Archive | June 2nd, 2017

Counter-Propaganda, Toward A New Anti-War Movement ”Video” 

The US has embarked on a military adventure, “a long war”, which threatens the future of humanity. US-NATO weapons of mass destruction are portrayed as instruments of peace. Mini-nukes are said to be “harmless to the surrounding civilian population”. Pre-emptive nuclear war is portrayed as a “humanitarian undertaking. 

Breaking the “big lie”, which upholds war as a humanitarian undertaking, means breaking a criminal project of global destruction, in which the quest for profit is the overriding force. This profit-driven military agenda destroys human values and transforms people into unconscious zombies.”. (Michel Chossudovsky) 

In the face of economic and political crises and in the shadow of nuclear annihilation, the anti-war movement has evaporated.

Now Professor Michel Chossudovsky of the Centre for Research on Globalization is calling for a new movement of counter-propaganda and activism to delegitimise the lies that prop up the military-industrial complex.

This is the Feature Interview on GRTV, with your host James Corbett and our special guest, Michel Chossudovsky.


 

WW III has been contemplated by the U.S. and its allies for well over ten years as revealed in Michel Chossudovsky’s 2012 best-seller:  “Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War

click book cover image to order directly from Global Research

Nuclear war has become a multi-billion dollar undertaking, which fills the pockets of US defense contractors. What is at stake is the outright “privatization of nuclear war”.

The Pentagon’s global military design is one of world conquest. The military deployment of US-NATO forces is occurring in several regions of the world simultaneously.

Central to an understanding of war, is the media campaign which grants it legitimacy in the eyes of public opinion. A good versus evil dichotomy prevails. The perpetrators of war are presented as the victims. Public opinion is misled.

The object of this book is to forcefully reverse the tide of war, challenge the war criminals in high office and the powerful corporate lobby groups which support them. 

Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear Warby Michel Chossudovsky

Available to order from Global Research! 

ISBN Number: 978-0-9737147-5-3  |  Year: 2012  |  Pages: 102 Print Edition: $10.25 (+ shipping and handling) PDF Edition:  $6.50 (sent directly to your email account!)

Michel Chossudovsky is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), which hosts the critically acclaimed website www.globalresearch.ca . He is a contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica. His writings have been translated into more than 20 languages.

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Reviews

“This book is a ‘must’ resource – a richly documented and systematic diagnosis of the supremely pathological geo-strategic planning of US wars since ‘9-11’ against non-nuclear countries to seize their oil fields and resources under cover of ‘freedom and democracy’.” John McMurtry, Professor of Philosophy, Guelph University

“Professor Chossudovsky’s hard-hitting and compelling book explains why and how we must immediately undertake a concerted and committed campaign to head off this impending cataclysmic demise of the human race and planet earth. This book is required reading for everyone in the peace movement around the world.” Francis A. Boyle, Professor of International Law, University of Illinois College of Law

“In a world where engineered, pre-emptive, or more fashionably “humanitarian” wars of aggression have become the norm, this challenging book may be our final wake-up call.” -Denis Halliday, Former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations

Michel Chossudovsky exposes the insanity of our privatized war machine. Iran is being targeted with nuclear weapons as part of a war agenda built on distortions and lies for the purpose of private profit. The real aims are oil, financial hegemony and global control. The price could be nuclear holocaust. When weapons become the hottest export of the world’s only superpower, and diplomats work as salesmen for the defense industry, the whole world is recklessly endangered. If we must have a military, it belongs entirely in the public sector. No one should profit from mass death and destruction. Ellen Brown, author of ‘Web of Debt’ and president of the Public Banking Institute   

Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear Warby Michel ChossudovskyAvailable to order from Global Research!  ISBN Number: 978-0-9737147-5-3  |  Year: 2012  |  Pages: 102 Print Edition: $10.25 (+ shipping and handling) PDF Edition:  $6.50 (sent directly to your email account!)

Posted in USA, EuropeComments Off on Counter-Propaganda, Toward A New Anti-War Movement ”Video” 

War, Martial Law, and the Economic Crisis

NOVANEWS
Excerpt from “The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century”

The following text is an excerpt of a chapter by Peter Dale Scott from the book, The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century“ Global Research Publishers, 2010. 

The U.S. Treasury’s Financial Bailout

The bailout measures of late 2008 may have consequences at least as grave for an open society as the response to 9/11 in 2001. Many members of Congress felt coerced at the time into voting against their inclinations, and the normal procedures for orderly consideration of a bill were dispensed with.

The excuse for bypassing normal legislative procedures was the existence of an emergency. But one of the most reprehensible features of the legislation, that allowed Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to permit bailed-out institutions to use public money for exorbitant salaries and bonuses, was inserted by Paulson after the immediate crisis had passed.

According to Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vermont) the bailout bill originally called for a cap on executive salaries, but Paulson changed the requirement at the last minute. Welch and other members of Congress were enraged by “news that banks getting taxpayer-funded bailouts are still paying exorbitant salaries, bonuses, and other benefits.”[1] In addition, as the Associated Press reported in October 2008, “Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. questioned allowing banks that accept bailout bucks to continue paying dividends on their common stock. ‘There are far better uses of taxpayer dollars than continuing dividend payments to shareholders,’ he said.”[2]

Even more reprehensible is the fact that after the bailouts, Paulson and the Treasury Department refused to provide details of the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) spending of hundreds of billions of dollars, while the New York Federal Reserve refused to provide information about its own bailout (using government-backed loans) that amounted to trillions. This lack of transparency was challenged by Fox TV in a FOIA suit against the Treasury Department, and a suit by Bloomberg News against the Fed.[3]

The financial bailout legislation of September 2008 was only passed after members of both Congressional houses were warned that failure to act would threaten civil unrest and the imposition of martial law.

