Archive | April 15th, 2013

‘Please don’t be a Muslim’: Boston marathon blasts draw condemnation and dread in Muslim world


Posted by Max Fisher

Still image taken from video courtesy of NBC shows an explosion at the Boston Marathon. (REUTERS/NBC/Handout)

Still image taken from video shows one of the explosions at the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon. (REUTERS/NBC/Handout)

On Sept. 12, the day after Islamist militants attacked a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, killing ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, local Libyans gathered for a public demonstration.

Libyan families waved signs in Arabic and English reading “Benghazi is against Terrorism,” “Thugs and killers don’t represent Benghazi nor Islam,” “Chris Stevens was a Friend To all Libyans.” One photo captured a young boy holding the handwritten sign “Sorry People of America this not the behavior of our ISLAM and Profit.” A similar demonstration soon gathered in Tripoli. The tone at both rallies was positive and pro-American, but there was a second, subtler message being sent to the United States: We’re on your side, not theirs.

So little is known yet about what’s behind the explosions Monday at the Boston Marathon that any conclusion, including terrorism, would be premature. But that fear has been an early reflex not just in the United States but half a world away in the Middle East. There, a number of observers are expressing sympathy – recall that pro-American solidarity rallies were held throughout the region after Sept. 11, 2001 – and, at times, a sense of dread.

As a Libyan Twitter user named Hend Amry wrote, “Please don’t be a ‘Muslim.’” Her message was retweeted by more than 100 other users, including well-known journalists and writers from the Muslim world.

Jenan Moussa, a journalist for Dubai-based Al-Aan TV, retweeted the message “Please don’t be a ‘Muslim’” and added that the plea was “The thought of every Muslim right now.” Moussa’s message was forwarded more than 200 times.

Nervana Mahmoud, a U.K. citizen who writes often on the Middle East, wrote, “Fact: Terrorism has no religion, race, or nationality. Standing against terror should unit us all. #BostonExplosion #BostonMarathon”

A Dubai-based social media consultant named Iyad El-Baghdadi tweeted, “Went to my ‘Islamists’ list; good to know that most comments are sympathetic. Only a couple crazies out of 200-something. #BostonMarathon”

People in the Muslim world are often keenly aware of the American reflex to associate  bombing attacks on U.S. citizens with Muslim extremists. A certain routine has emerged, in which some Muslims seem compelled to make clear that they denounce the violence and consider it a violation of Islam — often even before the attacker’s religion is determined.

“As a Marathoner and Human being, I’m devastated. Prayers to the victims,” Qasim Rashid, the chairman of the Muslim Writer’s Guild of America, tweeted. “Whoever the culprit, no religion justifies this act of violence. We must remain united against extremism.”

Last July, a few hours after a gunman had opened fire on a Colorado movie theater, killing 12 people, a friend from the United Arab Emirates told me he’d been glued to the U.S. TV reports, watching with fear and sympathy. He said he was deeply bothered, but not surprised, when an anchor reported that the shooter had been captured and was “not a Muslim.”

There will be displays of true sympathy from the Muslim world regardless of the religion of those responsible for the fatal blasts in Boston — as there were after both Sept. 11, 2001, and the deadly December school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Should the incident turn out to have even the slightest connection to a professed observer of Islam – a possibility that, according to Moussa and others, some Muslims are dreading – those gestures of support may look something like the handmade posters in Benghazi last September, a declaration of solidarity and a gentle reminder that Muslims despise terrorism just as much as anyone else.

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Lest We Forget–The Israeli Massacre of Deir Yassin

“When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are to possess  and  casts out the many peoples living there, you shall then slaughter them all and utterly  destroy  them…You shall make no agreements with them nor show them any mercy. You shall destroy their altars, break down their images, cut down their groves and burn their graven images withfire. For you  are a  holy  people  unto the LORD thy God and He has chosen you to be a special people above all others upon the face of the earth…”
–Book of Deuteronomy, 7:1-8
“Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they  shall  plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof.”
Zephaniah 1:13,,
–When the Lord your God brings  you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, he will give you a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build,houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig,and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant…
–Book of Deuteronomy
By Dr. Elias Akleh
 April 12th 2013

The state of Israel was established and is sustained on the continuous perpetration of genocides, destruction of whole towns, land theft, home demolition, ethnic cleansing, and terror against Palestinians. The massacre of the Palestinian small town of Deir Yassin in 9th of April 1948; 65 years ago of this week, is just one typical massacre story that details Zionist Jewish Israeli savagery prescribed in their holy book, the Talmud.

Palestine at the time was under the British occupation (Mandate) that ended on 15 th of May 1948. Until that time there was no Israeli government or Israeli army, rather Zionist Jewish militia groups financed and armed by World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency. The largest was the Haganah; a secret Jewish terrorist group armed and trained by officers from the British army. The Haganah, later, formed the backbone of the present Israeli army. Within the Haganah there was an elite striking force called the Palmach, who specialized in assassination, terror and demolition. There were also two other smaller underground terrorist groups; Itzel or Irgun founded by Se’ev Jabotinsky the head of the Jewish Zionist Organization, and Lehi or Stern founded by the Zionist terrorist Abraham Stern.

Before the end of the British Mandate the Zionist leaders launched on April 4th 1948 their general expansionist colonial plan dubbed as “Plan Dalet”; a Zionist master offensive military plan with many sub-operations such as Nachshon, Harel, and Maccabi, whose aim was the systematic ethnic cleansing of as many Palestinians as possible and the theft of as much Palestinian land as possible before the end of the British Mandate. The Haganah had committed many massacres against the Palestinian population and had totally razed as many as 400 Palestinian towns. The Haganah thus gained popularity among the Zionist Jews.

There developed a competition between the Haganah on one side and the Irgun and Lehi on the other for popularity among Jews and for political leadership in the perceived future Israeli state. Such gain was achieved by one side in uprooting and transferring Palestinians and in the destruction of their towns and villages more than the other side.

During the first week of April 1948 the Haganah launched Operation Nachshon to carve out and hold a highway passage for their forces from Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean coast in the west all the way to Jerusalem in the interior of the country committing on their way many massacres of Palestinian civilians and demolishing their towns. The Haganah, at the time, was held up still by Palestinian fighters at Al-Qastal; west of Jerusalem and a few miles away from the village of Deir Yassin.

On the other side Irgun and Lehi terrorist groups wanted to gain popularity over the held-up Haganah through a military victory. They chose an easy virtually unarmed defenseless village of Deir Yassin as their target. Deir Yassin was a small Palestinian village located west of Jerusalem with about 750 inhabitants, who lived peacefully with their neighboring Zionist Jewish colony of Giv’at Shaul despite all the political and military conflicts of that time. The two communities had signed a non-aggression agreement between them. Yet, typical of Zionist Jews, who throughout their long history had never honored any agreement they signed with non- Jews, Zionist Jewish terrorist groups of Irgun and Lehi came out of Giv’at Shaul, attacked the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin on Friday 9th of April 1948 and savagely murdered scores of them; men, women and children, blew up their homes and wiped the village off the map.

Irgun was headed by Menachim Begin, who became the 6th Israeli prime minister, while Lehi was headed by Yitzhak Shamir, who became the 7th Israeli prime minister. Israel is the only country where terrorist leaders such as Menachim Begin and Yitzhak Shamir (also Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon) are rewarded with the position of prime ministers.

In a joint operation coded “Operation Unity” the two Zionist Jewish terrorist groups attacked Deir Yassin in the morning of April 9th, 1948 with the aim of killing as many Palestinians as possible and of forcing the rest out of their homes and land. Driving through the only street leading to the village the attackers were held up by Palestinian snipers using old one-shot hunting rifles. When four attackers were killed the terrorist groups called the commander of the Haganah, David Shaltiel, for help. He sent some of his troops among them a Palmach unit commanded by Mordechai Weg. With an armored vehicle and a two-inch mortar they were able to silence the resistance and occupy the village in a matter of two hours.

