Farm, having learned to walk upright, declared “Four legs good, two legs better!” With a similar sort of calculation, we have passed into a world of 3 R’s good, 2 I’s better.
More than two years after the catastrophe, Japanese officialdom has raised the severity of the calamity from one to three (on a scale of seven). The threat elevation is due to massive amounts of radioactive water leaking out of the site.
“The quantities of water they are dealing with are absolutely gigantic,” nuclear consultant Mycle Schneider told the BBC. “It is much worse than we have been led to believe, much worse.”
This is having an impact on everything from the water supply to the surrounding oceans.
“Our biggest concern right now is if some of the other isotopes such as Strontium-90, which tend to be more mobile, get through these sediments in the groundwater,” scientist Ken Buesseler said. “They are entering the oceans at levels that then will accumulate in seafood and will cause new health concerns.”
The horror stories just keep on accumulating, as Harvey Wasserman documents for The Progressive.
“A plague of damaged thyroids has already been reported among as many as 40 percent of the children in the Fukushima area,” he writes. “Cesium-137 from Fukushima has been found in fish caught as far away as California.”
It’s not shocking, then, that Fukushima is causing the world to take a long, hard look at nuclear energy.
“It has profoundly shaken confidence in the future of nuclear power, from Taiwan—where earlier this month MPs resorted to fisticuffs as they debated a referendum on a new nuclear power station—to Berlin,” The Guardian notes.
“The kind of cascade of devastating events that hit Fukushima hadn’t previously been factored into risk probability assessments,” the paper says. “Now regulatory authorities all over the world have been forced to consider whether, however unlikely, more than one accident could happen in quick succession, and what the consequences would be.”
The continuing calamity has put a crimp in Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s grandiose plans to go in for a full-scale nuclear revival.
“Even before news of the new leak, a majority of the public was against restarts, according to a Kyodo News poll taken July 13-14, with 51 percent opposing and 40 percent in favor of reviving Japan’s nuclear program,” Bloomberg News reports. “The latest revelation could further sway sentiment against nuclear power, according to Koichi Nakano, professor of politics at Sophia University in Tokyo.”
However, for something that has such ongoing significance, there’s comparatively little current coverage of Fukushima in the American media.
“Unlike other environmental catastrophes like BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Fukushima crisis offers little to film,” Eric Ozawa writes for The Nation. “And so the story, when it gets reported, rarely gets the attention it deserves.”
Don’t let that fool you, though. Fukushima is one of the most consequential events of recent years and has huge implications for the types of energy sources we choose—and the type of world we’d like to live in.
Source: Amitabh Pal | The Progressive
Cannabis has been making a lot of noise lately. Multiple states across the United States and countries around the world have successfully legalized medical Marijuana, and the Uruguay parliament recently voted to create the world’s first legal marijuana market. This is good news as the health benefits of Cannabis are vast, with multiple medical and scientific studies that confirm them.
On the other hand, arguments against the use of marijuana are usually published in Psychiatric journals, which show no scientific evidence that Cannabis is harmful to human health. All psychological evaluations from the intake of cannabis are largely based on assumptions, suggestions and observations (1).
When we look at the actual science behind Cannabis, the health benefits can be overwhelming. So what does one who opposes the use of cannabis base their belief on? Nothing, not scientific evidence anyways. The negative astigmatism attached to marijuana is due to its supposed psychotropic effects; yet again, there is no scientific evidence to show that marijuana has any psychotropic effects. Nonetheless, cannabis has recently been the focus of medical research and considered as a potential therapeutic treatment and cure for cancer.
Cannabis is a great example of how the human mind is programmed and conditioned to believe something. Growing up, we are told drugs are bad, which is very true; however, not all substances that have been labelled as “drugs” by the government are harmful. Multiple substances are labelled as a “drug” in order to protect corporate interests. One example is the automobile and energy industry, a car made from hemp is stronger than steel, and can be fueled from hemp alone. Henry Ford demonstrated this many years ago. Hemp actually has over 50,000 uses!
Let’s take a look at the science behind Cannabis and Cancer. Although Cannabis has been proven to be effective for a large range of ailments, this article will focus mainly on its effectiveness in the treatment of cancer. Cannabinoids may very well be one of the best disease and cancer fighting treatments out there. Cannabinoids refer to any of a group of related compounds that include cannabinol and the active constituents of cannabis. They activate cannabinoid receptors in the body. The body itself produces compounds called endocannabinoids and they play a role in many processes within the body that help to create a healthy environment.
