Archive | April 6th, 2014

Deportation Prisons: Where the Price for ‘Blowing the Whistle’ is ‘Torture’

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People held at a Washington immigrant detention center file restraining order against immigration authorities for retaliation against peaceful protest

– Sarah Lazare

Family members of hunger strikers hold a late-March vigil outside the Joe Corley Detention Center in Conroe, Texas. Hunger strikers at this facility, who were inspired by their Washington counterparts, have also faced retaliation for engaging in peaceful protest. (Photo: Hope Sanford)People detained at a privately-run immigrant detention center in Washington have been thrown in solitary confinement and cut off from communication after participating in a hunger strike against inhumane conditions in the facility and soaring deportations nation-wide. Now, they are going on the offensive—seeking a restraining order against Immigration and Customs Enforcement on charges they were unjustly retaliated against for exercising their constitutionally-protected right to protest.

“They are whistle-blowers,” said human rights campaigner Maru Mora Villalpando, who is directly supporting the protests, in an interview with Common Dreams. “Now that people are paying attention, they are using torture against them by putting them in solitary confinement.”

The peaceful protest began at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington on March 7, and according to Villalpando, at least 240 people are withholding food. Protesters are demanding an end to deportations, as well as higher-quality food and medical care, pay for work inside the detention center (they currently receive just $1 for a day’s worth of labor), and an end to extremely high commissary prices.

Numerous reports have emerged that people who are perceived to be leaders of the protests have been targeted by authorities at the facility with solitary confinement, threats of deportation, and other punitive measures. The facility is run by GEO Group — the notorious private prison company profiting from high levels of deportation and detention of suspected undocumented people under President Obama.

Andres Ramirez-Martinez, Manuel Uriostegui, and Ericson Gonzales are the plaintiffs in the motion for a temporary restraining order, which is being filed by the ACLU of Washington and Columbia Legal Services and is slated for a hearing Friday morning. They say that corrections authorities invited approximately 20 detainees to meet with an assistant warden to discuss the hunger strike, but instead they were handcuffed and moved to solitary cells with no explanation.

“I was handcuffed and placed in administrative segregation where I am locked in an isolation cell for 23 hours a day,” said Uriostegui, according to a statement released by supporters of the hunger strike. “My cell has a bed, sink, and toilet and is not very big. . . I am also only allowed to shower three days a week and cannot participate in programming. I was not told why I was placed in administrative segregation, or if or when I would be released from segregation.”

“Retaliating against and punishing immigrant detainees engaged in peaceful protests is an unlawful attempt to chill free speech rights. Like all civil detainees, they have free speech rights protected by the Bill of Rights,” said ACLU-WA Legal Director Sarah Dunne.

Those locked inside the NWDC are not the only ones facing retaliation for peaceful protest. People held at the Joe Corley Detention Center in Conroe, Texas—also run by GEO—have faced solitary confinement, communications blackouts, and deportation for participating in a similar hunger strike inspired by their Washington counterparts. Hunger striker Manuel Martinez-Arambula was deported Thursday, according to organizers supporting the protests.

The hunger strikes come amid growing U.S. movements against soaring deportations under Obama, which will soon reach 2 million. On Saturday, immigrant justice advocates across the United States will rally for an immediate halt of deportations.

Said Villalpando, “The eyes of the world are watching right now.”

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In Kiev, Crushing IMF Austerity Defended as ‘Price of Independence’

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Interim Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk continues to tell Ukrainians and the world that gutting pensions

– Jon Queally

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk speaks during an interview with Reuters in Kiev April 3, 2014. (Credit: Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko)The new Ukraine government in Kiev, currently led by interim Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk, continues to tell its people that the only path forward for the country is to submit to the demands of the international financial powers—specifically the International Monetary Fund—by meeting their demands to implement draconian cuts to social funding, pensions, and otherwise “liberalizing” the economy in exchange for billions of dollars in bailout loans.

Noting full-well the unpopularity of and crushing impact that ending fuel subsidies and cutting both wages and pensions will have on regular Ukrainians, Yatseniuk told Reuters in an interview published Friday that these measures—which are set conditions for a $14-$18 billion loan package from the IMF—are simply the “price of independence.”

He called the plan being structured in Kiev at the behest of the western economic powers as “tremendous step forward” even as economists and researchers have repeatedly and consistently shown that austerity measures like the ones now under consideration have a destructive, long-term impact on national economies, especially those suffering from a debt crisis.

“We will regain trust and credibility from foreign investors,” said Yatseniuk, defending the plan. “This is the roadmap for Ukraine.”

That may be so. But as Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics at St. Mary’s College,pointed out following the announcement of IMF conditions now being pushed in Kiev, this roadmap might lift the street credibility of Yatseniuk among the world’s powerful financial elite (the Reuters report says western leaders are impressed by what they term his “clear-sightedness” on economic matters), but it’s the nation’s regular citizens and workers who will ultimately pay the price for these short-sighted policies.

Those who will pay will not be the bankers and multinational businessmen, but the Ukrainian people,” argued Rasmus. “That is the essential and repeated history and legacy of IMF deals globally for the last three decades.”

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CIA Whistleblower and the Torture Report

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On April 3, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to declassify the executive summary and conclusions of a report detailing the CIA’s use of torture. When the Torture Report is finally released, after going through the CIA for redaction, it will undoubtedly confirm the 2007 revelations about CIA torture released by John Kiriakou, former CIA analyst and case officer. But Kiriakou himself is still languishing in prison, with at least another year left in his sentence. When Americans get a chance to contemplate the abuses committed in their name,  they should also call for justice and freedom for the whistleblower who warned us about these abuses years ago.
A painting of John Kiriakou by artist Robert Shetterly, as part of his series “Americans Who Tell the Truth.” (Image: Robert Shetterly)
On December 10, 2007 in an interview with ABC News, Kiriakou discussed his involvement in the capture and questioning of Abu Zubaydah, accused aide of Osama Bin Laden. Kiriakou admitted that the CIA waterboarded Al-Qaeda suspects, specifically Zubaydah. He also expressed doubt that the information gathered from waterboarding was worth the damage to the United States’ reputation.
As a result of that interview, on January 23, 2012 Kiriakou was charged with revealing the name of an undercover officer and the role of another officer in classified activities. A year later he was sentenced to 30 months in prison. But compare Kiriakou’s treatment to that of Scooter Libby, former advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney. In October 2005, Libby was charged with revealing the identity of an undercover CIA officer, endangering her life. He was also sentenced to 30 months in prison, but President Bush commuted his sentence. Libby simply had to pay a fine, undergo two years of supervised release and complete 400 hours of community service. While Libby’s transgression was more serious than that of Kiriakou, since the agent he named was still active, Kiriakou was the one imprisoned.
Despite the CIA’s claims to the Department of Justice and Congress that their use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” helped obtain valuable information to disrupt terrorist plots and save thousands of lives, the declassified Torture Report will show that this is false. For example, all useful information from Zubaydah was obtained well before he was waterboarded a grand total of 83 times. “The CIA conflated what was gotten when, which led them to misrepresent the effectiveness of the program,” said an anonymous U.S. official to the Washington Post.
According to leaks, the report will outline multiple ways in which the CIA misrepresented the utility of the torture program. It will show the American people that torture didn’t produce important intelligence; that the CIA lied to Congress, the Justice Department, and the White House so it could keep torturing; and that the CIA went beyond even what the Bush White House had authorized and tried to hide evidence that it had done so.
It will also show that the CIA conflated the ranking of Al-Qaeda officials. In the case of Zubaydah, they claimed he was a senior Al-Qaeda operative, when in reality he was merely a facilitator for recruits. And it will reveal the true extent of the U.S. network of secret detention facilities called “black sites.”
The release of the report on CIA torture is a critical first step in making Congressional oversight of the intelligence agencies work the way it is supposed to. But it should also be a first step in demanding accountability.
Right now, CIA officials involved in administering torture and misrepresenting the program roam free, with some, such as CIA chief John Brennan, rewarded for their crimes. Meanwhile, John Kiriakou, who blew the whistle on torture, remains in prison, separated from his wife and five children. He has already lost a year of his life, and has another year to go.
As citizens, we must express our outrage and disappointment at the methods employed by our government, but we must also call for rights to be wronged. Kiriakou’s bravery should be rewarded, not punished. It is time for him to be released and for his courage to be recognized.Sign here.

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US Lawmakers Must End Efforts to Curb Free Speech on Palestine

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Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town Desmond Tutu, a legendary figure in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, issued this statement on 2 April 2014 condemning escalating legislative efforts in the United States to curb freedom of speech and ostracize those who support justice in Palestine

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South African Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu addresses the European Development Days conference in Brussels, November 17, 2006. (REUTERS/Yves Herman)

I am writing today to express grave concern about a wave of legislative measures in the United States aimed at punishing and intimidating those who speak their conscience and challenge the human rights violations endured by the Palestinian people. In legislatures in Maryland, New York, Illinois, Florida, and even the United States Congress, bills have been proposed that would either bar funding to academic associations or seek to malign those who have taken a stand against the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

These legislative efforts are in response to a growing international initiative, the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, of which I have long been a supporter. The BDS movement emanates from a call for justice put out by the Palestinian people themselves. It is a Palestinian-led, international nonviolent movement that seeks to force the Israeli government to comply with international law in respect to its treatment of the Palestinian people.

