Archive | October 29th, 2014

Resistance is our duty, too

NOVANEWS

This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

There, Gideon Levy has said it – Palestinians have the right to resist. In fact, it’s their duty.

His beginning is strong:

Imagine you’re the Palestinians. Perhaps residents of East Jerusalem. Forty-seven difficult years are behind you; a big, depressing darkness lies ahead. The Israeli tyranny that dooms your fate declares arrogantly that everything will stay like this forever. Your city will remain under occupation “for ever and ever.” The defense minister, second in importance in the government that subjugates you, says a Palestinian state will never be established.

Imagine you’re Palestinian and your children are in danger. Two days ago, the occupation forces killed another child because “he lit a firebomb.” The words “Death to Arabs” were sprayed near your home. Everywhere you turn, a soldier or Border Police officer may shout at you. Every night, your home may be invaded brutally. You will never be treated like human beings. They’ll destroy, humiliate, intimidate, perhaps even arrest you, possibly without trial.

There are close to 500 administrative detainees, a record number in recent years. If one of your dear ones is arrested, you will have difficulty visiting him. If you succeed, you’ll get half an hour’s conversation through a glass window. If your dear one is an administrative detainee, you will never know when he’ll be released. But these are trivia you grew accustomed to long ago.

Maybe you’ve also grown accustomed to the land theft. At every moment a settler can invade your land, burn your plantation or torch your fields. He will not be brought to trial for this; the soldiers who are supposed to protect you will stand idly by. At any moment, a demolition order or random eviction order may appear. There’s nothing you can do.

Imagine you’re the Palestinians. You can’t leave Gaza and it’s not easy to leave the West Bank, either. The beach, less than an hour’s drive from your West Bank home, is beyond the mountains of darkness. An Israeli can go to Tierra del Fuego, between Argentina and Chile, much more easily than you can go to the beach at Ajami.

There are no dreams, no wishes. Your children have a slim chance of accomplishing anything in life, even if they go to university. All they can look forward to is a life of humiliation and unemployment.

What is a Palestinian to do in such a situation?

There are two possibilities. The first is to accept, give in, give up. The second is to resist. Whom have we respected more in history? Those who passed their days under the occupation and collaborated with it, or those who struggled for their freedom?

Imagine you’re a Palestinian. You have every right to resist. In fact, it’s your civil duty. No argument there. The occupied people’s right to resist occupation is secured in natural justice, in the morals of history and in international law.

The only restrictions are on the means of resistance. The Palestinians have tried almost all of them, for better and worse – negotiations and terror; with a carrot and with a stick; with a stone and with bombs; in demonstrations and in suicide. All in vain. Are they to despair and give up? This has almost never happened in history, so they’ll continue. Sometimes they’ll use legitimate means, sometimes vile ones. It’s their right to resist.

Within the Israeli political spectrum, Levy’s writing is incendiary. Calling for Palestinian resistance is a clarion call to resist his own government. To resist Israeli soldiers. Settlers.

Treason?

The means are open. Levy doesn’t shut down armed resistance – specifically. But that and other forms of Palestinian resistance have failed. So the means are open. They’re also exhausted and failing.

Resistance without hope of success is operating on diminishing principle. When resistance principles are exhausted, the suffering have to look for other avenues.

Levy doesn’t broach the obvious next question perhaps because he doesn’t believe it’s possible – an uprising within Israel by Jews – to resist their own government.

In concert, perhaps, with an uprising within American Jewish life against the Jewish establishment, AIPAC and the Israeli-oriented edifice, including Jewish Studies academics, university Hillels and Holocaust memorial museums that span the United States?

As Levy points out, Palestinians are resisting. In fact, there are increasing numbers of Jews in Israel and the United States who are resisting. Such resistance has been building over the years. Israel’s invasion of Gaza has stoked resistance anew.

But, all of this is failing too. It isn’t about Palestinians and some Jews working together to resist the occupation – that has been happening at least since the first Palestinian uprising. It’s about being effective with all the forces aligned against this joint resistance.

BDS points in the right direction but we need a combination – and a historical opening. That opening remains elusive.

Resistance is preparation for a historical opening that may or may not come soon. Meanwhile the suffering continues. Palestinians bear an inordinate brunt of what has become a joint resistance.

After Gaza – but there have been so many afters – the necessary reckoning hasn’t occurred. Which doesn’t mean it won’t occur – someday.

That day remains in the future. But for now, at least for Levy and for Jews in Israel and around the world, the issue of Jewish resistance remains.

For Jews, treason is the name of the game. It is our right. It is our duty.

– See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/10/resistance-duty-too#sthash.jefY8hUT.N48xnuL5.dpuf

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Fire strikes escalate: Firefighters in England call four days of strike action to protect pensions and public safety

NOVANEWS

Fire strikes escalate: Firefighters in England call four days of strike action to protect pensions and public safety

Firefighters in England today announced a significant escalation of strike action, with four days of strikes commencing on 31 October until 4 November.This follows a refusal from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to bring any new offer to the table over pensions, despite two months of talks.The strike will begin at 18:00 on 31 October until 18:00 on 4 November.

The union states that it has negotiated in good faith and has taken up every opportunity to make its case and to seek changes to the government’s pension plans, which the union says are expensive and unworkable.

Despite promising statements from Penny Mordaunt, the Westminster fire minister, it is now clear the government does not want to resolve this dispute and is spoiling for a fight.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Firefighters are incandescent following two months of negotiations which have led to no new proposals.

“Firefighters will not stand by and see our members’ pension rights destroyed by a government which does not give a damn about the safety or wellbeing of firefighters in the long term

“The public do not want 60 year olds tackling fires. Everyone understand the stupidity of these plans – except government Ministers.

“We remain committed to resolving this dispute in the interests of our members and the public at large.”

The FBU has opposed government attacks on firefighter pensions and the union has presented large quantities of professional evidence to demonstrate the proposals do not take account of the real operational demands or standards in a firefighter’s role.

