Archive | October 21st, 2012

Black Day: Indian Brutalities in Kashmir

NOVANEWS

By Sajjad Shaukat

27th of October is being celebrated every year as the “Black Day” by every Pakistani and Kashmiri all over the world as a protest against Indian illegal occupation of the Kashmir, when India had forcibly taken over the land on October 27, 1947.

During the partition of the Sub-continent, like other princely states, the people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) which comprised an overwhelming Muslim majority decided to join Pakistan according to the British-led formula. But, Dogra Raja, Sir Hari Singh, a Hindu who was ruling over the J&K in connivance with the Indian Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Lord Mountbatten, the then Governor General of India joined India.

The design to forcibly wrest Kashmir began to unfold on August 16, 1947, with the announcement of the Radcliffe Boundary Award. When the Award was announced, it did a great injustice by awarding the Gurdaspur District—a majority Muslim area to India so as to provide a land route to the Indian armed forces to move into Kashmir.

There was a rebellion in the state forces, which revolted against the Maharaja and were joined by Pathan tribesmen who voluntarily joined the rebels. Lord Mountbatten decided to immediately send senior army and air force commanders to land in Srinagar.

When Pakistan responded militarily against the Indian aggression, on December 31, 1947, India made an appeal to the UN Security Council to intervene and a ceasefire ultimately came into effect on January 01, 1949, following UN resolutions calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir.

Notably, the Security Council adopted resolution 47 (1948) of 21 April 1948 which promised a plebiscite under UN auspices to enable the people of Jammu and Kashmir to determine whether they wish to join Pakistan or India. On February 5, 1964, India backed out of its promise of holding plebiscite. Instead, in March 1965, the Indian Parliament passed a bill, declaring Kashmir a province of India-an integral part of the Indian union.

The very tragedy of Kashmiris had started after 1947 when they were denied their genuine right of sefl-determination. They organised themselves against the injustices of India and launched a war of liberation which New Delhi tried to suppress through various forms of brutalities.

Passing through various phases, during and after the partition, the struggle of Kashmiris which has become an interaction between the Indian state terrorism led by the Indian security forces and war of liberation by the freedom fighters keeps on going unabated.

Nevertheless, various forms of state terrorism have been part of a deliberate campaign by the Indian army against Muslim Kashmiris, especially since 1989. It has been manifested in brutal tactics such as crackdowns, curfews, illegal detentions, massacre, targeted killings, sieges, burning the houses, torture, disappearances, rape, breaking the legs, molestation of Muslim women and killing of persons through fake encounter.

According to a recent report on human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir by Indian Army and its paramilitary forces, there have been deaths of 93,274 innocent Kashmiri since 1989. Besides this alarming figure of open killings, there have been 6,969 custodial killings, 117,345 arrests, destruction, and razing of 105,861 houses. The brutal Indian security forces have orphaned over 107, 351 children, widowed 22,728 women and gang raped 9,920 women. In June 2010 only, there have been 33 deaths including four children besides, molested eight women, torturing and injuring 572 people. This brief account indeed, is the reality of Indian achievements on which they are trumpeting for their success in the Kashmir through counter insurgency operations.

Over the two decades of violence in Jammu and Kashmir, Human Rights Watch has documented several failures to ensure protection of human rights. It has called for the repeal of those laws which provide the armed forces with extraordinary powers to search, detain, and use lethal force, leading to numerous human rights violations. They also provide immunity for security forces—their prosecutions, even where the facts are well established, are rare.

While in its various reports, Amnesty International has also pointed out grave human rights violations in the Indian occupied Kashmir by indicating: “The Indian government’s disregard for human rights in Jammu and Kashmir means that in practice people reportedly died in custody and that the whereabouts of the disappeared  persons continue to be unknown…government forces continue to commit serious violations of humanitarian law…the Muslim majority population in the Kashmir Valley suffers from the repressive tactics of the security forces. Under the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act, security forces personnel have extraordinary powers to shoot suspected lawbreakers, and to destroy structures suspected of harboring militants or arms.”

At present, Indian military and paramilitary troops are using all inhuman techniques of ethnic cleansing to disturb the majority population of the Kashmiris, which had been practised by the Serb forces on Bosnian and Kosovar Muslims.

It is of particular attention that in 2008, a rights group reported unmarked graves in 55 villages across the northern regions of Baramulla, Bandipore and Handwara. Then researchers and other groups reported finding thousands of single and mass graves without markers. In this regard, in the last few years, rights groups discovered nearly 3,000 unnamed graves in the various districts of Kashmir.

In this respect, in August, 2011, Indian Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) officially acknowledged in its report that innocent civilians killed in the two-decade conflict have been buried in unmarked graves. The report indicated 2,156 unidentified bodies which were found in mass graves in various regions of the Indian-held Kashmir. Notably, foreign sources and human rights organisations have disclosed that unnamed graves include those innocent persons, killed by the Indian military and para-military troops in the fake encounters including those who were tortured to death by the Indian secret agency RAW.

In its recent report China’s leading News Agency Xinhua has unearthed more gruesome details on world-stunning unmarked graves in Poonch of the Indian occupied Kashmir.  The report revealed the statement of Sofi Aziz Joo, caretaker of a graveyard as saying, “Police and Army used to bring those bodies and direct me to bury them. The bodies were usually bullet-ridden, mutilated, faces disfigured and sometimes without limbs and heads.”

While, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and rights groups have indicated that more than 10,000 people have disappeared, accusing government forces of staging fake gun battles to cover up killings. They also revealed that suspected persons had been arrested and were murdered through arbitrary executions, and then buried in unmarked graves.

Notably, Indian forces have intermittently been employing various patterns of military terrorism to maintain their alien rule on these occupied territories, but it seems that non-condemnation of these acts by the so-called US-led civilised international community has further encouraged New Delhi to continue its brutalities on the armless Kashmiri masses. Indian authorities are not willing to talk with Kashmiri people on political grounds as they have decided that only bullet is the right way of dealing with them.