I have supported this movement because it exerts pressure without violence on the State of Israel to create lasting peace for the citizens of Israel and Palestine, peace which most citizens crave. I have witnessed the systematic violence against and humiliation of Palestinian men, women and children by members of the Israeli security forces. Their humiliation and pain is all too familiar to us South Africans.

In South Africa, we could not have achieved our democracy without the help of people around the world, who through the use of non-violent means, such as boycotts and divestment, encouraged their governments and other corporate actors to reverse decades-long support for the Apartheid regime. My conscience compels me to stand with the Palestinians as they seek to use the same tactics of non-violence to further their efforts to end the oppression associated with the Israeli occupation.

The legislations being proposed in the United States would have made participation in a movement like the one that ended Apartheid in South Africa extremely difficult.

I am also deeply troubled by the rhetoric associated with the promulgation of these bills which I understand, in the instance of Maryland, included testimony comparing the boycott to the actions of the Nazis in Germany. The Nazi Holocaust which resulted in the extermination of millions of Jews is a crime of monstrous proportions. To imply that it is in any way comparable to a nonviolent initiative diminishes the horrific nature of that genocidal and tragic era in our world history.

Whether used in South Africa, the US South, or India, boycotts have resulted in a transformative change that not only brought freedom and justice to the victims but also peace and reconciliation for the oppressors. I strongly oppose any piece of legislation meant to punish or deter individuals from pursuing this transformative aspiration. And I remain forever hopeful that, like the nonviolent efforts that have preceded it, the BDS movement will ultimately become a catalyst for honest peace and reconciliation for all our brothers and sisters, both Palestinian and Israeli, in the Holy Land.

 

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Studies Confirm the Dehumanization of Black Children and the ‘Preschool-to-Prison Pipeline’

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(Image: Shutterstock)Although African-Americans constitute only 13 percent of all Americansnearly half of all prison inmates in the U.S. are black. This startling statistic has led the United Nations Human Rights Committee to publicly criticize the U.S. for its treatment of African-Americans. A number of recent studies and reports paint a damning picture of how American society dehumanizes blacks starting from early childhood.

Racial justice activists and prison abolition groups have long argued that the “school-to-prison” pipeline funnels young black kids into the criminal justice system, with higher rates of school suspension and arrest compared with nonblack kids for the same infractions. More than 20 years ago, Smith College professor Ann Arnett Ferguson wrote a groundbreaking book based on her three-year study of how black boys in particular are perceived differently starting in school. In Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity,” Ferguson laid out the ways in which educators and administrators funneled black male students into the juvenile justice system based on perceived differences between them and other students.

Today this trend continues with record numbers of suspensions as a result of “zero-tolerance” school policies and the increasing presence of campus police officers who arrest students for insubordination, fights and other types of behavior that might be considered normal “acting out” in school-aged children. In fact, black youth are far more likely to be suspended from school than any other race. They also face disproportionate expulsion and arrest rates, and once children enter the juvenile justice system they are far more likely to be incarcerated as adults.

Even the Justice Department under President Obama has understood what a serious problem this is, issuing a set of new guidelines earlier this year to curb discriminatory suspension in schools.

But it turns out that negative disciplinary actions affect African-American children starting as early as age 3. The U.S. Department of Education just released a comprehensive study of public schools, revealing in a report that black children face discrimination even in preschool. (That preschool-aged children are suspended at all is hugely disturbing.) Data from the 2011-2012 year show that although black children make up only 18 percent of preschoolers, 42 percent of them were suspended at least once and 48 percent were suspended multiple times.

Consistent with this educational data and taking into account broader demographic, family and economic data for children of various races, broken down by state, is a newer study released this week by the Annie E. Casey Foundation that found African-American children are on the lowest end of nearly every measured index including proficiency in math and reading, high school graduation, poverty and parental education. The report, titled Race for Results, plainly says, “The index scores for African-American children should be considered a national crisis.”

Two other studies published recently offer specific evidence of how black children are so disadvantaged at an early age. One research project, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, examined how college students and police officers estimated the ages of children who they were told had committed crimes. Both groups studied by UCLA professor Phillip Goff and collaborators were more likely to overestimate the ages of black children compared with nonblack ones, implying that black children were seen as “significantly less innocent” than others. The authors wrote:

We expected … that individuals would perceive Black boys as being more responsible for their actions and as being more appropriate targets for police violence. We find support for these hypotheses … and converging evidence that Black boys are seen as older and less innocent and that they prompt a less essential conception of childhood than do their White same-age peers.

Another study by researchers at UC Riverside found that teachers tended to be more likely to evaluate black children negatively than nonblack ones who were engaged in pretend play. Psychology professor Tuppett M. Yates, who led the study, observed 171 preschool-aged children interacting with stuffed toys and other props and evaluated them for how imaginative and creative they were. In an interview on Uprising, Yates told me that all the children, regardless of race, were “similarly imaginative and similarly expressive,” but when their teachers evaluated those same children at a later time, there was a discriminatory effect. Yates explained, “For white children, imaginative and expressive players were rated very positively [by teachers] but the reverse was true for black children. Imaginative and expressive black children were perceived as less ready for school, as less accepted by their peers, and as greater sources of conflict and tension.”

Although it is clear that negative behaviors were magnified through “race-colored glasses,” according to Yates, her study of children engaged in pretend play found that “there is also potentially a systematic devaluing of positive attributes among black children.” This made her concerned about how “very early on, some kids are being educated towards innovation and leadership and others may be educated towards more menial or concrete social positions.”

Reflecting on the 2001 book “Bad Boys” and how little seems to have changed since then, Yates affirmed that author Ferguson’s assertion that black children are given a “hidden curriculum” is still true now. She told me, “Our data suggests that that hidden curriculum may be persisting today and that it’s starting much earlier than we ever could have anticipated.” She noted her deep concern that “we’re actually reproducing inequality generation after generation.”

When I asked her to comment on the Goff study showing police estimates of black children as older than they are, Yates agreed that it appears as though “the same objective data are being interpreted differently as a function of race.” Ferguson also apparently noted this trend, calling it an “adultification” of black boys. Yates recounted an example from Ferguson’s work in which “when a white student fails to return their library book, they’re seen as forgetful and when a black student fails to return a library book, terms like ‘thief’ or ‘looter’ were used.”

Studies such as these consistently show that African-Americans have the deck stacked against them starting in early childhood through adulthood. Taken together, they make a strong case for the existence of a “preschool-to-prison” pipeline and the systematic dehumanization that black children face in American society.

Yates summarized, “Across these different studies, black children are viewed differently. They are consequently given less access to the kinds of structural avenues required to advance in our society and ultimately they become less valued in our culture,” and are ultimately “fast tracked to the margins.”

Daily Beast staff writer Jamelle Bouie, writing about black preschoolers being disproportionately suspended, provocatively asked, “Are Black Students Unruly? Or is America Just Racist?” Yates gave me the obvious answer saying, “We know that [discrimination] exists. It’s the most parsimonious explanation for these kinds of persistent inequalities.”

But perhaps there is also an element of justifiable unruliness involved. Yates offered that “black children—rightfully so—are more likely to disengage from their educational milieus and potentially rebel against them because these systems are at best failing to support them, and at worst channeling them into this pipeline towards negative ends.”

She indicted American society as a whole, saying, “Our educational system, our economic system, our judicial system, all of these are converging to reproduce these kinds of inequalities and perpetuate the criminalization of blacks in our culture.”

Although Attorney General Eric Holder’s push to reform mandatory minimum sentences that disproportionately incarcerate African-Americans is indeed laudable, strong action is needed now to address the early childhood barriers facing black kids. The preschool-to-prison pipeline needs to be dismantled from its starting point rather than simply its endpoint.

Ultimately, “change,” Yates said, “is really going to require effort at all levels such as individual teachers, superintendents, police officers, attorneys general and even in the media.”

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Fort Hood: A Tragic Reminder of the Military’s Mental Health Crisis

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Anja Niedringhaus was killed and her colleague wounded on Friday when an Afghan policeman opened fire on their convoy

 

Sergeant First Class Erick Rodriguez stands guard before a news conference at Fort Hood, Texas April 2, 2014. (Reuters/Erich Schlegel)Ivan Lopez, the man military officials say opened fire yesterday at Fort Hood, Texas, killing three and wounding sixteen, reportedly suffered from depression and anxiety, and had trouble sleeping. Doctors prescribed him a number of drugs, and evaluated him for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. According to Secretary of the Army John McHugh, who spoke to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, nothing on his record or in a psychiatric evaluation last month indicated he would harm himself or others.

If the shooting shocks and discomforts, the fact that more than half of all service members who served in Iraq and Afghanistan say their mental or physical health is worse after their deployment should, too. Lopez’s act of mass violence distinguishes him from his fellow service members; still, he appears to have shared with many others the experience of coming home to a country unprepared to meet his needs. Of the 2.6 million men and women sent to Iraq and Afghanistan or to supporting operations overseas, more than half report that the government is failing to meet theirs. Nearly 60 percent say the Department of Veterans Affairs is doing only a fair or poor job. And one in two know another service member who, like Lopez, committed or attempted suicide.