U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., and U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., both said U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson brought up a worst-case scenario as he pushed for the Wall Street bailout in September. Paulson, former Goldman Sachs CEO, said that might even require a declaration of martial law, the two noted.[4]

Here are the original remarks by Senator Inhofe:

Speaking on Tulsa Oklahoma’s 1170 KFAQ, when asked who was behind threats of martial law and civil unrest if the bailout bill failed, Senator James Inhofe named Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson as the source. “Somebody in D.C. was feeding you guys quite a story prior to the bailout, a story that if we didn’t do this we were going to see something on the scale of the depression, there were people talking about martial law being instituted, civil unrest… who was feeding you guys this stuff?,” asked host Pat Campbell. “That’s Henry Paulson,” responded Inhofe. “We had a conference call early on, it was on a Friday I think – a week and half before the vote on Oct. 1. So it would have been the middle… what was it – the 19th of September, we had a conference call. In this conference call – and I guess there’s no reason for me not to repeat what he said, but he said – he painted this picture you just described. He said, ‘This is serious. This is the most serious thing that we faced.’”[5]

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA 27th District) reported the same threat on the Congressional floor:

The only way they can pass this bill is by creating a panic atmosphere… Many of us were told that the sky would fall… A few of us were even told that there would be martial law in America if we voted no. That’s what I call fear-mongering, unjustified, proven wrong.[6]

So it is clear that threats of martial law were used to get this reprehensible bailout legislation passed. It also seems clear that Congress was told of a threat of martial law, not itself threatened. It is still entirely appropriate to link such talk to the Army’s rapid moves at the time to redefine its role as one of controlling the American people, not just protecting them. In a constitutional polity based on balance of powers, we have seen the emergence of a radical new military power that is as yet completely unbalanced.


The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century

Author Name: Michel Chossudovsky and Andrew Gavin Marshall, EditorsISBN Number: 978-0-9737147-3-9
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Continuity of Operations (COOP)

The Army’s New Role in 2001: Not Protecting American Society, but Controlling It. This new role for the Army is not wholly unprecedented. The U.S. military had been training troops and police in “civil disturbance planning” for the last three decades. The master plan, Department of Defense Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2, or “Operation Garden Plot,” was developed in 1968 in response to the major protests and disturbances of the 1960s.

But on January 19, 2001, on the last day of the Clinton administration, the U.S. Army promulgated a new and permanent Continuity of Operations (COOP) Program. It encapsulated its difference from the preceding, externally oriented Army Survival, Recovery, and Reconstitution System (ASRRS) as follows:

a. In 1985, the Chief of Staff of the Army established the Army Survival, Recovery, and Reconstitution System (ASRRS) to ensure the continuity of essential Army missions and functions.

ASRRS doctrine was focused primarily on a response to the worst case 1980’s threat of a massive nuclear laydown on CONUS as a result of a confrontation with the Soviet Union.

b. The end of the Cold War and the breakup of the former Soviet Union significantly reduced the probability of a major nuclear attack on CONUS but the probability of other threats has increased. Army organizations must be prepared for any contingency with a potential for interruption of normal operations.

To emphasize that Army continuity of operations planning is now focused on the full all-hazards threat spectrum, the name “ASRRS” has been replaced by the more generic title “Continuity of Operations (COOP) Program.[7]

This document embodied the secret Continuity of Government (COG) planning conducted secretly by Rumsfeld, Cheney and others through the 1980s and 1990s.[8] This planning was initially for continuity measures in the event of a nuclear attack, but soon called for suspension of the Constitution, not just “after a nuclear war” but for any “national security emergency”. This was defined in Reagan’s Executive Order 12656 of November 18, 1988, as “any occurrence, including natural disaster, military attack, technological emergency, or other emergency, that seriously degrades or seriously threatens the national security of the United States.” The effect was to impose on domestic civil society the extreme measures once planned for a response to a nuclear attack from abroad.[9] In like fashion, ARR 500-3 Regulation clarified that it was a plan for “the execution of mission-essential functions without unacceptable interruption during a national security or domestic emergency.”

Donald Rumsfeld, who as a private citizen had helped author the COG planning, promptly signed and implemented the revised ARR 500-3. Eight months later, on 9/11, Cheney and Rumsfeld implemented COG, a significant event of which we still know next to nothing.[10] What we do know is that plans began almost immediately – as foreseen by COG planning the 1980s – to implement warrantless surveillance and detention of large numbers of civilians, and that in January 2002 the Pentagon submitted a proposal for deploying troops on American streets.[11]

Then in April 2002, Defense officials implemented a plan for domestic U.S. military operations by creating a new U.S. Northern Command (CINC-USNORTHCOM) for the continental United States.[12] In short, what were being implemented were the most prominent features of the COG planning which Oliver North had worked on in the 1980s.

“Deep Events” and Changes of Party in the White House

Like so many other significant steps since World War Two towards a military-industrial state, the Army’s Regulation 500-3 surfaced in the last days of a departing administration (in this case the very last day). It is worth noticing that, ever since the 1950s, dubious events – of the unpublic variety I have called deep events – have marked the last months before a change of party in the White House. These deep events have tended to a) constrain the incoming president, if he is a Democrat or, alternatively, b) to pave the way for the incomer, if he is a Republican.

Consider, in the first category, the following (when a Republican was succeeded by a Democrat):

– In December 1960 the CIA secured approval for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, and escalated events in Laos into a crisis for which the Joint Chiefs proposed sending 60 000 troops. These events profoundly affected President Kennedy’s posture towards Cuba and Indochina.

– In 1976 CIA Director George H.W. Bush installed an outside Team B intelligence unit to enlarge drastically estimates of the Soviet threat to the United States, eventually frustrating and reversing presidential candidate Jimmy Carter’s campaign pledge to cut the U.S. defense budget.[13]

Equally important were events in the second category (when a Democrat was succeeded by a Republican):

– In late 1968 Kissinger, while advising the Johnson administration, gave secret information to the Nixon campaign that helped Nixon to obstruct the peace agreement in Vietnam that was about to be negotiated at the peace talks then taking place in Paris. (According to Seymour Hersh, “The Nixon campaign, alerted by Kissinger to the impending success of the peace talks, was able to get a series of messages to the Thieu government” in Saigon, making it clear that a Nixon presidency would offer a better deal. This was a major factor in securing the defeat of Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey.[14] Kissinger was not the kind of person to have betrayed his president on his own personal initiative. At the time Nixon’s campaign manager, John Mitchell (one of the very few in on the secret), told Hersh, “I thought Henry [Kissinger] was doing it because Nelson [Rockefeller] wanted him to. Nelson asked Henry to help and he did.”[15]

– In 1980 the so-called October Surprise, with the help of people inside the CIA, helped ensure that the Americans held hostage in Iran would not be returned before the inauguration of Reagan. This was a major factor in securing the defeat of incumbent Jimmy Carter.[16] Once again, the influence of the Rockefellers can be discerned. A CIA officer later reported hearing Joseph V. Reed, an aide to David Rockefeller, comment in 1981 to William Casey, the newly installed CIA Director, about their joint success in disrupting Carter’s plans to bring home the hostages.[17]

Both the financial bailout, extorted from Congress and the escalated preparations for martial law can be seen as transitional events of the first category. Whatever the explanations for their timing, they constrained Obama’s freedom to make his own policies. Moreover they have the consequence of easing this country into unforeseen escalations of the Afghan war.