A process of cleaning up the village was, then, conducted by the terrorist groups which included the rape of some women, the cold murder of many Palestinians, and the blowing up of homes. Men and women were lined up against the walls in the main street and executed in cold blood. Members of whole families were murdered in their homes even after surrendering. Girls and women were raped and then murdered. The Zionist terrorists had bayoneted the wombs of Pregnant women and crushed the heads and bodies of dozens of children and babies. This cleanup process continued through the next two days, Saturday and Sunday, and demonstrated
the savagery of the Zionist Jewish terrorists.

Members of the Zionist terror groups, themselves, had reported such atrocities. Among the many of them was Yehoshua Gorodenchik, an Irgun physician, reported that they had to withdraw at one time and had decided to murder all prisoners. “We had prisoners and before the retreat we decided to liquidate them, we also liquidated the wounded… we eliminated every Arab we came across up to that point.”

Eliyahu Arbel, a Haganah operations officer, inspected the village and reported: “I have seen a great deal of war, but I never saw a sight like Deir Yassin … largely comprised of the bodies of women and children, who were murdered in cold blood.”

Israeli colonel Meir Pa’el admitted that “The Irgun and Lehi men came out of hiding and began to ‘clean’ the houses. They shot whoever they saw, women and children included, the commanders did not try to stop the massacre …”

Zvi Ankori, who commanded one of the terrorist units at Deir Yassin stated: “I went into 6 to 7 houses. I saw cut off genitalia and women’s crushed stomachs. According to the shooting signs on the bodies, it was direct murder.” (New York Jewish Newsletter in October 1960)

Alfred Engel, a Jewish physician, who was on site, saw that “It was clear that the attackers had gone from house to house and shot the people at close range.”

The most damning graphic description of the massacre of Deir Yassin came from Jacques de Reynier, the then representative of the International Red Cross, who was the first to reach the site. His statement indicated that “there were people rushing everywhere, in and out of houses, carrying Sten guns, rifles, pistols and long ornate knives. They seemed half mad. I saw a beautiful girl carrying a dagger still covered with blood. I heard screams … everything had been ripped apart. There were bodies strewn around… cleaning up was done with guns and grenades, the work finished with knives.” Reynier estimated seeing some 200 bodies, one of a woman, probably eight months pregnant, shot in the stomach. There were also butchered infants. Schoolgirls and elderly women have been raped and then murdered. Ears had been severed to
remove ear rings, bracelets had been torn from arms and rings from fingers.

Journalists Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre had obtained a dossier of 1948 British Mandate criminal investigation into Deir Yassin. According to the dossier, one woman among others described being sexually assaulted while “other women around me were being raped, too.” (Statement of Safiyeh Attiyeh, dossier 179/110/17 GS, “Secret,” quoted in Collins and Lapierre, O Jerusalem! 275,276). According to Collins and Lapierre, the British investigation was corroborated by physical evidence obtained through medical examination of the survivors.

On hearing of the atrocities committed at Deir Yassin the Haganah commander, David Shaltiel, insisted that Irgun and Lehi terrorists never leave the village before burying all the dead. The Zionist terrorist groups refused the order and left the village, so a burial crew was sent to do the job. They hauled about 70 bodies to a quarry, piled them in a heap, poured gasoline and set them ablaze. But when the fire did not do a thorough job, they used bulldozers to fill the quarry with dirt to bury the bodies. (Milstein, Out of Crisis Comes Decision, p. 273; Milstein, “Deir Yassin”)

In an attempt to boost their popularity the members of the Zionist Jewish terrorist groups of Irgun and Lehi loaded about twenty five Palestinian men, women and children into trucks, stripped them naked, and paraded them victoriously through the Jewish Zakhron Yosef quarter in Jerusalem, then they drov back into a stone quarry in Deir Yassin and executed them in cold blood. Harry Levin, a Haganah broadcaster and future Israeli diplomat, recorded seeing “three trucks driving slowly up and down King George V Avenue bearing men, women and children, their hands above their heads, guarded by Jews armed with sten-guns and rifles.” (Levin,
Jerusalem Embattled, 57)

Fifty five children, who survived the massacre, were dumped at the Mendelbaum Gate in Jerusalem. Some of them knocked on the door of Palestinian Jerusalemite Hind Al-Husseini seeking shelter. After hearing about the massacre Al-Husseini rushed to find the rest of the children deciding to care for all of them. She turned her grandfather’s mansion into an orphanage and school calling it Dar Al-Tifl Al-Arabi (Home of the Arab Child). Al-Husseini dedicated her whole life to the orphans of Deir Yassin and to other Palestinian children.

The number of massacred Palestinians was disputed. Most sources, including The New York Times of April 13, put the number of the victims at 254, including 25 pregnant women and 52 children. Many sources had quoted Irgun’s commander, Raanan, who in a press conference, described the massacre as a successful battle and exaggerated the numbers of dead in order the boost the Jewish moral and to frighten other Palestinians into flight. He later explained “I told the reporters that 254 were killed so that a big figure would be published and so that Arabs would panic … across the country.” (Milstein). A 1987 study undertaken by Birzeit University’s

Center for Research and Documentation of Palestinian Society (CRDPS) found the numbers of those murdered does not exceed 120.

The massacre of Deir Yassin has a significant importance in the history of the Arab/Israeli conflict although it was not the first or the last massacre the Israelis committed against Palestinians. Unlike previous massacres of Palestinians and the wiping off of their towns, the massacre of Deir Yassin was the first to be known by the outside world due to its vicinity to the capital of Jerusalem. This allowed the Red Cross to investigate and to report the massacre.

Also, the commanders of Irgun and Lehi had called for a press conference, during which they announced their victory in occupying the first Palestinian town in cooperation with the Haganah’s Palmach forces. Their exaggeration of the number of victims was echoed through press into the Arab and Western capitals resulting in strong international condemnations. Such condemnation embarrassed the Jewish Agency, prompting its leader at the time David Ben- Gurion, to send a telegram of apology to Jordanian King, Abdullah, condemning the “rogue” Zionist organizations of Irgun and Lehi.

Although the Haganah had tried to distance itself from the Irgun and Lehi and to deny its role in the massacre, its full participation is very well known to everybody. The leader of Irgun, Menachim Begin, had admitted on December 28, 1950 in a press interview in New York that the Deir Yassin “incident” had been carried out in accordance with an agreement between the Irgun and the Jewish Agency and the Haganah. In October 1960 the New York Jewish Newsletter reported that Menachim Begin had bragged that “The massacre was not only justified, but there would not have been a state of Israel without the victory at Deir Yassin.”

Mordechai Nisan of the Truman Research Centre of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem wrote an article for “The American Zionist Journal” in which he expressed his concern about the failure to understand the major significance of terrorism in the struggle for Jewish sovereignty. He wrote: “Without terror it is unlikely that Jewish independence would have been achieved when it was.”

Nisan’s statement describes a fundamental fact throughout the three thousand years of Jewish history. Jewish independence and statehood could have never achieved except through terrorism and genocide as prescribed in their religion. Their Talmud commands them to perpetrate genocides against all non-Jews, including women, children and old, even their animals, and to destroy their towns. Check Isaih 13:16-18, Samuel I 15:2-3, Numbers 31:16-18, Deuteronomy 2:34, Deuteronomy 3:6-7, Ezekiel 9:5-6, and Joshua 6:21 for just very few examples of their genocidal religious teachings.

Unfortunately, western countries such as UK, France, Germany, Canada and particularly the US, who claim themselves to be the champions of democracy, freedom, protectors of human rights, and the fighters of terrorism, are providing blind and unconditional financial, military and political support to Israeli state terrorism. I can understand Zionist Israeli Jewish genocidal and terrorist tendencies in lieu of their religion, but I cannot understand western support to such terrorism. I wonder what religion are they, really, prescribed to?

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Russia will vote against new UN resolution on Syria: Foreign Ministry


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Moscow will vote against an “obviously biased” new UN draft resolution on Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry says.