Since at least 2008, more American soldiers have killed themselves at home than have died abroad. The VA has responded by expanding its mental health funding and adding thousands of people to its mental health staff. But less than a quarter of veterans are enrolled in the agency’s health care system, and more than a third of enrolled veterans who sought psychiatric appointments in 2013 faced at least a two week wait.

“Frankly, we have got to do more,” said Vermont Senator and Veterans Affairs committee chair Bernie Sanders said Thursday on MSNBC. “We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of men and women. So if we’re serious about reaching out and helping those people, we’ve got to provide the resources to do that.”

Doing “more” doesn’t only mean boosting the VA budget. Veterans experience poverty, homelessness, unemployment, and improper foreclosures more acutely than Americans overall, meaning that slashing the safety net, failing to extend unemployment insurance, and other moves towards austerity create extra challenges for veterans grappling with the aftershocks of service and navigating reentry to civilian life.

Congress had an opportunity in February to act on one of the largest legislative packages for veterans in decades, which Sanders sponsored. But Senate Republicans killed the measure, saying it was too expensive, never mind that the $21 billion price tag would have been paid for largely by the drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan. For perspective, $21 billion represents about .6 percent of government spending in 2013.

Montana Senator John Walsh, a Democrat and combat Veteran, introduced legislation last week with a variety of measures directed at preventing veteran suicide. The bill would give service members leaving active duty fifteen years to receive care from the VA, significantly extending the current window that, at five years, is sometimes shorter than the onset of PTSD or other mental illnesses. The legislation also creates incentives for mental health care professionals to work within the VA system, streamlines electronic health records and prescription protocols, and requires the Defense Department and VA to review mental health care programs annually. When asked about the cost of his legislation, as Republicans surely will, Walsh told CNN, “that is the cost of war.”

Lopez’s mental health issues may have had nothing to do with his military service, and it would be a mistake to project his crimes onto other soldiers seeking treatment. The point remains that lawmakers spent trillions taking violence abroad. It’s hard to deny that some of it is coming home again, in the form of suicide, domestic abuse, and in the daily violence of homelessness and unemployment. It’s simple enough to tally what price Congress thought worthy for the armored vehicles and the aircraft carriers and the missiles used for our recent wars. What about the people?

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Nonviolent Geopolitics: Law, Politics, and 21st Century Security*

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Nonviolent Geopolitics: Law, Politics, and 21st Century Security*           

In this short essay, my attempt will be to articulate a conception of a world order premised on nonviolent geopolitics, as well as to consider some obstacles to its realization. By focusing on the interplay of “law” and “geopolitics” the intention is to consider the role played both by normative traditions of law and morality and the “geopolitical” orientation that continue to guide dominant political actors on the global stage. Such an approach challenges the major premise of realism that security, leadership, stability, and influence in the 21st century continue to rest primarily on military power, or what is sometimes described as “hard power” capabilities.[1] From such a perspective international law plays a marginal role, useful for challenging the behavior of adversaries, but not to be relied upon in calculating the national interest of one’s own country. As such, the principal contribution of international law, aside from its utility in facilitating cooperation in situations where national interests converge, is to provide rhetoric that rationalizes controversial foreign policy initiatives undertaken by one’s own country and to demonize comparable behavior by an enemy state. This discursive role is not to be minimized, but neither should it be confused with exerting norms of restraint in a consistent and fair manner.

In this chapter my intention is to do three things:

  • to show the degree to which the victors in World War II crafted via the UN Charter essentially a world order, which if behaviorally implemented, would have marginalized war, and encoded by indirection a system of nonviolent geopolitics; in other words, the constitutional and institutional foundations already exist, but inert form;
  • to [criticize] [provide a critique of] the realist paradigm that never relinquished its hold over the imagination of dominant political elites, and an approach has not acknowledged the obsolescence and dangers associated with the war system;
  • and, finally, to consider some trends in international life that make it rational to work toward the embodiment of nonviolent geopolitics in practice and belief, as well as in the formalities of international law.

I. The UN Charter and a Legalistic Approach to Nonviolent Geopolitics

In the immediate aftermath of World War II, particularly in light of the horrendous atomic bombings of Japanese cities, even those of realist disposition were deeply worried by what it might portend for the future, and without much reflection agreed to a constitutional framing of world politics that contained most of the elements of nonviolent geopolitics. In one respect, this was a continuation of a trend that started after World War I with the establishment of the League of Nations, reflecting a half-hearted endorsement of the Woodrow Wilson sentiment that such a conflagration amounted to ‘a war to end all wars.’ Yet the European colonial governments humored Wilson, and continued to believe that the war system was viable and integral to maintaining Western hegemony, and the League of Nations proved to be irrelevant in avoiding the onset of World War II. But World War II was different because it offered the political leaders both a grim warning of what a future war among major states would likely entail and it seemed to be entrusting the future to a coalition of victorious powers that had cooperated against the menace posed by Fascism, and in the view of the American leader Franklin Roosevelt, could just as well cooperate to maintain the peace. Beyond this, the memories of the Great Depression and the realization that the punitive peace imposed on Germany in the Versailles Treaty had encouraged the rise of Hitler, gave the global leadership in the world at that time an incentive to facilitate cooperation in trade and investment, and to see the importance of restoring the economies of defeated Germany, Italy, and Japan so as to avoid the recurrence of another cataclysmic depression.

It was in this atmosphere that the UN Charter was agreed upon with its cardinal principles based on the following: (1) the unconditional prohibition of recourse to force in international relations except in self-defense against a prior armed attack, which meant the outlawry of war as an instrument of national policy; (2) the reinforcement of this prohibition with a collective commitment of the UN membership to support any state that was the target of non-defensive force, including acting forcibly under UN auspices to restore the territorial integrity and political independence of such a violated state; under no conditions was it to be legally acceptable for a state to acquire territory by recourse to force; (3) the further reinforcement of this attitude by the precedents set at Nuremberg and Tokyo that held leaders who engage in aggressive warfare criminally responsible on an individual basis, and by ‘the Nuremberg promise’ that made the pledge that in the future all political leaders would be subject to criminal accountability, and not those who lost wars (‘victors’ justice); (4) the commitment to respect the internal sovereignty of all states whether large or small, via the acceptance of an unconditional obligation to refrain from any interference in matters essentially within domestic jurisdiction.

Such a legal framework, if implemented, would have effectively eliminated international warfare and military intervention, preserved the statist structure of world order, and created a robust set of collective security mechanisms to inhibit aggression and defeat and punish any government and its leaders who engaged in aggressive warfare. It is important to realize that this legalistic vision of world order assumed that it was politically possible to establish such a warless world, and that rationality would prevail in the nuclear age to redefine the approach taken to security by ‘realists.’ It is also relevant to observe that the nonviolent geopolitics embedded in the UN Charter never involved an overall embrace of nonviolence as a precondition of political life. It was understood thatwithin states violent insurgent politics and various forms of civil strife would occur, without violating international norms. By the Charter scheme internal wars were beyond the writ of the social contract made by states to renounce recourse to international violence. In this respect even an internal war, unless it spilled over boundaries to become a species of international warfare, was not to be addressed by the UN.

Even within this legalistic conception of nonviolent geopolitics there are significant difficulties. First of all, the conferral of a right of veto on the five permanent members of the Security Council, which meant that no decision adverse to the vital interests of the most dangerous political actors in the world could be reached, and that this de facto exemption from the commitment to nonviolent geopolitics greatly compromised the value of the legal framing, making the optimistic assumption of an enduring alliance for peace absolutely crucial to achieving the security claims being posited by the UN. Secondly, the acceptance of internal sovereignty as legally absolute meant that there would be no legal basis for effectively challenging the recurrence of genocide, or severe crimes against humanity and other catastrophic circumstances confronting a society caught in civil strife of the sort currently afflicting Syria.

Of course, these legal shortcomings seem almost irrelevant in view of the lack of political will to implement the Charter vision of nonviolent geopolitics. In retrospect, it seems clear that before the Charter had even been ratified governing elites in the United States and the Soviet Union reaffirmed their reliance on their military capabilities, political alliances, and deterrent doctrines to ground their security on the logic of countervailing hard power. Also, the anti-fascist alliance so effective in wartime, collapsed quickly in the absence of a common enemy, and the long Cold War ensued, which ensured that the collective security dimensions of the Charter vision would remain a dead letter, although this is not meant to imply that the UN was a failure overall. Actually, its positive contributions were associated with facilitating international cooperation whenever a political consensus was present and working at the normative margins of the prevailing hard power worldview.

These legal gaps could have been overcome if the worldview of the leading political actors truly embraced nonviolent geopolitics as more than a kind of vague aspirational framing of security that must never be allowed to interfere with the realist faith in deterrence and military strength once the initial shock of the dawning of the nuclear age subsided. There was a historical factor that worked against any serious effort to curtail this realist approach to security: the so-called ‘lesson of Munich’ to the effect that German aggression was encouraged by the appeasement policies of the European liberal democracies, which in turn reflected military weakness due to substantial disarmament after World War I. Such a view of the recent past translated into an almost irresistible argument supportive of a militarist approach to world order, which was reinforced by the ideological and geopolitical challenge attributed to the Soviet Union.

