Archive | March 13th, 2012

Why Hate Gilad Atzmon Pt. 2


by Gilad Atzmon



Introduction by Gilad Atzmon: The following is a deconstruction by Kevin Barrett. Barrett takes the time and the effort and dismantles each of the arguments  against myself and my work. Barrett exposes the intellectual lameness at the core of my detractor’s argument . Once again, it seems as if my critics actually project their own symptoms onto me.  I would like to thank Kevin for his time and effort.

Kevin Barrett – Why Hate Gilad Atzmon Pt. 2

Last Thursday’s essay “Why Hate Gilad Atzmon?” has been bouncing around the internet. (The title currently gets 780,000 Google hits).

In that piece I suggested that the anti-Atzmon brigade is defending sacred boundaries against Atzmon’s fearless questioning. The two taboo questions are: Is the whole notion of a Jewish state in Palestine (i.e., Zionism) legitimate and/or feasible? (The obvious answer, of course, is NO.) Second question: To what extent has Jewish identity politics contributed to the disaster of Zionism? (The obvious answer, of course, is “to a considerable extent.”)

“Don’t even go there!” they scream. Atzmon goes there. So they lynch him.

The truth hurts.

That’s my take, anyway. But not everyone agrees with me. I have received quite a few anti-Atzmon emails. They all make the same argument: Atzmon is wrong about X, Y, or Z, and therefore he is dangerous, a racist, a dangerous racist, and so on.

First, I would like to point out to these people that Atzmon has a right to be wrong. Since nobody is arguing that Atzmon is offering wrong facts – just wrong opinions, interpretations and orientations on very complex issues – his critics ought to be working harder to explain why he is wrong, rather than calling him names and organizing boycotts and smear campaigns on the basis of perfectly innocent quotes violently and misleadingly ripped from their contexts.

Second, it isn’t at all clear that Atzmon is wrong. What IS clear is that many of his opponents are.

Take the charge that Atzmon is an “essentialist.”

To call someone an “essentialist” (in the bad sense) is to argue that they prematurely end a discussion by fallaciously citing the “essence” of something.

For example, if someone argued that the reason African-American communities often have high crime rates is that “black people tend to be criminals, that’s just their nature” that person would be making a fallacious argument by falsely impugning an unchangeable “essence” to black people. And that person could plausibly be charged with bigotry. The logical fallacy involved is called “circular reasoning”: Black neighborhoods have higher crime rate, therefore black people are more likely to be criminals, because they’re the ones in the black neighborhoods, where crime rates are higher, ad infinitum. The problem with this argument is that it prematurely ends an inquiry into the real reason why crime rates are what they are; it short-circuits a more thoughtful investigation of the historical and cultural factors that have produced the phenomenon under investigation.

Now if Atzmon were to say “It is just the essence of Jewish nature to be greedy and violent, and that explains the rape of Palestine – end of story, and don’t bore me with historical and cultural explanations,” he would be an essentialist in the bad sense.

But that is not what he says. On the contrary, it is Atzmon who is opening a thoughtful discussion of the historical and cultural factors behind Zionism. And it is his opponents who want to prematurely shut down the inquiry by ruling that discussion off-limits. As Gilad puts it, the two-staters will only go back as far as 1967. One-staters go back to 1948, or maybe the Balfour declaration of 1917. Gilad wants to keep going, right back through the 19th century and beyond.

It is actually his opponents who are the essentialists. They believe that the essence of Jewishness is always either positive or neutral. Any discussion of Jewish culture or identity that brings up anything that is negatively-valued violates their sacred notion of the essence of Jewishness as innocence and victimization. Atzmon wants to talk about empirical historical reality, which bears little resemblance to the essentialist construct. So they shout him down, desperate to end the discussion before it starts. You’d almost think they have something to hide.

Ironically, most of those wailing that Atzmon is slandering the Jews are themselves slandering Atzmon. They call him a racist, with no evidence to back up that charge. (Atzmon’s critique of Jewish identity-politics and Jewish culture in general has absolutely nothing whatsoever do do with race, as he himself always makes abundantly clear, in part by pointing out that Jews are not a race.)

Let’s look at some of the charges against Gilad that have appeared in my in-box. They usually involve taking a quote and lying about it – I mean, misconstruing it.

Atzmon quote: “The remarkable fact is they [ all Jews–not Zionists] don’t understand why the world is beginning to stand against them in the same way they didn’t understand why the Europeans stood against them in the 1930s. Instead of asking why we are hated they continue to toss accusations on others.”

The writer claims that Atzmon is “blaming the Jews for the Holocaust.” That’s just not true. The quote, in its context, doesn’t say that. It addresses an empirical historical reality (Europe in the 1930s, the world today) that is much larger than “the Holocaust.” And once again, Gilad is the honest thinker while his opponents are the essentialists. For the essentialists, the essence of Jewishness is 100% pure victimhood, end of discussion: Not a single Jew on earth – including, for example, the Rothschilds and their big bankster friends who screwed Germany in World War I in exchange for Palestine – bears one iota of responsibility for the rise of anti-Semitism in Germany! (Just like the top neocons, of whom around 90% are Jewish and fanatical Zionists, bear not one iota of responsibility for the 9/11 wars against Israel’s enemies.)

If you are an honest historian and cultural analyst, whenever there is a conflict between two groups, you look at it from the point of view of various parties in both groups, and emerge with a more or less nuanced, multi-viewpoint, holistic picture. Gilad compares this to analyzing the problems that arise in the life of a couple. Should we take the word of one or the other party that he or she is 100% right, and the other 100% wrong? Or should we talk to both parties and try to take both perspectives into consideration?

If you an essentialist/mythologist, nourished on Old Testament exceptionalism and chosen-ness (like Americans in general, not just Jews) you may instead imagine that it is the essence of the good guys in your historical narrative to be good, and the essence of the bad guys to be bad. Jews good, Germans bad; ergo, US and Allies good, Axis bad. End of sacred story.

This is the essentialist myth that Americans and Westerners have accepted in place of real history. And it is this myth, more than any other, that is responsible for what William Blum calls “the American holocaust”: The massacre of uncounted millions, and the ruined lives of uncounted tens of millions more, by the CIA, the US military, and their allies since World War II. Taken together with Zionist atrocities against Palestine and their spill-over into widespread Middle East violence, and the WWII atrocities of the Allies against people in the Axis countries, and it should be clear to any sane and moderately well-informed person that the “good guys” who won World War II have committed vastly more mass-murder, vastly more atrocities, vastly greater crimes against the human body and spirit than the Nazis ever did. In short, as Philip K. Dick suggested in The Man in the High Castle, it was the real “Nazis” who WON World War II. We have met the enemy, and he is us.

Only this realization will stop the Zio-American holocaust that continues today and threatens to explode into World War III.

But – as is commonly said in reference to the “good Germans” under Hitler – it is so much easier to just pretend it isn’t happening, and go along with the essentialist, exceptionalist assumption that your people are the good guys. And when someone like Niemoller or Atzmon comes along to challenge you, shout him down without giving him a fair hearing.

The confused individual who falsely charges Atzmon with blaming Jews for the Holocaust also calls Atzmon a racist:

“This is the essence of racism. Not that Jews like many before them have become corrupted by power. But that there is something pathological about Jewish culture–it must be their culture since he repudiates genetic explanations–that led them to become Zionists.”