According to the foreign ministry’s Saturday statement, the document to be put to vote at the UN General Assembly is “full of conflicting terms.”

The ministry said that the resolution blames Damascus entirely for the situation in Syria while failing to acknowledge the terrorist activities being carried out in the country, as well as the logistical and financial support foreign-backed militants are receiving.

The foreign ministry further added that the resolution is seeking the approval of the General Assembly to overthrow the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Moscow has already voted against two UN resolutions against Damascus.

On Monday, the al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq network officially announced its allegiance with Syria’s foreign-backed and terrorist al-Nusra Front to play an even greater role in the Syrian conflict.

While al-Qaeda-linked groups have been listed as terrorist entities subject to sanctions by the United Nations, militants in Syria, including those belonging to the al-Nusra Front, have been receiving all forms of support from the West.

The unrest in Syria began in March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of soldiers and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.

The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.

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You are God’s masterpiece

by Nahida the Exiled Palestinian


Yes… you

Those magical eyes

When you’re happy smiling

And even when you cry


This mind of yours

A universe within

Fascinating, magnificent

By its very existence

But more so, its awareness

That it exists


That big warm heart

So loving, full of passion

Without even knowing how or why


Can you keep a secret?

If you promise,

I’ll share it with you…

Did you say yes?

Ok then… listen carefully


Your desire for love is an in-built yearning

To be with the One Most Loving, God

Your hunger for justice is the innate longing

For the Supreme Just, God

Your search for peace is truly hunting

The Only Source of Peace, God

Your secret wish for eternity is merely a deep aspiration

For the Eternal God

Your profound fascination of beauty is purely awe and wonder

Of the One Most Beautiful, God

Your appreciation of all creative arts is simply admiration

Of the One Most Creative, God

Beware, don’t be distracted by signs on the way

They’re only means to get you by

Don’t mistake them for your aim

Otherwise; your harvest will merely be

Big disappointments and flat empty dreams

A heart full of sorrow confused and jeopardized

Carry on along the path

Your home and final destination

Is the One and Only, God

For… you are God’s very own



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The Economic and Social Crisis: Contemporary Capitalism and Class Struggle

Global Research

One of the most important and yet most neglected determinants of the outcomes of the economic crisis and resultant deepening of social inequalities and immiseration is the ‘class struggle’. In one of his most pithy metaphors, Karl Marx referred to class struggle as ‘the motor force of history’. In this essay we will analyze the central role of class struggle, its impact and reflection in economic decisions and, most especially, the different methods and forms , according to the particular classes engaged in class struggle.

Having clarified the types and methods of class struggle, we will turn to the specific results of class struggles in different regions and countries: the different policies adopted as a result of class struggle reflect the balance of class power at both the national and regional level.

In the last section, we will compare and analyze a series of case studies of class struggles, highlighting the particular class configurations of power, the changing nature of class struggle (CS) and the concrete contingencies, which need to be taken into account in order for the ‘class struggle from below’ to effectively counter-act the class offensive from above.

The Two Faces of the Class Struggle: ‘From Above and Outside’ and ‘From Below’

Too often writers conceive of class struggle as actions taken by workers for working class interest, overlooking the equally significant (and in our epoch even more important) class struggle organized and directed by the ruling classes via the state.

The entire panoply of neo-liberal policies, from so-called ‘austerity measures’ to mass firings of public and private employees, to massive transfers of wealth to creditors are designed to enhance the power, wealth and primacy of diverse sectors of capitol at the expense of labor. To paraphrase Marx: class struggle from above is the motor force to reverse history – to seize and destroy the advances secured by workers from previous class struggles from below.

Class struggle from above and the outside is waged in boardrooms, stock markets, Central Banks, executive branches of government, parliaments and Congresses. Decision makers are drawn from the ruling class and are ‘in their confidence’. Most strategic decisions are taken by non-elected officials and increasingly located in financial institutions (like the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and the European Commission) acting on behalf of creditors, bondholders and big banks.

Class struggle from above is directed at enhancing the concentration of wealth in the ruling class, increasing regressive taxes on workers and reducing taxes on corporations, selectively enforcing regulations, which facilitate financial speculation and lowering social expenditures for pensions, health and education for workers families. In addition, class struggle from above is directed at maximizing the collective power of capital via restrictive laws on labor organizations, social movements and public workers’ collective bargaining rights.

In other words, class struggle penetrates numerous sites besides the ‘workplace’ and the strictly ‘economic sphere’. State budgets over bailouts are sites of class struggle; banks are sites of class struggle between mortgage holders and households, creditors and debtors.

The fact that ‘class struggle from above’ usually precludes public demonstrations is largely because the ruling class controls the decision-making institutions from which to impose its class policies. Nevertheless, when institutional power bases are fragile or under siege from labor, ruling classes have engaged in extra-parliamentary and violent public activity such as coups-d’état, ‘appointed technocratic regimes’, and engaged in lockouts, financial intimidation and blackmail, as well as mass firing of workers and cooption of collaborators within the political class.

In time of severe crisis, the ruling class nature of political institutions and policies becomes transparent and the class struggle from above intensifies both in scope and depth. Trillions of dollars are transferred from the public treasury to bailout bankers. Hundreds of billions in social cuts are imposed on workers, cutting across all sectors of the economy. During depressions, the class struggle from above takes the form of an all-out war to save capital by impoverishing labor, reversing decades of incremental income and benefits gained in previous class struggles from below.

Class Struggle from Below

Working class struggles from below range from workplace strikes over wages and social benefits, to general strikes to secure social legislation (or to defend past gains) or to prevent assaults on living standards. In critical moments, struggles from below lead to social upheavals in the face of systemic breakdowns, destructive wars and autocratic rule. The methods, participants and results of class struggle from below vary greatly, depending on the socio-economic and political context in which class conflict ensues. What is striking in the contemporary period is the uneven development of the class struggle between countries and regions, between workers in the imperial creditor countries and those in debtor neo-colonial countries. The class struggle from below is especially intensifying among some of the more dynamic capitalist countries in which workers have experienced a prolonged period of intense exploitation and the emergence of a new class of ruling billionaires linked to a dominant one party elite – cases of China and South Africa.

The Class Struggle, Capitalist Crisis: The Ruling Class Offensive

In time of capitalist crisis with declining economic wealth, growing threats of bankruptcy and intense demand for state subsidies, there is no basis for sharing wealth – even unequally – between capitalist, bankers, creditors and workers, debtors and rentiers. Competition over shrinking resources intensifies conflict over shares of a shrinking pie. The ruling class, facing a life and death struggle over survival, strikes back with all the forces – state and private – at its disposal to ensure that its financial needs are met .The public treasury exclusively finances its debts and stimulates its recovery of profits. Ruling class warfare defines who pays for the crisis and who benefits from the ‘recovery … of profits’. The crisis is, by turn, a temporary threat to the capitalist economic system and then, in the course of recovering from the crisis, a political economic and social pretext for a ruling class general offensive aimed at reversing labor and social advances over the past half century: Capitalist class warfare dismantles the social safety net and undermines the entire legal and ideological underpinnings of ‘welfare capitalism’. ‘Austerity’ is the chosen term to mark the ruling class’ seizure of the public treasury on its own behalf – without any regard for its social consequences. ‘Austerity’ is the highest form of class struggle from above because it establishes the arbitrary and unilateral power of capital to decide the present and future division between wages and profits, employment and unemployment and the returns to creditor states and the interest and principal payments of neo-colonial debtor states.

As crisis deepens among debtor nations so does the ruling class intensify its class war on the workers, employees and small business classes. First, the creditor imperial states, (in Europe the Troika -the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank) overthrow the constitutional order by seizing control over state power. Then they proceed to decree macro and micro socio-economic policies. They decree employment, wage and fiscal policies. They decree the present and future allocation of state revenues between imperial creditors and local workers. Class warfare goes ‘global’: Regional organizations, like the European Union, which embody formally equal members, reveal themselves as imperial organizations for concentrating wealth among the dominant banks in the imperial centers.

