Archive | January 7th, 2016

Modi Government Mocks at the Constitution

NOVANEWS

Image result for Modi OBAMA CARTOON

by Kavita Krishnan

Constitution Day, in parliament, should, at the very least, have been a day to reflect soberly on the failure of the state to fulfill its obligations to defend the constitutional rights and liberties of vast sections of India’s society—the Dalits, the minorities, the Adivasis, women, oppressed nationalities, and dissenting voices and citizens in general.

It should especially have been an occasion to reflect on the recent instances of parliamentarians and persons in constitutional posts, such as governors, openly mocking at the core values of the constitution.

Instead, Constitution Day 2015 will be remembered as yet another day when the government put on display its discomfort with the letter and spirit of the constitution.

Instead, the government took the occasion to confirm the apprehensions of many—that it was seeking to tinker with the constitution’s mandates. In parliament on November 26, India’s home minister Rajnath Singh said that “secularism is the most misused word”, and that “we are facing problems in ensuring social harmony because of the misuse of these expressions.”

Singh has repeated what the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have long maintained, that “secularism” should not be interpreted as the state’s obligation to protect the rights and freedoms of the minority and the neutrality of the state towards all religions.

The home minister is instead implying that adopting a “Hindus first” interpretation of secularism will “maintain social harmony.”

This statements dangerously echoes recent statements by several others suggesting that if only Muslims would give up beef, if only interfaith love and marriages could be ended, if only Dalits and Muslims and women would accept social “Laxman Rekhas,” it would be easy for “social harmony” to be maintained. Singh suggested in parliament that secularism in India should mean panth nirpeksh (neutral towards all sects), but, instead the Western meaning (dharm nirpeksh or neutral towards all religions) had been imposed on the Indian state.

This is an old RSS chestnut, by which they mean that “dharma” is Hinduism/sanatana dharma, which is equivalent to Indianness, and Islam and other faiths are basically “sects.” This concept is made clear in this report on a former RSS chief’s exposition. He makes the same distinction allegation that “dharm nirpeksh” is a Western distortion of the Indian concept of “panth nirpeksh,” to conclude that “Hindutva and Indianness mean one and the same thing; Hindu dharma is Manav dharma.” Indian state and society, they therefore claim, must embrace “Hindutva” as its “dharma”, while remaining equidistant from or neutral towards other faiths. Yesterday, Singh and the treasury benches implied that later Congress governments had inserted Western concepts of “secularism” into the original constitution prepared by Ambedkar.

But way back on Nov. 30, 1949, days after the constitution was first adopted by the Constituent Assembly, the RSS had branded the constitution as a jumble of Western imports and had lamented that the Manusmriti had not been used as the basis of the constitution. The Nov. 30 edition of The Organiser wrote, “In our constitution there is no mention of the unique constitutional development in ancient Bharat. Manu’s Laws were written long before Lycurgus of Sparta or Solon of Persia. To this day, his laws as enunciated in the Manusmriti excite the admiration of the world and elicit spontaneous obedience and conformity. But to our constitutional pundits that means nothing.”

This was the same Manusmriti that Ambedkar had deemed fit to burn in protest, since it was a charter of the subordination, dehumanisation and humiliation of Dalits, oppressed castes and women. It should be noted that Narendra Modi, writing a hagiography of RSS chief Golwalkar in 2008, had shockingly referred to Ambedkar as “the modern Manu.”

The RSS, the BJP and the Narendra Modi-led government simply cannot reconcile themselves to the Indian Constitution, intended by Ambedkar as a total rejection of the casteist values espoused by Manu.

Ambedkar had made a distinction between constitutional morality and societal morality, and had stressed that “constitutional morality is not a natural sentiment. It has to be cultivated.”

The RSS and BJP, on the other hand, try desperately to claim that societal morality of the dominant community (towards inter-caste and interfaith marriages, towards beef, towards women’s social and sexual freedom, towards homosexuality and so on) must be accepted as “Indian culture” by the whole of India—and any assertion of constitutional morality is a provocation that justifies violence and breaking “social harmony.”

Preposterously, Singh referred to Ram as “the greatest democrat since he had asked his wife Sita to take the ‘agni pariksha’ (entering fire to prove her chastity) because a man from the lower strata had raised an issue concerning her.”

This single sentence perhaps sums up all that is wrong with the BJP’s understanding of democracy. We could remind Singh that the same Ramayana also has the story of how Rama killed Shambook, a shudra, for performing asceticism and penance which was prohibited to shudras. We could also remind him that the folks songs of the rural women in India universally condemn Ram for forcing Sita to undergo the fire-test for chastity and for exiling her. These songs use harsh words—one Bengali women’s folk song even refers to Ram as a sinner (papishthi) and a ruthlessly cruel man (pashanda) for exiling his pregnant wife.

Women’s folk songs in Maithili (the story holds Sita to be from Mithila) tell their father to find them any husband from anywhere, but never again one like the cruel Ram. Because of the depth of feeling behind women’s public condemnation of this chapter of the Ram story, many narrations of the Ramayana including the Ramanand Sagar rendering on Doordarshan, were forced to come up with some sort of rationalisation or retelling, in order to make the cruel crime more palatable. The fact that the home minister is not only comfortable with the idea of a husband demanding his wife undergo a chastity test, but actually sees this as evidence of democratic values, is truly worrying. It shows that the Modi government, replete with feudal societal morality, is lacking in the constitutional morality that Ambedkar had stressed. Finally, what was saddest was the home minister’s attempt to harness Ambedkar to the hate-wagon of the BJP and the RSS. He did so by tacitly endorsing the ugly and bigoted attacks on actor Aamir Khan who had expressed his wife’s fear and apprehension at bringing up a child in the climate of growing bigotry in the country. Singh said that Ambedkar in spite of facing humiliation, never left India. That is true.

But what Singh and the BJP can never acknowledge is that Ambedkar quit Hinduism, and abhorred the notion of a Hindu India. He quit Hinduism calling it a “veritable chamber of horrors,” most especially towards Dalits. Explicitly rejecting the agenda of a Hindu Rashtra, Ambedkar wrote in his essays, “If Hindu Raj does become a fact, it will, no doubt be the greatest calamity for this country. It is a menace to liberty, equality and fraternity. It is incompatible with democracy. It must be stopped at any cost.”

In 1951, on the eve of independent India’s first general election, the manifesto of Ambedkar’s Scheduled Castes Federation ruled out “alliance with any reactionary party such as Hindu Mahasabha and Jan Sangh as communal parties.” (cited in Ambedkar and the BJP, A G Noorani, Frontline, February 21, 2014). The strategy of other BJP leaders on this occasion as well as in the debate on ‘intolerance’ in the next couple of days, has been to recount the various atrocities against minorities, Dalits and civil liberties committed during Congress rule. The Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for instance talked of the Emergency imposed by Mrs Gandhi, while Meenakshi Lekhi spoke of the communal and caste atrocities at Delhi 1984, Nellie, Hashimpura, Bhagalpur and so on. But can the crimes of the Congress provide an alibi for the BJP and the present Government?

The fact is that the erosion of the Constitutional rights has happened steadily over a period of decades. Congress Governments too trampled on the Constitution repeatedly. The communal pogroms of the 1980s from 1984 to Hashimpura and Bhagalpur, happened as Congress Governments steadily sought to cultivate and consolidate Hindu majoritarianism. A Congress Government opened the locks of the Babri Masjid at the same time that it opened the veins of the Indian economy to be bled by global capital. Kashmir and the North Eastern states have for long been a graveyard of democratic rights and the Constitution. Custodial killings of dissenters, of the poor, of Dalits and of Muslims have been ‘tolerated’ by regimes of all hues for long. It is this systematic hollowing out of the Constitutional mandates and the weakening of the democratic and secular fabric by the Congress that left India vulnerable to the communal fascist BJP, which openly seeks to tamper with the Constitution.

It is not only the secular nature of the Constitution that is under attack. Successive Governments of the Congress and BJP have also eroded India’s sovereign character, allowing the WTO, World Bank, IMF and imperialist powers to shape India’s economic and foreign policies. This December, for instance, the Modi Government is preparing to sell out India’s higher education interests at the WTO Ministerial meeting. These Governments have trampled democracy by ensuring impunity for custodial crimes by the armed forces and the police, as well as for perpetrators of caste and communal massacres; and by failing to uphold the dignity and freedom of women and Dalits. These Governments have mocked at any “socialist” obligations to ensure entitlements of food, jobs and health care for India’s vast majority of India’s poor and deprived citizens.