Under government proposals firefighters will have to work until they are 60 instead of 55, pay more into their pensions and ultimately get less in retirement.

Due to the rigorous fitness requirements of the fire service, many firefighters are expected to be unable to work to 60 and therefore risk losing half of their pension.

The public will also be put at risk with every likelihood that increasing numbers of 60 year old firefighters will be attending the most serious of incidents.

The Westminster government now stands isolated as the ONLY government in the United Kingdom which has offered no new proposals, with Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales all putting forward new proposals for firefighters to consider.

Mr Wrack added: “The fact the Westminster government now stands alone in this dispute shows they are ignoring all the evidence and spoiling for a fight. They do not care less about firefighters or the fire and rescue service.”

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Powerful Lobbies v. Public Interest

NOVANEWS

Some American lobbies are so powerful that U.S. politicians cringe in fear, knowing that standing up for the broader national interest would be career-threatening, a reality most notable on issues of Israel and guns, as Lawrence Davidson explains.

By Lawrence Davidson

The problem of special interests or lobbies was one of the foremost concerns of the Founding Fathers of the United States. In their day these pressure groups were called factions.

James Madison, who is considered the architect of the U.S. Constitution, devoted the entire tenth Federalist Paper (1787) to the problem. He defined a faction as “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority … actuated by some common … interest, adverse to … the aggregate interests of the community,” and believed that within the context of liberal republicanism, they could never be eliminated.

Secretary of State John Kerry speaking to the AIPAC conference on March 3, 2014.

Secretary of State John Kerry speaking to the AIPAC conference on March 3, 2014.

However, Madison did feel they could be controlled. To this end he sought to create representative bodies with high numbers of delegates and a wide diversity of interests in the hope that they would counterbalance each other.

When George Washington delivered his famous Farewell Address in 1796, he too noted the problem. Washington warned of “combinations and associations” which attempt to “direct, control, counteract and awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities” and thereby substitute their own desires for the “delegated will of the nation.”

As Washington’s continued concern implied, James Madison’s approach to controlling special interests or factions never proved adequate.

Lobbification

Today, the problem is still with us and is worse than ever. That is why in April 2011 I coined the word “lobbification” to describe the corruptive process that bends politicians to the will of special interests – that is, to the will of lobbies. The vehicle that makes this process possible is, of course, money, usually in the form of campaign contributions to a politician.

If the politician defies the lobby making the offer (a rare event but not unheard of), that special interest will throw its support to the defiant politician’s electoral opponent. The result is that most politicians are in lockstep with the demands of multiple powerful special interests.

James Madison believed that this corruptive process is a consequence of human nature – self-interest in action. Perhaps that is so, but the results are no less debilitating. So Pavlovian are the responses created by lobbification that, today, politicians in this state of mind cannot tell the difference between the parochial interests of those powerful factions to which they are indebted and the actual national or local interests of their country or community.

Two Examples

Here are two recent examples of the power of lobbification. On July 18, acting in response to the urgings of the Zionist lobby, the U.S. Senate unanimously voted to support Israel’s ongoing attack on the Gaza Strip. This from a Congress known for its inability to agree on just about any legislation important to its own country!

The senators voted their support even though the Israeli action was of the same character as the German attacks on London during the Blitz and the Allied destruction of the German city of Dresden toward the end of World War II. In other words, the Israelis were engaged in a large-scale operation targeting a civilian population. That is a war crime and cannot be justified as an act of self-defense. Yet the U.S. Senate, to a person, publicly supported this criminal behavior.

It might be noted here that there were serious divisions of opinion about Israeli behavior among the American public – that is, the Senate’s constituency. But the senators seemed immune from the popular debate and responded as if they represented the Zionist lobby, not the American public.

On the domestic front, meaningful regulatory gun legislation, be it national or local, appears to be politically impossible because of the influence of the National Rifle Association (NRA). This is so despite a proliferation of gun-related deaths and injuries in our homes, on our streets, and in our schools.

The arguments of NRA supporters usually imply that regulation of firearms would be the death knell of hunting, of target shooting, and of gun collecting, and even the ability to act in self-defense. Yet rational and reasonable gun regulation is not the same as prohibition, and to act as if they are the same is, in my opinion, a paranoid point of view.

Then there is the Second Amendment argument that allows many supporters of the NRA to fantasize that they are enrolled in a “well regulated militia” without which the U.S. cannot remain a free society. Free from what? From the authoritarian potential of the state with its immensely better armed police and military branches? This is just naive. If the government wants to act in a dictatorial fashion, armed members of the NRA will not be able to stop it.

In truth, rational control of firearms does not threaten our freedom. It makes us freer by enhancing our safety from the growing plague of gun violence that NRA lobbying presently forces most of our politicians to ignore or deny.

Here it is important to note that the National Rifle Association leadership often fails to accurately represent its own membership, much less that of the general public. A 2013 Pew survey found that 74 percent of NRA members supported universal background checks for private gun sales (as did 94 percent of the general American public). Nonetheless, at the urging of the NRA the Senate voted against this requirement in the same year.

As with the Zionist lobby and public concern over its particularistic foreign policy, many senators are immune from the popular debate on gun control and respond as if they represent the NRA lobby and not the American public.

Need for Regulation

Madison was right in one regard: regulation of the power of factions/special interests/lobbies to influence politicians and policies is an absolute necessity. However, here we run up against a real Catch-22 dilemma. That regulatory legislation, and other related efforts such as campaign finance reform, must come from the same politicians who are financially bound to special interests.

Like those with a strong addiction, these politicians seem unable to free themselves from the monkey on their back.

If there is a way out of this dilemma it must come from the general public. The long-standing dissatisfaction with politicians, especially on the national level, must be channeled into a popular campaign to free the legislators and policy makers from the influence of narrow interests.

Think of this as an effort to clear away an historical obstacle to good governance. If this does not happen, the foreign policies that have promoted so much anti-American hostility worldwide, and the domestic policy that has allowed the indiscriminate murder of so many innocent citizens, will continue and indeed grow worse.