But despite the employment of various forms of state terrorism in the Indian-held Kashmir, the war of liberation by the Kashmiri people will continue until they get their legitimate right of self-determination as recognised by the UN resolutions.

Nonetheless, Kashmiris, living both sides of the Line of Control observe Black Day on October 27 to protest against India’s occupation of Jammu and Kashmir. The day is marked with a total shut down in Indian controlled Kashmir. On this very day, Pakistanis and Kashmiris across the globe express solidarity with the freedom fighters of Kashmiri people, demanding their legitimate right of self-determination from India which continues various forms of brutalities in order to suppress their popular movement.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

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LEBANESE BOMBING SUITS ISRAHELL,CFR’s AIM AT REGIME CHANGE AGENDA IN SYRIA

NOVANEWS
Syria’s New Attack on Lebanon
by Elliott Abrams 
Wissam will be the third IB(Information Branch) chief targeted after Samir Shahade and Wissam Eid. This is a terrible blow to the intelligence-security efforts in Lebanon against Bashar and his gang. The Information Branch is the only Lebanese security agency truly confronting the threats coming from Assad and Hezbollah. They deserve our unconditional support if we care to win our battle against the Iranian and Syrian regimes in Lebanon.”
Murder in Beirut is nothing new for the Assad regime; it is how Sunni and Christian opponents are dealt with. This car bomb killing in Beirut is only the latest piece of evidence as to why Assad’s survival threatens regional stability. Well over a year ago the President of the United States said Assad must go. It is time the United States adopted an active policy that would bring that day closer- saving thousands more lives in Syria and the lives of American allies in Lebanon as well.
[ed notes: Zionist Abrams was heavily involved in the Iran-Contra scandal. In 1991, Abrams was indicted by the Iran-Contra special prosecutor for giving false testimony before Congress in 1987 about his role in illicitly raising money for the Nicaraguan Contras(rightwing paramilitary deathsquads who killed  thousands of innocent civilians) “Rehnquist’s Legacy: A Partisan Court” also see… Elliott Abrams’ Dark History in Latin America a – THENAKEDFACTS Elliott Abrams, Militant Zionist, Chosen for NSC Post  “The Architects of War: Where Are They Now?”

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MICHAEL AUON INTERVIEW…SYRIA -VS- NEW WORLD ORDER

NOVANEWS

Syria

Lebanese former military commander-in-chief, Michel Aoun, is interviewed by Syrian State TV on Oct 11, 2012. During the interview, Aoun gives his opinion on the conflict in Syria. He says that the Syrian government will not be toppled, and that this war will put an end to the rise of Islamic extremism in the Arab world.


He also believes that a New World Order will emerge as a result of the Syrian conflict, stating that World War III will most likely occur if the ongoing attack against Syria runs out of fuel without it leading to the toppling of its government.Interview Outline: 00:05 – Origins of the Conflict 06:24 – On the Turkish Role in Syria 08:12 – The Syrian “Opposition” Will Ultimately Lose 11:23 – Christian Exodus from Middle East due to Israeli Policy 12:19 – Syria’s Win in this War Will End Spread of Radicalization in the Arab World 13:35 – Syria’s War Will Usher the Beginning of a New World Order

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Turks’ Anger at EU Torture Report Is New Reaction to Old Problem

NOVANEWS

Turkey

After our neighbors to the south [Syria], east [Iran and Iraq], north [Russia] and the United Nations, we are now angry with the European Union.Kuzu recently appeared on a television show and threw the EU report to the floor saying he actually wanted to throw it to the garbage bin but there wasn’t one around. He also added that since the report was a “filthy” and “despicable” one, it can only belong in a garbage bin.The Minister of EU Affairs, Egemen Bagis, is also among those who are furious with the report.As far as I know, he didn’t use words like “filthy” or “despicable” to describe the report, yet he did use the analogy of a “broken mirror.” He blamed Cyprus, which took up presidency of EU in 2012, for the report.
While some reminded Bagis that the report was prepared by the permanent experts of the EU, who were also responsible of preparing previous reports, Bagis stuck to his view.While government officials do their best to discredit this report, Sedat Ergin of Hurriyet made a comparison of the annual reports since 2002 when the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power. He shared his findings in a series of articles published in the daily Hurriyet.His findings concluded that EU criticism of Turkey actually started to bite after 2008, beginning with [criticism of] police brutality and lack of sanctions against culprits.
In Ergin’s words: “As it can be seen that the positive perspective of the EU towards Turkey starts with 2003 and continues until 2007. As of 2008, it is possible to observe that EU criticism of Turkey started to increase. While it is acknowledged in these reports that the number of torture cases is decreasing, it is also stated that the excessive use of police power is becoming a major problem. However, the most important problem for the EU is the lack of sanctions and investigation against culprits.”Therefore the main theme of this year’s report is no different from any of those that were written after 2008.
Turkey failed to accomplish the objective of combating torture. In this sense, given that Kuzu and Bagis are furious about this year’s report, they might have been mad about previous reports for the same reasons. Kuzu could have thrown the previous reports to the garbage bin also. Bagis could have said the same things about the previous reports, as well.However, it seems that the reasons behind government officials’ attitudes towards this year’s report are not related to the opinions used by the EU experts with the report itself. 
The reactions of government spokesmen this year are not against the report itself, but are rather a continuation of their foreign policy practices this year.They think the more they scold other countries and organizations, the bigger they become. After our neighbors to the south, east and north, as well as the UN, now apparently it is the EU’s turn.
[ed notes:also see…

Turkish torture method revealed by former interrogation specialist 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VrrCCJNq2I

Torture during police investigations Turkey – Human Rights – YouTube

www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTFF5RxeRLo

Torture claims from members of Turkey’s military service – YouTube

Anarky – Turkish Torture – YouTube

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CFR AGENT ”BUSH LACKEY” COMPARES