Following the recent demise of Vishva Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal, Modi called him “an inspiration for generations.” In July this year, Singhal had called the election of the Modi-led Government in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as the beginning of a “Hindu revolution” in the country, thanks to which “India would be a ‘Hindu Nation’ by 2020” and would bring about a “Hindu world” by 2030.

Modi in his speech in Parliament called the Constitution a “holy document” and delivered a lengthy homily (pravachan) on the Constitution. But he remained totally silent on the open incitement by MPs, Ministers and MLAs of his party for communal and casteist massacres and murders.

Modi and his government cannot simultaneously swear by Singhal and his Hindu Rashtra slogans on the one hand, and Ambedkar and the Indian Constitution on the other. Its ministers cannot keep advising detractors and beef-eaters to “go to Pakistan” while paying lip service to Ambedkar and the constitution. It cannot allow the RSS to impose the laws of Manu in society (massacring Dalits and Muslims, banning inter-caste and interfaith marriages, killing those who kill cows, etc) while citing the Indian Constitution when questioned abroad on growing bigotry.

There is a saying ‘munh me raam bagal me chhuri’ (Ram on one’s lips, a dagger hidden under one’s arm). For the BJP and RSS, it is ‘munh me Ambedkar, bagal me Manu’; ‘munh me Gandhi, bagal me Godse aur Golwalkar’; or ‘munh me samvidhan, bagal me Manusmriti.’

 

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The Collective American Consciousness

NOVANEWS
America is to be Judged by its Citizens, not its Politicians…

USA

Global Research

America is to be judged by its citizens, not its politicians. But if Americans lose contact with one another; substitute real, tangible realities with virtual ones projected on internet and television screens; refuse to engage in the democratic process and choose passivity over involvement, nihilism over hope, fatalism over self-determination; remain complacent about if not ignorant of US actions and wars in the world; adopt definitions of themselves that are crafted by self-serving special interests, profiteers or merchants of war and hate running now for president from both political parties, they lose all concepts of who they are, what they stand for, and what really constitutes American values.

As it stands, Americans are on the cusp of recognizing that they are losing their historic identity, or the one they embraced before 9/11. 

In the collective American consciousness questing for material objects, success, fame, wealth, property and stock equities, together with a megalomaniacal drive for Empire to dominate a world now splitting itself into East and West, there remains no public figure speaking for “everyone”; for unity through diversity; for peace; for the poor, homeless, disabled and elderly; for children and young people who will inherit a financially bankrupt nation that cheerleads its populist billionaires who take all, avoid taxes, give little back, blame the scapegoat, and ignore the plight of others, particularly the plight of young generations who will inherit it all as they advance into tomorrow’s leadership positions. Who speaks for them?

Almost unconsciously, Americans salute a market-centric culture unaware it is controlled by Wall Street, bond traders, speculators, hedge funds and enormous multinational corporations and banking hegemons. Silicon Valley young technocratic tycoons provide proof of American superiority and exceptionalism and the momentous rewards capitalism bestows. The rewards of capitalism, however, go to the few and fewer and what are concealed in a sea of commercials and seamless hype are what many young people should already know; for during a majority of their years as mature adults America has been a nation of non-stop endless wars; has become the largest debtor nation in the world – debt that can’t be repaid and probably won’t be repaid. It has devolved into waves of police-sanctioned violence and murders, socially damaging hate-groups and vicious political vitriolic. When done in the name of competition and profits, it legally sanctions illegalities.

Young people have learned privacy is non-existent and social interactions take place using costly digital devices connected through toll booths owned by corporate networks behind whose one-way mirror sit both government and mega-corporations amassing personal information, biometrics, opinions, attitudes, consumer behavior, political affiliations, friendships, credit and banking details, and their psychographic profiles for private profit and for social and government behavior-mod programs and social engineering.

Many have learned a stable job of 40 hours per week with benefits, sick pay and vacation time is a luxury afforded a few. Some have learned to live at home with mom and dad at age 25 because they can’t afford high rents at meager wages, let alone purchase a home. Some will live through decades of paying-off college loans that delivered greater debt peonage than employment opportunity.  They have seen how credit is mistakenly viewed as an asset and used to salvage households that have undergone decades of stagnant wages. They have seen benefits accrue in accumulation of wealth for employers, corporations and investment banks.

Should they ever run for president, they know they will have to agree to kill “innocent people and children”, conduct drone operations on “targeted assassination” lists, approve and expand America’s seamless dragnet surveillance state, enlist people their age to die for wars they had no say in and no true understand of. If young people think the American Dream is over and act apart and clustered together in a swarm, they do so for good reasons: there are no public figures offsetting the “post 9/11 normal” with incisive alternatives, real debate, knowledgeable dissent and penetrative truths about the causes underlying America’s many imbroglios. It should be no surprise that most millennials didn’t vote in 2014 (87% stayed home).

But the “9/11 normal” in this country is not the normal I knew, is not the America that weaned me, is not the normal I wish to live under or see young people struggle with in order to survive. If any group is blameless in causing any one problem now afflicting America, it is they. But they are too young to have known a better time; some can’t imagine one; many have relegated America before 9/11 to the history books! This is how it seems for a millennial.

My employee was neither normal nor “new normal”, but an example of what UK economist Guy Standing calls “The Precariat: The New Dangerous Generation”. [1] This self-defined uneducated, politically unaware person who worked for me over five years suddenly presented a dangerous and threatening remark recently. Knowing she cannot find Chicago on the map; knowing she is encircled by friends and family with little grasp of government, American history or the democratic process,  she asked me to define a “white supremacist”, which I did in detail. Knowing she defines African-Americans as “dem people” and everything she hears about President Obama is that he’s “gonna take guns away”, I proceeded cautiously. At the finish, she replied to my explanation with emphatically shocking defiance.  She shouted back ferociously: “Obama should be assassinated!”

Keeping calm, I asked why he should be assassinated? “Because he’s not good for America,” she quipped. “Why isn’t he good?” I asked. She looked up and down, rolled her eyes, looked up and down and with a coy self-effacing smile beamed, “Gee, I don’t know.”

Her supervisor didn’t find the remark troublesome but did cite her for talking politics to a client and pulled her from my account. “You finally got to see who and what she really is,” stressed the supervisor. Later, in conversation, a police chief told me her inflammatory statement was to be considered a “form of free speech”; and I should “consider the source”. I replied that for many people who lived through three assassinations in the 1960s, a call for the killing of a president is not to be defended as free speech or viewed lightly. If a majority of Americans do find it defendable, America is in far worse shape today than at any other time in my 68 years, I answered. Although this worker is far from committing such an act, how many people does she represent who might try to commit this crime? No president need be assassinated when the legal system is available to remove one from office peacefully.

The worker is a “precariat” and does not represent America, nor do those who feel as she does. Police-violence and murders of young blacks by errant and rogue officers do not represent the standard for law enforcement and are illegal acts in both character and degree. Wall Street greed and asset-stripping neoliberalism are byproducts of a capitalism that has been unregulated, becoming voracious and predatory. America is a nation and capitalism is an economic and market system adopted by the nation. Capitalism is not a nation unto itself controlling its host country. Yet, the market system is striving to gain complete control over this nation at all levels through powerful economic institutions with support from libertarian zealots, “small government” conservatives to far-right extremists hoisting flags, a Constitution and a Bible.

The right-wing presently in control of the Republican party and exhibiting increasing power over Congress, the White House and media are not American but anti-American and unAmerican in my opinion. Indeed, they constitute a “fifth column” undermining democracy, peace, security, welfare and brotherhood which are the true historical hallmarks of our secular democracy. What seeds have been planted during the last decades – from the presidency of Ronald Reagan to financial capitalism, privatizations, off-shoring of jobs to the Pacific Rim and China, collapse of the country’s industrial base and infrastructure, neoliberal restructuring of public finances, neoconservative Empire building through endless wars of aggression, decimation of social and welfare programs that were won for all Americans in the 1930s and 1960s – have borne the bitter herbs today of hate, violence, religious bigotry, racism, and mounting threats of war with Russia and China in order to circumvent and abort an inevitable transition from a U.S. dominated unipolar world to a bipolar one.