What this meant in relation to the position advocated here is that violent or war-prone geopolitics was fully restored, arguably universalized, and restrained only by a quality of enhanced prudence in relation to great power confrontations, as during the various Berlin crises and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Prudence had always been a cardinal political virtue of the classical realist approach, but was not elevated to a central role in balancing the pursuit of vital interests against the risks of catastrophic warfare. (Aron 1966 best articulates this realist approach).

II. The Political/Ethical Argument for Nonviolent Geopolitcs.

The contrasting argument presented here is that political outcomes since the end of World War II have been primarily shaped by soft power ingenuity that has rather consistently overcome a condition of military inferiority to achieve its desired political outcomes. The United States completely controlled land, air, and sea throughout the Vietnam war, winning every battle, and yet eventually losing the war, killing as many as 5 million Vietnamese on the road to the failure of its military intervention. Ironically, the US government went on to engage the victorious Vietnam government, and currently enjoys a friendly and productive diplomatic and economic relationship. In this sense, the strategic difference between defeat and victory is almost unnoticeable, making the wartime casualties and devastation even more tragic, as being pointless from every perspective.

Nevertheless, US militarists refused to learn from the outcome, treating the impact of this defeat as a kind of geopolitical disease, the “Vietnam Syndrome,” rather than as a reflection of a historical trend supportive of the legitimate claims of self-determination despite the military vulnerability of such nationalist movements. The mainstream realists drew the wrong lesson, insisting that the outcome was an exception rather than the rule, a case of demoralizing the domestic support for the war, not a matter of losing to a stronger adversar.[2] In effect, overcoming the Vietnam Syndrome meant restoring confidence in hard power geopolitics and thereby neutralizing domestic opposition to war making. This militarist revived control over the shaping of American foreign policy was proclaimed as an achievement of the Gulf War in 1991, which revealingly prompted the American president at the time George H.W. Bush to utter these memorable words in the immediate aftermath of this military victory on desert battlefield of Kuwait: “We finally kicked the Vietnam Syndrome.” Meaning of course that the United States demonstrated it could wage and win wars at acceptable costs, not pausing to notice that such victories were obtained only where the terrain was suited for a purely military encounter or the capability and will of the enemy to resist was minimal or non-existent. It is not that hard power is obsolete, but rather that it is not able to shape the outcomes in the most characteristic conflicts of the period since 1945, namely, the political struggle to expel oppressive forces that represent a foreign imperial power or to resist military intervention. Hard power is still decisive in encounters with hard power, or in situations where the weaker side is defenseless, and the stronger side is prepared to carry its military dominance to genocidal extremes.

It is hardly surprising that the excessive and anachronistic reliance on hard power solutions in situations of conflict has led to a series of failures, both acknowledged (Iraq War) and unacknowledged (Afghanistan War; Libyan War). As long as the United States invests so much more heavily in military capabilities than any other state it is bound to respond to threats or pursue its interests along a hard power path, thereby refusing to reckon with clear historical trends favoring soft power dominance in conflict situations.

Israel also has adopted a similar approach, relying on its military superiority to destroy and kill, but not being able to control the political results of the wars it embarks upon (e.g. Lebanon War of 2006, Gaza Attacks of 2008-09). One other cost of hard power or violent geopolitics is to undermine respect for the rule of law in global politics and for the authority of the United Nations.

A second demonstration of the anachronistic reliance on a violence-based system of security was associated with the response to the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, the dual symbols of the US imperium. A feature of this event was the exposure of the extreme vulnerability of the most militarily dominant state in the whole of human history to attack by a non-state actor without significant weaponry and lacking in major resources. In the aftermath it became clear that the enormous US investment in achieving “full spectrum dominance” had not brought enhanced security, but the most acute sense of insecurity in the history of the country. Once again the wrong lesson was drawn, namely, that the way to restore security was to wage war regardless of the distinctive nature of this new kind of threat, to make mindless use of the military machine abroad and the curtailment of liberties at home despite the absence of a territorial adversary or any plausible means/ends relationship between recourse to war and reduction of the threat.[3] The appropriate lesson, borne out by experience, is that such a security threat can best be addressed by a combination of transnational law enforcement and through addressing the legitimategrievances of the political extremists who launched the attacks. The Spanish response to the Madrid attacks of March 11, 2004 seemed sensitive to these new realities: withdrawal from involvement in the Iraq war while enhancing police efforts to identify and arrest violent extremists, and joining in the dialogic attempts to lessen tension between Islam and the West.[4] In another setting, the former British prime minister, John Major, observed that he only began to make progress in ending the violence in Northern Ireland when he stopped thinking of the IRA as a terrorist organisation and began treating it a political actor with real grievances and its own motivations in reaching accommodation and peace.

The right lesson is to recognise the extremely limited utility of military power in conflict situations within the postcolonial world, grasping the extent to which popular struggle has exerted historical agency during the last 60 years. It has shaped numerous outcomes of conflicts that could not be understood if assessed only through a hard power lens that interprets history as almost always determined by wars being won by the stronger military side that then gets to shape the peace.[5] Every anti-colonial war in the latter half of the 20th century was won by the militarily weaker side, which prevailed in the end despite suffering disproportionate losses along its way to victory. It won because the people were mobilised on behalf of independence against foreign colonial forces, and their resistance included gaining complete control of the high moral ground. It won because of the political truth embodied in the Afghan saying: “You have the watches, we have the time.” Gaining the high moral ground both delegitimised colonial rule and legitimised anti-colonial struggle; in the end even the state-centric and initially empire-friendly UN was induced to endorse anticolonial struggles by reference to the right of self-determination, which was proclaimed to be an inalienable right of all peoples.

This ascendancy of soft power capabilities in political struggles was not always the case. Throughout the colonial era, and until the mid-20th century, hard power was generally effective and efficient, as expressed by the colonial conquests of the Western hemisphere with small numbers of well-armed troops, British control of India with a few thousand soldiers or the success of “gunboat diplomacy” in supporting US economic imperialism in Central America and the Caribbean. What turned the historical tide against militarism was the rise of national and cultural self-consciousness in the countries of the South, most dramatically in India under the inspired leadership of Gandhi, where coercive nonviolent forms of soft power first revealed their potency. More recently, abetted by the communications revolution, resistance to oppressive regimes based on human rights has demonstrated the limits of hard power governance in a globalised world. The anti-apartheid campaign extended the struggle against the racist regime that governed South Africa to a symbolic global battlefield where the weapons were coercive nonviolent reliance on boycotts, divestment, and sanctions. The collapse of apartheid in South Africa was largely achieved by developments outside of the sovereign territory, a pattern that is now being repeated in the Palestinian “legitimacy war” being waged against Israel. The outcome is not assured, and it is possible for the legitimacy war to be won, and yet the oppressive conditions sustained, as seems to be currently the case with respect to Tibet.

Against this background, it is notable, and even bewildering, that geopolitics continues to be driven by a realist consensus that ahistorically believes that history continues to be determined by the grand strategy of hard power dominant state actors.[6] In effect, realists have lost touch with reality. It seems correct to acknowledge that there remains a rational role for hard power, as a defensive hedge against residual statist militarism, but even here the economic and political gains of demilitarisation would seem to far outweigh the benefits of an anachronistic dependence on hard power forms of self-defence, especially those that risk wars fought with weaponry of mass destruction. With respect to non-state political violence, hard power capabilities are of little or no relevance, and security can be best achieved by accommodation, intelligence and transnational law enforcement. The US recourse to war in addressing the Al Qaeda threat, as in Iraq and Afghanistan, has proved to be costly, and misdirected. [7] Just as the US defeat in Vietnam reproduced the French defeats in their colonial wars waged in Indochina and Algeria, the cycle of failure is being renewed in the post-9/11 global setting. Why do such lessons bearing on the changing balance between hard and soft power remain unlearned in the imperial centre of geopolitical manoeuvre?

It is of great importance to pose this question even if no definitive answer can be forthcoming at this time. There are some suggestive leads that relate to both material and ideological explanations. On the materialist side, there are deeply embedded governmental and societal structures whose identity and narrow self-interests are bound up with a maximal reliance upon and projection of hard power. These structures have been identified in various ways in the US setting: “national security state”, “military-industrial complex”, “military Keynesianism”, and “the war system”. It was Dwight Eisenhower who more than 50 years ago warned of the military-industrial complex in his farewell speech, notably making the observation after he no longer was able to exert influence on governmental policy.[8] In 2010 there seems to be a more deeply rooted structure of support for militarism that extends to the mainstream media, conservative think tanks, an army of highly paid lobbyists, and a deeply compromised Congress whose majority of members have substituted money for conscience. This politically entrenched paradigm linking realism and militarism makes it virtually impossible to challenge a military budget even at a time of fiscal deficits that are acknowledged by conservative observers to endanger the viability of the US empire (Ferguson 2010). The scale of the military budget, combined with navies in every ocean, more than 700 foreign military bases, and a huge investment in the militarisation of space exhibit the self-fulfilling inability to acknowledge the dysfunctionality of such a global posture.[9] The US spends almost as much as the entire world put together on its military machine, and more than double what the next 10 leading states spend. And for what benefit to either the national or global interest?