Class Struggle from Below in Time of Crisis

The organizations of the workers – trade unions, pensioners’ associations, etc. – are ill-prepared to confront the open and aggressive all-out war of the ruling class. For decades they were accustomed to ‘collective bargaining’ and occasional strikes of short duration to secure incremental improvements. Their parties, labor or social democratic, with dual loyalties to capitalist profits and social welfare, are deeply embedded in the capitalist order .Under pressure of ‘the crisis’, they abandoned labor and embraced the formulae of the ruling class, imposing their own versions of ‘austerity’. Labor was abandoned; the working classes were on their own – without access to the state and without reliable political allies. The trade unions, narrowly focused on everyday issues and their immediate membership, ignored the mass of unemployed, especially the young unemployed, workers. The class struggle from below lacks the leadership, vision, organization and state resources, which the ruling class possesses, to launch a counter-offensive. Class struggle from below was, at first, entirely defensive; to salvage fragments of labor contracts, to save jobs or reduce firings. The fundamental problem in the ongoing class struggle is that the trade unions and many workers failed to recognize the changing nature of the class struggle: The ‘total war strategy’, adopted by the ruling class, went far beyond pay raises and profit reports and embraced a frontal attack on the living, working, housing, pension, health and educational conditions of labor. The politics of ‘social pacts’ between labor and capital was totally discarded by the ruling class .It demanded unconditional surrender of all social demands and seized the executive prerogatives of the state to enforce and implement the massive re-concentration of income and political power.

Under these conditions, prevalent throughout Europe and the US , what can be said of the ‘class struggle from below’? More than ever the class struggle has developed unevenly between the new imperial creditor centers and the debtor working class regions. The most advanced forms of struggle, in terms of scope, demands and intensity, are found in Greece , Portugal , Spain , Italy and, to a lesser degree, France and Ireland . The least advanced forms of working class struggle are found in the United States , Canada , Germany , England , Scandinavia and the Low Countries . Among the BRIC countries, class struggle is intensifying in China and South Africa and, to a lesser degree, in India , Russia and Brazil .

The issues raised in each region are significantly different: In China the working class is demanding socio-economic changes and is securing positive improvements in wages, working conditions, housing and health programs via ‘offensive’ class struggles. In Brazil , the working class has lowered poverty levels and unemployment. In South Africa , mining workers, despite bloody massacres by the state, have increased wages and salaries.

For most of the rest, the class struggles are defensive and, in many cases, unsuccessful efforts to defend or lower the loss of employment, labor rights, social insurance and stable employment. The most intensive militant working class struggles are taking place in countries in which the offensive of capital – the ‘class struggle from above’- has been most prolonged, widest in scope and deepest in terms of the cuts in living standards.

The working class struggle has been weakest among the Anglo-American countries where traditions of class struggle and general strikes are weakest. Their trade unions have shrinking memberships; the trade union leaders are closely linked to capitalist parties and there is a very weak or non-existent political identification with class solidarity, even in the face of massive transfers of state revenues to private wealth, and earnings from workers to capital.

Class Struggle: Case Studies

The most sustained and successful advances in social welfare and public services over the past decade have occurred in Latin America where the crisis of capitalism led to militant, broad-based class movements, which overthrew neo-liberal regimes, and imposed constraints on speculative capital and debt payments to imperial centers .Subsequently, nationalist resource-based regimes re-oriented state revenues to fund employment and social legislation. The sequence of popular revolts and political intervention, followed by the election in most cases of nationalist-populist regimes, ameliorated the crisis and sustained policies incrementally advancing working class interests.

In Southern Europe , in contrast, the collapse of capitalism led to a capitalist offensive, led by imperial creditors. They imposed the most retrograde neo-colonial regimes, engaged in savage class warfare – while the organized working class fell back on defensive strategies and large scale social mobilization within the institutional framework of the existing capitalist state. No political offensive, no radical political changes and no social offensive ensued. Movements that do not move forward, move backward. Each defensive struggle, at most, temporarily delayed a new set of social reversals, setting in motion the inexorable advance of the ‘class struggle from above’. The ruling classes have imposed decades of debt payments while pillaging budgets for the foreseeable future. The result will be the lowering of wage structures and social payments. New employment contracts are designed to concentrate greater shares of wealth in the hands of the capitalist class for foreseeable future. The policies, imposed via the class struggle from above, demonstrate that welfare programs and social contracts were temporary, tactical concessions – to be definitively discarded once the capitalist class seized exclusive prerogative powers and ruled through executive decrees.

The financial classes of the West have been bailed out and profits have returned to the banks, but the stagnation of the ‘real economy’ continues. The working classes have, in thought and via militant action, realized that ‘collective bargaining’ is dead. The state, especially the foreign/imperial creditor-banking state, holds power without any electoral mandate or claim to broad representation. The façade of parliamentary-electoral parties remains as an empty shell. Trade unions, in the most militant instances, engage in almost ritualistic mass protests, which are totally ignored by the imperial ruling class bankers and their local political collaborators. The Troika dons ear plugs and blindfolds while chanting for ‘greater austerity’ for workers; in the streets, the mantra of the destitute — ‘Basta’ –echoes in executive palaces.

Final Reflections on the Two Faces of Class Struggle

Unfortunately the ruling classes, especially of the imperial countries, have taken Karl Marx’s dictum that ‘class struggle is the motor force of history’ in a much more consequential manner than the labor movement and its bureaucratic officials. They are better students of Marx.

Taking up class struggle from above and the outside as their main strategic weapon, the ruling classes have launched the most comprehensive, intensive assault on the working class in modern history. They have reversed decades of social legislation and wage and employment gains. They have dramatically lowered living standards and established a new framework to perpetuate and deepen the transfer of wealth for decades to come.

Those, namely labor and the left, who refused to recognize class struggle as the central pivot for political action, have been struck dead on the head. The sustained class-struggle from above shows no limits and no constraints: every social right is denied and every economic resource is subject to large-scale, long-term pillage. A new radical ruling class ideology has emerged proclaiming that everything of value should be taken and will be taken and relegates the peons to eat crow.

Despite being confronted by this new extremist ideology and practice, the practioners of class struggle from below continue to engage in the same methods appropriate to other ‘pragmatic’, ‘consensual’ times of limited struggles with incremental gains or loses. The failure to recognize the radical changes is structural and congenital. The labor movement refuses to face new class/realities, ones they had failed to anticipate and a reality they have categorically rejected. ‘Class struggle’ according to the most up-to-date speeches of the ‘labor bureaucrats’ was superseded by ‘modern pragmatic understandings of the common interests of labor and capital’.

What is radical and dramatic is the massive entry of decisive new social class actors. They include the rise of non-elected officials to decisive positions of power, forming the “Troika” (the European Central Bank, the IMF, the EU), the equivalent of imperial viceroys, engaged in pillaging the economies of debtor countries; a mass of unemployed youth representing over 50% of workers under 25 years of age; a large sector of low-paid temporary workers not covered by social or labor legislation; a majority of downwardly mobile middle classes, especially among public sector employees and professionals – in the process of being ‘proletarianized’ – losing job tenures, pension benefits, facing rising retirement ages; bankrupt small business people (‘petty bourgeois’) facing unemployment, loss of assets and savings; and downwardly-mobile skilled and semi-skilled workers facing firings, cuts in salaries and wages as well as social benefits.

The deteriorating conditions of these social classes cannot be altered by workplace trade union activity or by ‘collective bargaining’ – only a political solution- a change of political regime – can shift economic resources from debt payments to productive job-creating investments. The so-called ‘Eurozone’ is, in reality, a mini-empire of tributary vassals and imperial states – reforming empires has been historically demonstrated to be a futile enterprise.