Such a bipolar world challenges America’s “full spectrum dominance” and particularly threatens to dislodge the U.S. dollar as world reserve currency. The agents of this “post 9/11 new normal” are leading the nation into the grip of what Europeans today call by its rightful name: fascism, the merger of state and corporate power militarily enforced . Will Americans allow it?

European nations are seeing a rise of neo-Nazis and self-proclaimed fascists. [2] [3]  By reflecting popular discontent over imposed austerity, an influx of immigrants fleeing war zones in the mid-East, the perceived loss of national sovereignty to Brussels, the rise of fascistic right-wing parties in many EU nations are exploiting growing anti-government attitudes and creating political power formations in scenes highly reminiscent of the 1930s. In some respects, the propaganda diatribes and appeals by the Tea Party, Faith and Freedom Coalition and other U.S. “anti-government” groups of far-right libertarians, survivalists, white supremacists, militias, sovereign citizens, nativists and Christian theocrats bear comparison to programs and platforms of Pegida in Germany, National Front in France and Golden Dawn in Greece. [4]

More importantly, resemblances exist between the anti-government, anti-immigrant, racist, nativist and anarchistic rhetoric and appeals of these groups in both Europe and the United States with positions publicly endorsed and vocalized by Republican candidates for president, particularly by Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. [5]  In the course of more than a decade, the GOP permitted itself to be hijacked by right-wing conservatives advancing today’s extremism in order to win elections and in winning perpetuate the rise of the corporate, banking and military-industrial state at the expense of workers and the social safety net. Populist far-right “people” movements from below and the corporate-military-intel-wealth “power elite” from above are twin forces undermining what remnants remain of American democracy. They will call it by many other names, but Europeans call it fascism.

Americans resist the label “fascism” because, as Sinclair Lewis observed eighty-one years ago, Americans are convinced “it can’t happen here”. [6] They are wrong. It can happen here, is happening here and the question becomes how far will it metastasize within the body politic? The frightening degree of popular interest measured by TV ratings of recent political debates where collective hate and war-mongering are staged as positive and constructive solutions to America’s imbroglios of crises further demoralizes the population and weakens the national immune system against this cancer metastasizing.

What is America, its people, culture and set of values? By mid-century, it was the leader of the world politically and economically. By the mid-60s, it boasted a “mixed economy” balancing the needs of profit with social welfare. It once fostered peace at home and in the world; it co-existed with its main rival, the Soviet Union, in a balance of power arrangement and in so doing avoided war. Two nuclear powers can only assure each other peace through sanity lest mutual destruction be the result if one or the other starts war – a fact obfuscated by today’s war mongers in Congress and on the presidential campaign platforms; their sociopathic threats are echoed without challenge in American mass-media, the very vehicles used to successfully engineer war-fever and hysteria on the basis of few facts, some lies, and reams of accusations lacking evidence. Americans fail to know the extent of its bombing campaigns, its coups, the number of dead innocents labeled “collateral damage” by the Pentagon, its purposeful destabilization of nations to secure resources and install puppet governments subservient to Washington. Few Americans suspect that the deaths of almost a million and injuries to millions more in the middle-east caused by American-NATO bombings might someday return in kind. Americans are fearful of terrorist acts within their country but fail to understand how we have sponsored, trained and financed terrorists to fight our “dirty wars” from the 1980s in Afghanistan to today in Syria and Iraq. Americans are fearful and thus paralyzed. What a perfect opportunity for a dictator and fascist to exploit.

“America is a moderate country with a slight tilt to the right,” claimed a friend in the mid-West. On the other hand, activist-historian William Blum claims America is not a force for good in the world but a rogue state that is the greatest threat to humanity. [7] [8]  People that largely ignore the rise of police powers, the surveillance state, the cost of endless wars, and the decline of civil liberties are called “sheeple” by critics. Members of the press and media who have abandoned their role as objective journalists and become public relations spokespeople for the State Dept., Pentagon, Wall Street and CIA are known as “presstitutes”. Taken together, democracy is replaced with mindless consumption of media propaganda leaving authorities and power-centers freedom of movement to act and control without constraint or opposition.

World leaders are tentatively understanding the need to act together to resolve global crises that are infecting all layers within societies. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the hands of the Doomsday Clock to three minutes to minute citing nuclear wars and ecological cataclysms ahead given the current projectory. [9]  Pope Francis in his highly secular eco-enclyclical Laudato Si! outlines a basal text for a concerted trans-national approach to solve climate change, economic disparities and mushrooming military build-ups in nations. [10] Francis spoke frankly and truthfully when he bravely confessed to an unbelieving and disoriented world that World War III has already begun fought piecemeal. [11]  The Dalai Lama also spoke frankly when he said God wasn’t going to solve our problems. We created them and we need to fix them. God’s not going to do it for us. [12]

America is at war and is planning for greater ones, but its greatest war is the battle within itself. Who is America? What is America? What does America stand for? These questions will be answered but not without conflict, social disruption, acts of civil disobedience, emerging whistleblowers risking careers and livelihoods to speak truth in a sea of disinformation and eroding morality. Campaign officials expect the cost for this year’s presidential campaign to reach $5 billion, most of that money going into the coffers of network and cable TV which, in turn, will please their sponsors – political parties, power brokers and wealth sectors  – and media will remain a house of presstitution. [13] [14]

Democracy needs an informed electorate but Americans have been “dumbed down” enough to believe they have no power over government decisions and economic policies. They are paralyzed by it. In a relatively short span of time, beginning from September 11, 2001, democracy has been under attack by forces from within rather than from without. It has been stolen by hidden unelected financial, corporate and military-industrial cartels that have inculcated fear and exploited it as a pretext for citizens to relinquish liberties. By their own narrow vision induced by rampant consumerism, poor knowledge about government and economics, Americans have endorsed politicians who make wars, relegate human beings secondary to private profit and markets, who conquer dissent, diversity and strength-in-numbers using the mechanism of “identity politics”, who turn morality on its head by taking from the poor and giving to the rich, who call the peaceful weak and the warrior strong, who enshrine our Empire as “exceptional” and “indispensable” on the basis of myths that no longer exist and that fewer and fewer nations believe, including so-called “allies”.

Inscribed in the DNA of America is a deep-seated belief in “destiny”. America had it, lost it, and will someday regain it. It is not found in profits, property, gold, markets or Empire building. The work of ascertaining, identifying and perpetuating this destiny will fall upon tomorrow’s leaders selected from the ranks of millennials and those younger, Generation Z. It will live or die according to their wisdom or their folly. They will build upon a new paradigm or fail trying to resuscitate the old. They will be Lot of the Bible and move forward knowing only one step ahead, or be Sara who turned to salt by fixing her stare upon what was crumbling behind her. The first question to answer must be: What is the ideal world you wish for yourself, family, friends, community and nation? Once realized and empowered by sincere intent and motivation, it will materialize. The world of tomorrow begins in concept today. To more forward, don’t look back. Build it, and if it is for the common good of all Americans and all people of the world, “they will come”.

Others who staunchly support peace, world-wide harmony, justice, non-violence, democracy and the safety of mother earth are good people whose intentions, influence and silent acts now hold hope for our nation and world.

But many more good people must do something. And the time for doing it is now.

Michael T Bucci is a retired public relations executive currently living in New England. He has authored nine books on practical spirituality collectively titled The Cerithous Material.

Notes:

[1] Standing, Guy (2014). The Precariat: The New Dangerous Generation. London: Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN  9781472536167.

http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/the-precariat-9781472536167/

[2] “Fear, Anger and Hatred: The Rise of Germany’s New Right“, Spiegel Online, December 11, 2015.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/refugee-crisis-drives-rise-of-new-right-wing-in-germany-a-1067384.html

[3] “WELCOME TO THE ‘RECHTSRUTSCH’: The far right is quietly making massive gains in Europe“, Business Insider, October 19, 2015.