Sorry, that is NOT “the essence of racism.” Racism offers biological explanations. Cultural explanations are THE OPPOSITE of racism!

Calling Atzmon “a racist” when you don’t even know what racism is…well, to say that this is inviting a defamation lawsuit is putting it mildly.

This person is trying to rule out any kind of investigation of cultural factors that led Jews to become Zionists. This is idiotic on its face. So in an attempt to prevent anyone, himself included, from actually thinking, he starts in with the mendacious insults: “Racist! Anti-Semite!”

Let’s get this straight: Nobody in his or her right mind has ever tried to prevent any discussion or investigation of cultural factors in history. Was there something in Protestant culture that led to the Industrial Revolution? Max Weber says yes – and he doesn’t give a good goddamn whether you feel he’s insulting Protestants (or Catholics) by investigating their respective cultures. Is there something in the culture of Muslim Saudi elites that is contributing to religious tensions in the region? Hell, yes – their hypocritical tolerance of wildly un-Islamic behavior for themselves, while imposing harsh restrictions on others. Is there something in Muslim culture that has slowed “economic progress” in Islamic countries? Sure, there are plenty of things, ranging from stopping to pray five times a day, to prohibitions against any kind of dealing involving interest, to culturally-accepted nepotism, to cultural preferences for working as an independent operator rather than a member of a corporate team.

Atzmon’s critics are wildly irrational in calling him a racist, and claiming that nobody should ever investigate cultural forces in history (the bread and butter of cultural historians). The dozens of people signing a statement to this effect – a statement containing blatantly false and defamatory assertions about Atzmon – might as well be signing a statement reading “I am an ignorant idiot.”

What these folks should be doing is reading Atzmon’s work carefully and holistically, and then, if they find that Atzmon is mistaken in his analysis of the way Jewish identity politics is a factor in Zionism, they should correct him. For once we’ve admitted that cultural critique is perfectly legitimate, we must add that not all cultural critiques are equal: It can be done badly, or well. Sure, some of Gilad’s statements about Jewish identity politics are tendentious or overly broad. And since his main focus is explaining the horrors of Zionism, he naturally talks more about negative cultural tropes than positive ones. (Personally I think that the positives in Jewish culture outweigh the negatives; but the positives, such as humor, education, bagels with lox and cream cheese and a thin slice of onion, etc. don’t explain what’s been done to Palestine.)

The irrational Atzmon critic continues:

As long as Zionism is conveyed as a colonial project, Jews, as a people, should be seen as ordinary people. They are no different from the French and the English, they just happen to run their deadly colonial project in a different time.”

Obviously this cannot be taken at face value. The French and the English are not identical, nor were their colonial projects. One thing I learned from postgraduate work in African Studies is that the French and English colonial projects differed wildly in accordance with the very different cultural peculiarities of the two nations. For example: The French, holding a monolithically statist and egalitarian ideology in keeping with their culture, did their best to grant the natives the status of honorary Frenchmen; and being slightly less racist than the British, they were more likely to intermarry with the colonized peoples.

So what is this dramatic, doth-protest-too-much insistence that “the Jews are ordinary people, just like the French and British” trying to hide?

The answer comes in the same sentence: The “deadly colonial project” of the Jews is happening at a “different time” from that of the French and English.

Let’s be specific: All other colonial projects – especially settler-colonial projects – are dead. They have passed on, ceased to be, expired and gone to meet their Maker; stiff, bereft of life, they rest in peace. If the Israelis hadn’t nailed Occupied Palestine to its perch, they would all be pushing up daisies.

The age of colonialism ended in about 1960; the process mostly happened within a few years, and was essentially complete within three decades. South Africa, the second-to-last settler colony, officially decolonized itself around 1990.

So what is it about Israel that allows it to persist as a fanatical, murderous settler-colony, vastly nastier than apartheid South Africa or French Algeria, in a post-colonial world?

Gilad Atzmon says that to answer that question, we need to take a very close, critical look at Jewish culture in general and Jewish identity politics in particular.

If there is a reasonable argument to the contrary, I would like to hear it.

But I don’t think there is.

I think it will be people following the trail Gilad blazed – people who discover that the persistence of a very peculiar and very nasty settler-colony in Palestine is largely due to the peculiarities of Jewish identity politics – who will, by ripping the mask off Zionism to show what it really is, shame the world in general and the Jewish community in particular into shutting down their settler colony in Occupied Palestine.

Currently, the sacred taboos and one-sided myths that surround this issue are protecting Zionism. Blast those taboos to smithereens, and the Wall will come down.

Like Joshua at the battle of Jerico, Gilad is heroically blasting the Wall – the wall that stops us from thinking as well as the Apartheid Wall in Occupied Palestine – with his saxophone as well as his pen.

One day the Wall will crumble.

And Gilad will be playing at the celebration.

Hope to see you there.


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Palestinian writers, activists disavow racism, anti-Semitism of Gilad Atzmon

by Ali Abunimah

Granting No Quarter: A Call for the Disavowal of the Racism and Antisemitism of Gilad Atzmon

For many years now, Gilad Atzmon, a musician born in Israel and currently living in the United Kingdom, has taken on the self-appointed task of defining for the Palestinian movement the nature of our struggle, and the philosophy underpinning it. He has done so through his various blogs and Internet outlets, in speeches, and in articles. He is currently on tour in the United States promoting his most recent book, entitled, ‘The Wandering Who.’

With this letter, we call for the disavowal of Atzmon by fellow Palestinian organizers, as well as Palestine solidarity activists, and allies of the Palestinian people, and note the dangers of supporting Atzmon’s political work and writings and providing any platforms for their dissemination. We do so as Palestinian organizers and activists, working across continents, campaigns, and ideological positions.

Atzmon’s politics rest on one main overriding assertion that serves as springboard for vicious attacks on anyone who disagrees with his obsession with “Jewishness”. He claims that all Jewish politics is “tribal,” and essentially, Zionist. Zionism, to Atzmon, is not a settler-colonial project, but a trans-historical “Jewish” one, part and parcel of defining one’s self as a Jew. Therefore, he claims, one cannot self-describe as a Jew and also do work in solidarity with Palestine, because to identify as a Jew is to be a Zionist. We could not disagree more. Indeed, we believe Atzmon’s argument is itself Zionist because it agrees with the ideology of Zionism and Israel that the only way to be a Jew is to be a Zionist.

Palestinians have faced two centuries of orientalist, colonialist and imperialist domination of our native lands. And so as Palestinians, we see such language as immoral and completely outside the core foundations of humanism, equality and justice, on which the struggle for Palestine and its national movement rests. As countless Palestinian activists and organizers, their parties, associations and campaigns, have attested throughout the last century, our struggle was never, and will never be, with Jews, or Judaism, no matter how much Zionism insists that our enemies are the Jews. Rather, our struggle is with Zionism, a modern European settler colonial movement, similar to movements in many other parts of the world that aim to displace indigenous people and build new European societies on their lands.