NOVANEWS
 

Zionist FOUAD AND WAR CRIMINAL BUSH

By Jeremy Salt – Ankara
In a recent article (‘Viewpoint: Echoes of Spanish civil war in Syria’, BBC News Magazine, October 9, 2012),
Zionist Fouad Ajami has drawn parallels between the Spanish civil war and the conflict in Syria. He compares the cruelty of the warring sides, which is accurate enough.
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[ed notes:Zionist fouad Ajami is a fraud,some backround.. In November 2006 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal by the President of the United States(BY WAR CRIMINAL G.W. BUSH ) and the National Endowment of the Humanities.(CIA FRONT)  
A FORMER CHAIR OF NEH WAS LIZ CHENEY . Former Chair, National Endowment for the Humanities  NEH Chairmen  WHO RAN SPECIAL PENTAGON SYRIA-IRAN WORKING GROUP WICH FUNDED SYRIAN-IRANIAN  OPPOSITION GROUPS Iran-Syria Operations Group wrote
… Between 1994 and 2001 she was a member of the Board of of Directors of the Lockheed-Martin Group 
Zionist FOUAD IS A CFR AGENT OF COURSE Board of directors biography: Zionist Fouad Ajami
VIDEO-FOUAD PRAISES WAR CRIMINALS BUSH -CHENEY IN IRAQ WAR ROLE FROM WAR PROMOTING HOOVER INSTITUTE Zionist 
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He compares the bombing of Guernica with the bombing of Aleppo, which is not. Guernica was a Basque city attacked without warning by German aircraft. Aleppo is a Syrian city infiltrated by thousands of armed men, mobilized, financed and armed by outside governments. Guernica was bombed without warning on a peaceful afternoon. Aleppo has been the site of vicious fighting for months, with the Syrian army and air force being used to drive armed groups out of the suburbs they have infiltrated.
The degree to which aircraft have actually been used  as opposed to the headline seeking claims of ‘activists’ makes the parallel even more questionable. Most of the damage seems to have been done in ground fighting. Most of the armed men inside Aleppo are not from Aleppo and many are not even Syrian. They are sponsored by the collective calling itself  ‘The Friends of the Syrian People’, in much the same way as the Fascists and National Socialists would have described themselves as the friends of the Spanish people in the 1930s.
And here is the  true parallel with Spain,  missed or avoided by Zionist Ajami, the determination of  the German national socialists and Italian fascists in the 1930s  and of the combination of ‘liberal democracies’ and gulf autocracies in 2011-12 to destroy a government standing in the way of their strategic interests.In Spain, opposition to the republican government gave Germany and Italy their foothold, in much the same way as the US, Britain, France and the gulf states used an authentic protest movement to wage war on the Syrian government. In Spain religion was an elemental factor. Spanish Catholics were told by their priests that the republican government – socialist and atheist – was the instrument of the devil.
In Syria sectarian hatred of the Alawis is pervasive within the ranks of the armed groups, especially amongst the foreign salafist jihadis paid and armed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Germany and Italy had Franco on hand. The anti-Syrian collective has the armed groups. German planes bombed Spain and the anti-Syrian collective would have started bombing Syria long ago but for the opposition of Russia and China. What they would have done would have eclipsed Guernica 1000 times over.
The Spanish republican government was elected democratically while the Syrian government was not, but to say this is to miss the main point. Germany and Italy wanted to destroy the republican government because it was a leftist canker close to the heart of Europe, an example that must not be allowed to spread. Knowing that Germany and Italy were arming the Spanish fascists, the British policy of non-intervention and an arms embargo was a supine way of supporting them. Except for some arms supplied by the Soviet Union, which was playing its own game in Spain anyway, the republicans were on their own. Anti-fascist volunteers came from the US (the Lincoln Brigades) and the UK, but the British establishment did not want socialism taking root in Spain any more than Hitler did.
It rather liked him. He was the strong man who was going to stop Bolshevism from seeping across western Europe, right up to the point where he brought on the crisis in Czechoslovakia, and even then it was prepared to deal with him.The prime lesson from the 1930s is that if  Britain and France  had ever joined hands with the USSR and stood up to Hitler, had they perhaps called his bluff when he sent troops into the demilitarized Rhineland, there might have been no Second World War as well as no bombing of Guernica. By blocking an open military attack which could have ended in a regional war and much worse, given the actors and interests involved, as well as destruction and loss of life in Syria on the scale of Iraq, Russia and China have done what Britain and France should have done in the 1930s.
There are the parallels and the lessons to be learned. There is no paradox in the fact that the ‘liberal democracies’ have behaved with as much (if not much more) violence and disregard of the law as the national socialists and fascists did in the 1930s because they do it all the time. Zionist Ajami  describes  Syria as the ‘minority regime’; the ‘dictatorship’;  the ‘godless regime’ (repeating  the war cry of the armed groups and the ranting sheikhs in Saudi Arabia and Qatar); the ‘tyranny’;  the ‘brazen’ regime, all  of it a  caricature of  more complex realities. Zionist Ajami claims there is war between ‘the dictatorship’ and the ‘vast majority of the population’.
He produces  no evidence that the ‘vast majority’ is at war with the government, leaving aside the question of whether it is accurate even to describe  it as a dictatorship rather than a deeply entrenched authoritarian system with interests not necessarily or automatically the same as Bashar al Assad’s.The notion of a ‘Sunni-majority country’ conquered by the Alawis is a sectarian cliché. The Baathist government could not have survived over decades without coopting the Sunnis in business and government. The majority of people demonstrating in support of the government in the mass rallies held across the country last year were Sunnis.
The majority of soldiers in the Syrian army are Sunnis. If they are so aggrieved, if they are feeling so conquered, why haven’t they crossed over to the opposition? Amidst such turmoil, why would they stick by the government? Why have defections been so few at the political and military level despite the cash on offer from the gulf states? How is it that the army has held together despite the battering it has taken? Could it be because its loyalty to the country is greater than individual adherence to a  sect and that Syrians –  the majority – are correct in seeing this not as a Sunni-Alawi war but as a project fomented from the outside to destroy a government which is Iran’s strongest regional ally?
There is no evidence that the majority of Syrian Sunnis are with the armed groups or the outside governments backing them. The peaceful domestic opposition certainly is not, even while demanding the formation of a ‘transitional’ government. The referendum held in February and the elections held in May were not perfect but were still unmistakable signals that most Syrians want a negotiated end to the crisis gripping their country.
Zionist Ajami refers to the ‘magical alignment of the stars’ which resulted in Britain, France and the US riding to the rescue – the ‘cavalry’ he calls it although anyone familiar with happened as a consequence might prefer calvary – of the Libyan people. Like the Americans riding into in Iraq to repair and protect, rifle in one hand and wrench in the other, as Zionist Ajami  once wrote,  they were apparently just good guys chasing out the bad. Yes, the Arab League flashed a green light for the aerial attack on Libya, but this toothless body simply did what it was told by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and regretted what it did once it saw the scale of the destruction.As for the Americans, the US policymakers who ‘did’ Libya, and here Zionist Ajami is very aptly using the language of the rapist, warned that Syria would not be another Libya and in this at least they were right.
The killing of Qaddafi came as ‘vicarious relief’ for ‘the Syrians’, writes Zionist Ajami. If true, not for ‘the Syrians’, only for the armed gangs already massacring and kidnapping across the country and thirsting for the day when Bashar’s body would be dragged through the streets. There was nothing magical about happened in Libya. Sirte was pulverized by British, French and US aircraft, Qaddafi was slaughtered, his supporters in Sirte were massacred and those who fought for him near Misurata were ethnically cleansed.
What was magical about any of this? The air assault was grim and it was brutal, and it left behind another broken country on the Middle East map. There is no security even in Tripoli. Only now is the United States showing signs of nervousness at what it did in backing the salafi jihadists who played a key role on the ground under the umbrella of its jet fighters and missiles. So it is okay for them to kill and destroy in Libya or Syria but not where they might next turn their attention, against those who used them.   That cannot be allowedThere is no ‘magical alignment’ in Syria any more than there was in Libya.
The country has been savaged at the behest of those who want to bring down its government for reasons that have nothing to do with the aspirations of the Syrian people. This is the exercise of brutal power politics, irresponsible, bereft of law or morality, and therein lies the parallel with the attack on Spain in the 1930s.  Not that Syria is the only parallel. For exactly the same reasons  the US government decided  to destroy  the Allende government in Chile in  the 1970s;  the socialists had to be stamped out and they were;  in both cases, and in  many others,  in Latin America and around the world,  a dictator came to power who  crushed the people for decades.