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Nazi occupation forces attack elderly man protecting Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa

NOVANEWS

Submitted by Ali Abunimah

This video shows Israeli occupation forces assaulting and arresting an elderly Palestinian man at the al-Aqsa mosque in eastern occupied Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday morning.

Quds News Network, which posted the video on its social media accounts, gave the man’s name as Abu Bakr al-Shaimi.

As armed occupation forces assault al-Shaimi, who attempts to evade their capture, a voice can be heard on the video warning that he has a heart ailment.

Local media reported that the incident occurred near the Bab al-Silsila gate of the al-Aqsa compound and that al-Shaimi was hauled off for questioning.

Harassment and arrests

Al-Shaimi is one of a number of Jerusalemites known as murabitoun who try to maintain a constant presence in the mosque as it faces escalating incursions from Israeli settlers and attacks with tear gas and stun grenades by the occupation forces guarding them.

On Wednesday, seven Palestinian women – the female plural noun is murabitat – were arrested by occupation forces as they exited the mosque, part of which was captured on video:

The women were released the next day after being fined 750 shekels ($200) each and banned from returning to the mosque for thirty days, Ma’an News Agency reported.

This kind of harassment is endemic with many worshippers being banned for extended periods, ordered under house arrest or interrogated. Another tactic used by the occupation is the taking of worshippers’ ID cards at the door as a preventative measure to make sure they do not camp overnight in advance of the settler incursion the next day.

Divide and conquer

A plethora of settler and Jewish extremist organizations yearn for the destruction of the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock that sits near it – among the most revered holy sites for Muslims all over the world – and their replacement with a Jewish “Third Temple.”

dome_of_the_rock.jpg

The Dome of the Rock is part of Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound, which is the target of ever more frequent incursions by Israeli settlers in violation of a long-preserved status quo.

But in the short term, many Palestinians believe, the settlers’ goal is to establish a permanent foothold by dividing the mosque into separate Jewish and Muslim areas, as was done with Hebron’s Ibrahimi mosque following Baruch Goldstein’s 1994 massacre of Palestinian worshippers.

This video, posted on Instagram, shows armed occupation forces guarding a group of settlers outside the al-Aqsa mosque on 22 October:

In 2013, settlers failed in their attempts to partition the al-Aqsa compound during the Jewish High Holidays. But this year the settlers succeeded on some days due to the severe repression used by Israeli forces.

Dangerous escalation

These incursions represent a gross violation of the status quo which Israel agreed to maintain after it invaded and occupied Jerusalem in 1967.

At that time, Israel’s chief rabbis prohibited Jews from praying anywhere in the compound, which Jews call “Temple Mount,” on the theological grounds that they could inadvertently defile the “Holy of Holies” – the inner sanctuary of what Jewish belief holds was a temple that formerly existed on the site, the precise location of which is not known.

In recent years, however, extremist rabbis and settlers have undermined this ruling, seeking ever more aggressively to establish a physical presence in area.

Many of these extreme “Temple” activist groups have close ties to and receive funding from the Israeli government, according to a 2013 report from the Israeli nongovernmental organization Ir Amim.

171014_mua_00_3.jpg

Palestinians pray in the street as Israeli occupation forces bar their way to Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque, 17 October.

The settlers now go up to the mosque daily in ever increasing numbers. At times occupation forces close parts of the compound to Muslims, as during recent Jewish holidays, or violently force Palestinian worshippers out using tear gas and stun grenades, thereby initiating and provoking violence.

During a 13 October incursion, occupation forces barricaded worshippers into a section of the mosque and rained down tear gas and stun grenades on them while the settlers went about their business.

These videos posted on Instagram capture moments of the 13 October assault:

International neglect

It was a similar incursion in September 2000 by then Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon that is widely regarded as the spark that set off the second Palestinian uprising, or intifada.

With tensions mounting all over occupied Jerusalem due to relentless Israeli home demolitions, colonization, arrests and killings of Palestinians, the Israeli provocations at al-Aqsa have the potential to lead to much worse violence.

Yet the situation has been virtually ignored internationally. Palestinian Authority de factoleader Mahmoud Abbas recently stated that he would be “taking the necessary legal measures, at the international level, regarding the aggression of settlers on the al-Aqsa mosque.”

Abbas did not elaborate on what these measures would be, nor how they would be any more successful than all his previous failed efforts to halt Israel’s colonization while simultaneously helping Israel to crush any form of Palestinian resistance.

Notably, one of the leaders of the increasingly bold assault on the mosque is Moshe Feiglin, the deputy speaker of the Israeli parliament who recently called for Israel to put Palestinians in Gaza in “concentration camps” and to “exterminate” them.

In the video above, Feiglin can be seen touring the al-Aqsa compound last February. He states that under the stones he is walking on are the remains of the Jewish “First” and “Second” temples.

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The Power of Fantasy: Bioterrorism, ISIS and Ebola Mania

NOVANEWS

Global Research

Does demagoguery have an inventive side? Only if you assume semi-literacy is virtuous, and that imagination lies in the name of the manipulative. The combination of both Ebola and terrorism are the evil twins of the same security dilemma. It is manufactured. It is a confection. And it is, at the end, worthless in what it actually suggests. The effects of it are, however, dangerous. They suggest that politicians can be skimpy with the evidence yet credible in the vote.

Historically, disease and culture share the same bed of significance. Notions of purity prevail in these considerations. Bioterrorism has become, rather appropriately, another mutation in the debate on how foreign fighters arriving in a country might behave. Individuals such as Jim Carafano, vice president of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at the Heritage Foundation, continue insisting on the need for presidential administrations to form a “national bioterrorism watch system”.

“While [Ebola] is a dangerous disease that Washington needs to take seriously,” writes David Inserra ofThe Daily Signal, “America could face an even greater medical threat in the future: the threat of bioterrorism.”[1] While the language here seems to draw distinctions – that those suffering Ebola pose one set of problems, while the use of a bioterrorist agent is another – the ease of placing the two side by side is virtually irresistible.