Cannabinoids also play a role in immune system generation and re-generation. The body regenerates best when it’s saturated with Phyto-Cannabinoids. Cannabinoids can also be found in Cannabis. It is important to note that the cannabinoids are plentiful in both hemp and cannabis. One of the main differentiations between hemp and cannabis is simply that hemp only contains 0.3% THC while cannabis is 0.4% THC or higher. (Technically they are both strains of Cannabis Sativa.)
Cannabinoids have been proven to reduce cancer cells as they have a great impact on the rebuilding of the immune system. While not every strain of cannabis has the same effect, more and more patients are seeing success in cancer reduction in a short period of time by using cannabis.
While taking a look at these studies, keep in mind that cannabis can be much more effective for medicinal purposes when we eat itrather than smoking it. Below are 20 medical studies that prove cannabis can be an effective treatment and possible cure for cancer. Please keep in mind that this is a very short list of studies that support the use of medicinal marijuana. Please feel free to further your research, hopefully this is a good starting point.
Brain Cancer1. A study published in the British Journal of Cancer, conducted by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Complutense University in Madrid, this study determined that Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids inhibit tumour growth. They were responsible for the first clinical study aimed at assessing cannabinoid antitumoral action. Cannabinoid delivery was safe and was achieved with zero psychoactive effects. THC was found to decrease tumor cells in two out of the nine patients.
2. A study published in The Journal of Neuroscience examined the biochemical events in both acute neuronal damage and in slowly progressive, neurodegenerative diseases. They conducted a magnetic resonance imaging study that looked at THC (the main active compound in marijuana) and found that it reduced neuronal injury in rats. The results of this study provide evidence that the cannabinoid system can serve to protect the brain against neurodegeneration.
3. A study published in The Journal of Pharmacology And Experimental Therapeutics already acknowledged the fact that cannabinoids have been shown to possess antitumor properties. This study examined the effect of cannabidiol (CBD, non psychoactive cannabinoid compound) on human glioma cell lines. The addition of cannabidiol led to a dramatic drop in the viability of glioma cells. Glioma is the word used to describe brain tumor. The study concluded that cannabidiol was able to produce a significant antitumor activity.
4. A study published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics outlines how brain tumors are highly resistant to current anticancer treatments, which makes it crucial to find new therapeutic strategies aimed at improving the poor prognosis of patients suffering from this disease. This study also demonstrated the reversal of tumor activity in Glioblastoma multiforme.
Breast Cancer5. A study published in the US National Library of Medicine, conducted by the California Pacific Medical Centre determined that cannabidiol (CBD) inhibits human breast cancer cell proliferation and invasion. They also demonstrated that CBD significantly reduces tumor mass.
6. A study published in The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeuticsdetermined that THC as well as cannabidiol dramatically reduced breast cancer cell growth. They confirmed the potency and effectiveness of these compounds.
7. A study published in the journal Molecular Cancer showed that THC reduced tumor growth and tumor numbers. They determined that cannabinoids inhibit cancer cell proliferation, induce cancer cell apoptosis and impair tumor angiogenesis (all good things). This study provides strong evidence for the use of cannabinoid based therapies for the management of breast cancer.
8. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) determined that cannabinoids inhibit human breast cancer cell proliferation.
Lung Cancer9. A study published in the journal Oncogene, by Harvard Medical Schools Experimental Medicine Department determined that THC inhibits epithelial growth factor induced lung cancer cell migration and more. They go on to state that THC should be explored as novel therapeutic molecules in controlling the growth and metastasis of certain lung cancers.
10. A study published by the US National Library of Medicine by the Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology, from the Department of General Surgery in Germany determined that cannabinoids inhibit cancer cell invasion. Effects were confirmed in primary tumor cells from a lung cancer patient. Overall, data indicated that cannabinoids decrease cancer cell invasiveness.
11. A study published by the US National Library of Medicine, conducted by Harvard Medical School investigated the role of cannabinoid receptors in lung cancer cells. They determined its effectiveness and suggested that it should be used for treatment against lung cancer cells.
Prostate Cancer12. A study published in the US National Library of Medicine illustrates a decrease in prostatic cancer cells by acting through cannabinoid receptors.