The political class, as currently constituted which supports or operates as opposition within the imperial framework, is organically incapable of reversing the changes resulting from the ruling class offensive. The historical legacy of the ruling class offensive and the emergence of new systemic ‘fault lines’ demands new political movements reflecting the weight of the new dispossessed classes: the specific demands of the downwardly- mobile middle class, businesspeople and workers; the desperate demand for jobs by the vast army of unemployed youth with no future. What is to be done? Clearly parliamentary dissent and electoral politics provide no answers to those millions losing homes, to those losing businesses.

There are tens of millions who have never known any employment. Only action directed at mobilizing the unemployed to paralyze the circulation of goods and services; only collective action directed at preventing foreclosures of mortgage holding households; only demands for public works to provide jobs; only factory occupations can save jobs; only worker takeovers and running of factories can provide alternatives and build support for regime change, a political revolution and a break with the tributary empire.

In the short run there can only be international solidarity among the workers in the vassal states: the workers in the imperial states – the U.S. , Germany , the Nordic states and the UK are still bound and tied to their respected ruling classes. The future lies in building bridges within and between the millions of exploited, excluded and dispossessed who have lost everything and have finally recognized that only via the class struggle can they recover their humanity and a dignified standard of living.

Posted in USAComments Off on The Economic and Social Crisis: Contemporary Capitalism and Class Struggle

The Cult of Killing and the Symbolic Order of Western Barbarism: How the Media Worships Violence and “Ritualized Atrocities

Global Research

The display of the lynching of Mouamar Gaddafi exposes our societies for what they are. It mesmerizes and dsmantles our capacity to think and critically assess a historical process.

By focusing public attention on what constitutes a “ritualized atrocity” these gruesome images confirm that the US Empire actually represents an unprecedented regression, a step backwards in the history of humanity.

They show that the objective of the war on Libya was not only conquest, leading to the plundering of oil or of Libyan assets, but also, just as was the case in the Crusades, the destruction of a symbolic order, leaving room for the sheer enjoyment of an act of killing, as displayed by the media, in a capitalist World Order run amok.

When watching the broadcast images of the lynching of Mouammar Gaddafi, our political leaders manifested a strange pleasure. “Strange Fruit[1], these images remind us of the images of the hanging of Saddam Hussein organized on the day of the Eid al-Adha, the feast of the sacrifice.

These two instances inscribe us into a religious structure which, through the substitution of the human sacrifice to the one of the ram[2], restores the primitive image of the Mother goddess. It turns the Old Testament upside down. Such book-free religion is reduced to a fetish[3]. It has neither Other, nor Law. It merely bids public opinion to enjoy the spectacle of death.

Through images, the will to power becomes unlimited. Transgression is no longer bounded as in the sacrificial rite, neither in space, nor in time, it is everywhere. It echoes the continuous violation of the order of Law that can be observed since the 9/11 attacks.

Confinement within tragedy

The way Gaddafi’s body was treated is a token of the tragedy the Libyan people went through. The treatment of his remains was the object of a double exception, a double violation of the symbolic order that rules society. Instead of being buried on the same day as required by Muslim rites, his corpse was displayed for four days in a cold room, before being buried in a secret location in spite of his wife’s request to the UN that she may retrieve the body.

This double decision by the new Libyan authorities places the Libyan people in a situation that the Greek tragedy explored long ago. As they deny the family the right to bury the body, the new political leaders do away with the symbolic order. As it deletes any connection between human and divine law, the National Transitional Council merges the two and grants itself the monopoly of the sacred, thus placing itself above the political level.

The NTC’s decision to deny the family the right to funerals and to display the corpse aimed at suppressing the signifier of the body and retaining only the image of death. The order to derive orgasmic pleasure from the image of the murder suffers no boundary. The fetish perpetuates compulsive repetition. The urge feeds itself and moves from one image to the next, from the image of death to the image of killing without any distinction. Its function is to increase the will to power.

Controlling what must be seen

Thus the profanation of the corpse is only one element in its underlying “fetishism”. What matters is to be found in the lynching of Gaddafi as shown, again and again, through images filmed on mobile phones and relayed by the media. They intrude in real time into our daily lives.

We are part of the scene because in the scopic drive, lynching becomes a sacrificial act only because of the onlooker. The pictures show people filming and deriving pleasure from the filmed object. They exhibit the moment of the look. It is not the object which is presented as an offering any more but the meaning which is displayed so as to control what must be seen.

Lynching as an image is a Western tradition. When they photographed their victims, the members of the Ku Klux Klan already produced the human sacrifice as a show. The treatment granted to Gaddafi is part of this “culture.” However, it is different in one respect. The staging of the KKK’s actions was highly ritualized. It mimicked some underground social order.

Here, the mobile phone pictures are free of any signifier. They become more real than reality. They occupy the real which, de facto, exists only as annihilation. They show the bursting of society and so the power of imperial action. These images show a world which is continuously collapsing. They put us in a state of dread and create psychosis. They destroy whatever relation there was to fewllow human beings. monades whose approval is required.

While language sets us in a collective space, images are intended for single individuals. They prevent any social relation, any symbolization. They are the paradigm of a monadic society. Thus, these images tell less about the conflict itself than about the state of our society and the scheduled future of Libya: permanent war.

The sacrifice of a scapegoat

These pictures show the killing of a scapegoat. They update the notion of mimetic violence as developed by René Girard in his reading of the New Testament.[4] Through the repetition of the sacrifice, they introduce us to a compulsive violence without object. If the scapegoat attracts violence, contrary to what Girard claims, he can’t stop it. Peace can only be brief. It is only the preparation of a new war. Each sacrifice leads to another. The destruction of Libya must be followed by the one of Syria, of Iran… Violence becomes infinite and foundational.

As in Christian statements, the commentaries of the media about the pictures of the murder of Gaddafi transform the scapegoat into a victim. If Gaddafi is lynched, it is because he “wanted to die that way”. He is not the victim of an exterior attack, he is said to have obeyed an inner law. His execution is not supposed to be the result of his resistance, but the accomplishment of a personal destiny. This Christian procedure has also been highlighted by René Girard. The figure of Christ shifts the notion of scapegoat to the one of victim who gives himself up in order to “redeem” the original sin.

So, free from all this symbolic debt, from any social body, these images and their commentaries contribute to the systematic inversion of the symbolic Law, as well as to the permanent state of emergency, installed after the 9/11 attacks. Political power is sacralized and replaces the symbolic order.

Regression from language to the image of union with the mother goddess

Such images take us back to a time when human sacrifice was an important aspect of social life. They consist of a return to the primordial fantasy of fusion with the mother[5]. Ethnological studies, as well as psychoanalysis, have showed that human sacrifice results in a return into a maternal structure. Love and sacrifice are the attributes of a social life which does not distinguish between political and symbolical orders. They are the paradigms of a matriarchal society which achieves the fusion of the individual and maternal power.

Those images belong to a long Christian tradition of reversal of the basis of the Old Testament. Abraham’s story is the moment of establishing the interdiction of human sacrifice. Christ’s death, on the other hand, is Isaac’s sacrifice in reverse. Instead of the ram taking the place of the offered son, it is the Messiah son who becomes a lamb.[6] In the Old Testament the death of the ram is that of the primitive god. It symbolizes a shift from an actual sacrifice to language: “If there is a god, we find him in the words of the covenant (language)”[7]. That shift unveils the existence of a place that produces metaphors and thus transforms the real. The operations of shifting and metaphor, which form the heart of this story, are the essential procedures of the rules of language[8]. The law of language is the inscription of the non-identity of the word and of the object. In the Libyan conflict we are located outside language from the beginning. Gaddafi is a tyrant since this is what is said about him. The massacres committed by his regime do not have to be proven, but simply confirmed. The image of the dictator speaks for itself. It does not include any contradiction or face any reality. It is more real than reality.

The end of any symbolic order

The law of language involves accepting that language is first the language of the other. It signifies our acknowledging that we are incomplete. Such symbolization effected by the inscription of dependence on others makes it possible to enter into a process of mutual recognition and thus to build a human society.[9] It introduces a symbolic debt, a network of relationships in which individuals find where they belong and are not their own fathers. Contrary to the original sin, this debt unifies since it relates people on the basis of a common future and not of an origin, whereas the original sin is confined in the image of the Superego.