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-far-right-is-quietly-making-massive-gains-in-europe-2015-10?r=UK&IR=T

[4] “How does the Tea Party compare with European far right movements?”, Baker Institute for Public Policy.

https://bakerinstitute.org/media/files/files/f6f08c52/IFRI-pub-SirkesTeaParty-2012-1-.pdf

[5] Cas Mudde, “The Trump phenomenon and the European populist radical right”, Washington Post, August 26, 2015.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2015/08/26/the-trump-phenomenon-and-the-european-populist-radical-right/

[6] Lewis, Sinclair (1935). It Can’t Happen Here. New York: Signet ISBN 9780451465641

http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/293163/it-cant-happen-here-by-sinclair-lewis/9780451465641/

[7] Blum, William (2013). America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy. London: Zed Books ISBN-13: 978-1780324456

http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/paperback/americas-deadliest-export

[8] Kevin Zeese, “US Empire Reaches Breaking Point. Greatest Threat to Humanity. Time To End It, Global Research, July 20, 2014

http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-empire-reaches-breaking-point-greatest-threat-to-humanity-time-to-end-it/5392310

[9] “It is Three Minutes to Midnight”, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Janaury 19, 2015

http://thebulletin.org/clock/2015

[10] Pope Francis (2015). Encyclical Letter Laudato Si!, On Care for Our Common Home. Full text at Vatican web site.

http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html

[11] Athena Yenko, “World War 3 Has Begun – Pope Francis”, Morning News USA, June 9, 2015.

http://www.morningnewsusa.com/world-war-3-has-begun-pope-francis-2323017.html

[12] Michael McLaughlin, “Dalai Lama: Humans Created Terrorism, So Stop Praying To God For A Solution”, Huffington Post, November 17, 2015.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/dalai-lama-terrorism_564b8975e4b045bf3df16e75

[13] Amie Parnes and Kevin Cirilli, “The $5 billion presidential campaign?” The Hill, January 21, 2016

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/230318-the-5-billion-campaign

[14] Julie Bykowicz, “Campaign ads are a feast for TV stations and they’re out to guard it from online competition”, Associated Press, December 9, 2015

http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2015/12/09/tv-broadcasters-try-to-drum-up-more-campaign-ads

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The Pentagon’s Law of War Manual

NOVANEWS

The Brutality of Imperialist Wars

A Recipe for Total War and Military Dictatorship. Part Two
Global Research
law of war

PART ONE | PART TWO | PART THREE | PART FOUR

This is the second of four articles analyzing the new US Department of Defense Law of War Manual. The first article was posted November 3.

The most menacing passages of the Pentagon’s Law of War Manual concern its relationship to other areas of law. According to the manual, the law of war is separate from and supersedes all other bodies of law, including international human rights treaties and the United States Constitution’s Bill of Rights. This is nothing less than a formula for martial law, military dictatorship and the suspension of the Constitution.

Citing a legal treatise entitled “Military Law and Precedents,” the manual states that the law of war can supersede the Constitution: “‘On the actual theatre of military operations,’ as is remarked by a learned judge, ‘the ordinary laws of the land are superseded by the laws of war. The jurisdiction of the civil magistrate is there suspended, and military authority and force are substituted.’ Finding indeed its original authority in the war powers of Congress and the Executive, and thus constitutional in its source, the Law of War may, in its exercise, substantially supersede for the time even the Constitution itself …” (p. 10, emphasis added).

With the entire world declared to be the “battlefield” in the “war on terror,” this is a formula for the Pentagon to impose military dictatorship on all of Planet Earth.

When the Pentagon refers to the “law of war,” it is not referring to historic precedents or international treaties. The phrase “law of war,” in the context of the manual, is a euphemism for “the law according to the Pentagon.”

Under the Pentagon’s pseudo-legal framework, the “law of war” is an independent source of legal authority that overrides all democratic rights and sanctions arbitrary rule by the military. The manual states: “Although the law of war is generally viewed as ‘prohibitive law,’ in some respects, especially in the context of domestic law, the law of war may be viewed as permissive or even as a source of authority” (p. 14).


Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt

Changing a few words here and there, these doctrines could have been copy-pasted from the writings of the Nazi “crown jurist” Carl Schmitt (1888-1985). According to Schmitt’s infamous “state of exception” doctrine, under conditions of a national emergency, the executive is permitted to override democratic protections and disregard the rule of law. Under this doctrine, democratic rights are not formally abrogated, they are simply suspended indefinitely.

Schmitt’s “state of exception” doctrine was used as a legal justification for the 1933 “Act to Relieve the Distress of the People and the Reich,” also known as the “Enabling Act,” which codified Hitler’s dictatorship.

The Pentagon manual invokes Schmitt’s “state of exception” theory in all but name. Having claimed that the law of war is a “special” discipline of law, as opposed to a “general” discipline, the manual states that “the special rule overrides the general law” (p. 9). For added effect, a Latin legal maxim saying the same thing is cited: “lex specialis derogat legi generali.”

Thus, according to the Pentagon, the law of war is the exception to the general “law of peacetime.” Here we have nothing less than a Nazi legal doctrine, incorporated by the Pentagon into a major policy document.

“In some circumstances,” the Pentagon’s manual states, “the rules in the law of war [i.e., the rules invented by the Pentagon] and the rules in human rights treaties may appear to conflict; these apparent conflicts may be resolved by the principle that the law of war is the lex specialis during situations of armed conflict [again, the state of exception], and, as such, is the controlling body of law with regard to the conduct of hostilities and the protection of war victims” (p. 9).

In other words, whenever the Pentagon’s policies conflict with human rights treaties, the human rights treaties should be ignored.

The manual continues, “Underlying this approach is the fact that the law of war is firmly established in customary international law as a well-developed body of law that is separate from the principles of law generally applicable in peace” (p. 10). The implication is that during wartime, America’s vast military establishment is a “separate,” independent branch of government, subject to its own rules and accountable to no one.

Despite the references to the war powers of Congress and the executive under the American Constitution, the Pentagon’s conceptions are the opposite of the framework envisioned by the framers of the Constitution. The Declaration of Independence, in its list of grievances against the British monarch, charges that the king “affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.”

Both the Bush and Obama administrations have been fond of invoking the phrase “commander in chief,” which appears in Article II of the US Constitution, in a manner that turns its original meaning upside down. The American revolutionaries described the president as the commander in chief of the navy and army as a way of expressing the subordination of the military to civilian authority. This phrase was not meant to elevate the military, with the president as its head, into some kind of supreme authority over the rest of the state and the population.

The manual’s reference to “principles of law generally applicable in peace” has particularly sinister implications.

“Human rights treaties,” according to the Pentagon, are “primarily applicable to the relationship between a State and individuals in peacetime” (p. 22). Therefore, in “wartime”—including the “war on terror” of indefinite scope and duration—human rights treaties no longer apply.

This formula would allow the Pentagon to override more than just human rights treaties. The manual’s authors include the Bill of Rights and other guarantees of civil liberties in the category of laws that apply in “peacetime” only. The arguments made by the manual justify suspending the Bill of Rights altogether as a “peacetime” law that is superseded for the duration of the “war on terror.”

But why stop there? Aren’t elections also part of a system of laws “generally applicable in peace?” What about other civil liberties? What about the right to freedom of speech, or the right to form political parties? What about the right to trial by jury? What about the right to privacy, and the ban on “cruel and unusual punishment?” What about laws against racial discrimination? The right to a minimum wage?

Taken to its logical conclusion, the Law of War Manual would justify imposing a military dictatorship, suspending all democratic rights and rounding up and imprisoning all dissenters.

Should any reader think this analysis far-fetched, it should be remembered that one top American military man recently called for setting up military internment camps for “disloyal” and “radicalized” Americans. Retired Gen. Wesley Clark (a Democrat) declared:

“If these people are radicalized and they don’t support the United States and they are disloyal to the United States, as a matter of principle, fine. It’s their right, and it’s our right and obligation to segregate them from the normal community for the duration of the conflict.”

He added, “We’ve got to cut this off at the beginning.”

Clark’s extraordinary proposals provoked no significant discussion or disagreement within the political or media establishment. None of the current presidential candidates from either major party has referred to Clark’s statement, presumably because they do not fundamentally disagree with it. There have been no consequences for Clark’s lobbying and consulting firm. The Pentagon’s manual makes clear that Clark was merely testing the waters, revealing plans that have been broadly discussed, developed and approved at the highest levels of the state.