13. A study published in the US National Library of Medicine outlined multiple studies proving the effectiveness of cannabis on prostate cancer.
14. Another study published by the US National Library of Medicine determined that clinical testing of CBD against prostate carcinoma is a must. That cannabinoid receptor activation induces prostate carcinoma cell apoptosis. They determined that cannabidiol significantly inhibited cell viability.
15. A study published in the journal Molecular Pharmacology recently showed that cannabinoids induce growth inhibition and apoptosis in mantle cell lymphoma. The study was supported by grants from the Swedish Cancer Society, The Swedish Research Council and the Cancer Society in Stockholm.
16. A study published in the International Journal of Cancer also determined and illustrated that cannabinoids exert antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects in various types of cancer and in mantle cell lymphoma.
17. A study published in the US National Library of Medicine conducted by the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology by Virginia Commonwealth University determined that cannabinoids induce apoptosis in leukemia cells.
Oral Cancer18. A study published by the US National Library of Medicine results show cannabinoids are potent inhibitors of cellular respiration and are toxic to highly malignant oral tumors.
Liver Cancer19. A study published by the US National Library of Medicine determined that that THC reduces the viability of human HCC cell lines (Human hepatocellular liver carcinoma cell line) and reduced the growth.
Pancreatic Cancer20. A study published in The American Journal of Cancer determined that cannabinoid receptors are expressed in human pancreatic tumor cell lines and tumor biopsies at much higher levels than in normal pancreatic tissue. Results showed that cannabinoid administration induced apoptosis. They also reduced the growth of tumor cells, and inhibited the spreading of pancreatic tumor cells.
All sources highlighted throughout article. Click on the highlighted parts of the article to view them.
Arjun Walia writes for collective-evolution.com where this article first appeared.
In times of crisis people strive for easy answers to complex situations. In Egypt this has resulted in absurdly digestible sound bites, where one side is labeled “good”(the Muslim Brotherhood), the other “bad” (the army), and the revolution as a whole is condemned as an atrocity. But the situation in Egypt is especially contradictory, and untying the social-political knots of the revolution requires avoiding pre-packaged catchphrases.
Contrary to the claims of many, reports of the revolution’s death are greatly exaggerated. Those who predict that Egypt will inevitably enter a long period of military dictatorship forget that the Egyptian revolution destroyed such a dictatorship in 2011, and helped topple Morsi’s authoritarian government in July. The people in Egypt have not been cowed into submission, they are still in the streets, unafraid, consciously aware of their power. The Egyptian military is very aware of this fact, as their actions testify.
Although it’s a tragedy that innocent people have been killed, it’s also true that the Muslim Brotherhood represents not the revolution, but its adversary. Especially confusing is that another opponent of the revolution — the military generals — are leading the attack against the Brotherhood, which raises the question: why would one enemy of the revolution be attacking another?
The current, bizarre-seeming situation in Egypt is actually common in the history of revolutions, having started in the modern era with Napoleon Bonaparte, who, during the French Revolution, consolidated his power by aligning with certain social classes against rival sections, and switching allegiances when necessary to offset the power of his former allies, until all political rivals were weakened, allowing him and his army to act as arbitrator and ruler.
This now common feature of revolutions is often referred to as “Bonapartism” in honor of its founder and is a reflection of society in revolutionary upheaval, where different social classes are powerfully asserting themselves, though unable to out-power their adversaries, allowing the military to act as the Bonapartist “arbitrator.”
Bonapartism is also a sign of the political weakness of the military, which is not able to rule without aligning with certain segments of the population (this is why the Egyptian generals recently asked for mobilizations to signal “permission” to put down the Brotherhood’s civil disobedience actions, essentially using Egypt’s political left against the political right).
Bonapartism has been practiced by military dictatorships since Napoleon. In fact, Egypt’s popular military President Gamal Abdul Nasser — who instituted many progressive measures in Egypt — was himself a classic Bonapartist, though one who uncharacteristically leaned left.
For example, after surviving an assassination attempt from the Muslim Brotherhood, Nasser used the military to destroy the Brotherhood, while enjoying support from the political left in Egypt due to his progressive policies. After dealing with the Brotherhood, Nasser consolidated his power against the growing revolutionary left, by attacking both the communist party and trade unions. This political balancing act between political left and right is the hallmark of Bonapartism.