Gaddafi was not completely part of the globalized capitalist system. He still functioned according to traditional values such as the gift as an act that creates social bonds. He seemed truly affected by the desertion of his ‘friends’ Sarkozy, Berlusconi, Blair…[10] He must have thought that the exchange of gifts had set up a system of mutual recognition that guaranteed he would be granted some protection. He thus showed that he had not understood the nature of capitalism, a system in which all social relationships are abolished. While in former societies the exchange of objects is the basis for mutual relationships, in the capitalist system money and market values have become subjects. Gaddafi’s gifts could only be perceived by those who received them as somehow an advance payment on what they were entitled to. The dark gods of this society can only be those of the market.

Images of orgasmic pleasure

Through the law of language man steps away from nature, from the mother goddess that has neither inside nor outside. Instead of functioning as a founding moment, murder is abolished to provide access to speech. The human order that emerges is different from the divine order. Individuals are no longer all powerful children, they are cut off from maternal power.

Images of the lynching of Gaddafi, by contrast, take us back to origins and to omnipotence. They inscribe us into a religious structure prior to the separation operated by the prohibition of sacrifice. They reintroduce us to incestuous violence, to the destructive haptic drive.[11] The imperative order to share in orgasmic pleasure overrides any political consideration. The most significant illustration is provided in the interview in which Hillary Clinton receives the images like some offering: she shares her exhilaration in front of the lynching: ‘We came, we saw, he died!’ she said on CBS.[12]

The violence inflicted onto the Libyan ‘Leader and Guide’ was also the moment other Western leaders chose to express their pleasure at how successful their initiative had been. ‘We are not going to cry on Gaddafi’, said Alain Juppé.[13]

Bruised body as an icon of violence

Statements by our political leaders after the broadcast of these images confirm that the elimination of Gaddafi was the true objective of this war, not the protection of people. The text by Barak Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron, published in The Times, The International Herald Tribune, Al Hayat and Le Figaro on 15 April, mentioned that “[our objective] is not to remove Qaddafi by force. But it is impossible to imagine a future for Libya with Qaddafi in power.”[14]. So, his violence would lie essentially in the fact that he did not give up power while it was inconceivable that he should stay. His image is supposed to embody tyranny since he did not meet the Western leaders’ love for the Libyan people. “He (Gaddafi) behaved in a very aggressive way. He received good conditions to surrender, he refused them”, M. Juppé added.

The media confirm that “dictators always end up like this”. The marks of violence expose the invisible. Lynching becomes the very proof that the tortured was a dictator. These stigmata show us what we couldn’t see: evidence of the massacres to be perpetrated by Gaddafi. They are a revelation of his intentionality, of that thing in the name of which NATO justified its intervention.

An identity is established between the massacres attributed to the colonel and his blood-drenched body. The marks on the living body, then on the corpse are not perceived as the sign of the “liberators’” violence, but of the blood Gaddafi shed.

The violence of the murder shows us that it is about revenge. It testifies that its authors are victims and that this assassination belongs to a sacred order.

The exhibition of a boundless power

The images of the sacrificial act make it possible for our leaders to exhibit boundless power. The French Minister of Defense, Gérard Longuet, disclosed that on a NATO request the French air force had ‘stopped’, i.e. bombed Gaddafi’s escaping convoy.[15] He thus acknowledges violating the UN Council Security’s resolution.

On the same occasion Alain Juppé also acknowledged that the aim of the invasion was indeed to give power to the National Transitional Council: ‘the operation must come to an end today since our objective, i.e. help the NTC in liberating the territory, is now achieved.’[16] The success of the NATO offensive was accompanied by numerous statements by the winners that they systematically but rightly violated the UN resolution. Bernard Henri Levy, French diplomat, philosopher, writer, film director and strategist, also testified in his book La guerre sans l’aimer that “France directly or indirectly provided significant amounts of weapons to the Libyan rebels fighting to overthrow Mouammar Gaddafi’.[17] Those various statements recall those by Tony Blair, when acknowledging there had been no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq but that nonetheless the war against Saddam Hussein was fully justified since it put an end to a dictator’s rule.

Victim and sacrifice: the values of a return to barbarism

The murder of Gadaffi, this enactment of the victims’ revenge, results in his not being tried. This death coincides with the interests of oil companies and Western governments. Their close relations with the colonel’s government will not be exposed. Substituting such images of lynching to a trial at the International Criminal Court means that instead of being stopped by speech, violence becomes infinite. Libya like Afghanistan and Iraq will become a theatre of permanent war while our political systems slip into a permanent state of exception which accompanies the emergence of an absolute power that acts beyond any Rule of Law.

A military intervention in the name of Western leaders’ love for the peoples who are victims of a ‘tyrant’[18], glorified by the display of this tyrant’s sacrifice, reveals a relapse into barbarism.

The treatment of the sacrifice of Gadaffi as an icon corroborates the Christian reference of a war waged in the name of love for victims. The destruction of Libya by NATO forces lies in the long tradition of the Crusades, those wars against the symbolic law waged in the name of the God-man.[19] Those wars already resulted from a reorganization of Western Europe under the authority of the Pope.[20] Nowadays, this conflict, even more than the Iraq war, results in a complete subsumption of European countries under the US Empire.

The war for democracy is the postmodern version of the Holy War. The latter was sacred, not because it was waged against ‘infidels’ but because it was preached by the Pope, the infallible vicar of the God-man. Today, the sacred nature of the attack results from the naturally democratic nature of the US initiator, whose president received the Nobel Peace Prize at the beginning of his mandate, before any political act. This prize consecrates the president of the United States as a Christian icon, as the embodiment of peace and democracy. In this secularized version, man is no longer sacralised as the image of God, but as his own image, as the image of his peaceful and democratic nature.

Jean-Claude Paye

Tülay Umay



[1] Song composed in 1946 by Abel Meeropol to denounce the ‘Necktie Parties’ (lynching) that took place in the south of the USA and to which white people took part while wearing their most beautiful outfits. This song was sung by Billie Holiday, and has known a huge success on its release.

[2] When lifting a knife to strike his son, Abraham found a ram instead of the child for the sacrifice. It is the ram that must die, the father-animal, the primitive father, that is to say a fantasy line of ancestors, but also an archaic divinity, a ferocious image of God restlessly claiming sacrifices. See Jean-Daniel Causse, « Le christianisme et la violence des dieux obscurs, liens et écarts », AIEMPR, 17th international congress Religions et violences, Strasbourg, 10-14 July 2006.

[3] Paul Laurent Assoun, Le fétichisme, Que sais-je ?, PUF, 1994. « Le fétiche ou l’objet au pied de la lettre », in Éclat du fétiche, Revue du Littoral 42.

[4] Réné Girard, La Violence et le sacré, Le Seuil 1972.

[5] The primordial significant of the desire for one’s mother is normally pushed back through the substitution of the Name-of-the-Father introduced in the symbolic order. Sacrifice is a return to the natural state of unification with the mother. In Catherine Alcouloumbré, « La métaphore paternelle », Espaces Lacan, Séminaire 1998-1999.

[6] Bible chrétienne, II, Commentaires, Èditions Anne Sigier, 1990, p. 318, in Nicolas Buttet, L’Eucharistie à l’école des saints, Éditions de l’Emmanuel, Paris 2000, p. 38.

[7] Jean-Daniel Causse, « Le christianisme et la violence des dieux obscurs, liens et écarts », AIEMPR, 17e congrès international Religions et violence ?, Strasbourg 2006, p. 4.

[8] They are the mirror of two fundamental linguistic operations, that of substitution and that of combination, i.e. the paradigmatic and the syntagmatic axis. See Vincent Calais, La théorie du langage dans l’enseignement de Jacques Lacan, L’Harmattan, Paris 2008, p. 59.