Antonin Scalia

When asked last year about the military internment of Japanese-Americans during the Second World War, US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia responded, “You are kidding yourself if you think the same thing won’t happen again.” He added, in a formulation that mirrors the Pentagon’s manual, “In times of war, the law falls silent.”

The manual also features a heavy dose of the Obama administration’s trademark “balancing” rhetoric. Pursuant to this approach, a basic democratic right or legal principle will be affirmed in abstract terms. But then it will be “balanced” against some authoritarian counter-principle, with the result that the basic principle will be rendered meaningless. The Obama administration has invoked this formula repeatedly as its justification for NSA spying, as well as for drone assassinations.

The document states, “Civilians may not be made the object of attack, unless they take direct part in hostilities.” This seems clear enough, but then a “balancing” formula is introduced. “Civilians may be killed incidentally in military operations; however, the expected incidental harm to civilians may not be excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage from an attack, and feasible precautions must be taken to reduce the risk of harm to civilians during military operations” (p. 128).

In other words, after applying the “balancing” formula, it turns out that it is acceptable to kill civilians if, on balance, the expected “military advantage” outweighs the harm to civilians. This effectively makes the rule against killing civilians meaningless. In practice, the “balancing” formula translates to the unfettered power of military leaders to order mass killing and destruction.

The brutality of imperialist war

The manual features a chilling discussion of killing civilians. According to the Pentagon, massacres of civilians are permissible if they help achieve “operational objectives.”

The authors take pains not to state that the killing of civilians is prohibited per se. Instead, the manual indicates that “feasible precautions” should be taken to “avoid” civilian casualties, which should not be “excessive” or “unreasonable.” However, the manual defines “feasible precautions” as merely “those that are practicable or practically possible, taking into account all circumstances ruling at the time, including humanitarian and military considerations” (p. 190).

The Pentagon’s manual authorizes mass killing of civilians as in the assault on Fallujah during the Iraq War

“For example,” the document states,

“if a commander determines that taking a precaution would result in operational risk (i.e., a risk of failing to accomplish the mission) or an increased risk of harm to their own forces, then the precaution would not be feasible and would not be required” (p. 191).

This is a blank check for mass killings of civilians if a military leader decides that failing to do so would be an “operational risk.” If exterminating the population of a hostile city would reduce the “risk of harm” to US forces, then the Pentagon manual would allow it.

This “balancing” formulation appears to contradict previous statements of American policy, such as the following remarks from 1987 by a State Department legal adviser: “[C]ivilian losses are not to be balanced against the military value of the target. If severe losses would result, then the attack is forbidden, no matter how important the target” [2].

The manual also codifies the tendentious “human shields” doctrine, whereby civilian deaths are blamed on the targets of indiscriminate bombing.

“A party that is subject to attack might fail to take feasible precautions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians, such as by separating the civilian population from military objectives … the ability to discriminate and to reduce the risk of harm to the civilian population likely will be diminished by such enemy conduct” (p. 198).

This is merely a justification for collective punishment by another name. If the Pentagon identifies a “military objective” in a densely populated area, then the military supposedly has the legal right to obliterate the neighborhood with high explosives and blame the civilian population for being “human shields.” Collective punishment is, under international law, a war crime. It is designed to terrorize a population and discourage resistance.

The manual expressly authorizes targeted killings. “Military operations may be directed against specific enemy combatants,” the document states, adding, “US forces have often conducted such operations” (p. 201).

In support of targeted killings, the manual cites Obama’s speech on May 2, 2011:

“Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound [suspected of housing Osama Bin Laden] in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body” (p. 201).

The manual fails to mention that journalist Seymour Hersh has exposed the account given in Obama’s speech as a pack of lies.

Censorship and targeting of journalists as “unprivileged belligerents”

The manual’s proposed treatment of journalists as spies has evoked the only media attention to the document. “Reporting on military operations,” the manual states, “can be very similar to collecting intelligence or even spying” (p. 175).

The Pentagon goes on to authorize itself to “capture” and “punish” journalists, forbid journalists to work anonymously, and require that journalists obtain “permission” and “identification documents” from the US military to conduct their work.

The manual states:

“A journalist who acts as a spy may be subject to security measures and punished if captured. To avoid being mistaken for spies, journalists should act openly and with the permission of relevant authorities. Presenting identification documents, such as the identification card issued to authorized war correspondents or other appropriate identification, may help journalists avoid being mistaken as spies” (p. 175).

The document further states that journalists can be subject to military censorship. It declares:

“States may need to censor journalists’ work or take other security measures so that journalists do not reveal sensitive information to the enemy. Under the law of war, there is no special right for journalists to enter a State’s territory without its consent or to access areas of military operations without the consent of the State conducting those operations” (p. 175).

There is nothing here that would be out of place in the code of laws of a totalitarian police state. This legal framework, for example, would justify setting up a military internment camp to imprison each journalist who published material disclosed by Edward Snowden. There is nothing in the manual that would prohibit the Pentagon from launching drone strikes against targeted journalists who are deemed to be acting as “spies.” (If a journalist’s family and friends were killed in the drone strike, it would be the journalist’s fault for employing “human shields”).

Do we exaggerate? An article appeared in the recent spring/summer issue of the academic National Security Law Journal titled “Trahison des Professeurs: The Critical Law of Armed Conflict/Academy as an Islamist Fifth Column” [3 Nat’l Sec. L.J. 278 (2015)]. In this article, West Point law professor William C. Bradford argues that academics who criticize the “war on terror” are “aiding the enemy,” such that they should be treated as “unlawful combatants” under the law of war.

Bradford, a professor at the prestigious United States Military Academy, goes on to argue that by criticizing the war on terror, certain professors are working in “the service of Islamists seeking to destroy Western civilization and re-create the Caliphates.” These professors, Bradford charges, are guilty of “skepticism of executive power,” “professional socialization,” “pernicious pacifism,” and “cosmopolitanism.”

Bradford recommends firing “disloyal” professors and imposing loyalty oaths at universities. He further recommends arresting and prosecuting professors for treason and for providing material support to terrorism. Finally, he argues that “disloyal” professors and the universities that employ them could be considered “lawful targets” for military attack under the law of war.

Bradford has also advocated a military coup (“What conditions precedent would be required before the American military would be justified in using or threatening force to oust a US president…?”) and genocide (“total war” until “the political will of Islamist peoples” is broken, or until “all who countenance or condone Islamism are dead”). The latter policy would include the targeted destruction of “Islamic holy sites.”

The journal subsequently repudiated Bradford’s article, calling it an “egregious breach of professional decorum,” and Bradford resigned from West Point on August 30. However, the episode provides a glimpse of what the Pentagon has in mind for its critics under the “law of war.” Bradford’s fascistic rants simply represent the doctrines expressed in the Law of War Manual taken to their logical conclusions.

The persecution of journalists such as Glenn Greenwald (and his partner David Miranda) and Julian Assange, together with whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden and Bradley (Chelsea) Manning, has already made clear that the American government will treat the exposure of official criminality as “espionage” and “aiding the enemy.” The Pentagon’s manual codifies this position and authorizes the military to carry out repressive measures against journalists.

The Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) issued a statement on July 31 protesting the manual, pointing to the rising numbers of journalists killed and maimed while covering armed conflicts. “The Obama administration’s Defense Department,” the CPJ wrote, “appears to have taken the ill-defined practices begun under the Bush administration during the War on Terror and codified them to formally govern the way US military forces treat journalists covering conflicts.”

It is significant that the words “freedom of speech” and “freedom of the press” do not appear anywhere in the Pentagon’s manual.

In a section setting forth the Pentagon’s authority as an “Occupying Power,” the manual states that “for the purposes of security, an Occupying Power may establish regulation of any or all forms of media (e.g., press, radio, television) and entertainment (e.g., theater, movies), of correspondence, and of other means of communication. For example, an Occupying Power may prohibit entirely the publication of newspapers that pose a threat to security, or it may prescribe regulations for the publication or circulation of newspapers of other media for the purpose of fulfilling its obligations to restore public order” (pp. 759-60).