In the wake of the Ebola outbreak, that old horse of potential bioterrorism has emerged with a convenient vengeance. This is not surprising, given the spectre of WMD fantasies that captivated the Bush administration in 2003. It is not sufficient that there are terrorists with a low probability of waging actual attacks on home soil, be they returning citizens, or simply foreign fighters wishing to stir up a good deal of fuss. Throwing in the disease component is hard to resist.

Rep. Mike Jelly of Pennsylvania decided to direct the bioterror genie the way of Islamic State fighters, suggesting that returning jihadists might cause Washington a good deal of headaches, not merely by their radicalisation, but by carrying the virus as a strategic weapon of infliction. “Think about the job they could do, the harm they could inflict on the American people by bringing this deadly disease into our cities, into schools, into our towns, and into our homes. Horrible, horrible.”[2]

This exotic lunacy was also appealing to Republican Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, who even suggested that Hamas fighters might be daft enough to infect themselves with Ebola and make a journey to freedom land in order to engage in acts of infectious mayhem. Their venue of safe passage would be from the South, where the evils of an open border with Mexico risk allowing a dangerous pathogen into the country. Now that, dear readers, is exactly what such figures think about Mexico.

The moral calculus operating with Wilson is that of irrational, dangerous death – those who “value death more than you value life”. Those with such a creed are bound to get up to any old and lethal mischief. “It would promote their creed. And all of this could be avoided by sealing the border, thoroughly. C’mon, this is the 21st century.”[3]

As to whether the idea of using such an agent would be feasible is quite something else. Weaponising such a pathogen has proven to be a formidable challenge. Such groups as the Aum Shinrikyo cult attempted to collect the virus while ostensibly on a medical mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was a failure of some magnitude. As Dina Fine Maron argues, the “financial and logistical challenges of transforming Ebola into a tool of bioterror makes the concern seem overblown – at least as far as widespread devastation is concerned.”[4] Even the FBI’s James Corney suggests that evidence of Islamic State’s involvement in an Ebola program is highly dubious.

This tends to get away from that old problem that the biggest of trouble makers in the business of death remain states rather than non-state ideologues. States have done more than their fair share of dabbling in the business of rearing microbes of death in the armoury. Be it small pox, botulism, and tularaemia, these have found their way into inventories and laboratories with disturbing normality.

Much of this has also been allowed to get away because of the Obama administration’s open confusion on the subject of how to handle the Ebola problem. The excitement has become feverish (dare one say pathological?) in the US, suggesting the double bind that the Obama administration finds itself. The President did not do himself any favours by on the one hand denying there was a grave threat, and then proceeding to appoint an “Ebola Czar” by the name of Ron Klain. This was classic bureaucracy in action – we create positions of unimportance to supposedly fight the unimportant, while admitting their gravity in creating such positions.

Certainly, the President found himself railroaded by events with the unilateral decisions of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) to implement mandatory 21-day quarantines for those returning from Ebola “hot zones”. This has always been the federal, and one might even say federalist headache: what is done in the White House and Washington often stays there. The response by states can often have a foreign sense to them. The US Centres for Disease and Control and Prevention has regarded such quarantine measures as unnecessary, but the CDC’s attempt to defuse the situation has not worked.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest had to face the music of disease on Monday, with a reporter suggesting that, if Klain was actually an “Ebola response coordinator”, it seemed “that you have a need for some coordinating here.”[5]

William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University, a long time student of infectious diseases, sees this as a matter of information, in so far as the more one gets, the less anxious one is bound to feel. “I would like not to call it irrational. When people are just learning about something, something that they regard as a threat, and they haven’t integrated all of this information still into their thought process, their sense of anxiety obviously increases.”[6]

Schaffner is unduly wedded to the rather unfashionable belief that knowledge somehow enlightens. But it is not knowledge that is driving this debate, but supposition. Facts are the enemy, and they continue to play the roles of silent, some might even say murdered witnesses.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]

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Canada: Decoding Harper’s Terror Game. Beneath the Masks and Diversions

NOVANEWS

Global Research

Stephen Harper is the most deeply reviled Prime Minister in Canada’s history. On the world stage, he is the servant of Big Oil boiling oil out of tar-sands to destroy major river systems and pollute the planet with dirty oil, while his attack dog John Baird leads the warmongering and bullying of nations like Iran and Syria targeted by the US-Israeli axis.

He is the most despotic and toxic first minister in the life of our country. His administration defunds every social program and life protective system it can. It strips the country of its public information infrastructures at every level – including now the gagging of non-profit NGO’s by eliminating their charitable status if they question any policy of his regime.

Just as his friend George Bush Jr., Harper holds government by big-money backing, continual lies, attack ads, and life-blind policies to enrich the already rich. Canada’s neo-con political class may have its head on backwards, but Harper is very cunning in skirting, subverting and perverting the law to abuse power at every level. He is the poster boy of the global corporate agenda of wrecking society and its common life support systems.

Harper also owes his political life to the RCMP. After a after non-confidence vote triggered the 2006 election, RCMP commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli instructed his staff to include former Liberal finance minister Ralph Goodale’s name in a news release announcing a criminal investigation. This reversed the stench of the Harper regime’s continuous scandals and corruption onto the Liberals by a false RCMP smear. As a former top insider of the Tory party advised me, “the RCMP won the election for Harper”. The re-elected Harper regime then surrounded the RCMP with blocks to silence all facts – the signature operation – so the truly deepest scandal of the era proceeded with impunity to the present day. So it is not surprising that CSIS, the RCMP and Harper are collaborating to get more secret powers for the police and spooks in return for serving Harper’s underlying agenda.

How “Acts of Terrorism” Fit the Known M.O.