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British Democracy: Living in Fear, Kept in the Dark

NOVANEWS
Global Research

Earlier this year, I watched the BBC’s main political debate programme that allows an audience of members of the public to put questions to a panel of politicians and so-called experts. Syria was on the agenda. A member of the panel referred to the Syrian rebels as ‘freedom fighters’. Within a few minutes, all panel members and the audience were using this term to refer to the rebels. It led me to ponder why so many people were willing to accept at face value an agenda that portrayed the insurgents in such a wholly positive light.

It also led me to conclude just how easy it is to manipulate ordinary people into backing imperialist ventures abroad, which are fought on behalf of rich interests. At a time of biting austerity and attacks on workers and the welfare state, well over a billion pounds of ordinary people’s money was used to fund the illegal bombing of Libya.

The justification sold to people for such militarism is that dictators are bad. The justification sold to people for attacking or destabilising countries resulting in mass death is that democracy must therefore be forced through by the barrel of a gun. Isn’t it terrible, the politicians and media say, that Assad is a brutal dictator who is preventing democracy by putting down the rebels.

The Assad regime undoubtedly has its faults, but nothing is ever said by the corporate media about the authoritarian ruling clique in Saudi Arabia, which has even given its name to that country (House of Saud). Nothing is ever said about a western backed dictator in Bahrain who has been in power for 52 years. Nothing is ever revealed about the brutal ongoing crackdowns on protestors and dissenters in those countries. When Bahrain used Saudi troops to put down uprisings in 2011, the resultant death toll was proportionally much larger than was the loss of life in Egypt during the uprising there. In fact, if the death toll in Bahrain were taken as a proportion of the population, the equivalent death toll for Egypt would have been 12,000.

Where was the outrage from the US and its client states? That’s right, there was none. The King of Bahrain was even invited to attend Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee celebrations atBuckinghamPalace.

As it did inLibya, repressive Saudi Arabia is playing a big role in facilitating the rag-tag rebels in Syria to destabilise a sovereign state that stands in the way of NATO and Israeli interests.

And far away, back inBritain, the public is being fed a pack of lies by politicians and the mainstream media about the situation in Syria, just as it has been over other military adventures over the past decade. The majority of Brits don’t have much of a clue about what is happening. They are unaware that Syria forms part of the greater game in the region. They fail to see the links between Syria, Pakistan, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, which are all part of a Washington-led wider geo-political strategy hell-bent on global domination, controlling the world’s mineral resources, pipeline routes and lining the pockets of western financiers and oil, armaments and logistics companies. Too many remain confused or ignorant thanks to duplicitous politicians and the corporate media.

The public cannot know the reality. They will not be allowed to know. They must be kept in fear and in the dark and deceived by politicians and the media that churn out increasingly tired-sounding clichés about a war on terror or humanitarian militarism to justify murderous brutality.

And the result is that too many people accept the lie that rag-tag forces made up of vicious, faction-ridden fighters, illegally armed by NATO terror governments and unelected regimes in Saudi and Qatar, are fighting for freedom and democracy. Those forces and nations wouldn’t know about freedom and democracy if they fell over it.

Sorry, my mistake, they would and they do. That’s why they seek to crush it when it appears. And that applies whether it appears within the borders of the US, Britain or Saudi, or elsewhere in places that are of strategic importance to them. The US track record of crushing democratic governments is well documented by the likes of Noam Chomsky and historian William Blum. And look no further to see the attacks on WikiLeaks or the Occupy Movement to see how democratic movements are treated at home. Look no further to see how democratic workers’ movements that took hundreds of years to build in Britain and elsewhere in Europe are under sustained attack.