We reaffirm that there is no room in this historic and foundational analysis of our struggle for any attacks on our Jewish allies, Jews, or Judaism; nor denying the Holocaust; nor allying in any way shape or form with any conspiracy theories, far-right, orientalist, and racist arguments, associations and entities. Challenging Zionism, including the illegitimate power of institutions that support the oppression of Palestinians, and the illegitimate use of Jewish identities to protect and legitimize oppression, must never become an attack on Jewish identities, nor the demeaning and denial of Jewish histories in all their diversity.

Indeed, we regard any attempt to link and adopt antisemitic or racist language, even if it is within a self-described anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist politics, as reaffirming and legitimizing Zionism. In addition to its immorality, this language obscures the fundamental role of imperialism and colonialism in destroying our homeland, expelling its people, and sustaining the systems and ideologies of oppression, apartheid and occupation. It leaves one squarely outside true solidarity with Palestine and its people.

The goal of the Palestinian people has always been clear: self determination. And we can only exercise that inalienable right through liberation, the return of our refugees (the absolute majority of our people) and achieving equal rights to all through decolonization. As such, we stand with all and any movements that call for justice, human dignity, equality, and social, economic, cultural and political rights. We will never compromise the principles and spirit of our liberation struggle. We will not allow a false sense of expediency to drive us into alliance with those who attack, malign, or otherwise attempt to target our political fraternity with all liberation struggles and movements for justice.

As Palestinians, it is our collective responsibility, whether we are in Palestine or in exile, to assert our guidance of our grassroots liberation struggle. We must protect the integrity of our movement, and to do so we must continue to remain vigilant that those for whom we provide platforms actually speak to its principles.

When the Palestinian people call for self-determination and decolonization of our homeland, we do so in the promise and hope of a community founded on justice, where all are free, all are equal and all are welcome.

Until liberation and return.

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Israeli Delegation Cancels US Visit: MP Denied Entry Over Terror Links

Israeli Knesset Speaker: ‘Unacceptable’ to Label Ben Ari Terrorist

An Israeli parliamentary delegation is cancelling its planned visit to Washington DC later this month because the US State Department has denied entry to MP Michael Ben Ari, a far right MP with deep ties to the Kach Party, banned in Israel and listed as a terrorist organization in the United States.

The US had already denied Ben Ari’s visa last month, and consular officials later said it was “based on the State Department’s prerogative to ban terrorists from entering the country.” Israeli officials had sought to reverse the decision, arguing that no official in the Israeli government could be banned for terrorist ties.

This is actually a long-standing problem for Ben Ari, who had previously been unable to secure a visa in 2009 because off his history of arrests. Ben Ari responded to the latest ban by saying it was typical of “American blindness” that caused 9/11.

Ben Ari had been arrested in 2009 as part of a group of settlers that attacked Palestinian farmers and chopped down a large number of olive trees in the West Bank. He argued that this arrest was in violation of his immunity as a member of parliament.

The Israeli Knesset’s speaker says it is “unacceptable” to label any member of the parliament a “terrorist” as the US has apparently done. This is particularly interesting given the large numbers of times the MPs themselves have angrily condemned Arab MPs within the Knesset as terrorists and demanded that they be arrested or deported.


Israeli delegation cannot travel to U.S after MK Ben Ari denied entry visa

Knesset speaker banned MK delegation after National Union MK Ben Ari’s application was denied based on State Department’s prerogative to ban terrorists from U.S.


Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin announced Monday he is banning a delegation of MKs from attending a women’s conference in Washington this month because the United States has denied entry to MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union)

MKs Zahava Gal-On (Meretz), Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) and Einat Wilf (Atzmaut) were scheduled to take part in a four-day conference on women that begins March 25 and will be hosted by the U.S. Congress.

They were due to sit on a panel with U.S. congresswomen and to launch a collaborative project between the Knesset and Congress. Gal-On, Hotovely and Wilf were also scheduled to attend a reception at the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

The U.S. refusal to grant entry to Ben Ari because of what it said are his ties to a terrorist  group amounts to “an assault on the Knesset as a whole,” Rivlin said Monday. “The United  States’ allegation that an MK is a terrorist is unacceptable.”

Ben Ari is a long-time follower of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, whose Kach party is outlawed in Israel and is considered a terrorist organization in the United States.

The National Union MK applied for an entry visa to the United States last month so he could participate in two conferences, one of which is aimed at promoting immigration to Israel.

The U.S. consular staff said Ben Ari’s application was denied based on the State Department’s prerogative to ban terrorists from entering the country.




“Mowing the lawn”: On Israel’s latest massacre in Gaza and the lies behind it

by Ali Abunimah

A wounded Palestinian child is checked by doctors at a hospital in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, on March 11, 2012, following a fresh Israeli air raid, bringing the death toll from strikes since March 10 to 17 and dashing Hamas hopes of restoring a tacit truce.


By Sunday evening in Gaza, a weekend of relentless Israeli bombing has left 18 people dead and dozens wounded. Israeli propaganda insists that the attacks are about preventing “terrorism” and stopping “rockets.”

But in fact, Israel provoked this violence and according to some Israeli commentators its goals are to escalate pressure for war with Iran and to drag Hamas away from diplomacy and back into violence.

Sunday’s victims of the Israeli bombing included Ayoub Useila, 12, of Jabalya refugee camp, whose seven year-old cousin was injured, and Adel al-Issi, 52, a farmer near Gaza City. Others suffered horrifying injuries, as recounted by doctors at Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital.

On Monday, another 5 people were reported killed, and dozens more injured, bringing the reported total of dead to 23 (See also the Palestinian Center for Human Rights latest release for details on the attacks).

Israel launches attack on Friday

The Israeli assault began on Friday, when Israeli forces carried out the extrajudicial executions of Zuhair Al-Qaisi and Mahmoud Al-Hannani of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), whom Israel alleged were “masterminds” of an attack near Eilat last year. Except, as Max Blumenthal demonstrated, this is untrue, as even Israel previously acknowledged.

This weekend’s attacks have followed a typical pattern. Israel launches a lethal attack knowing full well that Palestinian resistance factions will respond. It then uses the response—dozens of rockets falling on Israel rarely causing injuries or damage—as the very pretext for continued bombing. Israel also claims to have shot down several dozen incoming missiles using its US-subsidized “Iron Dome” anti-missile system.

On Twitter, the Israeli military spokesperson even praised Israel for its “restraint” as if Israel hadn’t started the violence itself on a completely false pretext:

IDF#IDF Spox: No other country in the world would have allowed 130 rockets in 48 hours and shown such restraint. #IsraelUnderFire
Mar 11 via HootSuite Favorite Retweet Reply

Recall that after the Eilat attack last August, Israel launched a ferocious assault on Gaza, also on false pretexts, killing 14 people including a 2-year old child, a 13-year-old boy and a doctor.


America: Land of the Poor


by Stephen Lendman


Years ago, who could have imagined the appalling growing poverty level in the world’s richest country?

Various reports confirm it, including a new one by the University of Michigan’s National Poverty Center (NPC), titled “Extreme Poverty in the United States, 1996 to 2011”.

NPC promotes multidisciplinary research on poverty and policy. It mentors and trains poverty researchers. It analyzes causes and consequences, and addresses pressing policy questions at both federal and state levels.

How is poverty calculated, it asked? The Census Bureau issues annual thresholds. They represent minimal income levels required to support various family sizes.