A footnote includes the caveat that “this sub-section focuses solely on what is permitted under the law of war and does not address possible implications of censorship under the First Amendment of the Constitution.” Presumably, the authors would contend that the First Amendment applies only in “peacetime,” and is “superseded” by the Pentagon’s “lex specialis” for the duration of the “war on terror.”

Notes:

[2] See The Position of the United States on Current Law of War Agreements: Remarks of Judge Abraham D. Sofaer, Legal Adviser, United States Department of State, Jan. 22, 1987, American University Journal of International Law and Policy 460, 468 (1987) (cited in the Law of War Manual, p. 247).

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Sheikh Nimr’s Execution Meant to Ensure Nazi Security

NOVANEWS
Image result for Vanessa Beeley PHOTO
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A British human rights activist believes Saudi Arabia’s execution of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was aimed at guaranteeing I$raHell’s security and Western economic plans in the region.

“As with Sheikh Zakzaky in Nigeria, Sheikh Nimr campaigned against the Saudi Wahhabi distortion of Islam and engineered division of the Muslim world along sectarian lines that did not exist prior to the Saudi propaganda, inflamed and fuelled by the West intent on partitioning the region to best serve Israel’s security and Western economic and resource agendas,” Vanessa Beeley, with Syrian Solidarity Movement, told Tasnim on Monday.

“From the reaction of certain US Congress representatives such as Robert Ford to the hideous execution of Sheikh Nimr Bagher al-Nimr by the despotic Saudi regime, it is clear that the Sheikh’s execution is a reaction to the US NATO floundering regime change policies in Syria,” she added.

“The US is determined to maintain perpetual sectarian conflict and anyone who dares to evoke unity and cohesion will not be tolerated.  Will this bring more extremism to the region?  Iran is more intelligent than this as is Russia.  Both countries have been sorely provoked and both are showing huge restraint and wisdom, unlike their antagonists,” Beeley said.

The British activist further said the Saudis are playing with fire, stressing, “Monster will turn and when it does there will be nobody to protect the house of Saud.”

May the soul of the courageous Sheikh Nimr rest in Peace and may his legacy live on through all of us, she concluded.

Saudi Arabia’s execution of 47 prisoners, including Sheikh Nimr, on Saturday drew global condemnation.

The executions took place in 12 cities in Saudi Arabia, four prisons using firing squads and the others beheading. The bodies were then hanged from gibbets in the most severe form of punishment available in the kingdom’s law.

Sheikh Nimr had been detained in July 2012 on charges of delivering anti-regime speeches and defending political prisoners.

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Disseminating Fake Information: Conversations with State Department Propagandist Zionist Robert S. Ford

NOVANEWS
Former US Ambassador to Syria
220px-Robert_Stephen_Ford_US_State_Dept_photo

On the 3rd of January, before the blood of Saudi executed Sheikh Nimr had even dried, Ex Ambassador to Syria, Zionist Robert Ford (pictured left) tweeted this appalling piece of leading propaganda: 

ford on Nimr

Link to Tweet

This must firstly be compared to an equally insensitive and cynical propagandist, profiteering tweet from arch lie merchant, Ken Roth of Human Rights Watch. This dreadful piece of exploitative cynicism was subsequently deleted, perhaps after even Ken Roth realised he had overstepped the mark of decency.  This was Ken Roth’s attempt to overshadow the US bombing of the MSF hospital in Kunduz with further tired and universally discredited anti Assad propaganda.

I guess in Robert Ford’s favour he waited 24 hours before his display of disrespect towards a much loved and respected activist and campaigner against the Saudi regime’s despotism and brutality, supported of course by its Western cohorts.

Ken Roth on the other hand, could barely contain his excitement at being able to find another opportunity to attack Assad personally, tweeting his little gem on the same day as the US had relentlessly bombed one of the few remaining hospitals in Kunduz for over an hour.  30 people including nursing staff, patients and doctors were massacred, 37 injured in one of the worst incidents of civilian casualties in the 14-year war  by US forces seemingly oblivious to their screams for help and for the onslaught to stop.

It appears that disseminating fake information on Syria took priority over highlighting the US gross negligence and violations of rules of war.

Screenshot (314)

Of course we cannot ignore the fact that Ford is watching US and NATO [Israeli and GCC] plans for regime change in Syria floundering irreparably.  Sheikh Nimr’s execution was a desperate and appalling attempt to revive a Western/Saudi  engineered sectarian conflict that is being thwarted by Syria’s innate secularism and the unity of the majority of the Syrian people behind a President who has emerged from the eye of the almost 5 year  propaganda storm, as a symbol of resilience and unflappable dignity.

“As with Sheikh Zakzaky in Nigeria, Sheikh Nimr campaigned against the Saudi Wahhabi distortion of Islam and engineered division of the Muslim world along sectarian lines that did not exist prior to the Saudi propaganda, inflamed and fuelled by the West intent on partitioning the region to best serve Israel’s security and Western economic and resource agendas,” Vanessa Beeley, with Syrian Solidarity Movement, told Tasnim on Monday.

“From the reaction of certain US Congress representatives such as Robert Ford to the hideous execution of Sheikh Nimr Bagher al-Nimr by the despotic Saudi regime, it is clear that the Sheikh’s execution is a reaction to the US NATO floundering regime change policies in Syria,” she added.

“The US is determined to maintain perpetual sectarian conflict and anyone who dares to evoke unity and cohesion will not be tolerated.  Will this bring more extremism to the region?  Iran is more intelligent than this as is Russia.  Both countries have been sorely provoked and both are showing huge restraint and wisdom, unlike their antagonists,” Beeley said.

Now a little reminder about Robert Ford’s close relationship with “moderate rebel” FSA [Free Syrian Army] Colonel Okaidi.

Ford dark etc

Twitter Link 

One of the most senior “moderate” rebel commanders to be backed by the US and main recipient of Western aid, Col. Okaidi, is seen in a video, which has been authenticated by Joshua Landis of the University of Oklahoma, speaking during interviews saying “My relationship with the brothers in ISIL is good … I communicate almost daily with brothers in ISIL … the relationship is good, even brotherly.”

Okaidi admits al-Qaida is not any different from the FSA: “They [al-Nusra] did not exhibit any abnormal behavior, which is different from that of the FSA.”

The video shows Okaidi with ISIS Emir Abu Jandal celebrating a victory, as an ally ISIS fighter shouts “I swear to Allah, O Alawites, we came to slaughter you. Await what you deserve!”

US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, who worked closely with Okaidi, himself admitted to giving material support to ISIS and al-Nusra, stating that he “absolutely does not deny” knowing that most of the rebels he backed fought alongside ISIS and al-Nusra ~ Steve Chovanec for Mint Press News

In response to Robert Ford’s tweet on Sheikh Nimr, I tweeted Camille Alexandre Otrakji‘s excellent article contesting  Ambassador Ford‘s analysis of the US intervention in Syria.

“The United States has the power to shape narratives around the globe … it has the power to name villains and heroes … it can decide who is on the right side of history and who is not.

Then it can promote the ones that it blessed while building international coalitions to punish the ones it condemned to the wrong side.

Usually it also punishes their people and their countries and sometimes neighboring countries, in the process… collateral damage … the price for freedom …

It is all done is a slick style that the narrative-building machine describes as “Justice” and “protecting the people” or “the price they need to pay to gain their freedom”, rather than the more impulsive or selfish motivators: “teaching them a lesson they won’t forget” or “protecting America’s interests (oil and defense sectors usually).”  ~  excerpt from Camille Otrakji’s article

This article seemed to cause sufficient consternation for Robert Ford to divert me to Direct [private] message on Twitter.  The following is the unedited conversation I had with Ford.

Ford:  Vanessa – rather than put a tweet out to thousands, in answer to your question, I do remember Camille’s long piece. I agreed with some of it. Some of it badly distorted things I had said and misinterpreted American policy and some of it ignored realities on the ground and what the Syrian government does. I wrote him a long response last spring. You can ask him to share it if he wants. I note that he didn’t publish it on his FB page, but that’s his right

Vanessa: Um did you not just tweet to thousands, utterly incorrect statistics from Syria. According to you Assad personally killed 200,000. That is a barefaced lie even by the US Government standards and to state that in conjunction with the heinous execution of Sheikh Nimr without even including his title out of respect for this visionary man of peace and unity and with no reference to the continuing policy of execution both in Saudi Arabia and globally by their Frankenstein monsters that your Government helped create..you are the propagandist sir, Camille’s article is at least well researched. Your statement is a lie, that we have all stopped believing.