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The Intensive Quiet Preparations for Martial Law

Let us deal first with the preparations for martial law. In late September 2008, at the height of the financial meltdown, The Army Times announced the redeployment of an active Brigade Army Team from Iraq to America, in a new mission that “may become a permanent part of the active Army”:

The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.

Now they’re training for the same mission – with a twist – at home.

Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks… After 1st BCT finishes its dwell-time mission, expectations are that another, as yet unnamed, active-duty brigade will take over and that the mission will be a permanent one… They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control.[18]

This announcement followed by two weeks the talk of civil unrest and martial law that was used to panic the Congress into passing Paulson’s bailout legislation. Not only that, the two unprecedented events mirror each other: the bailout debate anticipated civil unrest and martial law, while the announced positioning of an active Brigade Combat Team on U.S. soil anticipated civil unrest (such as might result from the bailout legislation).

Then on December 17, 2008, U.S. Northern Command chief General Renuart announced that “the US military plans to mobilize thousands of troops to protect Washington against potential terrorist attack during the inauguration of president-elect Barack Obama.”[19]

The U.S. Army War College also raised the possibility of the U.S. Army being used to control civil unrest, according to the Phoenix Business Journal:

A new report by the U.S. Army War College talks about the possibility of Pentagon resources and troops being used should the economic crisis lead to civil unrest, such as protests against businesses and government or runs on beleaguered banks.

“Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security,” said the War College report.

The study says economic collapse, terrorism and loss of legal order are among possible domestic shocks that might require military action within the U.S.[20]

It is clear that there has been a sustained move in the direction of martial law preparations, a trend that has been as continuous as it has been unheralded. Senator Leahy was thus right to draw our attention to it on September 29, 2006, in his objections to the final form of the Fiscal Year 2007 National Defense Authorization Act, which gave the president increased power to call up the National Guard for law enforcement:

It… should concern us all that the Conference agreement includes language that subverts solid, longstanding Posse Comitatus statutes that limit the military’s involvement in law enforcement, thereby making it easier for the President to declare martial law. There is good reason for the constructive friction in existing law when it comes to martial law declarations.[21]

This quiet agglomeration of military power has not “just growed”, like Topsy, through inadvertence. It shows sustained intention, even if no one has made a public case for it.


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NOTES

1. WCAX, Burlington, Vermont, http://www.wcax.com/Global/story.asp?S= 9567271, 22 December 2008; Cf. CNBC, http://www.cnbc.com/id/27423117, 30 October 2008: ” ‘You can get paid $30 million under this program’, says Michael Kesner, who heads Deloitte Consulting executive compensation practice, ‘There’s no limit on what you can get paid.’ “
2. John Dunbar, AP, http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/081025/meltdown_evolving_bailout.html, 25 October 2007.
3. David Hirst, “Fox Joins Battle cry for Details of US Bail-out”, BusinessDay, http://www.businessday.com.au/business/fox-joins-battle-cry-for-details-of-us-bailout-20081223-74eh.html?page=-1, 24 December 2008.
4. Mike Sunnucks, “Ariz. Police say they are Prepared as War College warns Military must prep for Unrest; IMF warns of Economic Riots”, Phoenix Business Journal, http://phoenix.bizjournals.com/phoenix/stories/2008/12/15/daily34.html, 17 December 2008.
5. 1170 KFAQ, “Paulson Was Behind Bailout Martial Law Threat”, Blacklisted News, http://www.blacklistednews.com/news-2367-0-13-13–.html, 23 November 2008.
6. Rep. Brad Sherman, in the House, 8:07 EST PM, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaG9d_4zij8&NR=1, 2 October 2008; Rep. Sherman later issued the following clarification: “I have no reason to think that any of the leaders in Congress who were involved in negotiating with the Bush Administration regarding the bailout bill ever mentioned the possibility of martial law – again, that was just an example of extreme and deliberately hyperbolic comments being passed around by members not directly involved in the negotiations.” See Rep. Sherman, Alex Jones Show, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bH1mO8qhCs.
7. Army Regulation 500-3, “Emergency Employment of Army and Other Resources”, Army Continuity Of Operations (COOP) Program, http://www.wikileaks.org/leak/us-army-reg-500-3-continuity-2001.pdf, emphasis added; Tom Burghardt, “Militarizing the ‘Homeland’ in Response to the Economic and Political Crisis: NORTHCOM’s Joint Task Force-Civil Support”, Global Research, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10534, 11 October 2008.
8. Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America, Berkeley and Los Angeles, University of California Press, 2007, p. 183-87; James Mann, The Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet, New York, Viking, 2004, p. 138-45.
9. Peter Dale Scott, Road to 9/11, op. cit., p. 183-87.
10. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, 9/11 Commission Report, p. 38, 326; 555, footnote 9; Peter Dale Scott, Road to 9/11, op. cit., p. 228-30.
11. Ritt Goldstein, “Foundations are in Place for Martial Law in the US”, Sydney Morning Herald, http://www.smh.com.au/articles/ 2002/07/27/10274974183 39.html, 27 July 2002.
12. Peter Dale Scott, Road to 9/11, op. cit., p. 240-41.
13. Ibid., p. 60-61.
14. Robert Parry, “Henry Kissinger, Eminence Noire”, ConsortiumNews, http://www.consortiumnews.com/2008/122808.html, 28 December 2008: “Kissinger… – while serving as a peace-talk adviser to the Johnson administration – made obstruction of the peace talks possible by secretly contacting people working for Nixon, according to Seymour Hersh’s 1983 book, The Price of Power”, p. 21.
15. Seymour Hersh, The Price of Power, 1983, p. 18; Jim Hougan, Spooks: The Haunting of America, New York, William Morrow, 1978, p. 435: “Kissinger, married to a former Rockefeller aide, owner of a Georgetown mansion whose purchase was enabled only by Rockefeller gifts and loans, was always the protégé of his patron, Nelson R[ockefeller], even when he wasn’t directly employed by him.”
16. Peter Dale Scott, Road to 9/11, op. cit., p. 93-118.
17. Ibid. p. 82-87, 91, 104-05.
18. Gina Cavallaro, “Brigade Homeland Tours Start Oct. 1”, Army Times, http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/09/army_homeland _090708w/, 30 September 2008; Michel Chossudovsky, “Pre-election Militarization of the North American Homeland, US Combat Troops in Iraq Repatriated to ‘Help with Civil Unrest’”, Global Research, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php? context= va&aid=10341, 26 September 2008.
19. AFP, Agence France-Presse, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iTBOy3JF8pVAthIthq8C1NrMf4Cg, 17 De- cember 2008.
20. Mike Sunnucks, “Ariz. Police say they are Prepared as War College warns Military must prep for Unrest; IMF warns of Economic Riots”, Phoenix Business Journal, http://phoenix.bizjournals.com/phoenix/stories/2008/12/ 15/daily34.html, 17 December 2008.
21. Remarks Of Sen. Patrick Leahy, “National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2007 Conference Report”, Congressional Record, http://leahy.senate.gov/press/200609/092906b.html, 29 September 2006.