Nasser’s successor, Sadat, also used a Bonapartist strategy when he invited the Muslim Brotherhood back into Egypt to use as a right wing political battering ram against the Egyptian left. Sadat needed the Brotherhood as a political prop to help him reverse the progressive policies implemented under Nasser.
Mubarak, too, used the Brotherhood in this fashion, for the same reasons as Sadat. It’s true that both Mubarak and Sadat used aggressive measures against the Brotherhood at times, but they both allowed the group greater freedom for political organization than any other group, since the Brotherhood was a politically perfect compliment to the president’s right-wing, neo-liberal policies.
This pro-Brotherhood favoritism led to the situation where, after the fall of Mubarak, the Brotherhood was virtually the only organized political force in Egypt. After being dragged into the revolution kicking and screaming by their youth wing, the Brotherhood then opportunistically took power, while sharing none of the goals or vision of the revolutionaries.
One common way that commentators have been confusing the situation in Egypt is by portraying the Muslim Brotherhood as Ghandian revolutionaries striving to restore democracy. But in the same breath these analysts say, correctly, “God forbid” if the Brotherhood is allowed to implement their vision of a fundamentalist Islamic State in Egypt, since doing so would automatically reduce the liberties of women, non-fundamentalist Muslims, and religious minorities.
Yet another common mistake in assessing Egypt is to portray the conflict as secularists against Muslims. The Muslim Brotherhood does not have a monopoly over Islam in Egypt. Out of the millions of people who demanded the ouster of Morsi on June 30th, the vast majority of them were Muslims of the Sunni variety, just like the Muslim Brotherhood. But the Brotherhood’s fundamentalist version of Sunni Islam remains a minority opinion among Egypt’s Sunni majority.
A further flaw in analyzing current events in Egypt lies in forgetting how the situation developed, which requires that we delve into the not-too-distant past of June 30th, when millions of Egyptians demanded the departure of then-President Morsi. These massive demonstrations were obviously at least as large as the ones that toppled Mubarak, yet the Muslim Brotherhood failed to get the message, and have attempted to use militant civil disobedience in order to reinstate the unquestionably unpopular Morsi.
The military moved against the Brotherhood because they believed, correctly, that the majority of the population was behind them and against the Brotherhood, as evidenced by the much larger demonstrations that responded to the call of the military, not to mention mountains of other evidence documenting that opinion in working class Cairo neighborhoods has turned against the Muslim Brotherhood.
And although there are many who simply dismiss the June 30th demonstration of millions as a “conspiracy,” it’s impossible to force people to attend demonstrations with one united demand, “Morsi must go,” if they don’t want to be there. Many “pro-conspiracy” analysts simply seem not to understand the profound political significance of demonstrations of that size, as if they’re somehow common and not symptoms of a powerful revolution.
It’s true that the Egyptian generals — not to mention plotting foreign countries — are trying to implement their own agenda throughout the crisis, which always entails some conspiratorial maneuvering, but the demands of June 30th made it very clear where Egyptians stand on the issue: they spoke with their own voice.
Although the majority of Egyptians are now anti-Muslim Brotherhood, the military’s recent actions create new problems for Egypt’s revolutionaries. The power of the Brotherhood will be shattered, but the power of the military will be enhanced. To prevent the generals from abusing their power against the Egyptian working class, revolutionaries need to quickly plan a way to protect themselves while furthering the demands of the revolution.
Because the Egyptian left remains insufficiently organized, they must utilize the political strategy of the United Front, which unites broad sections of the population behind a limited number of popular demands. By doing this, the military generals will be powerless in the face of a united mass movement that is putting forth a positive program, as opposed to the current dynamic that is united around what Egyptians reject. A united front mass movement will win the hearts and minds of the rank-and-file Egyptian soldier, while also preventing the Brotherhood’s fundamentalism from gaining a fresh batch of recruits.
In Egypt the most immediate needs of the population — bread, jobs, social services, etc. — are the demands that continue to fuel the revolution and be the most uniting. If the political left put forth a plan using revolutionary methods to achieve these demands — reversing the privatizations, raising the tax rates on the wealthy, public works for employment, etc. — then the broader Egyptian working class would rally to achieve these goals, some of which were realized under President Nasser and reversed by Sadat and Mubarak.