You saw the execution of a Saudi Muslim faith leader and opposition speaker against the despotic Saudi regime as an opportunity for propaganda, both against Syria and Iran..shame on you. Where is your respect?

All figures coming out of Syria are skewed by your propagandists on the ground and you know that. Where are the figures on the US Coalition bombing civilian deaths in Syria? Al Bab, Aleppo bombing of civilians covered up by Congress. Where are the figures for the “rebel” mortar victims in Damascus and Homs & across Syria, the “mod reb” suicide bomb attacks across Syria, the “moderate rebel” snipers, the “rebel” hell cannon attacks in Aleppo? When are they ever mentioned by your pet UKFO CIA/Soros propagandists, aka the White Helmets?

Ford:  i take my figures from the syrian network for human rights which has activists inside syria and which documents victims by name. their estimates are lower than the syrian observatory. both have detailed reports on the internet that you can check if you wish. if you have more accurate data than these 2 organizations do, well, let’s see it. and where is your respect for the hundreds of thousands of victims of the assad regime? sheikh nimr was one man. i have a colleague who once met him and said he appeared reasonable. but i also regret more the death of many thousands of civilians. and i make no apologies for that.

Vanessa: If the SNHR is so reliable why has the UN stopped documenting victim figures from Syria because information from on the ground is so unreliable?

I presume, if they record names, you will have all 200, 000 names that you are claiming Assad killed?

Who are the activists supplying this information? Are they part of the agitprop shop set up by Avaaz in 2011 that included that bastion of truth, Danny Abdul Dayem and many other such embarrassing fakers..or the Syria Civil Defence, proven CIA/UKFO backed agents, embedded in Al Nusra and ISIS areas and allied with these terrorist factions against the Syrian people.

I can demonstrate SNHR connections to Governmental agencies with a vested interest in Syria regime change, the SOHR has been universally discredited.

You have failed to answer my question, where are the figures for the casualties of your proxy terrorist armies and gangs in Syria? Where are the figures of the mortar maimed and dead, fired by your “moderate rebels” into civilian areas? Where are your figures of civilians killed by your Coalition bombs or the essential infrastructure destruction by your bombs that ensures the starvation and privation of the Syrian people? Where are your figures for the SAA who make up the majority of the victims of this war on Syria, and they are the Syrian people.

And your comment about Sheikh Nimr is a blatant and woeful example of American exceptionalism..your colleague’s opinion of this courageous leader outweighs that of his tens of thousands of supporters and followers across the world.

I have respect for the Syrian civilians who are losing their lives and enduring the horror inflicted upon them by your terror gangs and “moderate rebels”, I have respect for those raped, crucified, tortured, shelled, bombed and torn apart by these monsters you have unleashed upon Syria. You are right I have, not one iota of respect for one of those terrorist lives lost. Nor should you!

They say silence speaks volumes….

In reality Ford is trying to play ‘neutral’ and a ‘good guy’ but still clinging to the Western script of events which is falling apart at the seams on a daily basis.

History alone will show what an awful debacle this plot against Syria has been.  It will take a few years for the true version of events to be accepted as “consensus reality” but that time will come.

The West took a side, moulded it , embellished it and armed it and it was not the side of the Syrian people.  The “rebels” such as they were did a deal with the Devil and brought the made-in-the-West  Devil to Syria on promises of money, status and a seat at the table of power when the “regime” change was completed. Both are seeing their agendas being dismantled before their eyes and both sides are making fatal mistakes in their propaganda efforts.

This is the neocolonial dance.  Merciless exposure of their fraudulence and disinformation campaign is needed to ensure they stumble into oblivion.

May the soul of the courageous Sheikh Nimr rest in Peace and may his legacy of unity and resistance against oppression live on through all of us.

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The United States’ 20 Wealthiest People

NOVANEWS

The 0.000006%, and Who Pays $300k to Hear Hillary

Global Research
money_roll

The United States’ 20 wealthiest people (The 0.000006 Percent) now own more wealth than the bottom half of the U.S. population combined, a total of 152 million people in 57 million households. The Forbes 400 now own about as much wealth as the nation’s entire African-American population — plus more than a third of the Latino population — combined; more wealth combined than the bottom 61 percent of the U.S. population, an estimated 194 million people or 70 million households.

These stats are from the Middle Ages and also from the Institute for Policy Studies which acknowledges that much wealth is hidden offshore and the reality is likely even worse.

What did those 20 wealthiest, most meritorious

people do to deserve such disgusting riches? The group includes four Wal-Mart heirs, three Mars candy heirs, and two Koch brother heirs. They earned their wealth by being born to wealthy parents, just like some who want to work for them, such as Donald Trump. One politician is actually one of them: Michael Bloomberg.

These individuals could fund a total shift to clean energy or end starvation on earth or eradicate diseases. That they choose not to is murderous and shameful. It’s not their sacred right. It’s not cute. And it’s not funny when one of them pretends to give his money away by giving it to himself.

The 0.000006 Percent has a tight grip on the media as well, with Jeff Bezos owning the Washington Post and Amazon, Sheldon Adelson buying newspapers, Mark Zuckerberg owning Facebook, Larry Page and Sergey Brin with Google, Warren Buffet owning whole chains of newspapers, and again Bloomberg with Bloomberg News.

In the first phase of the 2016 Presidential election cycle, according to the New York Times, 158 wealthy donors provided half of all campaign contributions, 138 of them backing Republicans, 20 backing Democrats. No candidate can easily compete without huge amounts of money. And if you get it from small donors, as Bernie Sanders has done the most of, you’ll be largely shut out of free media coverage, and belittled in the bit of coverage you’re granted. The media coverage, the debate questions, and the topics discussed are determined by the interests of the wealthy in this national oligarchy.

Then there’s the corrupt foundation money and speaking fees flowing into the Clinton family from wealthy sources in the U.S. and abroad. While most Americans are unable to sit through a full presidential debate, Wall Street, Big Pharma, and corporate technology interests have shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars supposedly just to hear Hillary or Bill Clinton speak.

According to a new report by Consortium News, Hillary Clinton took in $11.8 million in 51 speaking fees between January 2014 to May 2015. Bill Clinton delivered 53 paid speeches to bring in $13.3 million during that same period. That’s over $25 million total, largely if not entirely from wealthy parties with a strong interest in influencing U.S. government policy.

This system of rewarding former politicians is one of the great corrupting forces in Washington, DC, but the revolving door that brings such politicians back into power makes it many times worse.

According to the Washington Post, since 1974 the Clintons have raised at least $3 billion, including at least $69 million just from the employees and PACs of banks, insurance companies, and securities and investment firms.

According to the International Business Times, the Clintons’ foundation took in money from foreign nations while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, nations such as Saudi Arabia for which she then waived restrictions on U.S. weapons sales. (Also on that list: Algeria, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Qatar.) I brought this up on a recent television program, and one of the other guests protested that I was not, at that moment, criticizing Donald Trump. But, even if we assume Trump is the worst person on earth, what has he done that is worse than taking a bribe to supply Saudi Arabia with the weapons that have since been used to slaughter children in Yemen? And what does Trump have to do with bribery? He’s self-corrupted. He’s in the race because of the financial barrier keeping decent people out. But he hasn’t been bribed to act like a fascist.

The Wall Street Journal reports that during the same period, Bill Clinton was bringing in big speaking fees from companies, groups, and a foreign government with interests in influencing the U.S. State Department. Eight-digit donors to the Clintons’ foundations include Saudi Arabia and Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk. Seven digit donors include: Kuwait, Exxon Mobil, Friends of Saudi Arabia, James Murdoch (son of Rupert), Qatar, Boeing, Dow, Goldman Sachs, Wal-Mart and the United Arab Emirates. Those chipping in at least half a million include Bank of America, Chevron, Monsanto, Citigroup, and the Soros Foundation. And they don’t even get a speech!