Posted in USA, PoliticsComments Off on War, Martial Law, and the Economic Crisis

Islamic State in Asia: Saudi-Funding and Naive Policymakers Endanger Region

Recently, terrorist attacks have unfolded across Indonesia, a militant network disrupted along the Thai-Malaysian border and full-scale military operations including aerial bombing deployed as Philippine troops fought to take back Marawi City on the southern island of Mindanao, all linked or affiliated with the Islamic State.

A dangerously deceptive narrative is being crafted by US and European media organisations, the same sort of narrative that was used to conceal the true source of the Islamic State’s fighting capacity across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region beginning as early as 2011.

The New York Times, for example, in an article titled,In Indonesia and Philippines, Militants Find a Common Bond: ISIS,” claims:

An eruption of violence in the southern Philippines and suicide bombings in Indonesia this week highlight the growing threat posed by militant backers of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia. 

While the timing of the Jakarta bombings and the fighting on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao appears to be coincidental, experts on terrorism have been warning for months that the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has provided a new basis for cooperation among extremists in the region.

However, back in reality, the Islamic State is no different than any other military force. Its members require food, water and shelter daily. They require weapons and ammunition. They require uniforms. They need transportation, which in turn requires fuel, maintenance personnel and spare parts. And most important of all, the Islamic State requires a steady stream of recruits made possible only through organised education and indoctrination.

For the scale the Islamic State is doing this on, stretching across MENA and now reaching into Southeast Asia, confounding the response of not just individual nation-states but entire blocs of nations attempting to confront this growing threat, it is abundantly clear the Islamic State is not fulfilling these prerequisites on its own.

Its doing this all through state sponsorship, a reality rarely mentioned by the New York Times, Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, CNN, the BBC and others. Those acquiring their worldview through these media organisations are setting themselves up and those depending on their analysis for tragic failure.

Education and Indoctrination: Who is Feeding the Fire?  

The ranks of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia are being filled by a regional network of extremist indoctrination conducted in institutions posing as Islamic boarding schools known as madrasas. Those institutions indoctrinating local populations with notions of extremism and inspiring them to take up violence and terrorism share a common denominator; Saudi funding.

Former US President Barack Obama with Saudi King Salman (Source: New Eastern Outlook)

Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Technology and National Security Policy at the National Defense University, Yousaf Butt, in a Huffington Post article titled,How Saudi Wahhabism Is the Fountainhead of Islamist Terrorism,”  would put Saudi funding of such extremist networks into perspective, stating:

It would be troublesome but perhaps acceptable for the House of Saud to promote the intolerant and extremist Wahhabi creed just domestically. But, unfortunately, for decades the Saudis have also lavishly financed its propagation abroad. Exact numbers are not known, but it is thought that more than $100 billion have been spent on exporting fanatical Wahhabism to various much poorer Muslim nations worldwide over the past three decades. It might well be twice that number. By comparison, the Soviets spent about $7 billion spreading communism worldwide in the 70 years from 1921 and 1991.

The article also lays out the cause and effect between Saudi funding and the predictable terrorism, violence and instability that follows. Yousaf Butt concludes by aptly stating:

The House of Saud works against the best interests of the West and the Muslim world. Muslim communities worldwide certainly need to eradicate fanatical Wahhabism from their midst, but this will be difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish if the West continues its support of the House of Saud. The monarchy must be modernized and modified — or simply uprooted and replaced. The House of Saud needs a thorough house cleaning.

The United States under the administration of President Donald Trump just sealed a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, following tens of billions of dollars of weapon deals under the previous administration of President Barack Obama, and in turn following a pattern of decades of military, political and economic support for the Persian Gulf state. Western support for the House of Saud appears to be fully intact and in no danger of changing any time soon.

US President Donald Trump in Saudi Arabia, May 2017 (Source: New Eastern Outlook)

The direct connection between terrorism ranging from Al Qaeda to the Islamic State and Saudi-funded indoctrination is clear. Yet US and European media organisations attempt to muddle the issue with unwarranted ambiguity.

New York Times articles like, Saudis and Extremism: ‘Both the Arsonists and the Firefighters’,”  go as far as stating:

Over the next four decades, in non-Muslim-majority countries alone, Saudi Arabia would build 1,359 mosques, 210 Islamic centers, 202 colleges and 2,000 schools. Saudi money helped finance 16 American mosques; four in Canada; and others in London, Madrid, Brussels and Geneva, according to a report in an official Saudi weekly, Ain al-Yaqeen. The total spending, including supplying or training imams and teachers, was “many billions” of Saudi riyals (at a rate of about four to a dollar), the report said.