The Egyptian revolution does not have years to solve these problems; the economy of Egypt is facing catastrophe, and drastic action must be taken immediately. This is one of the reasons Morsi was ejected from power: he thought he could continue the Mubarak attitude of doing nothing substantial for the majority of the population, half of which lives in abject poverty and the other half scrambling madly to avoid such a fate.
The higher expectations and new hopes inspired by the revolution must be accompanied by bold revolutionary actions capable of achieving these new expectations. Politics as usual is a thing of the past in Egypt. The revolution can avoid the fate of entrenched Bonapartism only if it is unequivocally aimed at addressing the pressing basic economic needs of the vast majority of the Egyptian population.
At issue is by far the worst environmental disaster in history. It’s multiples worse than Chernobyl. It’s an unprecedented catastrophe. It’s reason enough to abolish nuclear power.
According to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, about 300 tons of radioactive groundwater flow into the Pacific daily.
It’s done so since Japan’s March earthquake and tsunami triggered Fukushima’s meltdown.
Tokyo Electric (TEPCO) says water’s getting over and around “chemical walls.” It can’t be stopped. Three Fukushima reactors suffered meltdowns. A fourth was badly damaged.
The worst fear remains. Unit Four’s structural integrity was seriously undermined. It contains hundreds of tons of highly radioactive water.
If an earthquake or other natural disaster occurs, its fuel rods almost certainly will catch fire. Radioactive emissions will follow. They’ll compound what’s already disastrous.
Emissions will continue longterm. They’ll circle the planet. They cause catastrophic harm.
Since March 2011, Tepco estimates around 20 to 40 trillion radioactive tritium becquerels leaked into the Pacific. So have large cesium and strontium discharges. They continue. They’re much more dangerous.
According to nuclear expert Arnie Gunderson, “(t)he horse is already out of the barn.” Leakage continues since earthquake and tsunami struck.
Radioactive water contaminates the Pacific. Gunderson’s “experience with underground water is that – if it is serious at the ocean, it is more serious” on land.
Japanese officials proposed erecting a barrier. At issue is preventing water from reaching the Pacific. Whatever’s done “is two years too late and will be too late by the time” construction’s finished, said Gunderson.
A barrier’s not the solution. It causes another problem. “If the water can’t go anywhere into the Pacific Ocean, it is going to build up onsite, which means that the nuclear reactors themselves will become unstable.”
“The water can pull underneath the nuclear buildings and if there is an earthquake, in fact the nuclear buildings could topple. So, by solving one problem, they are creating another problem.”
Gunderson believes contaminated water will keep discharging for at least 20 to 30 years. It’s the most radioactive water he ever experienced.
Cost is another issue. Cleanup involves around half a trillion dollars, says Gunderson. Most important is human health.
Epidemic cancer levels are certain. And not just in Japan. In early July, Fukushima’s former chief operator, Masao Yoshida, died of esophogeal cancer.
He was 58. Tepco lied saying his death was unrelated to radiation exposure. Japanese children are experiencing a shocking 40% rise in thyroid irregularities.
Experts expect much higher numbers ahead. Fukushima’s an ongoing disaster. It persists. It’s not ending. It’ll continue for decades.
According to Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) president Arjun Makhijani:
“Fukushima continues to be an emergency without end – vast amounts of radioactivity, including strontium-90 in the groundwater, evidence of leaks into the sea, the prospect of contaminated seafood.”
“Strontium-90, being a calcium analog, bioaccumulates in the food chain. It is likely to be a seaside nightmare for decades.”
It’s much more dangerous than cesium 137 and 134. It’s at levels 30 times higher.
“So to give you an idea of the level of contamination, if somebody drank that water for a year, they would almost certainly get cancer.”
“So that’s one problem. The other is the defenses to hold back this water from the sea seem to be overcome.”
“So now the contaminated waters, 70,000, 80,000 gallons, are flowing into the sea every day.”
“(S)ome of it will disperse and dilute. Some of it goes into the sediment, and some of it is taken up by the life in the sea.”
“And the unfortunate thing about strontium especially is that it bioaccumulates in algae. It bioaccumulates in fish.”
“It targets the bone, because it’s like calcium. And so this is a problem. We don’t have measurements far out to sea.”
“The Woods Hole Institute has done some surveys. And they were surprised by how much continuing radioactivity they found, but no clear explanation yet.”