Its methodology dates from the mid-1960s and hasn’t changed. Inflation’s taken into account annually. Families are judged poor based on pretax income. Non-cash benefits aren’t counted, such as Medicaid and food stamps.

In 2010, singles under 65 with incomes of $11,344 or less were designated poor. For those over 65, it was $10,458.

For single parents with one child, it’s $15,030. With two children, it’s $17,568. For two adults with no children, it’s $14,602. With one child, it’s $17,552. With two children, it’s $22,113. With three children, it’s $26,023.

Adjusted for inflation, current thresholds are slightly higher, but bear no relation to reality. Individuals and families need double or more these levels to avoid poverty. Moreover, jerry-rigged inflation numbers further distort cost of living effects on all households.

The Department of Health and Human Services has its own federal aid eligibility guidelines. They differ slightly from Census numbers, and reflect marginally higher Alaska and Hawaii thresholds.

NPC’s H. Luke Shaefer and Harvard Kennedy School’s Kathryn Edin studied how Clinton’s 1996 welfare reform affected millions of poor Americans.

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation (“welfare reform”) Act (PRWORA) changed eligibility rules. From 1935 until then, needy households got welfare payments through Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). It protected states by sharing caseload costs during hard times.

Thereafter, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) set five year time limits. It gave states fixed block grants to administer at their own discretion. As a result, America’s most needy face huge risks during economic downturns when reduced federal aid exacerbates dire conditions.

Under TANF, recipients must work or receive job training, even during hard times when employment’s harder than ever to find. Moreover, single mothers with young children are grievously impacted. During their most formative years, children need them as caregivers.

With increasing austerity official federal policy, protracted harder than ever hard times are assured. Future NPC and other reports will reflect them.

For example, in 1994/1995, AFDC served 75% of impoverished families with children. In 2008-2009, it was 28%. The percentage varies by state. Some help fewer than 10% of impoverished families.

Moreover, when TANF was established, contingency fund assurances were given. That was then. Austerity demands little or none. The 2009 Recovery Act included TANF Emergency Fund aid. In September 2010, it wasn’t renewed.

During today’s dire economic times, budget strapped states force-feed harsh cuts. Vulnerable residents are harmed most, including families with children on TANF.

Moreover, its benefits are half or less poverty thresholds. Based on real inflation adjusted dollars, they’ve dropped precipitously since 1996.

In 2011, NPC estimates 1.46 million US households lived on $2 or less a day. It reflects a 130% increase from 636,000 in 1996. Around 2.8 million children live in extreme poverty. It represents 16% of all those impoverished.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits reduce, but don’t eliminate extreme poverty. So-called reform, said NPC, “has been followed by a dramatic decline in case assistance caseloads.”

They dropped from around 12.3 million 1996 monthly recipients to 4.4 million in June 2011. Adult beneficiaries comprise only 1.1 million.

As a result, millions of unemployed parents “have little access to means-tested income support programs.” A new generation of poor resulted. They include “households with children living on virtually no income.”

Children always are harmed most. Since November 2008, those affected increased dramatically at a time safety net protections are way inadequate and eroding.

Demographically, married couples comprised 37% of extreme poverty households. For single females, it’s 51%.

About 48% of affected households are headed by White non-Hispanics, 25% by Blacks, and 22% by Hispanics. NPC added:

“Thus, extreme poverty is not limited to households headed by single mothers or disadvantaged minorities, though the percentage growth in extreme poverty over our study period was greatest among these groups.”

It also said eroding social benefits are “leaving many households with children behind.” They haven’t enough resources to get by. TANF and other forced austerity bear most blame.

Given bipartisan agreement for additional deep cuts, America’s most vulnerable more than ever are on their own out of luck because policy makers able to prevent it don’t give a damn.

Cold hard truths reveal what they and complicit media scoundrels try hard to suppress. Growing impoverished millions reflect America’s dark side.

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Africa’s Psychological Warfare Program

South Africa Today

 by Kevin Brennan

Press Member of the NWU (National Writer’s Union)

IFJ (International Federation of Journalists)


With the growing technology, the fighting of African warfare has changed dramatically since 1961. The days of dropping flyers from a military airplane and TV advertisements has gone far beyond population visibility.

The latest trends in Africa are moving towards the use of “law-Manipulation” techniques and technologies that bypasses the war treaties incorporated by the United Nations since 1947.

A new motto has recently arisen in the South African ruling government party, the ANC, “We fight apartheid by the Law and not by force, and we will change the rule to Black Empowerment law and implement laws to rule”.

The ANC is an organization once labelled as a terrorist organization by the US and considered an ally today of the same. Very few are aware of the implications this slogan might have and will have in the future.

For example the use of Black empowerment laws, better known as BEE or even BBBEE law imposed by parliament, is creating new psychological warfare mechanisms to make an impact on the minority of the country without the use of the word apartheid.

South Africa is a country with strong former apartheid laws and with such a background it should technically move away from any such division growth strategies in its population.

An alarming figure of approximately 3200 white farmers that was verified and published by the Freedom Front Plus*, a political party that represents the minority of white people, were murdered since 2003 and South Africa was placed on the international genocide list** during 2011 last year.

[Editors Note: My apologies to all with sensitive stomachs but Kevin’s article today triggered my going back into my photo archives. We are not shock jocks here at VT, but this story, and virtually all images like these below are literally banned some American media because the victims and perpetrators are not of a suitable color. If the situation were reversed you would have heard plenty about it.

The UN is also generally quiet about this, as Africa in general prefers this ‘situation’ stay swept under the rug. The result of course, is that any mention of something like this ‘possibly happening’ is immediately denounced as hysterical white racism.

I have spared you the photos of the children as they are too distressing to look at. I hate to look at them. It spoils my whole day and I have much to do this Saturday. The following images are mine, not Kevin’s, and I take responsibility for showing them to you. All complaints sent to me, please…Jim W. Dean]

The unfortunate Mr. Stacey – All images like this completely censored from American media 1993

New Psychological warfare mechanisms can also been seen in Syria and the recent Egyptian uprisings. These new methods bare a similar footprint, and it could be assumed that such technologies are perhaps shared by some to gain personal powers that be.

A deeper study is necessary and the UN should perhaps look at updating their rules and laws of membership.

The public has become more vulnerable and the use of their reptilian instinct is becoming exceedingly vulnerable.

We could argue that terrorism is spreading in the mind space of populations and terror attacks are just as effective via the TV and media as in the public domain.

Even more so with the use of legal apparatus; such as the laws that are commonly attacking the psychology of the masses by means and reductions of breaking the mental state of any minority population.

Open source intelligence (OSINT) information indicates that Africa is the leader of such experimental exercise studies of psychological warfare. There are three basic identifiable phases to this structure firstly, the Implant of the Psychological Virus, secondly the growth mutation and lastly the result.

The only problem we will face in the next 3 decades or more is the final results of the endless last phase. The last phase is the concern. What will it mutate to?

Nobody really knows as it is unpredictable. Some might argue and say that the results are to fight the issue of terror however this cannot be turned off by a switch.

Yes…these killings have wide support 2007

The complexity theory surrounding such CI activity is far more complex than previously thought by great psychologists of the 21st century.

We can see the immediate result with a 15 year period however; psychological warfare impact on the mass can stretch over decades or more.

An additional risk we face is that no government is shielded by this even though some are using such techniques already.