And continues by stating:

That is the disputed question, of course: how the world would be different without decades of Saudi-funded shaping of Islam. Though there is a widespread belief that Saudi influence has contributed to the growth of terrorism, it is rare to find a direct case of cause and effect. For example, in Brussels, the Grand Mosque was built with Saudi money and staffed with Saudi imams. In 2012, according to Saudi diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, one Saudi preacher was removed after Belgian complaints that he was a “true Salafi” who did not accept other schools of Islam. And Brussels’ immigrant neighborhoods, notably Molenbeek, have long been the home of storefront mosques teaching hard-line Salafi views. 

After the terrorist attacks in Paris in November and in Brussels in March were tied to an Islamic State cell in Belgium, the Saudi history was the subject of several news media reports. Yet it was difficult to find any direct link between the bombers and the Saudi legacy in the Belgian capital.

Yet commonsense, when applied, takes into consideration the substantial intelligence networks and police states that exist across the European Union’s various members and the fact that in the aftermath of most recent terrorist attacks it is revealed that security services across Europe often had foreknowledge of suspects, their criminal backgrounds and activities as well as their ties to extremism both within their own communities in Europe and abroad upon battlefields in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya.

It is well within the means of US and European intelligence and security agencies to establish a direct link between terrorism and Saudi funding. What is lacking is the political will to do so.

A Global Expeditionary Force That Goes Where Western Troops Cannot

It is clear that despite the New York Times attempting to make a connection between Saudi-funded indoctrination at mosques and madrasas and terrorism as ambiguous as possible, Saudi funding is the primary factor driving extremism and filling the ranks of terrorist organisations like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Coupled with covert, indirect and direct military support when these extremists reach various battlefields around the world, Saudi-funded extremism represents what is essentially a mercenary expeditionary force, auxiliaries used in pursuit of modern day empire.

As witnessed in Libya and Syria, the purpose behind the United States and Europe supporting Saudi Arabia and turning an intentional blind-eye to its global network of extremist indoctrination and the terrorist organisations these networks feed into, is targeting and overthrowing governments the United States and Europe are incapable of overthrowing directly with military force.

Source: New Eastern Outlook

Saudi-funded indoctrination filling the ranks of this virtual global mercenary force, can be used as a tool for regime change. Saudi-funded extremists were instrumental in overthrowing the Libyan government in 2011, and have led the fight to oust the Syrian government.

Saudi-funded indoctrination can also be a useful tool of geopolitical coercion, opening up opportunities for the US to sell a greater military presence in any given country targeted by Saudi-funded extremism.

In fact, the New York Times’ recent article, In Indonesia and Philippines, Militants Find a Common Bond: ISIS,” hints as just such a motive in the Philippines, claiming:

Since the early 2000s, the United States has stationed military advisers in the southern Philippines to aid in the fight against Abu Sayyaf and other Islamic extremists. 

Richard Javad Heydarian, a political science professor at De La Salle University in Manila, said that Mr. Duterte was under mounting pressure to address the crisis in his home island, Mindanao, and that he may need further assistance from Washington.

During a period when the Philippines finds itself pivoting away from the United States and toward Beijing and other regional allies, needing “further assistance from Washington” is a circumstance too convenient to be coincidental.

Considering how the US has used Saudi-funded extremism it has enabled elsewhere, there is need for concern not only in the Philippines, but across all of Asia regarding the Islamic State’s “sudden interest” in the region.

Asian Policymakers Only As Good As Their Sources 

As obvious as the truth behind the Islamic State’s presence and perpetuation in Asia seems to be, many policymakers, politicians and people in the media across Asia appear to be mesmerised by US and European headlines and intentionally misleading analysis.

Eagerly republishing and repeating these headlines and analysis, policy and media circles find themselves mired in a deepening swamp of delusion. Within this swamp of delusion they are exposing Asia to the same threat the MENA region is now facing.

For a variety of reasons, extremism was allowed to take root and spread in nations like Libya and Syria, where political deals and cooperation with the US and Europe led toward greater violence and destabilisation, not toward resolving the issue of extremism, terrorism and national or regional security.

Source: New Eastern Outlook

Likewise in Asia, should the root of extremism and terrorism not be addressed, namely Saudi-funding and America’s and Europe’s aiding and abetting of the House of Saud, this threat will continue to be cultivated and leveraged by its creators at the cost of its Asian hosts.

While it may not be politically popular to openly expose, condemn and otherwise confront US-Saudi sponsored terrorism in fear of being ostracised from US-European media and policy circles, Asian policymakers, politicians and media should consider the fate of their MENA counterparts and the state of Libya and Syria now versus pre-2011 when there was still a chance to head off a regional humanitarian catastrophe.

The inability of Asian policymakers to clearly single out and deal with Saudi-funded, US-backed terrorism in the region allows political demagogues to play entire ethnic and religious groups off against one another, further compounding factors that fuel instability and even war. Coupled with socioeconomic factors, foreign interests seeking vectors into Asia to coerce, control or even overthrow regional governments have a wide variety of options to pick from.

Eliminating these options and closing the door to outside interference means that the Asian public must be fully and properly informed, and all forms of foreign funding and support, whether it be “schools” or nongovernmental organisations, should be called into question. It is clear that part of this process should include national and regional calls and mechanisms to end Saudi funding to organisations posing as charities, educational institutions and other fronts propagating divisive extremism.

Considering the fate of the MENA region, Asia may have only one chance to get this right. Those policymakers who prove themselves incapable of objective, truthful analysis and who find themselves simply helping along foreign interference should no longer be deferred to as policymakers, and perhaps take up a more appropriate title; lobbyists.

Posted in Middle East, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Islamic State in Asia: Saudi-Funding and Naive Policymakers Endanger Region

Nazi regime Has No Legal Right to Offer Land Tenders in West Bank

NOVANEWS
Israel Has No Legal Right to Offer Land Tenders in West Bank

According to Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel,

 

Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, sent a letter to senior Israeli officials on 23rd of May, urging them to cancel open tenders offering Palestinian lands declared as state property in the West Bank because Israel has no legal authority over the 1967 occupied territories.