Giving the people the opportunity to vote every four or five years, while in the meantime deceiving, misinforming and lying to them, has no more to do with democracy or freedom than what is happening in Syria right now.

If more ordinary folk were turn their attention away from glossy sports events, premiership football, cheap knockabout BBC political debate shows or all other forms of comatosing infortainment for one minute, they might well realise that the billionaire criminal elites that take their taxes and dictate national and foreign policy are in many cases a good deal worse than any number of the regimes they seek to demonise.

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Fraudulent Educational Reform in America

NOVANEWS
Global Research

“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.”—William Arthur Ward

What goes on in America’s schools is essentially identical to what goes on in the Madrassas of the Muslim world. In both, orthodox beliefs are taught as truth and critical examination is discouraged. Two worlds clash in loggerheads.

In the 1960s, I came across a little book entitled Master Teachers and the Art of Teaching. This unpretentious little book, written by John E. Colman of St. John’s University, not only enlightened me as a young university professor but proved to be invaluable. In it, about a dozen different teaching methods are described along with some information about the master teachers who designed them. Each of these methods was used successfully to teach some subjects to some students. None was used successfully to teach all subjects to all students.

Throughout my teaching career, I found opportunities to utilize many of these methods when the right situations arose. The lesson I learned from this little book is that there is no one teaching method that works for teaching all subjects to all students. Finding the right method for the students at hand is at best an art, never a science, and is never easy.

Few people understand this. In fact, teacher training suppresses it. Teaching methods are taught to prospective teachers as fixed, reliable procedures that never fail when in reality, they rarely succeed. And although carried out in numerous variations, the predominant way of teaching in America’s schools at all levels has been the teacher’s lecture and the student’s need to memorize it. Today the lecture is often presented in various ways. The student listens to a teacher speak, or reads a teacher’s words in a textbook, or watches a televised presentation or a computerized video. And students are asked to memorize some portion of the presented material. Furthermore, the memorization of presented material is the most boring way of teaching anyone anything.

No one likes having to memorize stuff. Some teachers, like orators, are better at lecturing than others which leads many to conclude that the quality of the presentation is what really matters and that that quality depends on the teacher’s talent. But it doesn’t. Teaching is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for learning. Human beings had been teaching themselves and others for millennia before what we know as a “teacher” ever existed.

The history of education in America makes this transparently clear. Even the Puritans had ways of teaching their children, but the first normal school, a school to train students to be teachers, didn’t come into being until 1839, less than two centuries ago. It resulted in building a school system modeled on an industrial, manufacturing model that still controls thinking about education today. Unfortunately is was faulty then and still is today.

Using this model, our schools are thought of as factories, the teachers are thought of as factory workers, and students are thought of as raw material. Each student enters the school system as a tabula rasa and exits as a book engraved with “knowledge.” The engraver, of course, is the teacher who is responsible for what is written on the tabulae. The system is devoted to mass producing educated people, and even anecdotal observations of people clearly demonstrate that it has never worked. Had it worked, everyone who attended school would have been equally educated, just like the buttons produced in a button factory are all alike. Two and a half centuries of graduate counterexamples absolutely refute the theory.

But so does the experience of most students. It is the rare graduate of any school on any level who can’t name a teacher s/he considers exceptionally good. Yet even those teachers never taught every student in their classes equally well. Some learned a lot, some learned less, and perhaps some learned nothing. No teacher can be responsible for such disparate results. Something other than the teacher’s ability must be accountable for them, because each student in each class was subjected to the same presentations. Mill’s method of difference must be used to identify the other, but no reformer is attempting to use it. Blaming the teacher is so much easier, and putting the blame there proves that the improvement of education is not the aim of reformers.

Even though we routinely ask children what they would like to be when they grow up, except in trivial ways, our schools rarely make attaining their goals possible, because the system is designed to make products not educated human beings. Prospective college students are always being told, even by the President, to study subjects that the commercial community needs to carry out its enterprises.

Lindsay Oldenski, Assistant Professor, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, writes that the need is to match graduates to the areas where labour demand is growing. Students are not told to study the subjects needed to become what they want to be because unless the commercial community wants people who want to be what they want to be, this society has no place for them in it, which proves that this society does not exist for people, but that people exist to fulfill the purposes of the commercial community.

The President says more scientists are needed. No one asks him why? No one points out that we don’t pay any attention to those we already have. Why are more scientists who are not going to be paid attention to needed? What the commercial community wants is not scientists, but scientists who fulfill the commercial community’s needs. So the schools need not produce environmentalists or climatologists or anthropologists.

What schools need to produce are scientists like Wernher Magnus Maximilian Freiherr von Braun who was quite content to use slave labor to produce weapons of mass murder. Our commercial community needs scientists like that and apparently quite enough of them are being produced. The educational system exists to produce factory fodder, and educational reformers are concerned not with improving education but with producing factory fodder better.

But it won’t work! CNN recently released a list of the 16 colleges in the country that produce the highest paid graduates. Princeton University was first on the list; yet only 49% of its graduates considered their jobs to be meaningful. Training for work is not education for living, not even when highly paid. The average rate of meaningful work for the 16 colleges is a mere 51%. Can you approximate the average for all workers, especially the lowest paid? What does this say about the quality of life Americans enjoy?

Our reformers’ love affair with technology has also shown itself to be ineffective. American love for science and technology is grounded in religious-like faith, not reality. This love produces a deeply held belief that science and technology will solve all problems. That it may not is never even considered, so reformers go from one technology to another in an endless search for the holy grail of learning. Television was introduced into college classrooms in the early 1960s. It enabled one professor to “teach” hundreds of students, but they never learned very much. A decade later, computers were introduced into the public schools.A lot of computers were bought; little increase in learning was observed. Now the classroom is being shifted to the Internet.