The system of physiological warfare technology is a mutation in itself and therefore the discovery of a new link to the information tree could be in any hands outside any authority at any point in time.


Al-Qaeda is a good example of keeping up to date with this technology. On an analytical note we should look closer at why for example Al-Qaeda has such a strong impact. Yes it is a militant Islamic movement, but that what makes it grow and mutate is of far more importance than the means used to use counter inelegance as a decor.

Who is the enemy and is the 5WH technique outdated or have we entered a new dimension of producing effective psychological warfare results and poling systems. Can poling be shifted by means of an effective “viral” campaign and can masses effectively be utilized to make such shifts. Absolutely Yes is the answer.

Yes – Raped, Murdered and Her Heart Cut Out – No Western News Coverage 2009

Military warfare accounts perhaps only for as low as 1/3 of any warfare today. A quote from Rockefeller once uttered,”All one has to do is to shock people and they will flock like sheep in one corner.”

Based on corporate business intelligence any company with the right mechanisms can technically be a treatise to such shifts. The need for Capital is the least to make it happen.

In other words, the internal espionage threat level is now higher than ever before since technologies, for example the internet, have far more implication than before. Roughly 1 third of the world uses the internet in less than a decade.

Information travels faster than the speed of light and therefore psychological warfare on the internet is developing into the latest threat to all security.

[Editors Note; We have all heard about the Texas car dragging death of the unfortunate black man, the result of a drug debt dispute among some ex-convicts. But we have not heard about ones like this below. Again, the victim in not the right color. As our Gordon Duff so often writes, “Welcome to that world,’ to which I might add, ‘Welcome to this world.’…Jim W. Dean]

This was a Johannesburg carjacking. When police pulled the car over they were still dragging him around. Welcome to this world. They were putting on a show. 2011


Freedom Front Plus references and comments on Farm attacks:
  1. Carte Blanche:
  2. Carte Blanche Part 2:
  3. Charle Nqakula –

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Afghanistan: De-Pashtunization of Pashtuns by Taliban and Pakistan




For more than a thousand years the Afghan nation, and Pashtun tribes in particular, have resisted all foreign efforts of domination. Efforts by great empireshave failed to suppress rich Pashtun culture and traditions, created during ancient Silk Road trading, the Jirga, language, art, music, song, poetry, dance, sports, food, humor, hospitality, etc… What great empires have failed to do is now being attempted by a late-comer, mini and sham-empire — a collection of disjointed provinces known as Pakistan.

Pakistan, using its indoctrinated proxy Taliban, has insidiously and perniciously forced the greatest damage to the identity, society, culture, traditions and posterity, of the Pashtuns. On the pretext of “Jihad”, the Punjabi dominated Pakistani establishment has steadily reduced and de-Pashtunized the proud Pashtun community into pawns on the strategic chess-board.

Since inception of Pakistan in 1947, the Pakistani state has only accepted either ultra-conservative Muslim nationalists or fundamentalists as the “sole anchorman” of the Pashtuns. It is not the Pashtun ethnicity of the Taliban that seeks Pakistan’s support; it is the non-traditional ideology of the Taliban — an ideology that purges traditional ethnic Pashtun identity that endearingly elevates the Taliban to the Pakistani establishment.

Rephrasing, Pakistan is backing the Taliban not because they represent Pashtun nationalism but because they reject Pashtun nationalism; ever since the detachment of colonial overlords in the subcontinent, Pashtun culture has been an irritant factor to the Punjabi dominated Pakistani state. In the Pakistani scheme, anything that emphasizes Pashtun identity, culture, language, traditions must be suppressed or metamorphosed to serve the Punjab interests of Pakistan.

It is fear of a Pashtun awakening that the Pakistanis have kept the Pashtun Tribal belt as a regressive anthropological cattle ranch where the social, cultural, educational and political development of the people remains medieval while adjoining areas – the so called “settled areas” – show some semblance of modernity. Pakistanis justify their FATA “reservation” policy based on arrogant colonial British who portrayed the Pashtuns as free-spirited, noble savages who lived by their own code of ethics and tolerated no attempt to curb their autonomy, much less their independence. The natural consequence of letting FATA become the “wild west” of Pakistan is that it remains under developed, under-educated and under-represented, and unfortunately, women have suffered the worst; being treated no better than commodities.

With no economic development on the horizon, FATA transformed into a haven for criminals from all over Pakistan who sought refuge in this area and conducted their wicked trade — smuggling, gun-running, narcotics, extortion, kidnapping, car theft etc — with complete impunity.

By not allowing political parties to operate in FATA, the Pakistani establishment sought to depoliticize the region. The vacuum thus created was filled by the nexus between the mafia and the mullah, which suited the Pakistani establishment perfectly; it allowed the exploitation of the Pashtun tribesmen as cannon fodder for the various misadventures of the Pakistani state, starting with the “tribal invasion” of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947 and culminating with the rise of the Taliban in the 1990s.

Pakistan’s policies, tactics and strategies towards the Afghan Pashtuns have been nothing short of devastating and are characterized by Pakistan’s support for the Islamo-fascist Taliban; in post 9/11, Pakistan never changed course strategically in Afghanistan. In fact, after a two year recuperation time window, the Taliban regrouped after 9/11; then Pakistan unleashed them back into Afghanistan. Needles to say, the brunt of the Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan is felt in the Pashtun dominated areas in the South and East of the country. By directing the Taliban attacks on aid and development workers, the Pakistanis have ensured that the Pashtun belt lags behind other parts of Afghanistan where reconstruction activity has been taking place at a feverish pace.

The deprivation of the Pashtuns is a deliberate policy aimed at enhancing the sense of grievance and alienation among the Pashtuns and introduces a vicious cycle in which terror strikes on development activity has led to a halt in reconstruction work, which in turn impairs development of the Pashtun areas and results in growing anger among the people who feel they are being marginalized by the non-Pashtun dominated dispensation from Kabul. This anger is exploited by the Taliban to win support from local communities; which leads to a further deterioration in the security situation. The Taliban also work to ensure that all efforts at providing governance by Kabul in the Pashtun areas to fail. The direct impact of the relentless targeting of government officials is to render the administration dysfunctional and the resultant vacuum is filled by the Taliban; who set up their own shadow government for dispensing what they call justice and dispute settlement between members of local communities.

The destruction of schools and denial of education to girls has been an essential part of the war on the Pashtuns people. The only purpose for attacking schools is to deny future generations of Pashtuns even a small secular education that would equip them to walk in step with rest of the world. In the eyes of the Taliban, the Pashtun children need nothing more than grounding in a tough religious madrassa education. That said, madrassa educated Pashtuns who neither compete nor coexist with other ethnic groups is perhaps part of the calculus for denying Pashtun children a proper education.

At the political level, the Taliban guarantee the marginalization of the Pashtuns by coercing them into not participating in the elections. With many Pashtuns not casting their votes in the last Afghan parliamentary votes, candidates belonging to non-Pashtun ethnic groups managed to win even in Pashtun dominated areas. For instance, in Ghazni, the Hazaras managed to win most of the parliamentary seats because of the low voter turnout among the Pashtuns. Also, in the Afghan National Army and Police, all efforts to correct the ethnic imbalance by increasing the Pashtun representations has been blocked by the Taliban and their Pakistani backers who have threatened the Pashtuns with reprisals against their families and communities if they joined the forces.