Lawyer Suhad Bishara, director of Adalah’s Land and Planning Rights unit, wrote in the letter to Israel Land Authority (ILA) director Shimron Adiel, construction minister Yoav Galant, finance minister Moshe Kahlon, and attorney general Avichai Mandelblit that

“the ILA does not have the legal authority to offer land tenders in the West Bank.”

During 2016 and 2017, the ILA published open tenders for available plots of land in illegal West Bank settlements including Givat Ze’ev, Ma’ale Adumim, Alfei Menashe, Ariel, Beitar Illit, Karnei Shomron, and Oranit.

“The territories included in these tenders are being managed as if they are part of the State of Israel to which Israeli state law applies. This practice, for all intents and purposes, therefore annexes these territories to the State of Israel,” lawyer Bishara wrote.

“The Basic Law on Israel Lands determines that Israeli land is ‘land in Israel belonging to the state, a development authority, or to the Jewish National Fund.’ In other words: land within the territory of the State of Israel,” the letter reminded.

Adalah emphasized that this Israeli practice is a violation of the international law, which determines that any long-term changes imposed upon occupied territories must be in the interests of the protected local civilian population.

International law also forbids the occupying power from exploiting occupied territories for its general use, it added.

Featured image: PNN

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human Rights, West BankComments Off on Nazi regime Has No Legal Right to Offer Land Tenders in West Bank

Escalated US War on Syria Likely

NOVANEWS
 

In March 2011, Obama launched war on Syria, using ISIS, al-Nusra and other terrorists as imperial foot soldiers.

The aim then and now is destroying Syrian sovereignty, ousting Assad, replacing him with a pro-Western puppet, eliminating an Israeli rival, isolating Iran ahead of a similar scheme against its government, and claiming another US imperial trophy.

That’s what the war is all about, orchestrated by Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. There’s nothing civil about it – one of many Big Lies about what’s going on.

Russia’s good faith efforts to resolve things diplomatically are consistently undermined by Washington and its rogue allies – NATO, Turkey, the Saudis, Israel and others.

NATO’s announced escalated “fight against terrorism” beyond its current involvement in Syria and elsewhere, along with the enormous arms deal Trump arranged with Riyadh is bad news for hoped for Middle East peace.

Trump’s visit to Brussels last week was all about enlisting greater NATO support for America’s imperial project on the phony pretext of combating terrorism Washington and other alliance members support.

America, NATO, Israel, and other rogue regional states back what Trump calls “a common threat to all of humanity.”

“Terrorism (won’t be) stopped in its tracks” as long as Washington uses death squad diplomacy to advance its imperium.

Endless wars continue raging with no prospect for resolution any time soon. Trump wants NATO members spending more on militarism and belligerence to serve US interests.

Arms sold to Saudi Arabia are for waging war OF terrorism, not ON it. They have nothing to do with defense, everything to do with aggression and oppression.

They’ll end up in the hands of ISIS, al-Nusra and other regional terrorists, be used in waging terror war on Yemen, perhaps prepare for war on Iran, along with homeland repression.

Long-suffering Syrians face endless imperial war on their homeland. How much more carnage is too much?

How long will the world community tolerate the intolerable? Multiple rounds of good faith Russian orchestrated peace talks since 2012 achieved no breakthroughs because Washington and its rogue allies want endless war and regime change – no matter the human cost.

While hopeful for conflict resolution, Putin fears the worst, “possible dismemberment of Syria,” the Syrian Arab Republic eliminated.

Addressing heads of international news organizations on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, he expressed concern that four “de-escalation zones may turn into a blueprint for future borders” – a possible outcome Russia categorically opposes.

At the same time, he’s patient, hoping for eventual conflict resolution, preservation of Syrian sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Efforts to achieve these objectives have a long way to go, America’s imperial project the major obstacle.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Escalated US War on Syria Likely

The Real Story of Zbigniew Brzezinski That the Media Isn’t Telling

Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security advisor to President Jimmy Carter, died Friday at a hospital in Virginia at the age of 89. Though the New York Times acknowledged that the former government advisor was a “hawkish strategic theorist,” misrepresenting his legacy as one of otherwise infinite positivity may not be as easy as the establishment might like to think.

As the United Kingdom plays around with levels of the so-called “terror threat” following a devastating attack by an ISIS-inspired individual — and as the Philippines goes into an almost complete state of martial law following ISIS-inspired destruction — Brzezinski’s timely death serves as a reminder to seek a deeper understanding of where modern terrorism originated in the first place.

As the New York Times explains, Brzezinski’s “rigid hatred of the Soviet Union” guided much of America’s foreign policy “for better or worse.” From the Times:

“He supported billions in military aid for Islamic militants fighting invading Soviet troops in Afghanistan. He tacitly encouraged China to continue backing the murderous regime of Pol Pot in Cambodia, lest the Soviet-backed Vietnamese take over that country.[emphasis added]

While it is progressive of the New York Times to note Brzezinski’s support for Islamic militants, downplaying the effect of his vindictive foreign policy agenda with a mere sentence does an injustice to the true horror behind Brzezinski’s policies.

Because a 1973 coup in Afghanistan had installed a new secular government that was leaning towards the Soviets, the U.S. endeavored to undermine this new government by organizing multiple coup attempts through America’s lackey states, Pakistan and Iran (the latter was under the control of the U.S.-backed Shah at the time.) In July 1979, Brzezinski officially authorized aid to the mujahideen rebels in Afghanistan to be delivered through the CIA’s program “Operation Cyclone.”

President Reagan and Mujahideen leaders from Afghanistan

Many people defend America’s decision to arm the mujahideen in Afghanistan because they believe it was necessary to defend the country and the wider region from Soviet aggression. However, Brzesinski’s own statements directly contradict this rationale. In a 1998 interview, Brzezinski admitted that in conducting this operation, the Carter administration had “knowingly increased the probability” that the Soviets would intervene militarily (suggesting they began arming the Islamist factions before the Soviets invaded, making the rationale redundant since there was no invasion Afghanistan freedom fighters needed to repel at the time). Brzezinski then stated:

“Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war.”