[9] Hervé Linard de Guertechin, « A partir d’une lecture du sacrifice d’Isaac (Genèse 22), Lumen Vitoe 38 51987), pp. 302-322.

[10] « Kadhafi préférait mourir en Libye qu’être jugé’, La Libre Belgique et AFP, 31 November 2011.

[11] « Le sacrifice se centre sur le noyau sacrificiel originel : l’endocannibalisme » in Pierre Solié, Le sacrifice fondateur de civilisation et d’individuation, résumé adhes.net

[13] « La mort de Kadhafi marque la fin de l’engagement de l’OTAN en Libye », avec AFP, le 21/10/2011.

[15] « L’aviation française a stoppé le convoi de Kadhafi, affirme Longuet », TF1,

[16] « La mort de Kadhafi marque la fin de l’engagement de l’OTAN en Libye »,, Op. Cit.

[17] « Les coulisses de la guerre selon BHL », La Libre Belgique, le 7/11/2011,

[18] Jean-Claude Paye, Tülay Umay, « Faire la guerre au nom des victimes », Réseau Voltaire, le 9 mai 2011,

[19] Maurice Bellet, Le Dieu pervers, Desclée de Brouwer, Paris 1979, pp 16-17.

[20] Paul Rousset, « Les origines et les caractères de la première Croisade », La Baconnière, Neuchâtel 1945.

Posted in USAComments Off on The Cult of Killing and the Symbolic Order of Western Barbarism: How the Media Worships Violence and “Ritualized Atrocities

Child porn “epidemic” among Pentagon officials and US government employees


Last week the IRS decided to award Bradley Birkenfeld his $104 million dollar share for helping bust UBS bank. Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and his staff were instrumental. Senator Grassley vowed to delay pending Department of Treasury nominations if the IRS Whistleblower Program, he wrote the legislation in 2006, continued to be mismanaged.

This powerful voice from Iowa has been a beacon in the storm during an Obama Administration that has targeted whistleblowers and prevented accountability as never before.  The Pentagon is also under Senator Grassley’s fire for failing to examine 1,700 of the 5,200 reports of employees doing child porn. The Pentagon claimed it “wasn’t a priority.” Senator Grassley and his staff have made it one. The closed investigation into wide-spread use of child porn at the Pentagon is now re-opened.

There is a national crisis of federal employees engaged in the child porn industry and a related epidemic at the state level.  I’ve documented two states, Vermont and Maine, that appear to be running state protected child trafficking rings with evidence of cops, judges, lawyers, clergy and government employees covering for each other. This kind of racketeering creates powerful, and extremely profitable, pedophile rings.

Money drives the crime. It is estimated that a criminal willing to molest a child in front of a live webcam can earn $1,000 a night. In Kittery Maine, at the “DanishHealth Club,” one bust yielded $6.1 million in “door fees” over a five year period with “prostitutes” earning $12 million. Pimps’ earnings were not reported. The “door man” was a retired police officer whose wife worked in back. This bust happened because of one hard-working IRS agent, Rod Giguere.

An estimated $1.4 billion has been collected by the IRS’s Whistleblower program since 2006; $464 million collected in 2010 but only $48 million in 2011Half of all global child porn is produced in America. Ten new images of children are posted daily. Estimates of the global profits from child porn range from $3-20 billionImagine what the IRS Whistleblower program could collect if they focused on child trafficking as Agent Rod Giguere did in Maine.

The Department of Justice (DOJ)’s Child Exploitation and Obscenities unit has been, by many accounts, totally disabled under US Attorney General Eric Holder. Mr. Holder even refused to prosecute his own Assistant United States Attorney caught doing child porn on DOJ computers. The IRS wants 4,000 new agents and a $300 million budget to enforce ObamaCare. Instead, these resources should be allocated, entirely, for an IRS Child Exploitation & Trafficking Unit.

With so many police, judges, clergy, state and federal employees across America involved in the child porn industry, Americans should be able to turn to the IRS’s Whistleblower program. Richard Weber, Chief of IRS’s Criminal Division in Washington DC, is one point of contact. Apparently, the IRS cares about trafficked children. That’s good news because America’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, does not.

Child trafficking and porn are the fastest growing crimes in America. With billions being laundered in black money it makes solid economic sense for the IRS to focus on the child porn industry. Eric Holder’s Department of Justice has demonstrated they have no interest in prosecuting pedophiles, not even their own. The IRS should be given substantial resources to compensate for DOJ’s disgraceful failure. American tax-payers, not to mention America’s children, will reap huge rewards.

Perhaps Senator Grassley will raise his powerful voice in support.

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PCHR Participated in the 22nd Session of the Human Rights Council

For the 22nd Session of the Human Rights Council, taking place in Geneva from 25 February to 22 March 2013, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) submitted a written statement, titled “The Torture and Ill Treatment of Palestinian Prisoners by the Israeli Occupying Power”. Additionally, PCHR, together with the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), the Europe – Third World Centre (CETIM), and the American Association of Jurists (AAJ) issued two joint oral statements, which were presented to the Council by representatives of IADL. These oral statements related to Israel’s refusal to submit its Universal Periodic Review, and the report of the UN mandated International Fact-Finding Mission investigating the impact of the Israeli settlements on the human rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

Additionally, on 4 and 5 March 2013, a delegation organized by PCHR participated in the sessions of the Human Rights Council, during which the reports of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders were considered. On 6 March 2013, in cooperation with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), PCHR organized a side event that took place alongside the session of the Human Rights Council. The delegation presented testimonies and personal statements based on their experiences, giving concrete examples of the suffering of the Palestinian people. The event concluded with a lively Q&A session.

In its written statement, PCHR outlines the prevalence of torture and ill treatment of Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails and detention centres, both inside Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). It provides the Human Rights Council with information regarding Israel’s continued violation of its obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law, in particular the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment – to which Israel is a State party.

During 2012, PCHR received increasing numbers of complaints of torture and ill treatment in detention, including of minors. Furthermore, the Israeli authorities continue to deprive Palestinian prisoners and detainees of family visits and other basic rights, such as access to medical services, education, adequate nutritious food, suitable clothing, and means for maintaining personal hygiene. Incommunicado detention also continues to be applied by Israel, denying Palestinians their rights to legal counsel and family visits. This incommunicado detention puts detainees at a higher risk of torture and other forms of ill treatment. The use of administrative detention also remains an issue of critical concern, as it is applied in violation of Article 16 of the Convention Against Torture. Finally, Israel’s transfer of Palestinian detainees and prisoners to detention facilities and prisons inside Israel constitutes a violation of Articles 49 and 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the (forcible) transfer of detainees and prisoners outside of the occupied territory.

In its statements, PCHR calls upon the UN Human Rights Council, the UN General Assembly, and the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to take steps to ensure and protect the basic rights of Palestinian detainees and prisoners held by Israel.

Submission documents: 

Written Statement:

“The Torture and Ill Treatment of Palestinian Prisoners by the Israeli Occupying Power”.

Joint Oral Statements:

“Item 6: Universal Periodic Review. General Debate”, regarding Israel’s refusal to submit review;

“Item 7: Interactive Dialogue with the FFM”, on the Findings of the Fact Finding Mission on Settlements.

For the 22nd Session of the Human Rights Council, and as part of its ongoing efforts to advocate for the rights of Palestinian prisoners held in the Israeli prisons, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) organized an international speaking tour for a delegation from Gaza, which included two mothers of prisoners in Israeli prisons and two former prisoners who were imprisoned for years in Israeli jails. The delegation was led by Jaber Wishah, PCHR’s Deputy Director for Branches Affairs.

On 4 and 5 March 2013, the delegation participated in the sessions of the Human Rights Council, during which the reports of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders were considered. On 6 March 2013, in cooperation with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), PCHR organized a side event that took place alongside the session of the Human Rights Council. The delegation presented personal testimonies based on their experiences, giving concrete examples of the suffering of the Palestinian people. The event concluded with a Q&A session.