The havoc wrought on the Pashtuns to push them into the dark ages and sully their image around the world by the Pakistani sponsored and supported Taliban, and the systematic infusion of radical Islamist ideology into the Pashtun areas, has made every Pashtun a suspect in the eyes of not only other ethnic groups in Afghanistan but also in the rest of the world.

Afghanistan’s Pashtun areas are seen today as zones of instability and epicenters of global terrorism, in fact, a clear sign that De-Pashtunization of Pashtuns is working.

Enough! It is time for this game to end. Pashtuns in Afghanistan, in the U.S. and around the world must now blow the whistle on false Pashtun from Pakistan. De-Pashtunization of Pashtuns for the benefit of Pakistan must be seen for what it is. It is poison propaganda to control the Pashtuns, to make the world see them only as the seeds of worldwide terrorism; and to convince them that only Pakistan can save them. This is totally unacceptable.

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Why Putin is Driving Washington Nuts


He will be the devil of choice because there could not be a more formidable opponent in the world stage to Washington’s plans – be they coded as Greater Middle East, New Silk Road, Full Spectrum Dominance or America’s Pacific Century.


Ladies and gentlemen, let’s get ready to rumble…


By Pepe Escobar


March 08, 2012 “Asia Times” – -Forget the past (Saddam, Osama, Gaddafi) and the present (Assad, Ahmadinejad). A bet can be made over a bottle of Petrus 1989 (the problem is waiting the next six years to collect); for the foreseeable future, Washington’s top bogeyman – and also for its rogue North Atlantic Treaty Organization partners and assorted media shills – will be none other than back-to-the-future Russian President Vladimir Putin.

And make no mistake; Vlad the Putinator will relish it. He’s back exactly where he wants to be; as Russia’s commander-in-chief, in charge of the military, foreign policy and all national security matters.

Anglo-American elites still squirm at the mention of his now legendary Munich 2007 speech, when he blasted the then George W Bush administration for its obsessively unipolar imperial agenda “through a system which has nothing to do with democracy” and non-stop overstepping of its “national borders in almost all spheres”.”

Vladimir Putin speaks at Munich Security Conference (1/4)


Vladimir Putin speaks at Munich Security Conference (2/4)


So Washington and its minions have been warned. Before last Sunday’s election, Putin even advertised his road map The essentials; no war on Syria; no war on Iran; no “humanitarian bombing” or fomenting “color revolutions” – all bundled into a new concept, “illegal instruments of soft power”. For Putin, a Washington-engineered New World Order is a no-go. What rules is “the time-honored principle of state sovereignty”.

No wonder. When Putin looks at Libya, he sees the graphic, regressive consequences of NATO’s “liberation” through “humanitarian bombing”; a fragmented country controlled by al-Qaeda-linked militias; backward Cyrenaica splitting from more developed Tripolitania; and a relative of the last king brought in to rule the new “emirate” – to the delight of those model democrats of the House of Saud.

More key essentials; no US bases encircling Russia; no US missile defense without strict admission, in writing, that the system will never target Russia; and increasingly close cooperation among the BRICS group of emerging powers.

Most of this was already implied in Putin’s previous road map – his paper A new integration project for Eurasia: The future in the making. That was Putin’s ippon – he loves judo – against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the International Monetary Fund and hardcore neo-liberalism. He sees a Eurasian Union as a “modern economic and currency union” stretching all across Central Asia.

For Putin, Syria is an important detail (not least because of Russia’s naval base in the Mediterranean port of Tartus, which NATO would love to abolish). But the meat of the matter is Eurasia integration. Atlanticists will freak out en masse as he puts all his efforts into coordinating “a powerful supranational union that can become one of the poles of today’s world while being an efficient connecting link between Europe and the dynamic Asia-Pacific Region”.

The opposite roadmap will be Obama and Hillary’s Pacific doctrine. Now how exciting is that?

Putin plays Pipelineistan


It was Putin who almost single-handedly spearheaded the resurgence of Russia as a mega energy superpower (oil and gas accounts for two-thirds of Russia’s exports, half of the federal budget and 20% of gross domestic product). So expect Pipelineistan to remain key.

And it will be mostly centered on gas; although Russia holds no less than 30% of global gas supplies, its liquid natural gas (LNG) production is less than 5% of the global market share. It’s not even among the top ten producers.

Putin knows that Russia will need buckets of foreign investment in the Arctic – from the West and especially Asia – to keep its oil production above 10 million barrels a day. And it needs to strike a complex, comprehensive, trillion-dollar deal with China centered on Eastern Siberia gas fields; the oil angle has been already taken care of via the East Siberian Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline. Putin knows that for China – in terms of securing energy – this deal is a vital counterpunch against Washington’s shady “pivoting” towards Asia.

Putin will also do everything to consolidate the South Stream pipeline – which may end up costing a staggering $22 billion (the shareholder agreement is already signed between Russia, Germany, France and Italy. South Stream is Russian gas delivered under the Black Sea to the southern part of the EU, through Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Slovakia). If South Stream is a go, rival pipeline Nabucco is checkmated; a major Russian victory against Washington pressure and Brussels bureaucrats.

Everything is still up for grabs at the crucial intersection of hardcore geopolitics and Pipelineistan. Once again Putin will be facing yet another Washington road map – the not exactly successful New Silk Road (See US’s post-2014 Afghan agenda falters, Asia Times Online, Nov 4, 2011.)

Ant then there’s the joker in the pack – the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Putin will want Pakistan to become a full member as much as China is interested in incorporating Iran. The repercussions would be ground-breaking – as in Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran coordinating not only their economic integration but their mutual security inside a strengthened SCO, whose motto is “non-alignment, non-confrontation and non-interference in the affairs of other countries”.

Putin sees that with Russia, Central Asia and Iran controlling no less than 50% of world’s gas reserves, and with Iran and Pakistan as virtual SCO members, the name of the game becomes Asia integration – if not Eurasia’s. The SCO develops as an economic/security powerhouse, while, in parallel, Pipelineistan accelerates the full integration of the SCO as a counterpunch to NATO. The regional players themselves will decide what makes more sense – this or a New Silk Road invented in Washington.

Make no mistake. Behind the relentless demonization of Putin and the myriad attempts to delegitimize Russia’s presidential elections, lie some very angry and powerful sections of Washington and Anglo-American elites.

They know Putin will be an ultra tough negotiator on all fronts. They know Moscow will apply increasingly closer coordination with China; on thwarting permanent NATO bases in Afghanistan; on facilitating Pakistan’s strategic autonomy; on opposing missile defense; on ensuring Iran is not attacked.

He will be the devil of choice because there could not be a more formidable opponent in the world stage to Washington’s plans – be they coded as Greater Middle East, New Silk Road, Full Spectrum Dominance or America’s Pacific Century. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s get ready to rumble.

Copyright 2012 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd.

Editing: Debbie Menon

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent book, just out, isObama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). He may be reached at

Escobar: Putin not part of NWO, labelled evil by elites

Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar says that despite the Russian people making their choice clear, the U.S. is still on a mission to vilify the country…

Read more:

Putin Wins Overwhelmingly


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Obama Plans More Middle East Wars


by Stephen Lendman


Cheerled by America’s major media scoundrels, war looks increasingly likely. Syria and Iran both are targeted.