This statement went further than merely boasting at the instigation of war and the ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union. In his memoir, entitled “From the Shadows,” Robert Gates — former CIA director under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and secretary of defense under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama — directly confirmed this covert operation began six months prior to the Soviet invasion with the actual intention of luring the Soviets into a Vietnam-style quagmire.

Brzezinski knew exactly what he was doing. The Soviets were then bogged down in Afghanistan for approximately ten years, fighting an endless supply of American-supplied weapons and trained fighters. At the time, the media even went so far as to laud Osama bin Laden — one of the most influential figures in Brzezinski’s covert operation. We all know how that story ended.

Even with full knowledge of what his CIA-funded creation had become, in 1998 Brzezinski stated the following to his interviewers:

“What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?”

The interviewer at the time, refusing to allow this answer to pass, retorted:

“Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.”

Brzezinski dismissed this statement outright, replying:

“Nonsense!”

This occurred back when the journalists asked government officials pressing questions, a rare occurrence today.

Brzezinski’s support for these radical elements led directly to the formation of al-Qaeda, which literally translates to “the base,” as it was the base in which to launch the repulsion of the anticipated Soviet invasion. It also led to the creation of the Taliban, a deadly entity currently deadlocked in an endless battle with NATO forces.

Further, despite Brzezinski’s statements, which attempt to depict a lasting defeat of the Russian empire, the truth is that for Brzezinski, the cold war never ended. Though he was a critic of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Brzezinski’s stranglehold over American foreign policy continued right up until his death.

It is no coincidence that in Syria, the Obama administration deployed an Afghanistan-quagmire-type strategy toward another Russian ally — Assad in Syria. A cable leaked by Wikileaks dated December 2006 — authored by William Roebuck, who was chargé d’affaires at the US embassy in Damascus at the time -— stated:

“We believe Bashar’s weaknesses are in how he chooses to react to looming issues, both perceived and real, such as the conflict between economic reform steps (however limited) and entrenched, corrupt forces, the Kurdish question, and the potential threat to the regime from the increasing presence of transiting Islamist extremists. This cable summarizes our assessment of these vulnerabilities and suggests that there may be actions, statements, and signals that the USG can send that will improve the likelihood of such opportunities arising.” [emphasis added]

Much like Operation Cyclone, under Barack Obama, the CIA was spending approximately $1 billion a year training Syrian rebels (to engage in terrorist tactics, nonetheless). The majority of these rebels share ISIS’ core ideology and have the express aim of establishing Sharia law in Syria.

Just like in Afghanistan, the Syrian war formally drew in Russia in 2015, and Brzezinski’s legacy was kept alive through Obama’s direct warning to Russia’s Vladimir Putin that he was leading Russia into another Afghanistan-style quagmire.

So where might Obama have gotten this Brzezinski-authored playbook from, plunging Syria further into a horrifying six-year-long war that has, again, drawn in a major nuclear power in a conflict rife with war crimes and crimes against humanity?

The answer: from Brzezinski himself. According to Obama, Brzezinski is a personal mentor of his, an “outstanding friend” from whom he has learned immensely. In light of this knowledge, is it any surprise that we saw so many conflicts erupt out of nowhere during Obama’s presidency?

On  February 7, 2014, the BBC published a transcript of a bugged phone conversation between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt. In that phone call, the representatives were discussing who they wanted to place in the Ukrainian government following a coup that ousted Russian-aligned president Viktor Yanukovych.

Image result for The Grand Chessboard

Lo and behold, Brzezinski himself advocated taking over Ukraine in his 1998 book, The Grand Chessboard, stating Ukraine was

“a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard…a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country (means) Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.”

Brzezinski warned against allowing Russia to control Ukraine because

“Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia.”

Following Obama, Donald Trump came into office with a completely different mentality, willing to work with Russia and the Syrian government in combatting ISIS. Unsurprisingly, Brzezinski did not support Trump’s bid for the presidency and believed Trump’s foreign policy ideas lacked coherence.

All that being said, just last year Brzezinski appeared to have changed his stance on global affairs and instead began to advocate a “global realignment” — a redistribution of global power — in light of the fact that the U.S. is no longer the global imperial power it once was. However, he still seemed to indicate that without America’s global leadership role, the result would be “global chaos,” so it seemed unlikely his change in perception was rooted in any actual meaningful change on the geopolitical chessboard.

Further, the CIA’s very existence relies on the idea of a Russian threat, as has been evidenced by the agency’s complete assault on the Trump administration whenever it appears détente is possible with the former Soviet Union.

Brzezinski died safely in a hospital bed, unlike the millions of displaced and murdered civilians who were pawns in Brzezinski’s twisted, geopolitical chess games of blood and lunacy. His legacy is one of militant jihadism, the formation of al-Qaeda, the most devastating attack on U.S. soil by a foreign entity in our recent history, and the complete denigration of Russia as an everlasting adversary with which peace cannot — and should not — ever be attained.

Posted in USA, AfghanistanComments Off on The Real Story of Zbigniew Brzezinski That the Media Isn’t Telling

“Mad Dog” Mattis Shows His Bite on Face the Nation

NOVANEWS

Musings on Mad-Dog Mattis and “Military Necessity”

 

When President-elect Donald Trump sent his talent scouts to the attack-dog kennel run by defense industry giant General Dynamics, in order to recruit former Marine General James “Mad Dog” Mattis to be secretary of defense, cries of apprehension were drowned out by smug one-percent reassurances.

Those who “know what’s best for the country” insisted: “NOT TO WORRY; actually Mattis is a Renaissance Man. Yes, he thinks, and says, it’s fun to shoot people. But after taking a hot shower in the evening, he reads Greek epic poetry.

Syria

Last Sunday, Mattis told CBS it’s gonna be more fun again. At a time when civilian casualties are extremely high in Syria, thus spake James Renaissance Man Mattis to CBS’s Face the Nation:

“We have already shifted from attrition tactics, where we shove them from one position to another in Iraq and Syria, to annihilation tactics where we surround them.”

Mattis was asked what about civilian casualties.