But test scores keep dropping. Despite decades of reforms and billions of dollars spent the American education system badly needs improvement; yet no relevant improvement is even in sight. “Most of the nation’s 2012 high school graduates aren’t ready for college, and their reading skills continue to steadily decline, hitting their lowest level in four decades, new data show.” In fact, piles of evidence reveal that Americans are getting dumber.

People who have graduated from high school since the pocket calculator was invented can’t calculate in their heads, not even simple addition, subtraction, and multiplication. Many people addicted to the Internet have difficulty reading anything more complicated than a tweet, and the technical constraints imposed by the internet are making it impossible to teach spelling and the nuances of grammar. What can seriously be written about in 140 characters? Articles become mere headlines and headlines become mere soundbites.

America is, and always has been, an anti-intellectual society. It is a conservative nation with deeply held conservative views. This conservatism stems from its widespread fundamentalist religious values. Numerous progressive attempts to change this have failed and are failing again. When the Republican Party of Texas recently approved its 1912 Platform, it included the following paragraph:

Knowledge-Based Education

We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

And the Alabama Legislature considered a bill to stop the teaching of evolution as a fact. That even a part of America’s governing elite tries to enact such reactionary views into law means that they are attempting to make improving the American schools impossible. The American elite does not want anyone to improve the American schools. America’s schools will never be reformed because the culture impedes it. The reform movements are not about education. They, like everything else in America, are about money. Both the American political and economic systems rely on a thoughtless, unintelligent, uneducated populous. Einstein said that it is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.

In America, it hasn’t. To become learned, a person, especially a child, must be imbued with curiosity. But marketing to children and entertaining adults are based on mindless activities. How does watching a sporting event, a televised situation comedy, a music-video, a cartoon awaken curiosity? What does any of this make a person want to learn? The culture doesn’t make Americans want to learn anything about anything. Such people do not make willing students. Schooling to them is something being forced upon them; they naturally resist it. Students who don’t want to learn won’t, and the society has developed no means of awakening curiosity. For educational purposes, the lack of curiosity is fatal. It cannot be cured.

A healthy curiosity is the only weapon against ignorance. Teaching is nothing but the art of awakening the natural curiosity of students, but learning what is taught is not enough. Learning whether what is taught makes sense is ultimately essential. Unfortunately that aspect of educating people is not part of American education.

So, in a sense, what goes on in America’s schools is essentially identical to what goes on in the Madrassas of the Muslim world. In both, orthodox beliefs are taught as truth and critical examination is discouraged. Two worlds clash in loggerheads. “Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace.”—Dalai Lama

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PCHR deeply concerned about the holding of local elections in the West Bank in context of large-scale human rights violations

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) is deeply concerned at the announcement by the Palestinian Authority (PA) that local council elections will be conducted in the cities and villages of the West Bank on Saturday, 20 October 2012, in light of the limiting of public freedoms and continuing widespread violations of human rights by the PA.

On 10 July 2012, the Central Elections Commission (CEC) was instructed to make the necessary arrangements in order to organize the elections in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip by the Council of Ministers in Ramallah.  On 24 July 2010, following Hamas’ suspension of the work of the CEC in the Gaza Strip, the Council of Ministers annulled their previous decision, deciding to organize local council elections in the West Bank only.

The last local elections in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) for the majority of local councils were at held at various stages between December 2004 and December 2005; thus the mandate of these councils expired in December 2009.  Over the past number of years, the separate governments of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have appointed new local councils directly.  This has resulted in favoritism and the appointment of individuals to councils to which they were not elected.

As the mandate granted by the Palestinian people in local, legislative and presidential elections has expired, these institutions have lost their authorization to represent the will of the Palestinian voters.  Therefore, the holding of renewed elections is the democratic entitlement of the Palestinian people.  Nonetheless, the holding of any general or local election requires the fulfillment of certain conditions which are necessary to guarantee transparent and fair elections that reflect the will of the electorate.  These conditions include, in particular, the protection of public freedoms, including the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the right to peaceful assembly, the right to form associations, freedom of the press, the release of political detainees, and an end to restrictions placed on political activities.

PCHR stresses that the political crisis and the fragmentation of the PA, which has been ongoing since 2007, are compounded by repeated delays to the holding of local elections.  This fragmentation has impacted the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government in the oPt.  It has also led to wide-scale violations of human rights and public freedoms by the authorities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and by their security services.

PCHR expresses its total support for the process of democratic transition in the PA, and wishes to emphasize the fact that democracy requires, inter alia, the organization of transparent and fair elections, which allow people to freely choose public representatives who are subject to accountability.

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US Imperialism Unleashed: Descent into Barbarism

NOVANEWS
Global Research

The triumph of imperialism leads to the annihilation of civilization. Rosa Luxemburg, The Junius Pamphlet

With signs of a global economic downturn mounting, US aggression across the Middle East and North Africa ratchets up. And once again, US imperialism stands poised to swing open the gates of Hell.

The choice presently confronting humanity, then, is one between imperialism on the one hand, and the struggle against imperialism on the other.

Global Capitalism Imperiled

According to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook report released last week, the “risks for a serious global slowdown are alarmingly high.” The report projects the world economy to expand just 3.3 percent this year and 3.6 percent in 2013—both projections down from the IMF’s July forecast. As Joseph Davis, chief economist at the Vanguard Group, cautioned to the Wall Street Journal, “The odds of a global recession are not fully appreciated.”

Indeed, for as the Financial Times reports, the Tracking Indices for the Global Economic Recovery, the Brookings Institution-Financial Times index of the world economy, finds severe problems “in both advanced and emerging markets.”

“The global economic recovery,” Brookings’ senior fellow and index creator Eswar Prasad warned, “is on the ropes.”

And though in its latest report the IMF continued to peddle the harsh elixir of austerity for the depressed economies of the euro zone periphery, the Fund also came to tacitly acknowledge the limits of austerity.