Harper certainly needs an accepted domestic enemy to save him from the rising revulsion of the thinking public against his rule. His regime’s record of destroying the life substance of Canada piece by piece cannot be denied. One already knew what was coming when Harper immediately called the crazed run-over of soldiers in Quebec on October 20 “a terrorist act” about which he was “deeply worried”. In fact, it was the act of a criminally insane loner run amok in a small Quebec town without any evident objective as required under the law’s definition of terrorism. But with the foreknowledge of his addled Islam by the RCMP and CSIS, he seems to have been an ideal patsy for Harper’s home “terrorism” claim. He had already been arrested and his passport cancelled in June. We can imagine how an effective undercover agent might have whipped him into a Jihad frenzy knowing he would soon be full of holes and unable to report what happened.

One can more clearly see such a scenario in the case of the clinically insane, drug-addicted petty criminal living in a homeless shelter in Ottawa who had warned a judge in front of the police back in 2011:”‘If you can’t keep me in, I’m going to do something”. Who could have been a better tool for the events to come? On October 22 after the first “As a “radicalized terrorist” attack, a double-barrelled shotgun impossible to hide that no-one saw before ended up in the hands of Micheal Zebaf-Bibeau. The rest is history. He went on a killing spree with no known blood testing afterwards for the drugs he was evidently driven by in the video record of his frenzied and super-charged behaviour, just as there was no known test of the body of crazed drive-over killer, Martin Couture-Rouleau. How extraordinary. How unspoken in the lavish profusion of other details and official false connection to ISIS.

“Terrorist” stops the mind, and “jihadist” locks it in. Harper’s first invocation of the mind-stopper was, as always, strategic. Although blood tests for a substance-abuse driving offense are automatic, none was reported although the videos show every sign of chemical possession. Bibeau too went crazy and was dead with countless bullets through him before any questions could be asked. All such strange coincidences are part of the now familiar covert-state MO.

Joining the Dots

Since Harper publicly claimed an “act of terrorism” two days before the sensational Ottawa murder and crashing of Parliament and as soon as the Quebec killing occurred, questions arise. The normally zipper-lip Harper did so long before any forensic facts were in, and before the idea even occurred to anyone else. Why? Revealingly the federal security state had been running war games exercises depicting just such attacks weeks before the crazed murders (Canadian Authorities Ran War Game Drills Depicting ISIS Attack Scenarios Brandon Martinez, Global Research, October 24, 2014). Lone-wolf nut cases, killings out of nowhere, unknown motivators and arming, and the state leader most profiting from mutation of the demented murders into “terrorist acts” before anyone else – – who joins the dots? It is taboo to think through such situations, and this too is known beforehand. Sure enough within the day, the RCMP and CSIS get the new extraordinary powers they sought, and for the first time in office the robotic Harper is behaving with a warmth not even extended to his young son with whom he shakes hands in farewell. He is hugging opposition leaders in Parliament to show a new human side to complete the image makeover in motion.

Harper is happy because he thinks his next election is saved. But the first forensic question in acts of murderous crimes is again never asked. The hypnotic trance of “terrorism” in sedate Ottawa holds the narrative unchallenged. Cui bono? Who benefits from these unbelievable closed-case murders in two days which have the media headlining “terrorism” and “anti-terrorist legislation” everywhere Canadians look, and Harper now as the strong hand in charge. The top banner headline of the weekend Globescreamed “How far should we go?”

Home-Grown Terror for Harper’s Re-Election

The first function of the terrorist claim is the standard one – diversion from the ailing economy and the majority’s growing revulsion of the leader and his party. Harper has made enemies of every thinking Canadian in the country by his stripping of the country’s public life and knowledge bases, and reversing the country’s global reputation as an agent of peace, social conscience and reverence for nature. Diversion to a constructed Enemy is the oldest strategy in the book of despised heads of state, and Harper is in unprecedented need for distraction to another target to uplift him at the same time. Bush Jr. ran on this formula for eight years.

If the stratagem is not seen through, the second big boost to Harper will be to justify the despotic rule and quasi-police state he has built with ever more prisons amidst declining crime, ever more ant-terrorist rhetoric and legislation, ever more cuts to life support systems and protections (the very ones which would have prevented these murderous rampages), and ever more war-mongering and war-criminal behaviours abroad. The evil regime of despotic control and life oppression he has instituted surpasses any ill rule in the nation’s history. As the US prototype of the life-blind right wing has taught him, the greatest justification of one’s rule is knee-jerk hatred of a safe Enemy. But in Canada, that does not work over time. So the domestic “acts of terrorism” in Quebec and Ottawa itself provide the needed Enemy withinCanada to justify anything with ever new pomp, mandatory agreement of others, and ruling power at centre stage.

Diagnosing the Drive to Total Control

The rest follows. The “New Terrorist Laws” in execution were already the feature news headline on Oct 25, allowing for any new surveillance and control of citizens. Keep in mind our already-installed totalitarian airport regime that deprives people of water and hygiene products, dehumanizes all, and undresses millions with no questions allowed any step of the way. It is a synecdoche of the larger total rule advancing with the Harper gang in charge further than ever before. “Nothing can be the same again” cheer the corporate media in choral support.

More favours to the Harper regime from the RCMP and CSIS may be in store – for example, false allegations and naming of even the most honest opponents like Ralph Goodale who spent “the worst year of my life” recovering from the RCMP smear that kept Harper in power. It is a bit like the War Measures Act – new capacity to lock down any city at any time with armed-force control pervading the streets and police-army powers in the glory of mass-controlling armed command and kill license. It has already happened in Ottawa with a lone crazy, and the lock-down was infinitely more heavy-handed than in 1970 Montreal which I observed first hand. Keep in mind the trumped-up cause for it – one likely-drugged and managed murderous homeless mental case dead before any questions could be asked.

Observe too how the language changes to fit the agenda of total control. The keys are “terrorists” for lone individuals driven crazy with no more social supports for them, and “radicalization” with no modifier as the ultimate problem of thought behind the terror. What deprived group or oppositional rethinking cannot be so labelled? These psych-ops are already in full motion now. They have been minted into ruling group-mind by the mocked-up “terrorists attacks” at home, and Harper rule can only go further by such trances of normalized stupefaction now reinforced with Canadian blood.