Imagine the potential catastrophic consequences, especially if nuclear weapons are used. They were before. Why not now. The prospect’s chilling.

In his Der Ring des Nibelungen operas (the Ring), Richard Wagner portrayed his apocalyptic version musically. Gotterdammerung (Twilight of the Gods) prophesied the end of the world.

Einstein suggested it, saying he didn’t know what WW III weapons would be used, “but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

Around the same time, Bertrand Russell warned:

“Shall we put an end to the human race, or shall mankind renounce war” and live in peace. The stark choice is clear. The wrong one suggests consequences too grim to imagine.

It’s terrifying to imagine nuclear bunker-buster bombs used against underground targets. Whatever the physical damage, irradiating vast areas could kill millions, and set a precedent to keep using them like king-sized hand grenades.

A 13,600-kilogram bunker-buster’s being developed. Called “the massive ordnance penetrator,” allegedly it can smash through 65 meters of reinforced concrete before detonating.

Defense Secretary Panetta said work on an array of military options are being considered if sanctions don’t curb Iran’s nuclear program. He added they’ve been underway “a long time,” and Washington’s “weighing all of the ramifications of how best to deal with Iran.”

It’s hard imagining the mindset of hawkish policy makers. Grave consequences aren’t considered, let alone waging permanent wars against nonbelligerent countries threatening no one.

Yet Obama’s fulfilling Dick Cheney’s promise about wars not ending in our lifetime. Former CIA Director James Woolsey said America’s “engaged in World War IV, and it could continue for years….This fourth world war, I think, will last considerably longer than either World Wars I or II did for us.”

In his September 11, 1990 joint session of Congress speech, GHW Bush called it a “New World Order” ahead of Operation Desert Storm.

In its 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), the Pentagon called it the “long war.” It rages daily for unchallenged world dominance, no matter the potentially devastating consequences.

Obama Targets Syria

On March 7, Defense Secretary Panetta and Joint Chiefs head General Martin Demsey told the Senate Armed Service Committee that Pentagon officials were preparing war plans on Syria at Obama’s request.

Last month, stopping barely short of declaring war, Obama condemned Assad, demanded he step down, and urged international intervention without saying how.

On February 24, The New York Times “Syria’s Horrors” editorial called for “a strategy to end the killing,” and said world leaders have to “try harder.”

As a result, war seems more likely. Washington wants more international support. So far, Obama’s shy about acting unilaterally. Syria’s not Libya. In 2012, Global ranked its military strength 35th globally.

Its force strength numbers over 300,000 with 450,000 in reserve. It has thousands of tanks, artillery pieces, cruise and other sophisticated missiles, including S-300s able to “deflect a possible attack by NATO or the US and EU.”

There’s much more as well, including hundreds of ships and aircraft. In a showdown, most Syrians back Assad against Washington, other Western countries and Israel.

Global Firepower ranks Iran number 12. Its active military strength numbers 545,000 with 650,000 more in reserve. Its weapons arsenal is huge and sophisticated. Like Syrians, its people back Ahmadinejad against foreign attack.

When externally threatened, most populations support their government. It’s all they’ve got, especially against menacing forces, and they know it. Washington menaces humanity. Syrians and Iranians understand.

Earlier and now, Assad expressed willingness to negotiate to end violence. His overwhelmingly approved constitution offers hope for change. Washington, Britain, France, other rogue NATO partners, and regional despots want none of it.

On March 9, opposition Syrian Revolution General Commission (SRGC) representative Hadi Abdullah said:

“We reject any dialogue while tanks shell out towns, snipers shoot our women and children and many areas are cut off from the world without electricity, communications or water.”

In fact, Western-backed killer gangs bear responsibility for months of violence. Western nations and regional allies supplied them with powerful weapons and training. US, UK and French intelligence and special forces operate covertly. In Homs, dozens of French soldiers were captured.

Assad’s more victim than villain. Violence would stop today if Washington called off its dogs. Instead, it rages out-of-control. Assad’s unfairly blamed. The world heads perilously toward more.

On March 9, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said:

“We cannot agree with the draft resolution in the form it is being presented in today. The text of the resolution under discussion is unbalanced.”

“Its main problem is the absence of a simultaneous call on all sides to take practical steps in the context of ceasing fire.”

Earlier Gatilov said:

“We continue complex consultations in NYC on the ‘Syrian’ resolution with the aim of reaching the text addressing equal demands for both parties.”

“We will not agree with any UN Security Council resolution on Syria containing clues for use of force against the country. Ambiguities are unacceptable.”

China’s UN envoy Li Baodong said Beijing’s “firmly opposed to the use of force to solve the Syrian problem and resolutely opposes pushing for forced regime change in Syria, as it violates the United Nations Charter and the basic norms guiding the practice of international relations.”

Nonetheless, John McCain’s call for bombing Syria may attract more Washington support for direct intervention. He’s the ranking Republican Armed Services Committee member. Last year, he was among the first in Congress for attacking Libya. It got traction. It may again followed by Iran.

New York Times Warmongering: Scoundrel Journalism 101

On March 5, its editorial headlined “Iran, Israel and the United States,” saying:

“Iran’s nuclear appetites are undeniable, as is its malign intent toward Israel, toward America, toward its Arab neighbors and its own people. Israel’s threats of unilateral action have finally focused the world’s attention on the danger.”

Fact check

Iran threatens no one. Washington, Israel, its neighbors, and Times editors know it. They lied about Tehran’s nonexistent threat and peaceful nuclear program. It complies fully with Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) provisions. Washington long ago abandoned them. Nuclear armed and dangerous Israel ignores them.

Stopping short of urging war, Times editors legitimized Israel waging one unless Tehran proves a negative impossible for any nation. A decade ago, Saddam couldn’t show nonexistent WMDs didn’t exist. War followed.

Judith Miller played the lead role. Her daily feature front page Pentagon handouts smoothed the way for destroying the cradle of civilization. Are Syria and Iran next?

America’s “newspaper of record” bears major responsibility for millions of post-9/11 lives lost. No matter, it urges more. It says neither Israel or Tehran should doubt Obama’s resolve “to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon” it has no intention to develop.

Netanyahu: A Regional Menace

Haaretz took note several times, including in a March 9 editorial headlined, “Israel must not bind itself to Netanyahu’s vulgar rhetoric on Iran,” saying:

“Anyone who cares about Israel’s future could not help but feel a chill upon hearing Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent speech at the AIPAC conference – if not because of the gravity of the existential threat it described, then because of its sheer vulgarity and bad taste.”

In fact, Israel faces no threat, existential or otherwise. Moreover, invoking the Holocaust and rhetorical gimmicks long ago wore thin. They don’t wash but get repeated ad nauseam because media scoundrels regurgitate them.

Every Netanyahu speech gives them red meat to appear legitimate: “kitsch and death, threats and vows, warnings and rebukes of the entire world.”

“The spine-chilling fear is that one day” we’ll discover too late we’ve been had. It won’t be the first time, but challenging two formidable adversaries may extract a price greater than Israel, the region and beyond can pay. At that point, it’s too late.