The most that can be expected by way of adjustment of the realist consensus under these conditions is a certain softening of the hard power emphasis. In this respect, one notes that several influential adherents of the realist consensus have recently called attention to the rising importance of non-military elements of power in the rational pursuit of a grand strategy that continues to frame geopolitics by reference to presumed hard power “realities”, but are at the same time critical of arch militarism attributed to neoconservatives (see Nye 1990; Gelb 2009; Walt 2005).[10] This same tone pervades the speech of Barack Obama at the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. This realist refusal to comprehend a largely post-militarist global setting is exceedingly dangerous given the continuing hold of realism on the shaping of policy by governmental and market/finance forces.[11] Such an outmoded realism not only engages in imprudent military undertakings; it tends also to overlook a range of deeper issues bearing on security, survival and human wellbeing, including climate change, peak oil, water scarcities, fiscal fragility and market freefall. As such, this kind of policy orientation is incapable of formulating the priorities associated with sustainable and benevolent forms of global governance.

In addition, to the structural rigidity that results from the entrenched militarist paradigm, there arises a systemic learning disability that is incapable of analysing the main causes of past failures. As a practical matter, this leads policy options to be too often shaped by unimaginative thinking trapped within a militarist box. In recent international policy experience, thinking mainly confined to the military box has led the Obama administration to escalate US involvement in an internal struggle for the future of Afghanistan and to leave the so-called military option on the table for dealing with the prospect of Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. An attractive alternative policy approach in Afghanistan would be based on the recognition that the Taliban is a movement seeking nationalist objectives amid raging ethnic conflict. As a result it would tend towards a conclusion that the US security interests would benefit from an end of combat operations, followed by the phased withdrawal of NATO forces, a major increase in developmental assistance that avoids channelling funds through a corrupted Kabul government, and a genuine shift in US foreign policy towards respect for the politics of self-determination. Similarly, in relation to Iran, instead of threatening a military strike and advocating punitive measures, a call for regional denuclearisation, which insisted on the inclusion of Israel, would be expressive of both thinking outside the militarist box, and the existence of more hopeful non-military responses to admittedly genuine security concerns.

III. Concluding Observations: Opportunities, Challenges, Tendencies

In conclusion, some form of geopolitics is almost bound to occur, given the gross inequality of states and the weakness of the United Nations as the institutional expression of unified governance for the planet. Especially since the collapse of the Soviet Union the primacy of the United States has resulted inevitably in its geopolitical ascendancy. Unfortunately, this position has been premised upon an unreconstructed confidence in the hard power paradigm, which combines militarism and realism, producing violent geopolitics in relation to critical unresolved conflicts. The experience of the past 60 years shows clearly that this paradigm is untenable from both pragmatic and principled perspectives. It fails to achieve its goals at acceptable costs, if at all. It relies on immoral practices that involve massive killing of innocent persons and colossal waste of resources.

 

Perhaps the leading test of the thesis of this essay is the ongoing struggle for self-determination of the Palestinian people, whether in the form of a single secular state encompassing the whole of historic Palestine or an independent and viable state of their own existing alongside the Israeli state. As matters now stand, after decades of occupation, the Palestinian struggle is relying mainly on a legitimacy war relying on an array of soft power instruments, including diplomacy and lawfare, a non-violent coercive boycott and divestment campaign, and a variety of civil society initiatives challenging Israeli policies. Uncertainty exists as to the future outcome. The whole soft power orientation has taken a giant leap forward as a result of ‘the Arab spring’ in which unarmed popular movements challenged dictatorial and oppressive regimes with some notable successes, especially Egypt and Tunisia, but elsewhere at least achieving promises of extensive reforms. Increasingly, I think the potentialities of constructing a world order on the basis of soft power principles is gaining support, moving the idea of nonviolent geopolitics from the domain of utopianism to become a genuine political project. Of course, there is resistance, most especially from the hard power holdouts led by the United States and Israel.

Those political forces relying on the alternative of nonviolent practices and principles, in contrast, have shown the capacity to achieve political goals and a willingness to pursue their goals by ethical means, sometimes at great personal risk. The Gandhi movement resulting in Indian independence, the Mandela-led transformation of apartheid South Africa, people power in the Philippines and the soft revolutions of Eastern Europe in the late 1980s are exemplary instances of domestic transformations based on nonviolent struggle that entailed dangers for militants and resulted in some high profile bloody sacrifices. None of these soft power victories has produced entirely just societies or addressed the entire agenda of social and political concerns, often leaving untouched exploitative class relations and bitter societal tensions, but they have managed to overcome immediate situations of oppressive state/society relations without significant reliance on violence.

Turning to the global setting, there exist analogous opportunities for the application of nonviolent geopolitics. There is a widespread recognition that war between large states is not a rational option as it is almost certain to involve huge costs in blood and treasure, and reach mutual destructive results rather as in former times of a clear winner and loser. The opportunities for a nonviolent geopolitics are also grounded in the willingness of government to accept of the increasingly practical self-constraining discipline of international law as reinforced by widely endorsed moral principles embodied in the great religions and world civilizations. A further step in this direction would be a repudiation by the nine nuclear weapons states of weaponry of mass destruction, starting with an announced declaration of no first use of nuclear weaponry, and moving on to an immediate and urgent negotiation of a nuclear disarmament treaty that posits as a non-utopian goal “a world without nuclear weapons” (Krieger 2009). The essential second step is liberating the moral and political imagination from the confines of militarism, and consequent thinking within that dysfunctional box that still remains a staple component of the realist mindset among the leading countries in the West, especially the United States. This psycho-political challenge to move away from reliance on war making capabilities as the cornerstone of security is made more difficult by the bureaucratic and private sector entrenched interests in a militarist framing of security policy.

References:

David Ray Griffin and others, American Empire and the Commonwealth of God(Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006).

Jorgen Johansen & John Y. Jones, eds,, Experiments with Peace (Cape Town, South Africa: Pambazuka Press, 2010).

Raymond Aron, Peace and War: A Theory of International Relations (Garden City, NY: Doublday, 1966).

Johan Galtung, The True Worlds: A Transnational Perspective (New York: Free Press, 1980).

Johan Galtung, “Searching for peace in a world of terrorism and state terrorism,” in Shin Chiba and Thomas J. Schoenbaum, eds., Peace Movements and Pacifism after September 11 (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2008) 32-48.

Richard Rosecrance, The Rise of the Virtual State: Wealth and power in the coming century (New York: Basic, 2002).

David Cole and Julius Lobel, eds., Less Safe, Less Free: Why America is Losing the War on Terror (New York: New Press, 2007)

Richard Falk, The Great Terror War (Northampton, MA: Olive Branch Press, 2003).

Jonathan Schell, The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People (New York: Henry Holt, 2003).

Richard J. Barnet, The Roots of War (New York,: Atheneum, 1972)

Leonard C. Lewin (for Special Study Group), Report from Iron Mountain on the Possibility and Desirability of Peace (London: Macdonald, 1968).

Niall Ferguson, “The Fragile Empire- Here today, gone tomorrow—could the United States fall fast?” LA Times, Feb. 28, 2010.

Chalmers Johnson. The Sorrows of Empire: militarism, secrecy, and the End of the Republic (New York: Metropolitan, 2004).

Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power(New York: Basic Books, 1990

Joseph S. Nye, Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics (New York: Public Affairs, 2004)

Leslie H. Gelb, Power Rules: How common sense can rescue American foreign policy (New York: Harper-Collins, 2009)

Stephen M. Walt, Taming American Power: The global response to American power (New York: Norton, 2005).

Gabriel Kolko, The Age of War: The United States Confronts the World(Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2006).

Ken Booth, Theory of World Security (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007)

Joe Camilleri and Jim Falk, Worlds in Transition: Evolving Governance Across a Stressed Planet (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2009)

James H. Mittelman, Hyperconflict: Globalization and Insecurity (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010).

David Krieger, ed., The Challenge of Abolishing Nuclear Weapons (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 2009).

* Some of the ideas in sections II and III of the article have been earlier developed in “Renouncing Wars of Choice: Toward a Geopolitics of Nonviolence” in Griffin and others, 2006, 69-85 and “Nonviolent Geopolitics,” Johansen & Jones, eds., 2010, 33-40.

[1] A mainstream exception is Rosecrance 2002.

[2] Significantly, every US leader after Nixon did his best to eliminate the Vietnam syndrome, which was perceived by the Pentagon as an unwanted inhibitor of the use of aggressive force in world politics. After the end of the Gulf war in 2001, the first words of President George H. W. Bush were “We have finally kicked the Vietnam syndrome,” meaning, of course, that the United States was again able to fight ‘wars of choice’.

[3] Well depicted in Cole and Lobel 2007; see also my own attempt, Falk 2003.