Behind all the public psych-ops is the operation of reverse projection long perfected by the US war-machine. Blame the opposition for what you are doing as the reason for attacking them. At the Canada level, the reverse projections define the Harper regime. He is punitively and vindictively despotic, rigidly and vengefully doctrinaire, intolerant of deviation, shames and slanders at will, and overrides every democratic constraint to his insatiable drive to total control. Narrow and life-blind absolutism, indifference to others’ suffering, and certitude of virtue while destroying people and common life support systems complete the unseen rule of terror at work. A coterie of mediocre and corrupt subordinates surround and serve him to allow no shard of light in on the ruling mission of society destruction.

With most people not yet suspecting it, Harper rule is an Americanada mirror image of the jihad-fascism he uses to multiply his and his corporate allies’ rights and powers. Behind him lies the transnational money-sequence cancer he embodies in every policy line.

Posted in CanadaComments Off on Canada: Decoding Harper’s Terror Game. Beneath the Masks and Diversions

ROUTINE

NOVANEWS

Dr: Teresinka Pereira

 

Morning comes

with the Autumn’s cold.

I grab a sweater.

In the agenda,

the everyday routine.

At the coffee-break

I see the reality of

new wrinkles

on my hands!

However the routine

makes sure for us

that life goes on…

Posted in LiteratureComments Off on ROUTINE

Pakistan: Under the Cover of Democracy?

NOVANEWS

By Sajjad Shaukat

With the passage of more than 70 days, the prevailing political turmoil in Pakistan has deepened,

as protesting groups of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led by Imran Khan and Pakistan

Awami Tehreek (PAT) by Dr. Tahirul Qadri have continued AZADI (Freedom) and INQILAB

(Revolution) marches, observing sit-ins at capital city of Islamabad. Although Tahirul Qadri

has ended his sit-in at Islamabad, yet he has decided to observe two-day sit-ins in various cities

of the country. Besides, both PAT and PTI have been conducting larger processions in various

cities. Thus, demonstrations and protests have been prolonged and extended, because, the

government of PML (N) led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could not grab the initiative to

settle the issue through result-oriented dialogue.

Now, the political uncertainty in the country presents an ugly scenario in which twin protesting

parties have maintained a firm stance rigidly demanding resignation of the prime minister, audit

of the rigged elections, reformation of Election Commission etc. Both Imran Khan and Tahirul

Qadri are not against the democracy, but are against the corrupt system of democracy, being

practised in Pakistan. They have said in their various speeches that and PPP and PML (N) are

taking their turn, and under the cover of democracy, their leaders have been doing business

through tax-evasion and corruption.

No doubt, favorite system of governance in the Western countries is democracy. By using

their legitimate right of vote, people participate in political process, and elect their own

representatives to govern them. Thus, they give mandate by authorizing the elected members

to hold public offices and make legitimate decisions to run the affairs of state. And, the elected

representatives remain accountable for their actions, while, the system of electoral democracy

also empowers the voters to take away the powers of the elected members, if they fall short of

popular aspirations—good governance and so on.

In case of Pakistan’s version of democracy, it has the same system of representatives according

to the constitution, but the elected representatives grossly violate the public mandate for

obtaining their selfish and materialistic gains. These representatives, virtually shatter all hopes

of voters by neglecting their social problems, financial difficulties and psychological distress.

Promises made during election campaign are quickly forgotten, while perks of public offices

are fully enjoyed. Irony of the fate is that same elite group gets elected over and over again and

election campaigns are held as rituals. Unfortunately, voters, become trading pawns in the hands

of politicians who regard elections as windows of business opening to plunder national wealth

through all possible means of corruption whose result is poor governance.

Most of the elected representatives in National Assembly and Senate hardly make any

worthwhile contribution, as they remain absent during active sessions of the parliament.

Therefore, sessions of the lower and upper houses are adjourned due to lack of quorum, and

the process of essentially required legislation remains blank and weary. Resultantly, the voters’

aspirations turn into hopeless ordeal, dejection and despondency.

It is notable that various mal-practices such as horse-trading, nepotism, bribery, illegal

obligations and other forms of corruption are very common among our politicians. In fact, the

elite group of elected members uses powers of their public offices to advance their personal

interests including engagement in politics of THANA and KUCHHERY (Police and Court),

earnestly seeking allotment of development and discretion funds and timely steps of sycophancy

to please the top party leaders. Thus, they promote their personal interests, and show total

callousness towards torment of their voters.

Undoubtedly, in Pakistan, corruption is a significant obstacle for good governance, supremacy

of law, and rational use of authority to run the affairs of state and to maintain public cohesion

and national harmony. Regrettably, corrupt practices and misuse of public office lead to general

frustration, opening windows of protest with sense of dissent, disapproval and conflict against

the governing authority. The environment of agitation and demonstrations carry seeds of

large scale disturbances, creating law and order situation, social disorder and political chaos,

culminating in poor governance.

It is our misfortune that rampant corruption in the country has infected the entire edifice of

national institutions. Political leadership is busy in power grabbing process, while the poor suffer

under hard environment where healthy food, clean drinking water, respectable shelter, justice,

education and health care facilities are almost non-existent.

In this regard, the ordeal of poor in Pakistan can well be anticipated by prevailing un-
employment, poor living and health conditions, price hike, social injustice, contempt for merit,

promoting cronyism, and poor law and order situation.

Regrettably, the concerned ministers remain busy in settling scores against their political rivals,

using floor of parliament and media channels. Most of their time is spent on preparing fierce

speeches to level fresh tirades of accusations and counter allegations.

The poor voters remain bewildered as protesting groups, PAT and PTI, pointed out corruption

of subsequent rulers of the PPP and the present ones of the PML (N). While, ruling elite and

their associates in opposition benches of the parliament have termed the protests as unlawful,

unconstitutional and undemocratic.