“The IMF now says global efforts to slash deficits and debt may have hurt growth because they occurred too quickly and too widely,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

But with the limits of austerity as a means of resolving the present crisis apparent, the last remaining card for the capitalist elite to play in their attempt to regenerate global capitalism appears to be in unleashing the forces of “creative destruction” wrought by military aggression. As Henryk Grossman warned in his Law of Accumulation, “The destructions and devaluations of war are a means of warding off the immanent collapse [of capitalism], of creating a breathing space for the accumulation of capital.”

It is thus out of the need to renew the impetus for capital accumulation that the iron fist of US imperialism gains free rein once more across the full spectrum of what American neo-conservatives deem the “arc of instability.”

US Imperialism on the March

According to the New York Times, the Pentagon is readying military strikes in Libya in retaliation for the September attack on the US compound in Benghazi. As the paper reports, “The top-secret Joint Special Operations Command is compiling so-called target packages of detailed information about the suspects.”

“Potential military options could include drone strikes, Special Operations raids like the one that killed Osama bin Laden and joint missions with Libyan authorities.”

The Times goes on to report that the Pentagon is also rushing to train and equip a 500 member Libyan commando force to be used to combat “Islamic extremists” within the country.

At the same time, the Pentagon has reportedly dispatched a task force of 150 military “planners” and “specialists” (i.e., special operations troops) to a Jordanian military base along the Jordan-Syria border. Speaking at a NATO conference in Brussels last week, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta claimed that the task force was sent to help Jordan “monitor chemical and biological weapons sites in Syria.”

The specter of chemical weapons has been increasingly used as a pretext by the Atlantic powers to threaten military intervention into Syria. As President Obama declared in August, the use of chemical weapons by Syrian forces would be a “red line,” which would force him to change his “calculus” on intervention.

“Once again, Western powers are digging deep for excuses to intervene militarily in another conflict-torn Middle East country,” an editorial in the state-run Xinhua news agency of China read in response to Obama’s threat.

Sure enough, as the New York Times reported, discussions have already taken place over using the Jordanian-stationed US task force to help establish a buffer zone within Syrian territory.

(In addition to the deployment of troops along the Jordan-Syria border, CIA operatives are presently active along the Syria-Turkey border, facilitating the flow of arms to rebel forces. Meanwhile, a recent report in theLos Angeles Times noted that the US military is currently using aerial surveillance drones to monitor Syrian chemical weapon stockpiles.)

Of course, the stepped up targeting of Syria cannot be decoupled from the joint Israel-US campaign against Iran. After all, as hawks Michael Doran and Max Boot argue in a New York Times op-ed, the first reason American intervention in Syria is now merited is because it “would diminish Iran’s influence in the Arab world.”

The road to Tehran, we see, may very well lead through Damascus; although, the urge to fly non-stop to Tehran may just prove too strong to resist.

Marching Toward Tehran

With Iran clearly in mind, the US and Israel are set to begin a massive three-week joint missile and air defense exercise later this month. The exercise, Business Week reports, will include 3,500 US personnel and 1,000 members of the Israel Defense Forces, making it the largest joint military exercise held between the two nations. The planned war game also occurs amid mounting speculation of a looming strike against Iran.

According to a report in Foreign Policy by David Rothkopf, the US and Israel are actively planning a joint “surgical strike targeting Iranian enrichment facilities.” Rothkopf, a former Clinton administration official and Editor-at-Large of Foreign Policy, cites his source as stating that “the strike might take only ‘a couple of hours’ in the best case and only would involve a ‘day or two’ overall.”

The strike, Rothkopf quotes an “advocate” of an attack as stating, would have a “transformative outcome: saving Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, reanimating the peace process, securing the Gulf, sending an unequivocal message to Russia and China, and assuring American ascendancy in the region for a decade to come.” This, of course, being the essence of the proverbial neo-con wet dream.

Remarkably, Rothkopf even goes as far as to triumph the idea of a “surgical strike” as a potential October Surprise Obama could use to propel himself back to the White House.

It appears now, however, that Rothkopf’s “report” may have been little more than a plant by the Israeli embassy in Washington. A move, perhaps, intended to further coerce Obama into adopting a more hawkish stance on Iran, while simultaneously serving to downplay the risks of an attack.

Of course, peddling the notion of a so-called “surgical strike” on Iran is nothing particularly new. In March, Jeffrey Goldberg reported for Bloomberg that Israeli talk of striking Iran had assumed a rather optimistic tenor.

“One conclusion key [Israeli] officials have reached,” Goldberg wrote after a trip to Israel, “is that a strike on six or eight Iranian facilities will not lead, as is generally assumed, to all-out war.”

(One cannot help wonder if the Rothkopf and Goldberg share the same source.)

Such assessments, though, are rather dubious, given that they directly contradict numerous assessments determining that any strike against Iran would quickly spiral into a regional conflict. A report earlier this year in the New York Times, for instance, noted a war game simulation run by the Pentagon forecast that an Israeli strike “would lead to a wider regional war, which could draw in the United States and leave hundreds of Americans dead.”

Likewise, a September war game organized by Kenneth Pollack, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy, resulted in a dangerous escalation from both sides. As theWashington Post’s David Ignatius reported, “The game showed how easy it was for each side to misread the other’s signals.”

“Misjudgment was the essence of this game,” Ignatius continued. “Each side thought it was choosing limited options, but their moves were interpreted as crossing red lines. Attacks proved more deadly than expected; signals were not understood; attempts to open channels of communication were ignored; the desire to look tough compelled actions that produced results neither side wanted.”

“War,” as Clausewitz wrote, “is the province of danger.”

Toward Barbarism

US imperial dreams, however, are hardly confined to setting the Middle East ablaze. Imperial ambitions—rooted in the capitalist logic of endless expansion—are inherently limitless. Thus, we see the US today readying to propel the greater Middle East into the abyss, while simultaneously “pivoting” to the Asia-Pacific in order to “contain” a rising China.