In addition to activities with the different UN bodies in Geneva, the delegation had a number of meetings in Egypt, Switzerland and France.

During meetings in Egypt the delegation shared their personal testimonies, discussed the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in light of continued Israeli violations against them, recent developments, and the case of ‘Arafat Jaradat, 30, who died in Israeli detention, according to initial investigations as a result of torture. They met with, amongst others: Mr. Sayed Abdel Ghani, the Assistant Secretary-General of the Arab Bar Association; Mr. Islam Abu al-‘Aenein, the Director of Programs of the Arab Organization for Human Rights; Mr. Abdullan al-Asha’al, from the National Council for Human Rights; and Mr. Mohammed Sobeih, the Assistant Secretary General of the League of Arab States.

During their stay in Geneva, the delegates had numerous meetings, including with: Counsellor Mahmoud Afifi, representative of the Egyptian Mission to the European Office of the United Nations; Mary Lawlor, Director of Front Line Defenders; Edris al-Yazmi, President of the National Human Rights Council in Morocco; Mada Andinas, a member of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mohammed al-Khamlishi, Assistant Secretary-General of the League of Arab States; Kevin Turner, Human Rights Officer for Middle East and North Africa; the Pakistani Counsellor Mariam Aftab; J. Melih, Officer of the Middle East Sector and Central Follow-up and Protection in the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); Celine Matter, Deputy Head of Operations for the Near and Middle East; Seyit Yoaniqe, Human Rights Officer for the Permanent Mission of Turkey to the UN in Geneva; Ambassador Suleiman Sheikh, the Permanent Observer of the OIC to the UN in Geneva and Vienna; Member of the Swiss Parliament, Carlo Somarruga; and a number of solidarity groups and committees. Finally, in Bern the delegation attended the annual meeting of the World Council of Churches.

Subsequently, during their visit to France, the delegation participated in a number of activities and meetings with French solidarity associations and their representatives, and they met with Claude Lefort, President of France-Palestine Solidarity Association, Flofia Kojini, Director of Relations and International Cooperation in the Municipality of Nantes, and Hayel al-Fahoum, the Palestinian Ambassador in Paris.

The delegation concluded its international tour and traveled back to Gaza on 15 March 2013. PCHR organized this international tour for the delegation of families of the Palestinian prisoners as a part of its ongoing efforts to support Palestinian prisoners, to internationalize their cause, and mobilize public support.

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Obama Approves Raising Permissible Levels of Nuclear Radiation in Drinking Water. Civilian Cancer Deaths Expected to Skyrocket


Global Research

Civilian Cancer Deaths Expected to Skyrocket Following Radiological Incidents

The White House has given final approval for dramatically raising permissible radioactive levels in drinking water and soil following “radiological incidents,” such as nuclear power-plant accidents and dirty bombs. The final version, slated for Federal Register publication as soon as today, is a win for the nuclear industry which seeks what its proponents call a “new normal” for radiation exposure among the U.S population, according Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, the radiation guides (called Protective Action Guides or PAGs) allow cleanup many times more lax than anything EPA has ever before accepted. These guides govern evacuations, shelter-in-place orders, food restrictions and other actions following a wide range of “radiological emergencies.” The Obama administration blocked a version of these PAGs from going into effect during its first days in office. The version given approval late last Friday is substantially similar to those proposed under Bush but duck some of the most controversial aspects:

In soil, the PAGs allow long-term public exposure to radiation in amounts as high as 2,000 millirems. This would, in effect, increase a longstanding 1 in 10,000 person cancer rate to a rate of 1 in 23 persons exposed over a 30-year period;

  • In water, the PAGs punt on an exact new standard and EPA “continues to seek input on this.” But the thrust of the PAGs is to give on-site authorities much greater “flexibility” in setting aside established limits; and
  • Resolves an internal fight inside EPA between nuclear versus public health specialists in favor of the former. The PAGs are the product of Gina McCarthy, the assistant administrator for air and radiation whose nomination to serve as EPA Administrator is taken up this week by the Senate.
  • Despite the years-long internal fight, this is the first public official display of these guides. This takes place as Japan grapples with these same issues in the two years following its Fukushima nuclear disaster.

“This is a public health policy only Dr. Strangelove could embrace. If this typifies the environmental leadership we can expect from Ms. McCarthy, then EPA is in for a long, dirty slog,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that the EPA package lacks a cogent rationale, is largely impenetrable and hinges on a series of euphemistic “weasel words.”

“No compelling justification is offered for increasing the cancer deaths of Americans innocently exposed to corporate miscalculations several hundred-fold.”

Reportedly, the PAGs had been approved last fall but their publication was held until after the presidential election. The rationale for timing their release right before McCarthy’s confirmation hearing is unclear.

Since the PAGs guide agency decision-making and do not formally set standards or repeal statutory requirements, such as the Safe Drinking Water Act and Superfund, they will go into full effect following a short public comment period. Nonetheless, the PAGs will likely determine what actions take place on the ground in the days, weeks, months and, in some cases, years following a radiological emergency.

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Drones and Law Enforcement in America: The Unmanned Police Surveillance State

Global Research

The US is at the dawn of “a new era in police surveillance,” the Associated Press revealed casually last week. In a Chicago-based story about the growing use of drones and other sophisticated, unmanned aircraft for aerial surveillance, it noted that the Congressional Research Service considers their future use “bound only by human ingenuity.”The story focused on one Illinois legislator who has proposed a limit on how far law enforcement agencies can go.

But bills have been introduced in almost 40 states, and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee has two model ordinances to assist communities in the emerging movement against domestic surveillance drones. This isn’t science fiction, although the threat of an emerging Surveillance State does figure in my forthcoming novel, Dons of Time.

As I learned while researching, drones already fly pretty freely in US airspace. Law enforcement groups use them for search and rescue operations, for security along the border (mainly the one with Mexico so far), for weather research and scientific data collection. In fact, last year Congress authorized the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to open the nation’s airspace to widespread drone flights by 2015.

The FAA estimates that more than 7,000 civilian drones could be surfing the sky by 2020.

As Bill of Rights Defense Committee Executive Director Shahid Buttar explains, “Because the legal landscape governing drones is essentially barren, law enforcement agencies around the country are currently making policy to suit their interests. But we live in a constitutional Republic, meaning that We the People hold the opportunity — and responsibility — to petition our local representatives for legal protections that Congress is too timid to provide.”

In Seattle, the police department purchased two drones through a federal grant, but opted not to use them after protests in February. A bill barring Virginia law enforcement from using drones for two years passed the General Assembly months ago, but awaits a response from the governor. The National Conference of State Legislatures has heard about more than 70 bills in around 40 states that address the use of drones.

The Defense Committee’s legislative models are designed to satisfy diverse interests. One creates a drone-free zone, while another establishes strict requirements limiting their use by law enforcement agencies and other public officials. The model regulating drone use (rather than outlawing it) allows them to be used with a judicially issued warrant or for limited non-law enforcement purposes like fire detection, hazardous material response, search & rescue, and natural disasters.

Beyond constitutional concerns, proposed legislation also addresses some safety issues. According to Buttar, many of the drones currently available to law enforcement have limited flying time, can’t be flown in bad weather, must be flown in sight of an operator, and can only be used during daylight hours, “making them ill-suited to search and rescue missions and best suited for pervasive surveillance.”

On the other hand, AP points to some of the attractions driving the rush to drone use. Unmanned aircraft vary widely in size and capability. They can be as small as a bird or look like a children’s remote-controlled toy, and yet can be equipped with high-powered cameras, microphones, heat sensors, facial recognition technology or license plate readers. Similar technology has been used by the US military and CIA to track down Al-Qaida operatives abroad.

Law enforcement likes drones because they’re relatively cheap; they reportedly keep down the price by cutting fuel and maintenance costs, as well as reducing manpower. Look at it this way: A police helicopter can cost from $500,000 to $3 million, and about $400 an hour to fly. It can be “affordable” snooping for those with the means of surveillance.

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