Nonetheless, Netanyahu suggested attacking Iran’s possible in months, saying:

“We’re not standing with a stopwatch in hand. It’s not a matter of days or weeks, but also not of years. The result must be removal of the threat of nuclear weapons in Iran’s hands.”

“I hope there won’t be a war,” he added, but strongly suggests Israel’s ready to act jointly with Washington or alone.

In fact, claiming an Iran nuclear threat and blaming Assad for Western-generated violence are red herrings. At issue is replacing independent regimes with pro-Western ones, and for Israel removing regional rivals.

Don’t expect America’s “newspaper of record” or other major media scoundrels to explain. They march in lockstep cheerleading wars and their run-ups, no matter how much death, destruction and human misery they cause.

The best way to hold them accountable is tune them out. Without audience numbers they’ll wither and die. Imagine being free of them. Hopefully it’s just a matter of time.

A Final Comment

On March 8, the Atlantic magazine published an Iran War Clock. Set at 10 minutes to midnight, it said odds are even that Washington and/or Israel will attack. A so-called panel of experts was chosen to predict future risks.

They include a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran, a Council on Foreign Relations senior vice president, a Deputy Head of Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, Haaretz’s military correspondent, an anti-Iranian front group head, and others like them.

Independent analysts were largely excluded. Names chosen include:

Daniel Byman, Shahram Chubin, Golnaz Esfandiari, Azar Gat, Jeffrey Goldberg, Amos Harel, Ephraim Kam, Dalia Dassa Kaye, Matthew Kroenig, John Limbert, Valerie Lincy, James Lindsay, Marc Lynch, Gary Milhollin, Trita Parsi, Paul Pillar, Barry Rubin, Karim Sadjadpour, Kenneth Timmerman, Shibley Telhami, Stephen Walt, and Robin Wright.

If no chance for war exists, the clock’s set at 20 minutes to midnight. It moves closer by one minute increments for each added 5% risk. A 10% chance sets it at 18 minutes to midnight, five minutes before for 75%, and 10 minutes as now for 48%.

Claiming impartially, it calls its assessment a collective “gut-check feeling.” In January, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock moved to five minutes to midnight. It was its first change since early 2010. In a statement it said at the time:

“Two years ago, it appeared that world leaders might address the truly global threats that we face. In many cases, that trend has not continued or been reversed.”

Given all now ongoing, risks appear greater. Rely on reputable analysts to assess what’s coming. Currently there’s good cause for alarm.

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California Scholars for Academic Freedom Protest UC President’s Apparent Bias Regarding the Right of Free Speech and Dissent on UC Campuses


CALIFORNIA SCHOLARS FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM (CS4AF), a group of 150 scholars at twenty California institutions of higher learning, are concerned about the latest statements and actions of UC President Mark Yudof.  The group believes that under the guise of promoting “civility and tolerance,” Yudof has in fact delivered a blow to the right to dissent and protest.

Our concerns are twofold: an apparent bias regarding the right of free speech and dissent on UC campuses, and a stated reliance on advice from two organizations that lack credible experience in dealing with academic freedom.

In a March 8 letter addressed to the UC community, President Yudof presented a one-sided argument about the problem of intolerance by focusing exclusively on protests against speakers who represent the Israeli government or whose presentations endorse the manner in which Israel maintains its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

In his letter, President Yudof treats characterizes the disruption of speeches at a UC Davis event titled “Israeli Soldiers Speak Out” as “hate-driven… attacks.”  In so characterizing the event, he appears to have relied on a letter from the AMCHAI Intiative and made no further effort to determine the facts of the case.

At this February 27 event, which featured two members of the Israeli Defense Forces, there were two protests: an organized, peaceful protest by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), and a sustained outburst by a university employee not associated with the group. The SJP protest was organized with the support of members of Jewish Voices for Peace and MECHA. According to UC Davis faculty who were present, this protest “did not disrupt the event, nor did any members of this diverse coalition interrupt the speakers.” Rather, the protesters carried out “a silent walkout” followed by “a small, peaceful discussion outside the building where they discussed the realities of life under occupation.” Yudof’s letter nevertheless characterizes all the protests as “verbal attacks.” It then compares them to hate crimes such as drawing swastikas on the doors of Jewish students, hanging nooses to intimidate African American Students, and spray-painting profanities across the entrance to the LGBT Resource Center at UC Davis.

We find this comparison appalling. Israel is a nation-state, not an ethnic or religious group, and protests against the policies of a government are entirely distinct from hate crimes.  We believe that this criminalization of protest does a disservice to the entire UC community.

To persuade us that he seeks to foster toleration for everyone, the President might have condemned the documented instances of harassment and intimidation practiced by Stand With Us, including attacking bystanders with pepper spray and brandishing stun guns at UC Berkeley on February 25. He might also have condemned the monitoring of UC faculty by organizations such as Campus Watch.  In one incident, a “monitor” fabricated a quotein order to depict UCLA professor Susan Slyomovics, the descendant of Auschwitz survivors, as a Holocaust denier – a podcast of the event refutes his claims.  No member of the UC administration has ever responded to such outrages with calls for tolerance and respectful coexistence.

An equally disturbing element of Yudof’s letter is his announcement that his office is “working with the Museum of Tolerance and the Anti-Defamation League to improve campus climate for all students and to take full advantage of our marvelous diversity.” The choice of these—and only these–particular entities amounts to taking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and related issues. By leaving out groups working on behalf of Palestinian human rights or human rights in general, but collaborating only with organizations whose mandates are devoted to supporting Israeli governmental interests and squelching criticism of Israeli policies in all public domains, including university campuses, President Yudof is in effect advocating for one party rather than promoting tolerance across the board.

Moreover, the selection of these two organizations is problematic regardless of whether other organizations are also to be involved. The Anti-Defamation League has led numerous campaigns to defame and harass academics and others who criticize Israeli policies. The League has been sued and lost several cases involving spying and harassment. For example, in 2011, it was ordered to pay $10 million in damages to William and Dorothy Quigley for libelously characterizing them as anti-Semites. The Museum of Tolerance, whose mandate focuses on public education about the Holocaust, has been implicated in the destruction of a Palestinian cemetery in Jerusalem in order to construct a park featuring a monument to Zionism. Neither of these organizations is qualified to offer advice on academic freedom or freedom of speech at public universities, and it is our position that neither of them should be relied upon by the UC or involved in efforts to pursue the worthy goal of promoting tolerance.

The president of the University of California, the second largest university system in the United States, should speak for all his students, faculty and staff, not only for those whose political affiliations he may happen to support.  According to the Jewish Journal, the President recently “met with all of the UC Hillel directors in his office in Oakland to discuss our observations regarding how Israel is faring on campus, how the Jewish community perceives the university’s actions and inactions, and, most important, how Jewish students are feeling about the situation.”  As far as we know, he has made no comparable initiative to determine how Palestine is faring on campus, how the human rights community perceives the university’s actions and inactions, and, most important, how Palestinian or other concerned students, of any race, creed, or color are feeling about the situation.

It should not be necessary to explain that one can protest the actions of a government without committing a hate crime, and that reliance on partisan organizations is unlikely to “improve campus climate.”  We applaud and endorse any initiative “to foster a climate of tolerance, civility and open-mindedness,” but we do not believe that criminalizing dissent can ever serve that purpose.

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