Besides, political leaders enraged outbursts, filled with allegations and counter accusations.

Some of them, especially of the PPP and PML (N) have shamefully tried their best to drag the

Armed Forces into political turmoil. They have brazenly accused Pak Army and country’s prime

intelligence agency, ISI (without any evidence) for orchestrating the prevailing political impasse

which was created by the politicians themselves. In their fierce speeches, while, indirectly

criticizing Army, leaders of PML (N) and some other parliamentarians said that they would

oppose any move which could derail democracy in the country by rejecting the unconstitutional

demands of PTI and PAT including resignation of the Prime Minister Nawaz and the dissolution

On the other side, on September 12, 2014, DG of ISPR Maj-Gen. Asim Bajwa once again

elaborated, “Pakistan Army supports democracy and constitution, and does not think it necessary

to respond to rumors.” He added, “The army chief in his address on Youm-i-Shuhuda (Martyrs’

Day) clearly said that the army believes in continuation and democracy.”

Some media analysts and political leaders have tended to show their loyalties to top political

leadership by mentioning about the possibility of military take over. Such elements have an

agenda to spoil civil-military relations—to create division between the Armed Forces, distorting

their image in the eyes of general masses. But all these observations proved untrue, as Army did

not take any step like military take over or martial law.

It is notable that in 2011, during the Memogate case, some political entities and media

commentators were saying that martial law will be imposed in the country. The then Chief of

Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani stated, “The Pakistan Army has and will continue to

support democratic process in the country.” As Army was acting upon the principle of non-
interference in political affairs, therefore, the previous government completed its tenure.

It is noteworthy that for the last few months, Pakistan’s Armed Forces are successfully obtaining

their objectives in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) through military operation Zarb-e-Azb

against the terrorists who had challenged the writ of the state, and had frightened the entire

nation by their terror-acts. The Armed Forces also engaged in rescue-operations in the flood-
affected areas. Besides, Pak Army has also been coping with subversive activities in Balochistan,

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and other parts of the country including tribal areas in wake of India’s

war-like diplomacy and cross-border infiltration from Afghanistan’s side.

However, these parliamentarians and leaders have disregarded the commitment and sacrifices,

being offered by the Armed Forces in the operation Zarb-e-Azb and flood relief operation.

In fact, under the cover of democracy, some politicians of the government and the opposition

parties are diverting the attention of the general masses from those articles of the constitution,

which are mentioned in the ‘Principles of Policy.’ These articles clearly mention that people

would provide with justice, gap between the rich and the poor would be reduced, and poverty

would be eradicated in the country. However, our politicians and the subsequent governments of

the industrialists and feudlords failed in delivering good governance to the people in accordance

with the constitution. They have only deceived the public mandate in the pretext of democracy

which has been named as a ‘corrupt democracy’ in Pakistan.

Nevertheless, rampant corruption in Pakistan is posing a very serious threat to the state as well

the true democracy. It has become a significant obstacle towards development, and adversely

impacting the good governance and rule of law, culminating in poor governance. Now, the right

hour has come that the political leadership must conduct introspective analysis of their style of

governance, and must develop a desire to fight the menace of corruption through accountability

and transparency. The aim should be to put the house in order.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants,

Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Posted in Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on Pakistan: Under the Cover of Democracy?

PALESTINE: TURNING GAZA TO NAZI PRISON CAMP

NOVANEWS

Birkenau Entrance Today

How Israel is turning Gaza into a super-max prison

Gaza prison

By Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

It is astonishing that the reconstruction of Gaza, bombed into the Stone Age according to the explicit goals of an Israeli military doctrine known as Dahiya, has tentatively only just begun two months after the end of the fighting.

According to the United Nations, 100,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged, leaving 600,000 Palestinians – nearly one in three of Gaza’s population – homeless or in urgent need of humanitarian help.

Roads, schools and the electricity plant to power water and sewerage systems are in ruins. The cold and wet of winter are approaching. Aid agency Oxfam warns that at the current rate of progress it may take 50 years to rebuild Gaza.

Where else in the world apart from the Palestinian territories would the international community stand by idly as so many people suffer – and not from a random act of God but willed by fellow humans?

The reason for the hold-up is, as ever, Israel’s “security needs”. Gaza can be rebuilt but only to the precise specifications laid down by Israeli officials.

Where else in the world apart from the Palestinian territories would the international community stand by idly as so many people suffer…

We have been here before. Twelve years ago, Israeli bulldozers rolled into Jenin camp in the West Bank in the midst of the second intifada. Israel had just lost its largest number of soldiers in a single battle as the army struggled through a warren of narrow alleys. In scenes that shocked the world, Israel turned hundreds of homes to rubble.

With residents living in tents, Israel insisted on the terms of Jenin camp’s rehabilitation. The alleys that assisted the Palestinian resistance in its ambushes had to go. In their place, streets were built wide enough for Israeli tanks to patrol.

In short, both the Palestinians’ humanitarian needs and their right in international law to resist their oppressor were sacrificed to satisfy Israel’s desire to make the enforcement of its occupation more efficient.

It is hard not to view the agreement reached in Cairo this month for Gaza’s reconstruction in similar terms.

Donors pledged USD5.4 billion – though, based on past experience, much of it won’t materialise. In addition, half will be immediately redirected to the distant West Bank to pay off the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) mounting debts. No one in the international community appears to have suggested that Israel, which has asset-stripped both the West Bank and Gaza in different ways, foot the bill.

The Cairo agreement has been widely welcomed, though the terms on which Gaza will be rebuilt have been only vaguely publicised. Leaks from worried insiders, however, have fleshed out the details.

One Israeli analyst has compared the proposed solution to transforming a third-world prison into a modern US super-max incarceration facility. The more civilised exterior will simply obscure its real purpose: not to make life better for the Palestinian inmates, but to offer greater security to the Israeli guards.