The effect on human health’s expected to be devastating. It’s already bad. It’s getting progressively worse. The genie’s out of the bottle. No end in sight looms.
Strontium-90 and cesium are both perilous. “(S)ince strontium-90 is more mobile and also more dangerous biologically, (it) behaves like calcium, so it goes to the bone.”
“It also bioaccumulates in the base of the food chain and algae. Ultimately because it does bioaccumulate and there is quite a lot of strontium, you could have a large part of the food chain near Fukushima being contaminated.”
If pregnant women ingest contaminated water, fish or other food, “the outcomes could be worse than cancer because then you’re talking about a much more compromised child in the sense of having a compromised immune system – it makes you more vulnerable to all kinds of diseases.”
Makhijani doesn’t know how Tepco can handle the problem. It’s uncontrollable.
“It’s very, very unclear to me how they are going to be able to get at this molten fuel, extract it from the bottoms of these highly damaged buildings and package it for safer or less dangerous storage or disposal.”
“This is an accident that’s shockingly not stopping.” It’s certain to worsen. It’s unchartered territory.
It affects the region. It’s humanity’s worst environmental nightmare. Nuclear rain affects North America and Europe. Obama’s an unabashed nuclear power promoter.
He wants more reactors built. He wants licenses for aging poorly maintained plants with poor safety records extended. He wants them operating unregulated.
He’s recklessly endangering Americans. He talks clean energy alternatives. Policy measures spurn them. He fronts for corporate favorites.
He’s captive to a destructive industry. He risks a Fukushima-type disaster on US soil. He risks millions of American lives. He’s mindless of potential dangers.
Nuclear power’s inherently unsafe. Einstein called it a hellova way to boil water. It does so through massive heat. It turns it into steam. It powers an electricity generating turbine.
According to anti-nuclear activist Karl Grossman:
Avoiding potentially catastrophic accidents “requires perfection and no acts of God.” Humans and technology aren’t perfect. Natural and other disasters happen.
“We can’t eliminate them. But we can – and must – eliminate atomic energy.” Otherwise it’ll eliminate us.
Nuclear expert Helen Caldicott’s clear and unequivocal, saying:
“As a physician, I contend that nuclear technology threatens life on our planet with extinction.”
“If present trends continue, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink will soon be contaminated with enough radioactive pollutants to pose a potential health hazard far greater than any plague humanity has ever experienced.”
It doesn’t get any clearer than that.
A Final Comment
Coverup and denial followed Chernobyl’s disaster. Helen Caldicott called doing so “the most monstrous coverup in the history of medicine.”
The death toll was many multiples greater than reported. Estimates range up to a million or more.
The New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) translated thousands of Russian articles and papers. It added “revised and updated contributions.”
“Written by leading authorities from Eastern Europe, the volume outlines the history of the health and environmental consequences of the Chernobyl disaster,” NYAS said.
“According to the authors, official discussions from the (IAEA) and associated (UN) agencies (e.g. the Chernobyl reports) have largely downplayed or ignored many of the findings reported in the Eastern European scientific literature and consequently have erred by not including these assessments.”
Fukushima far exceeds Chernobyl. Millions of lives are threatened. Perhaps future independent studies will explain. They’ll be too little to late to help victims.
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.
Seven of Syria’s Thirteen Palestinian camps now controlled by Salafi-Jihadists…
Jihadists are entering Syria at an accelerating pace, according to Syrian, UNWRA, and Palestinian officials as well as residents in the refugee camps here. For the now-estimated 7000 imported foreign fighters, Palestinian camps are seen as optimal locales for setting up bases across Syria.
“Syria’s Palestinian camps have become theaters of war,” said UNWRA Commissioner Filippo Grandi.
The Syrian people compassionately host 10 official, UN-mandated Palestinian camps, along with three unofficial ones, whose populations total at least 230,000. Eight of these are “Nakba (“catastrophe”) camps,” organized soon after Palestinians were expelled from their homes in 1948, while two, Qabr Essit and Dera’a (emergency camp), are “Naksa (“day of setback”) camps.” The latter were set up in 1967 as a result of the internationally condemned Zionist-colonial aggression against the two sister-Arab-nationalist regions—Palestine’s West Bank and Syria’s Golan Heights.
And it was on the Ides of March of the year 2011 we saw an explosion of violence near one of these camps, the Dera’a camp established in 1950, in the south near the Jordanian border.