[4] This comparison is analysed in a similar manner by Galtung 2008.

[5] Significantly documented in Schell 2003.

[6] It is notable that the changes in the global geopolitical landscape associated with the rise of China, India, Brazil and Russia are largely to do with their economic rise, and not at all with their military capabilities, which remain trivial compared to those of the United States.

[7] As interventionary struggles go on year after year with inconclusive results, but mounting costs in lives and resources, the intervening sides contradicts their own war rationale, searching for compromises, and even inviting the participation of the enemy

in the governing process. This has been attempted in both Iraq and Afghanistan, but

only after inflicting huge damage, and enduring major loss of life among their own troops and incurring great expense.

[8] Among the valuable studies are Barnet 1972 and Lewin 1968.

[9] Most convincingly demonstrated in a series of books by Chalmers Johnson. See especially the first of his three books on the theme (2004).

[10] For a progressive critique of American imperial militarism see Kolko 2006.

[11] Several leading scholars have long been sensitive to the disconnect that separates even relatively prudent realists from reality. For a still relevant major work see Galtung 1980. For other recent perceptive studies along these lines see Booth 2007, especially the section on ‘emancipatory realism’, pp. 87-91; Camilleri and Falk 2009; Mittelman 2010.

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THE NEW WORLD ORDER?

NOVANEWS

by Richard Falk

 

            There is no more reliable guardian of entrenched conventional wisdom

than The Economist. And so when its cover proclaims ‘the new world order,’ and removes any ambiguity from its intentions, by its portrayal of Putin as a shirtless tank commander with menacing features. No such iconography accompanied the last notable invocation of the phrase ‘new world order’ by George H. W. Bush in mobilizing support for a forcible response to the Iraqi invasion and annexation of Kuwait in 1990, the dirty work of Saddam Hussein. Here the elder Bush was seeking to suggest that with the Cold War winding down that finally the UN Security Council could act, as originally intended, and meet Iraqi aggression with a collective response. With some reluctance the Security Council mandated the use of force to repel Iraq, and restore Kuwaiti sovereignty.           

            In this central respect, there was some merit in claimingnewness for this latest response to provocative moves by Russia in relation to Ukraine. In the Cold War period, it is unlikely that Baghdad would have acted without a green light from Moscow, and it is even more unlikely that the Kremlin would allow its junior ally to embark on such a risky adventure. In the highly improbable event that Iraq would act on its own or win approval from Moscow, the resulting crisis would have been of a purely geopolitical character with no claim to initiate ‘the new world order.’ It would have meant confrontation, escalation, and a showdown similar to that which almost produced a nuclear World War III during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

            As it unfolded, this so-called First Gulf War of 1991 resulted in a successful launch of this earlier edition of the new world order. The Security Council mandate was quickly fulfilled in a one-sided desert war, Saddam Hussein surrendered, accepting the most punitive peace imposed upon a defeated country since the unseemly burdens accepted by a defeated Germany in the Versailles Treaty after World War I, an international arrangement often given a large share of the blame for later tipping the internal German balance in an extremist direction. Bush claimed victory over Iraq in the Gulf War with the rather vulger geopolitically slogan, ‘finally, we kicked the ‘Vietnam Syndrome,’ meaning that America had shown itself and the world that it could again win wars quickly, decisively, and at minimum cost to itself in lives and treasure. Some ventured to suggest that this renewed confidence in its war making prowess wasthe real new world order.

            There were questions raised at the time about such a use of UN authority to wage war. Was it really, as required by international law and the UN Charter, an instance of war as a last resort. The argument of critics was that sanctions agreed upon after Iraq invaded and annexed Kuwait in 1990 were working and should have been given a longer time to achieve results. There were also credible reports that Saddam Hussein was ready to withdraw prior to being attacked if assured that an attack would not occur in any event. Such assurance was never given the United States and its coalition partners, but only an ultimatum delivered by the then UN Secretary General. Also, there were questions about the failure of the American led military campaign to give the Security Council any supervisory role in relation to the military undertaking during its operational phases. Such an opportunistic manipulation of UN authority was repeated far more controversially in the Libya intervention under NATO auspices in 2013 when an expressly limited Security Council authorization was expanded dramatically without the slightest subsequent effort to obtain UN approval.

            Questions were raised as to whether the United States command had used excessive force well beyond the limits of ‘military necessity,’ an allegation given weight by a respected UN report concluding that the industrial infrastructure of Iraq had been destroyed by the military campaign and the country bombed back ‘to the stone age.’ And then there were questions raised repeatedly about maintaining for 12 years harsh comprehensive sanctions on a defeated country with a badly damaged water treatment systems. In the decade following the war as many as 700,000 Iraqi civilians died due to these post-war sanctions, which was quite widely condemned as a form of indiscriminate warfare that was not consistent with international customary law, and seemed oblivious to the lessons of Versailles.

            As well, the idealistic side of the new world order was quickly put back ‘on the shelf’ in the words of Thomas Pickering a prominent American diplomat, in effect, informing the world that the United States was not prepared to repel aggression unless warranted to do so by its national and strategic interests, and certainly not willing to allow the UNSC to make the call as to when international force should be used. In effect, business as usual! James Baker visiting Princeton for an off the record meeting on foreign policy not more than a year after this war in the Middle East, gave invited faculty the chance to ask questions. When my turn came, I asked the former government official,”What ever happened to ‘the new world order’?” To this day I find his response rather revealing: “We made a mistake. We should not have associated the new world order with the UN, but with the fact that the whole world would like to have an open economy and constitutional democracy like ours.” For Baker what was being defended was a neoliberal globalizing world economy, not a law-oriented system of collective security. In effect, for Baker, Bush’s able Secretary of State, the new world order was not much different than the fashionable idea being disseminated in the early 1990s by Francis Fukuyama on the theme of ‘the end of history,’ that is, the universal triumph of liberal ideas of governance best embodied in the United States, but now manifest purpose of the long, tortuous historical journey into the present. Of course, invoking ‘the new world order’ also had some earlier uglier resonances, especially, its proclamation as those heralding achievement of the Nazi version of fascism.

            So what shall we make of its renewal as descriptive of Putin vision in the aftermath of the Ukrainian intervention, followed by the Crimean annexation. There is no doubt that from a statist perspective, Russia violated international law by non-defensively using force to acquire territory belonging to another sovereign state, international legal wrongs accentuated by breaking a treaty signed by Russia with Ukraine in 1994 to respect existing borders. This agreement was also regarded as notable because it included the commitment by Ukraine to transfer their stockpile of nuclear weapons to Russia for safekeeping following the breakup of the Soviet Union. From the perspective of a Ukrainian nationalist, I would wonder at this point whether the Ukrainian borders might have been more respected had the Kiev government retained this weaponry, and thus what Putin has unwittingly done, is to rekindle an interest in nuclear weaponry as a security deterrent that could seem beneficial for the security of secondary states.

            By and large the Economist berates the vision thrust upon the world by Putin as a dangerous repudiation of international agreements upon which international law rests, and a kind of ‘revanchism’ in which hard power is relied upon to challenge the territorial integrity and political independence of a neighboring country. It is alleged that Russia’s argument for intervention could be used in many contexts throughout the world to rescue unhappy minorities that find themselves subject to a national governance structure that is not to their liking. In The Economist’s call for firm leadership by Obama that imposes heavy costs on Russia the stated purpose is to salvage for people spread around the planet “the kind of world order they want to live under.” The magazine posits its sense of the central issues at the end of the editorial: “Would they prefer one in which states by and large respect international agreements and borders? Or one in which words are bent, agreements are borders ignored and agreements broken at will?” [March 22, 2014, 9] This choice is put rhetorically, and avoids a more objective observational standpoint that seems to suggest the existence of a widespread public interest in having others abide by international norms while keeping oneself unconstrained. And wouldn’t the rest of the world care more about a more equitable economic order than whether ambiguous agreements about distant territorial rights are respected?

            There are two clusters of issues raised—conceptual choices and policy options. On conceptual matters, there is the matter of coherence. Should Russia be expected to abide by agreements when the West seeks to interfere with the internal dynamics of self-determination in an important country on its border? The Economistmakes no mention of a variety of covert efforts to destabilize the admittedly corrupt and abusive Ukrainian government headed by Yukanovych and entice the Ukraine to accept Western credit arrangements and a European alignment. In turn, such a move is a reinforcement of the incorporation of East Europe into the European Union via ‘enlargement’ and to deploy defensive missile systems in countries surrounding Russia. To have the world order based on international law that The Economist and the West abstractly favors in this context then these advocates should be prepared to live by a similar set of rules and agreements. Putin referred capriciously to the Kosovo precedent as a quasi-legal justification for seizing Crimea, and this has some plausibility, although there was a strong argument that Serbia had forfeited its sovereign rights in Kosovo by the commission of crimes against humanity in the course of resisting the breakup of former Yugoslavia.