… means much of the donors’ money will end up in the pockets of Israeli cement-makers and middlemen.

Humanitarian concern is being harnessed to allow Israel to streamline an eight-year blockade that has barred many essential items, including those needed to rebuild Gaza after previous assaults.

The agreement passes nominal control over Gaza’s borders and the transfer of reconstruction materials to the PA and UN in order to bypass and weaken Hamas. But the overseers – and true decision-makers – will be Israel. For example, it will get a veto over who supplies the massive quantities of cement needed. That means much of the donors’ money will end up in the pockets of Israeli cement-makers and middlemen.

But the problem runs deeper than that. The system must satisfy Israel’s desire to know where every bag of cement or steel rod ends up, to prevent Hamas rebuilding its home-made rockets and network of tunnels.

The tunnels, and element of surprise they offered, were the reason Israel lost so many soldiers. Without them, Israel will have a freer hand next time it wants to “mow the grass”, as its commanders call Gaza’s repeated destruction.

Last week Israel’s defence minister Moshe Yaalon warned that rebuilding Gaza would be conditioned on Hamas’s good behaviour. Israel wanted to be sure “the funds and equipment are not used for terrorism, therefore we are closely monitoring all of the developments”.

The PA and UN will have to submit to a database reviewed by Israel the details of every home that needs rebuilding. Indications are that Israeli drones will watch every move on the ground.

…it is hard not to assume that the supervision system will provide Israel with the GPS coordinates of every home in Gaza, and the details of every family, consolidating its control when it next decides to attack.

Israel will be able to veto anyone it considers a militant – which means anyone with a connection to Hamas or Islamic Jihad. Presumably, Israel hopes this will dissuade most Palestinians from associating with the resistance movements.

Further, it is hard not to assume that the supervision system will provide Israel with the GPS coordinates of every home in Gaza, and the details of every family, consolidating its control when it next decides to attack. And Israel can hold the whole process to ransom, pulling the plug at any moment.

Sadly, the UN – desperate to see relief for Gaza’s families – has agreed to conspire in this new version of the blockade, despite its violating international law and Palestinians’ rights.

Washington and its allies, it seems, are only too happy to see Hamas and Islamic Jihad deprived of the materials needed to resist Israel’s next onslaught.

The New York Times summed up the concern: “What is the point of raising and spending many millions of dollars… to rebuild the Gaza Strip just so it can be destroyed in the next war?”

For some donors exasperated by years of sinking money into a bottomless hole, upgrading Gaza to a super-max prison looks like a better return on their investment.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, GazaComments Off on PALESTINE: TURNING GAZA TO NAZI PRISON CAMP

Rich getting richer, everyone else getting poorer

NOVANEWS
Rich getting richer, everyone else getting poorer

A new paper by two economics professors shows once again how inequality has grown in the United States. According to their study, the bottom 90 percent of U.S. households are poorer today than they were in 1987. Moreover, the bottom 99 percent have seen their wealth share fall substantially since 1980, as indicated in the chart above.

wealthperfamily

The data on real average wealth per family are indexed to 100 in 1945, so that the current numbers represent the gains in average wealth since that time, as calculated by Saez and Zucman.

On the other hand, the top 0.01 percent’s piece of the wealth pie has increased by 8.6 percentage points in the same period, while the next 0.09 percent’s share has risen by 5.4 percentage points. The authors calculate that as a result of these trends the top 1 percent now own over 41 percent of all the wealth in the country, the most since 1939.

Professor Emmanuel Saez, University of Calif., Berkeley, and Assistant Professor Gabriel Zucman, London School of Economics, base their study mainly on income tax returns combined with government “Flow of Funds” data. This enables them to account for assets that do not generate taxable income as well as adjust for the inevitable “tax avoidance” schemes, both legal and illegal, used by the rich to minimize their tax liabilities.

Definition of wealth

Wealth is defined by Saez and Zucman as the estimated market value of financial and other major assets (stocks, bonds, real estate and so forth) but excluding consumer durables (cars, TVs and so forth) and unfunded pension plans and Social Security benefits. While this is not the way Marxists define wealth—as collections of use values—the authors’ approach does provide a rough estimate of the huge and increasing disparities in wealth that have arisen as monopoly capitalism, and finance capital in particular, has become ever more dominant.

The domination of giant corporations and banks, over both the economy and politics, has accelerated since the competition in providing social welfare to working people ended with the fall of the Soviet Union and socialist camp in 1989-1991. Since that time, the ruling class through both their main political parties have succeeded in rolling back substantial gains of U.S. workers previously won, which accounts for a part of the rise in wealth disparities.

houseprices

House prices, 1970-2014, inflation-adjusted (red) and nominal (blue)

Disparities of wealth accelerated even more as a result of the Great Recession of 2008-2009 and its aftermath. The stock and bond markets have since recovered to new record highs, disproportionately boosting the wealth of the 1 percent, but housing prices remain on average depressed, disproportionately affecting the 99 percent. As a result of foreclosures and evictions, homeownership dropped from more than 69 percent in 2005 to just over 65 percent in 2013.

In addition, most new jobs in the sluggish post-recession recovery offer reduced pay (compared to the jobs lost) and are often part time with few if any benefits. The numbers of long-term unemployed remains elevated, and many have given up looking for work. The large “surplus population” of the permanently unemployed is thereby augmented.

These trends, along with the rising student loan debt, explain why the bottom 90 percent have actually continued to lose net worth the past few years.

Nervousness on Wall Street

Judging from recent gyrations of the stock market, investors are increasingly nervous about the durability and strength of the current upturn and capitalism’s prospects in general, as well they should. Academics like Saez and Zucman are in effect warning the ruling class that inequality has grown to a dangerous level and that measures should be taken to reverse the trend. Whether their warnings are heeded or not, this profit-driven system is doomed in the long run, and we need to build a working-class movement to replace it.

Posted in USA, WorldComments Off on Rich getting richer, everyone else getting poorer

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