Sign this petition:

We urge the Clintons to clear their corrupted image by donating their $25 million in recent lecture fees to organizations legitimately working for campaign finance reform, Wall Street reform, environmental protection, and peace.

Watch this video.

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The Wall Street Skew of the Saudi/Irani Rift

NOVANEWS

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Bloomberg News: “The rivalry dates back to Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini accused Saudi rulers of corruption and argued that the holy sites of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia shouldn’t be under a single country’s guardianship. Saudi Arabia then backed Iraq in its eight-year war with Iran.”  (Saudi Feud With Iran Risks Fueling Unrest Across Middle East)

Editor CEC responds:  I hope readers have noticed that mainline media has suddenly legitimized Saudi Arabia’s mass pubic beheadings by calling the ritual murders of 47 political dissidents “executions”.  The latter is not a friendly word, but most countries do it; don’t we?  In the past the media has correctly referred to these public acts as “beheadings”.  After a public display, the Saudis usually dump the bodies in unmarked graves to further insult the families.

ISIS-04

The mainline media has now acted on cue en masse, signaling a shift of US led, war-making, regime changing policy.  Seemingly without being told that the word “beheading” is no longer to be applied to Saudi Arabia, only to ISIS.  Religious beheadings connect the two at the hip.  On January 3, Wikipedia reported: “Al-Nimr was executed on or shortly before 2 January 2016, along with 46 others. The Saudi government said the body would not be handed over to the family” and were said to be buried secretly. In 2015, the number of beheadings reached a two decade high of “at least” 157, and “47 were executed on 2 January 2016.”  But Saudi announcements have omit any  mention of how the 47 died, simply “executed.”

The regime change propagandists are very much aware that the alternate media on the internet has caught on to the non-coincidence that only ISIS and Saudi Arabia publicly behead their enemies in order to terrorize those not yet accused of crimes against the state.  Please read the Bloomberg story critically, then consider this:  Saudi Arabia had deliberately provoked and insulted its bigger but less well-armed neighbor by violently murdering Islamic leaders, and then declaring de facto war on Iran after public (not governmental) protest damaged the Saudi Embassy.  Thus the Saudis are furthering the US undeclared proxy war against Iran.

The US Unelected Supra Government (USUSG) coaches and finances regime change in Syria, which is run by its Saudi’s proxy, ISIS.  The latest of many clues is that the mainline media, including Bloomberg News, is trying to legitimize another brutal act of Saudi ritual terror, “beheaded” by changing that word to “executed”.  ISIS and Saudi Arabia both behead their victims, religiously they are one and the same.  President Assad of Syria tried to tell the American public this on the Charlie Rose show months ago.

Let’s get the team players straight, for they do not help us by putting on contrasting jerseys!  USUSG coaches the attack against independent Muslim oil-producing states (“regimes”) in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Sudan.  Its power players are Saudi Arabia, a very quiet Israel, and the recent sell-out opportunist governments of Turkey and Egypt.  The UK is its bench, and the European Union is in the stands, cheering now and then, and just trying to survive.

Opposing the regime change juggernaut are the victim states and Russia. They all have lots of oil wealth but little in the way of firepower compared to team USA.  In their cheering section we find the quiet, business-minded Eastern bloc, led by China, and the frightened, undeveloped BRICS countries.  Their population and economic power is real, but they can not afford western style war.

The rest of the equation, the balance of power, is up to you the readers.  Will Americans ever rein in their own USUSG in the interest of preserving the lives of tens of millions in the Middle East and beyond?  Will we, in the process of saving them, reclaim our own system from US Unelected Supra Gov (USUSG) controlled, planned chaos?  WHTT.ORG has long held that the answer lies in churches, where America’s anesthetized political power meets to ingest benign melatonin, and peacefully slumber while the flames of the burning world lick at our economic doorstep…noticed, but ignored.  They are deceived by simple tricks of media manipulation, including “execution” instead of “beheading”.

Posted in Iran, Saudi Arabia1 Comment

A year of reckoning: Police fatally shoot nearly 1,000

NOVANEWS

Miami Beach police shot and killed a robbery suspect Saturday.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/investigative/2015/12/26/a-year-of-reckoning-police…

Nearly a thousand times this year, an American police officer has shot and killed a civilian. In a year-long study, The Washington Post found that … the great majority of people who died at the hands of the police fit at least one of three categories: they were wielding weapons, they were suicidal or mentally troubled, or they ran when officers told them to halt. Although black men make up only 6 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 40 percent of the unarmed men shot to death by police this year. The FBI is charged with keeping statistics on such shootings.

Fewer than half of the nation’s 18,000 police departments report their incidents to the agency. The Post documented well more than twice as many fatal shootings this year as the average annual tally reported by the FBI over the past decade.

The research also noted whether victims were mentally ill or experiencing an emotional crisis. Officers fatally shot at least 243 people with mental health problems: 75 who were explicitly suicidal and 168 for whom police or family members confirmed a history of mental illness. Most of them died at the hands of police officers who had not been trained to deal with the mentally ill. An average of five officers per year have been indicted on felony charges over the previous decade; this year, 18 officers have been charged with felonies. Such accusations rarely stick, however.

Note: A similar project run by The Guardian called The Counted tracks police killings by all methods – not just shootings – and had noted 1117 such deaths in 2015 as the above story went to press. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.

 

Posted in USA, Human RightsComments Off on A year of reckoning: Police fatally shoot nearly 1,000

Spying on Congress and I$raHell: NSA Cheerleaders Discover Value of Privacy Only When Their Own Is Violated

NOVANEWS


https://theintercept.com/2015/12/30/spying-on-congress-and-israel-nsa-cheerleaders...

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the NSA under President Obama targeted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his top aides for surveillance. In the process, the agency ended up eavesdropping on … U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish groups. People who spent many years cheering for and defending … programs of mass surveillance are suddenly indignant now that they know the eavesdropping included them.

Long-time GOP chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and unyielding NSA defender Pete Hoekstra last night was truly indignant: “WSJ report that NSA spied on Congress and Israel communications very disturbing. Actually outrageous. Maybe unprecedented abuse of power … NSA and Obama officials need to be investigated and prosecuted. NSA loses all credibility. Scary.” This pattern – whereby political officials who are vehement supporters of the Surveillance State transform overnight into crusading privacy advocates once they learn that they themselves have been spied on – is one that has repeated itself over and over. So now, with yesterday’s WSJ report, we witness the tawdry spectacle of large numbers of people who for years were fine with, responsible for, and even giddy about NSA mass surveillance suddenly objecting. Overnight, privacy is of the highest value because now it’s their privacy, rather than just yours, that is invaded.

Note: Read the full Wall Street Journal article on how the US government is secretly spying on Israeli leaders and more. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.

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U.S. Foreign Arms Deals Increased Nearly $10 Billion in 2014

NOVANEWS

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/26/world/middleeast/us-foreign-arms-deals-increased...

Foreign arms sales by the United States jumped by almost $10 billion in 2014, about 35 percent, even as the global weapons market remained flat and competition among suppliers increased, a new congressional study has found. American weapons receipts rose to $36.2 billion in 2014 from $26.7 billion the year before, bolstered by multibillion-dollar agreements with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. The United States remained the single largest provider of arms around the world last year, controlling just over 50 percent of the market.

Russia followed the United States as the top weapons supplier, completing $10.2 billion in sales, compared with $10.3 billion in 2013. Sweden was third, with roughly $5.5 billion in sales, followed by France with $4.4 billion and China with $2.2 billion. South Korea … was the world’s top weapons buyer in 2014, completing $7.8 billion in contracts. Iraq followed South Korea, with $7.3 billion in purchases. Some arms producers have adopted measures like flexible financing, counter-trade guarantees and coproduction and co-assembly agreements to try to secure sales. Given its positioning, the United States was likely to remain the dominant supplier of arms to developing nations in coming years. As in previous years, the vast majority of arms were supplied by large, established countries to developing ones, which made $61.8 billion in total purchases in 2014.

Note: This annual report is among the most detailed nonclassified international arms sales data available to the public. Watch this video which shows how the US and its allies stoke war in order to pad the pockets of mega-corporations which profit greatly from arms sales. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.

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