            The better precedent to test what the West really wants in relation to world order is undoubtedly the invasion and occupation of Iraq after being rebuffed by the UN Security Council in 2003. Here was an instance of blatant aggression on trumped up false premises, an intrusive regime-changing occupation with devastating impacts on the entire fabric of Iraqi society, and the deliberate manipulation of religious and ethnic tensions by the occupying power so as to create the kind of Iraq that wanted to emerge. Is this the world thatThe Economist, and those of similar inclinations, have in mind? When done by Putin such behavior is seen as disruptive, but when done by the United States, uses of force are benignly described as “the aggressive pursuit of American values.” The Iraq War seems to me to have set a far worse precedent than the Putin worldview as exhibited so far in relation to Ukraine. When it comes to Iraq, the editorial writer for The Economist doesn’t ignore it, but air brushes the precedent by dismissing it as a momentary diversion, an ill-advised move “puffed up by the hubris of George Bush” in “’the unilateral world’” that followed upon the Soviet collapse, a venture that “choked in the dust of Iraq.” But is Iraq such a deviation from American approaches to the use of force ever since the Vietnam War? And don’t overlook the oppressive and bloody consequences of covert intervention in a host of countries, including Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), and Chile (1973)? And what about the unleashing of lethal drone warfare in such countries as Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia? In the end, then, we have to ask the question as to what kind of world order has the United States pursued over the course of recent decades, and is it the same one that The Economist seems to be promoting. In light of such a reconstruction can it be claimed that pre-Putin, the dominant states had displayed a consistent respect for international law. Also it should be mentioned that to date the Russian aggressive moves in relation to Crimea, and Ukraine, have been bloodless.

            Of course, international law is invoked as a matter of diplomatic convenience by every state whenever it seems to support its foreign policy. The United States is adept at mounting such arguments. The true test of national adherence to international law, however, is the behavior of a leading government when international law poses an obstacle to its preferred course of action. To insist that the adversary adhere, while claiming the discretion to act on the basis of national interests, is a hegemonic form of world order that accepts as a prime implicit norm, the inequality of states, and thus goes against the major premise of international law as presupposing the equality of states when it comes to applying codes of behavior. It is the leading state or states that sets the rules of the game in a statist structure, which either establishes a law-oriented world order or subverts it. The United States, and to a lesser extent Europe, have since 1945 wanted it both ways: freedom of action for themselves, rule of law for their adversaries. The Ukraine illustrates both sides of the argument, as well as its pitfalls.

            In the current setting, ‘American exceptionalism’ has been unashamed of mounting a patently hypocritical argument. Benjamin Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, explains that the banishment of Russia from economic summit events will last for “as long as Russia is flagrantly violating international law.” Until Russia is unwilling to reverse its policy on Ukraine it is, according to Mr. Rhodes, “outside the rules of the road.” [International New York Times, March 25, 2014] Russia is within the rules of the road so far as the geopolitical game is concerned, but if it were the case that international law sets the rules, then Russia is acting outside the rules, but so are those who now purport to act as enforcers. Nothing is more corrosive of respect for international law over time than a blatant reliance on double standards, which is the hallmark of geopolitics.

            What remains to be considered is the policy response to the Putin moves. Here the facts and complications make any firm set of conclusions an expression of dogma rather than a nuanced interpretation of context. In truth, there are no guidelines, or rules of the road, when external actors destabilize and silently intervene on one side, and the other side reacts more overtly. The people are caught in between. As an African proverb points out: “When two elephants fight the grass is destroyed.”

            I believe that the sort of posturing that has been generated by the Ukraine crisis works against responding to the question put byThe EconomistWhat kind of world order have we had, and what kind do we want and need? I think a more humane future can be ensured by adopting an international law approach to peace and justice, but only if it is done consistently and reciprocally. As matters now stand, the foreign policy of major states continues to be principally dictated by perceptions of vital national interests, and not by the obligation to obey the rules of the road as set by international law, and administered by the United Nations. The geopolitical logic at play is not only hypocritical, but tends toward producing an escalating conflict spiral. In the current setting we hear loose talk about organizing for a second cold war, with all the embedded dangers, including the potential horror that nuclear weapons might be threatened and used. It seems strange that our most heralded realist gurus do not dare speak about nuclear disarmament as a process that could greatly contribute to the avoidance of a catastrophic future, and erect a firm safety barrier for the containment of future wars.

All things considered, rather than view the recent events involving the Ukraine as a sign of ‘the new world order’ it would be more appropriate toview them as depressing evidence of the persistence of ‘the old world order.’ And it is this that we should regret. It is not only provocative behavior in violation of basic rules of international order, but it is a system that encourages violence and predatory behavior, lacking a moral, spiritual, and vital institutional center.

Posted in PoliticsComments Off on THE NEW WORLD ORDER?

SECRET SURVEILLANCE

NOVANEWS

Imagine a world in which you are being spied on 24/7 by an all-seeing Eye. And be aware that Big Brother is watching you, not only from the US and Britain but also from I$raHell.

NSA-eye.jpg  -  1

Mass surveillance is the new norm. Big Brother is watching you and listening to you always. With the help of microscopic cameras and wireless concealable microphones and precise location tracking devices, he is keeping his tabs on you twenty-four hours a day.

He is randomly searching you on trains. He is groping you at airports.  He is flagging you down in remote country locations and ordering you to open the trunk of your car so that he can inspect it for drugs, stolen children, and human heads in plastic bags. If you’re a woman, he can taser you and rape you and then put you in handcuffs for resisting arrest.

Orwell never imagined it could be quite so bad.

According to whistleblower Edward Snowden, we now have “the largest program of suspicionless surveillance in human history”.

NSA official William Binney, who resigned from the agency in protest over its systematic violation of privacy laws, has revealed that the US government has “assembled on the order of 20 trillion transactions about US citizens. The data that’s being assembled is about everybody. From that data, they can target anyone they want.”

Guardian correspondent Glenn Greenwald confirms this. “No human communication can be allowed to take place without the scrutinizing eye of the US government,” he tells us. “This is the animating principle of the US Surveillance State. Mass surveillance is the hallmark of a tyrannical political culture.”

Another famous whistleblower, Thomas Drake, is equally candid. “There is no constraint,” he points out grimly. “The United States is now a surveillance state. “This is the new normal.”

No digital or electronic communication you make is secure. Many of your secrets are already known to someone. Your private life is subject to the minutest and most persistent scrutiny. You may be interested to know that Snowden is so paranoid about his privacy that wherever he is—in airports, hotels, libraries—“he puts a large red hood over his head and laptop when entering his passwords to prevent any hidden cameras from detecting them.”

All your emails—past, present and future—are there for someone to read. Every day the NSA records trillions of emails and phone calls. Your calls are not only being recorded but sophisticated voice recognition devices enable some geek in a cubicle to pluck your voice out of a million other similar-sounding voices. Your online chats, your calls over Google Voice, Skype, and other voice-over-internet systems, are all on record. Every website you visit, someone knows you’ve been there and how long you’ve lingered on each item.

Did you know that the Internet giants who said to you, “Trust us, we will never betray your secrets to anyone!” have deceived you and let you down? Did you know that Google has betrayed you to Big Brother? That Microsoft has betrayed you, that Facebook and Apple have betrayed you, that AT&T and Verizon have betrayed you?

You probably heard the shocking news recently that Broadband and telecommunications giant Verizon is now offering its customers hard-core porn titles with child and incest themes. (See Verizon Defends Pimping Child Porn).

Lurid titles include “I Banged My Stepdad,” “Mom, Daughter and Me,” and “Pigtail Teens Pounded”.

Verizon’s Associate Director for Advertising, John P. Artney, defended his company’s decision to promote incest and child porn. “Consumers today have extraordinary choice,” he enthused.  “The explosion in choice is a tremendous benefit to consumers.”

This is bad enough, but it gets worse.

Did you know that Israeli security and surveillance company, Verint Systems, has for years had back-door access to all the traffic passing through Verizon? This means that anyone who uses Verizon to access incest and child porn has all his porn-viewing history automatically transmitted to Israel.

Not only do the spooks in Utah (NSA) and the spooks in Cheltenham, England (GCHQ), have their tabs on internet users at all times.

Big Brother is also watching you from Tel Aviv.

How is most of our personal data gathered?  Well, it passes under the oceans through fiber-optic cables which Big Brother has learned to tap. The tiny filaments inside the cables utilize pulsating flashes of light to transmit up to 100 billion bits of data per second.

If Big Bother is based in America, Big Sister hangs out in the UK. The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is located in Cheltenham, England. It is now commonly acknowledged that Britain is the world’s intelligence superpower. This is partly due to Britain’s advantageous  Atlantic location between the US and Europe.

“The UK has a huge dog in this fight,” Snowden told the Guardian recently. “They [GCHQ] are worse than the US.” By ‘worse’ he means better at invading the privacy of people, without any moral qualms or legal constraints.

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We learned recently that GCHQ (pictured) was tapping into 600 million telephone calls each day. A huge number of these, being transatlantic calls, are naturally of intense interest to the Americans. These calls are accessed by tapping into more than 200 fiber-optic cables that snake their way across the Atlantic like slimy, seaweed clad serpents. Each of the cables carries data at a rate of 10 gigabits per second. This works out to roughly 21 petabytes a day – “equivalent to sending all the information in all the books in the British Library 192 times every 24 hours.”