But first, perhaps a simple listing of the camps, along with their populations and dates of establishment, would be in order here:
1950, Dera’a, 5,916
1967, Dera’a (Emergency), 5,536
1950, Hama, 7,597
1949, Homs, 13,825
1948, Jaramana, 5,007
1950, Khan Dunoun, 8,603
1949, Khan Eshieh, 15,731
1948, Neirab, 17,994
1967, Qabr Essit, 16,016
1948, Sbeineh, 19,624
1955-6, Latakia camp, 6,534 registered refugees
1957, Yarmouk Camp, 112,550 registered refugees
1962, Ein Al-Tal, 4,329 registered refugees
As of 8/8/13, seven of the camps—two in the north and five in the Damascus area and in the south of Syria—are presently with their throats under the jackboot of foreign Salafi-Jihadists. These jihadist cells moved against the camps early in the current crisis for purposes of forced recruitment, to benefit from a supply of noncombatant human shields, to shakedown the residents and take over UNWRA facilities, and to make use of the erstwhile “refugee camp security zones.” All these steps were precursory to the setting up of military bases from which to launch operations aimed at toppling the current government of the Syrian Arab Republic.
How do the jihadists infiltrate the camps?
How is it possible that more than half of the Palestinian camps in Syria not only fell, but did so, regrettably, without all that much resistance, to the point at which we see them now—dominated by largely foreign jihadists who continue to impose their unwanted extremist religious beliefs on a largely progressive secular Palestinian community? It is a subject currently much discussed here.
This observer has deduced from a number of conversations—with former and current camp residents, as well as members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, Palestinian NGO’s, and also with academics—that there is a ‘model of occupation’ metastasizing in Syria in a manner strikingly similar to what we saw six years ago at Nahr al Bared Palestinian camp near Tripoli Lebanon. The stories we hear today are quite similar to those from among the nearly 30,000 refugees at Nahr al Bared who were forced to flee to the nearby Badawi camp or to Lebanon’s ten other camps—reports related to this observer in visits to Nahr al Bared in May of 2007.
What we hear today in Syria bears an almost uncanny likeness. For instance one lady, whose family is from Safad in occupied Palestine explained: “First they (the intruders) appeared only a few in number. We noticed them and that some had ‘foreign’ accents and wore conservative clothes, most had beards. They were polite and friendly. Then more arrived, a few followed by women and children. They stayed to themselves at first and they began using the local mosque—even being welcomed at first by local sheiks who sometimes expressed admiration for the sincerity and devoutness. Then some of them began to preach their versions of the Koran, and at some point their gentle teaching became more strident, and soon these men were commenting on how some of the Palestinian women dressed in an un-Islamic fashion and even lectured young women about modesty and that they must change their ways, including stop smoking, and to leave public meetings if they were the only women present, and wear a full hijab.”
The lady’s sister interrupted: “Then guns appeared and some of the men appeared to be very skilled when they would use, for example, a school or playground to train. They were so serious and seemed to be in a trance of some kind. There was no possibility to talk or reason with them. All they seemed to want was martyrdom! Some actually believe that Syria was Palestine and they were here to liberate Al Quds!”
Upon some in the camps it began to dawn that the newcomers intended imposing their ideas, and that they fully intended that camp residents should submit to “pure Islam,” as they view it. Some resistance began to jell from camp residents, but the camp popular committees did not have the power to confront them, and a few actually joined them. The fighting with Syrian government troops accelerated the takeover process, and soon the camp residents were presented with a demand: join the gunmen and “liberate” the camps.
With respect to Ahmad Jibril’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command—and no offense meant to them and their officials, with whom this observer met in July and early August—but several of their best Palestinian patriot commanders jumped ship in protest against the plan to “liberate” Yarmouk. At the same time many of the PFLP-GC rank-and-file fighters split and joined the opposition for various reasons, including better pay and wanting to be on the presumed winning side. That being said, however, camp residents overwhelmingly rejected the PFLP-GC “defense” project, and insisted that their camp was neutral, that it was to be maintained as a safe zone for its residents, who were guests in Syria pending their return to still-occupied Palestine.
Again, this chain of events is singularly similar to what we saw (too late as it turned out) in Lebanon’s Nahr al Bared, a process which, like the one unfolding now in Syria, was accelerated by the civil war raging here.