US imperialism, however, is destined for defeat (and sooner rather than later). The US, after all, can only use its immense military power to keep potential competitors in check for so long. The universal law of change cannot be held at bay by the barrel of a gun in perpetuity. As Lenin asked and answered in his pamphletImperialism: “Is it ‘conceivable’ that in ten or twenty years’ time the relative strength of the imperialist powers will have remained unchanged? Absolutely inconceivable.”

But imperial powers are always dangerously deluded by the strength of their power—impervious to its ultimate limits. As a George W. Bush administration official once remarked to the journalist Ron Suskind: “’We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors… and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

(One would be mistaken to believe that such hubris is not as present in the Obama White House as it was in the Bush administration.)

Such arrogance from the power elite—indicative of imperial rot—is but a byproduct of the imperialist imperative of endless expansion and conquest. And it is this very imperative that today compels US imperialism towards igniting a military conflagration in the Middle East threatening to ensnare the global powers. “A great cemetery,” as Luxemburg warned nearly a century ago, awaits such a triumph of barbarism.

The only means with which to elude such a miserable fate is found in the revolutionary power of working people to resist. As Luxemburg argued, escape from barbarism is only possible once the working class comes to seize “its own destiny and escape the role of the lackey to the ruling classes.”

The only genuine and enduring hope for humanity, then, lies is in the struggle for socialism.

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The Nobel War Prize

NOVANEWS
Global Research

The Nobel Committee did it again. The essence of its highest award, the Nobel Peace Prize, has been perverted. It’s been turned into a propaganda tool, a form of institutionalized revisionism, for which war is upheld as a peaceful endeavour, creeping alongside power struggles called “humanitarian interventions” in a fantasy tale we call history.

Neither Henry Kissinger, nor Barack Obama and the European Union (EU) deserved a peace prize. How can the EU deserve a peace prize when it’s been using its military might in the Middle East and Africa for over a decade? As David Swanson notes:

Europe […] has not during the past year — which is the requirement — or even during the past several decades done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations. Ask Libya. Ask Syria. Check with Afghanistan. See what Iraq thinks. Far from doing the best work to abolish or reduce standing armies, Europe has joined with the United States in developing an armed global forceaggressively imposing its will on the world. There were good nominees and potential nominees available, even great ones […]

The West is so in love with itself that many will imagine this award a success. Surely Europe not going to war with itself is more important that Europe going to war with the rest of the world!” (David Swanson, Why Europe Did Not Deserve a Nobel Peace Prize)

In addition to waging war with murderous weapons, the EU also uses “economic weaponry” directed against civilians, such as the sanctions it imposes on Iran. Unlike the EU, Iran has not invaded or attacked any country and the reasons justifying the economic sanctions are pure fantasy. Kourosh Ziabari explains:

[T]his union has aggressively declared an all-out, bloodless war on Iran, affecting millions of innocent civilians in my country who can’t understand for what crime they are being targeted and punished in such a belligerent and unfair manner.

The European Union began to impose an inclusive oil embargo against Iran since July 1 as a result of direct pressure and lobbying by the United States and in an effort aimed at paralyzing Iran’s nuclear program which they claim is not aimed at civilian purposes, and finally breaking the back of Iran’s economy and pressuring it into making political concessions […]

Sensitive medicine and pharmaceutical products which were previously imported from the foreign countries cannot find their way to Iran’s markets anymore and thousands of patients badly in need of medicines for such diseases as thalassemia, hepatitis, diabetes, different types of cancer, heart diseases and psychiatric disorders are facing serious problems with finding their medicines.

Waging wars does not take place simply by means of bombarding cities or dropping nuclear bombs on other nations. What the European Union has been doing with Iran is the unmistakable representation of an all-out war in which the ordinary citizens are the silent victims. (Kourosh ZiabariThe Nobel Peace Prize for Those Who Declared War on My Country)

And as if that was not enough, European peacemaking also includes fighting Iran’s freedom of speech as Danny Schechter reports: “European satellite company Eutelsat says it’s pulled the plug on several Iranian satellite channels following an order by the European Commission.” (Danny Schechter, Tell Me Lies: European Satellites Ordered To Drop Iranian Channels In Disregard of Free Speech)

The odd Nobel Laureate is waging a financial war on its own members as well as the cases of Greece and Spain illustrate:

How can you award of a Peace Prize – of all things! – to an entity that systematically supports the economic and social destruction of Greece; imposes extreme hardship on Spaniards and Italians whilst it supports greedy mega-bankers; has an undemocratically elected president (Herman van Rompuy) and, through its NATO war machine, continues bombing and destroying Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and is now poised for unilateral attack against Syria and Iran? Indeed, “Peace” should be made of sterner stuff!! (Adrian Salbuchi, The European Union Grabs the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize)

But in addition to its internal economic warfare and its plea of moral duty to promote war abroad and assert its position on the global chessboard, the EU is not an eligible candidate for this prize. According to Michel Chossudovsky:

While the EU’s contribution to peace is debatable, the key issue is whether a union of nation states, which constitutes a political, economic, monetary and fiscal entity is an “eligible candidate” for the Peace Prize, in accordance with the mandate of the Norwegian Committee.

The Olympic Games are “granted” to countries. But the Nobel Peace Prize cannot under any stretch of the imagination be granted to a nation-state, let alone a union of nation states. (Michel Chossudovsky The EU is not a “Person”: Granting the Nobel Prize to the European Union is in Violation of Alfred Nobel’s Will)

Has the Norwegian Nobel Committee become Orwell’s worst nightmare, where war is peace? To understand their nonsensical choices over the years and what to expect in the future, one has to wonder who and what does the Nobel Committee represent?

Expect anything from Nobel Committee members. They represent wealth, power, privilege, imperial lawlessness, and war, not peace. Perhaps they believe war is peace. They’ll have to explain why scoundrels regularly win their highest award. (Stephen Lendman Nobel Hypocrisy Wins Again)

If the Nobel Peace Prize is delusional, the victims of the EU’s warfare will tell you the horror of war is real.

Global Research offers its readers a list of selected articles on this topic.

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