According to this writer’s calculations, if a reader set out to read all the books in the British Library at the rate of one book a day—that means getting through 13,950,000 books—it would take him roughly 6.5 million years to complete his task.

Hoovering up all the secrets of the world every day is clearly an impossible task, even if the entire population of the world were engaged in full-time snooping.

Out of the vast “haystack” of data, it is necessary only to find the “needles”. The government keeps telling us they are not interested in the minnows, only the sharks and killer fish, i.e., the terrorists.

I don’t think we should believe them, since they lie to us on principle.

Understand this: everyone, no matter how insignificant, is of potential interest to Big Brother, for anyone who has a guilty secret can be blackmailed.

Listen to Orwell who knew all about these shady characters:

“The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred.”

“The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred.”

“The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred.

The object of persecution is persecution.The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.

Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.” (Here)

Yes, that’s the New World Order for you: hatred, persecution, torture, power for power’s sake. This is what Big Brother wants. He wants power. Omnipotence. One of the prerequisites of omnipotence is omniscience.

And this is why Big Brother wants to know everything about you.

The powers that be say they’re only interested in catching the big fish, i.e., the “terrorists” who are ceaselessly plotting new 9/11s. They are not interested in you and me: in our private lives, our sordid little affairs, our telephone flirtations, our Skype romances or amorous emails. Things like that don’t interest them. False! The Petraeus affair proves the contrary.

We offer the Petraeus affair as proof that terrorism is not the only thing that interests these people.

They tell you that you have nothing to fear. Not if you’re a law-abiding citizen. Did they tell that to General Petraeus, a law-abiding citizen and pillar of the community?

General Petraeus and his mistress, Paula Broadwell

General Petraeus and his mistress, Paula Broadwell

Remember this: Petraeus was careful. Mega careful not to be caught doing anything he shouldn’t.  All he was guilty of was a little extramarital flutter.

He didn’t even send his mistress, Paula Broadwell, any emails. He kept them hidden in his drafts folder, hundreds of them, so that pretty Paula, his official biographer, could access them there through a password.

The general thought he was being clever, playing the old draft folder trick”, letting Paula read his unsent emails and then deleting them later.

In spite of all these precautionary measures to maintain his privacy, the spooks hacked into his computer and sniffed out his secret love life, forcing him to resign.

General Petraeus was not engaged in terrorism. He was not planning a military coup or an attack on the White House. He was not thinking of bombing Dimona or the Israeli Knesset. All he was doing was sending billets-doux to his mistress Paula Broadwell, saying silly things like “I love you.” And for this he was ruined and forced to resign.

Petraeus had been critical of Israel. And so the people on Israel’s payroll went into attack mode. Many Zionist Jews were delighted at his downfall.

Foremost among General Petraeus’s enemies, his chief nemesis, was US Representative Eric Cantor, highest-ranking Jewish member of Congress in its history, and, incidentally, a cosponsor of legislation to cut off all US taxpayer aid to the Palestinians.

Image: U.S. House Majority Leader Cantor takes part in a panel discussion titled "The Awesome Responsibility of Leadership" at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California

It was into the hands of this arch-Zionist,Eric Cantor (pictured), that General Petraeus’ private emails fell. Allegedly, they had been passed on to him by a whistleblower at the FBI.

This story is unconvincing and has never been proved.

Cantor, who is a personal friend of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, probably got his information straight from the horse’s mouth – in Israel.

Given that President Obama himself knew nothing about Petraeus’s emails, how can one explain the uncanny coincidence of the private correspondence  of a high-ranking American general, seen as hostile to Israel, falling into the hands of America’s most preeminent Israel Firster?

It cannot be easily explained.

Was the fall of Petraeus a Jewish plot? What else could it have been? The entire Petraeus affair is a cautionary tale whose moral is: Don’t cross Big Jewry.

The Petraeus affair demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that even our sex lives are of interest to Big Brother – especially to Big Brother in Israel.

The idea that we are all being spied on in a responsible way, and that we have nothing to fear unless we are terrorists, will not bear scrutiny. The famous Latin tag Quis custodes custodiet? — Who will watch the watchers? — says it all. We are referring here to Israeli infiltration.

The fact that everything known to the NSA (US) and GCHQ (UK) is also known to Israeli intelligence, through Israeli internet giants like Verint and Narus, is a cause for extreme concern.

Apart from Jonathan Pollard, a long list of American Jews have spied for Israel. Surprisingly, none of these Jews have been prosecuted and punished. Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Steven Bryen, Douglas Feith, Michael Ledeen, Steven Rosen, Keith Weissman, Jane Harman—the list goes on—have never been brought to justice.

They cannot be indicted, no matter what crimes they commit, because they appear to be beyond the law. The law applies only to ordinary citizens — to you and me. The ruling elite, now disproportionately Jewish, remains untouchable.

James Petras puts it like this:

Because of the power and influence of the Presidents of the 52 Major American Jewish organizations, Justice Department officials have ORDERED DOZENS OF ISRAELI ESPIONAGE CASES TO BE DROPPED.

Israel is a key overseas ally of the National Security Agency, as has been documented in the Israeli press (Haaretz, June 8, 2013). Two Israeli high tech firms, Verint and Narus, WITH TIES TO THE ISRAELI SECRET POLICE (Mossad), have provided the spy software for the NSA.

And this, of course, has opened a window for Israeli spying in the US against Americans opposed to the Zionist state.

(See here, emphasis added)

So here we have two Israeli companies, Verint and Narus, with unlimited access to the private data of the entire population of America. Verint taps the communication lines at Verizon. Narus does the same at AT&T. And both companies, we learn, “have extensive ties to Israel, a country with a long and aggressive history of spying on the US.”

It doesn’t take a genius to connect the dots.

FUGITIVE FROM JUSTICE

Then there is Jacob “Kobi” Alexander (pictured), a former Israeli intelligence officer who founded Verint Systems, the Israeli company that monitors all the telephone calls at Verizon. He is now a fugitive from justice.

Former head of Comverse, parent company of Verint, Kobi Alexander is now a wanted man who fled US justice to Africa and is reportedly now hiding out in Israel.

“It is important to note,” Christopher Bollyn writes, “that Kobi Alexander and Comverse were closely connected to Odigo, the Israeli messaging service that was used to warn Israelis to stay away from the World Trade Center on 9-11.”

Wanted by the FBI on three dozen charges of fraud, theft, lying, bribery, money laundering and other crimes, Kobi Alexander’s exact whereabouts are now unknown.

It comes as no surprise to learn that two of Tobi Alexander’s top associates at Comverse, Chief Financial Officer David Kreinberg and former General Counsel William F. Sorin, were charged with similar crimes. Both pleaded guilty and are now behind bars. Like Tobi Alexander, both are Israeli citizens.

These are the criminal types who have access to the private details of millions of people not only in America but all over the world. It’s frightening. You might as well hand over the keys of your national security to the Jewish mafia.

POLICE STATE AMERICA

“National security is a euphemism for Jewish rule.” – JB Campbell

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, UKComments Off on SECRET SURVEILLANCE

Al-Qaeda turned world conscience to ashes

NOVANEWS
Photo:   The Massacre of Muslims in Burma continues, with over 1000 killed in cold blood yesterday, without any media interest! Please share to awaken the conscience of Humanity!
 ' D % ( ' / )  ' D , E ' 9 J )  D E 3 D E J  ( H 1 E '  9 D I  # J / J  ' D ( H 0 J J F  E * H ' 5 D )    E , 2 1 )  ' D # E 3  0 G (  6 - J * G '  a     E 3 D E  A J  8 D  * 9 * J E  % 9 D ' E J  C ' E D ..  ' F 4 1 H '  G 0 '  ' D . ( 1 !  # J B 8 H '  ' D 6 E ' & 1  ' D F ' & E ) !
The conscience of the world is dead. Dead can’t be awakened. The Crusaders killed it when they invaded the Arab World in the name of Christianity. It was killed again by the Inquisitors in Spain when crusaders forced Muslims, who brought… civilization and enlightenment to Europe, to convert to Christianity or flee the land. The most ruthless killing of conscience reached it max when they emptied Africa from its youth and brought them to the “New World” as slaves in the name of Jesus. More than 100 million Blacks vanished in the process. One hundred million natives in North America and 50 million natives in South America were wiped out.
During my lifetime, the conscience was crushed in Palestine, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Tunisia and other parts of the world. Now, as we speak, Salafi/Wahhabi/Al-Qaeda “Muslim” terrorists, directed, financed, armed and supported by the West and Arab and Muslim stooges, have set the conscience on fire and nothing remains from the dead conscience except the ashes. These crimes are executed in the name of Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.
The Massacre of Muslims in Burma continues, with over 1000 killed in cold blood yesterday, without any media interest! Please share to awaken the conscience of Humanity!
الإبادة الجماعية لمسلمي بورما على أيدي البوذيين متواصلة ، مجزرة الأمس ذهب ضحيتها ١٠٠٠ مسلم في ظل تعتيم إعلامي كامل .. انشروا هذا الخبر ! أيقظوا الضمائر النائمة ! — 

 

Posted in Middle East1 Comment

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