There is fear that the Syrian army will sooner or later attack and destroy the camps in order to confront the rebel militias—similar to what the Lebanese army did during the 75 days of shelling in 2007. At that time it took vengeance on the camp and demolished it in an unjustifiable frenzy of shelling for the criminal attack and killing of some Lebanese troops, an attack that had been carried out by camp invaders, not Palestinians. For Palestinians in Syria, it is the all too familiar fate of outsiders entering and seeking to control their camps, coupled with the threat of a host army attacking them to confront the invaders. The residents are once more killed or forced to flee and their homes are destroyed.
Here once more comes to mind the cliché: “Where is the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Council, the EU or the UN? Where’s Waldo?
In order to gain control of the camps in Syria, two main processes appear to be made use of by the al Qaeda affiliates. One is what this observer labels the ‘Nahr al Bared model”. A Popular Committee member from Yarmouk, who just barely escaped the camp before his home was destroyed by a direct hit mortar round, put it this way:
“Some come bearing gifts. They usually set up small problem solving centers. Maybe a little cash, offers of medical aid, bread distribution, pledges of camp security, these sorts of currently absent social services.”
But the camps quickly become petri dishes, and the explosive growth of the foreign implantations is sometimes dazzling. By the time government supporters report the camp invaders it’s too late. And what can the government do anyhow? Guns appear everywhere, and suddenly it’s no longer ‘nicely nicely’ polite treatment from the Islamic brothers. Residents are told they must help liberate the camp from the Assad regime or face the wrath of Allah. Consequently, fleeing for one’s life becomes an utmost urgency, often literally as the snipers arrive and intense fighting, and rooftop targeting, ensues.
Dodging the snipers
So what happens next to the Palestinian camps in Syria? Is a hopeful, positive or peaceful resolution possible? This observer’s 2-cents worth of analysis suggests that the answer is no. The camps will stay largely under the domination, militarily and socially, of the jihadist elements that continue building fortifications and ‘digging in.’ What is happening is a God-awful calamity, one being foisted upon those whose only prayers and wishes are to leave Syria and return home to reclaim their stolen lands.
A central question is the precarious situation in Yarmouk and the fate of the 18-20 percent of its population still remaining. These are people risking their lives daily trying to avoid snipers from both sides. One can hear speculation on the prospects that the Syrian Army, aided by Hezbollah, will move on Yarmouk to try and expel the rebel militia. Some PLO officials with offices inside the Yarmouk neighborhood claim that Ahmad Jibril’s PFLP-GC is being beefed up and armed by the government with more than just AK47’s and RPG’s. Last winter, some of Jibril’s forces were expelled when they tried to eject the foreign militia, while others, as mentioned above, went over to the opposite side. At the same time, three PFLP-GC commanders quit over tactics while questioning Jibril’s decision to violate the camp’s neutrality, a decision leading to the destruction of parts of Yarmouk.
As to speculation on the possibility of the Syrian government and/or Hezbollah moving to eject the foreign forces from Yarmouk, this observer does not give the reports much credit. The Syrian Army has more urgent and prioritized battles being waged today, with others being planned. Hezbollah, likewise, is facing challenges at present, and fighting in Yarmouk against unknown numbers of rebel militia would surely add to them. Moreover, any force invading a Palestinian camp faces being roundly condemned over violations of the Cairo agreement forbidding host governments from entering UNRWA refugee camps.
This observer and contacts in the Palestinian community cannot verify the recent report for a foreign media source that al Nusra has fled Yarmouk and is on the run. On the run from whom? Currently they are not being seriously challenged. On the contrary, the al-Qeada affiliates are busy digging more tunnels under the camps to store weapons and move freely. Their ranks are growing not dwindling.
Grim as it sounds, they who reside in Syria’s camps, along with the 12 million Palestinian refugees worldwide, will continue to be at the mercy of events they had no part in creating. It is a fate they share at this moment with much of the rest of Syria’s population, and things are not likely to improve in the immediate term.
But on a more positive note, the Palestinians of Syria persist in their resistance and opposition to the illegal occupation of their country. Theirs is a determination to return to their homeland that simply will not fade or wither, and speaking with Palestinian refugees these past several days in Damascus and Homs has convinced this observer more than ever that on this they will not retreat a single inch—and that in time they will liberate their country.
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 email@example.com.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.