“Civilian casualties are a fact of life in this sort of situation,” he replied, adding that the U.S. military does “everything humanly possible consistent with military necessity.”

This brings to mind the Feb. 7, 2002 Executive Order signed by President George W. Bush authorizing another kind of war crime – torture. That Memorandum concluded with identical reassurance – in this case, that detainees would be “treated humanely, and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of Geneva.”

Afghanistan

Image result

Worse still (if there can be a “worse still”), Mattis reportedly is weighing how many thousands more troops from the US poverty draft to send to – hold your breath – AFGHANISTAN!

Instead of reading Homer and reflecting on the Trojan War 33 centuries ago, Mattis ought to fast forward and read more “modern” history on Afghanistan. He might fast forward to “just” 27 centuries ago, when Alexander the Great made, but did not follow through on, an abortive attempt to conquer Afghanistan. “Abortive” is the key word here. He faced stiff resistance from the locals, who for some reason did not like being invaded and lacked the respect due the “sole superpower the world” of those times.

Alexander was smart enough to realize that he had bit off more than he could chew. He brought his army back west, before many more of them got killed, to where he knew what he was doing. On that count alone he deserves the moniker “Great.” Unlike those who have tried to conquer Afghanistan in the 22 centuries that followed, he decided the game was not worth the candle.

This adage is attributed to Alexander:

“There is nothing impossible to him who will try.”

The corollary, of course, is that some things DO happen to be well nigh impossible – and, as such, not worth the cost of trying for some dimly perceived, nonessential gain.

Fools Walk In

In the centuries that followed, many powerful “statesmen” – powerful, but not so “Great” in terms of knowing when to avoid trying the impossible – have attempted to subdue those incorrigible tribes in Afghanistan. The long, sad, fools’ list includes: Arabs, Mongolians, Persians, Indians, British, Russians – and now Americans.

Let’s hope ‘Renaissance Man” Mattis will leave Homer and the Trojan War behind and read up more “recent” history. A good way to start would be to get a hold of Barbara Tuchman’s classic “The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam.”

Image result for kabul blast

Scene of the Kabul bombing (Source: BBC)

The bomb blast last night in Kabul that killed more than 80 and wounded 300 will probably tempt Mattis and his delusional boss to lash out militarily. That could include the next surge in the fool’s errand into Afghanistan. It would be a piece of what Mattis’s predecessors browbeat the benighted Barack Obama into doing as soon as he came into office, playing on his campaign rhetoric that Afghanistan was some kind of “good war,” in contrast to the one in Iraq.

Since greeting WBTE (Wet-Behind-The-Ears) Barack Obama in March 2009 with a piece titled “Welcome to Vietnam, Mr. President,” I have tried to keep at it. The effort runs no risk of getting boring, given the high stakes involved. A lot of people are dying – just a small portion of whom are the American “heroes” celebrated over the weekend as “the fallen; the lost.” (They were neither lost nor fallen; they were pushed to death – many of them with the help of a supremely unjust poverty draft).

But the vast majority of dead and injured are non-American “others” – mostly civilians – a fact of death, which Mad Dog Mattis rationalizes as “a fact of life … consistent with military necessity.”

Maybe someone can give him a history book about Alexander the Great and how it was not such a bad idea to “chicken out” and withdraw from Afghanistan. He could be told that history would be happy to call him “Mad Dog The Great,” should that appeal to him. He desperately needs to educate himself on the indomitable folks in that poor country (and their equally determined supporters across the border in Pakistan). Please, someone suggest to Mattis that it would be “Renaissance-Man-like” to follow Alexander’s example and avoid confronting the impossible – even aside from the human and other costs – when it is “a fact of life” that neither the strategic stakes nor “military necessity” warrant it.

It would be nice, too, if one of his aides could replace Homer with one or two of the following articles under his pillow – on the chance he can be brought to realize that it’s not “fun” – just dumb – to go around shooting people. And that that goes in spades for Afghanistan.

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‘Israel’s’ Occupation Is Morally Indefensible

NOVANEWS

 

I have long maintained that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank defies the moral principle behind the creation of the state. Contrary to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s assertion, the occupation erodes rather than buttresses Israel’s national security and cannot be justified on either security or moral grounds. Unless Israel embraces a new moral path, no one can prevent it from unraveling from within only to become a pariah state that has lost its soul, wantonly abandoning the cherished dreams of its founding fathers.

There are four ethical theories—Kantian, utilitarian, virtue-based, and religious—that demonstrate the lack of moral foundation in the continuing occupation, which imposes upon Israelis the responsibility to bring it to a decisive end.

The first moral theory is deontological ethics, whose greatest representative is Immanuel Kant. According to this theory, consequences are irrelevant to the moral rightness or wrongness of an action; what matters is whether the action is done for the sake of duty or out of respect for the moral law.

Kant provided several formulations of the moral law, which he refers to as the categorical imperative; for our purposes, what is most important are his first two formulations. The first is the principle that morality requires us to act only on those maxims we can universalize. As he puts it,

“Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”

In short, never do anything that you couldn’t will everybody else do at the same time.

Israelis destroy water pipes in Palestine

The question is whether the Israeli occupation is a policy that can be universalized and pass this test of moral reasoning. The answer is clearly no; the policy of occupation is rationally inconsistent, as it requires Israel to exempt itself from moral and political norms that the rest of the international community recognizes (and which serve to protect Israel itself). Israel is making an exception of itself – which is the capital sin, according to Kant, as in effect Israel is saying:

‘We don’t have to live by the same rules as everyone else.’

This is evident from the fact that Israel denies the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and justifies that in the name of national security, even though the achievement of absolute security would invariably render the Palestinians absolutely vulnerable.

Whereas Israel has agreed to a two-state solution, it continues to usurp Palestinian land, thereby violating international agreements which Israel is signatory to (UN Resolution 242, the Oslo Accords). In doing so, Israel is clearly defying the first formulation of the categorical imperative, which as Kant showed, requires us to honor our agreements and contracts. That is, Israel is acting on a maxim or policy of breaking its agreements to serve its self-interest, which cannot be universalized without contradiction because then the institution of reaching international agreements cannot be sustained.

Although many countries break international contracts, that does not affect Kant’s argument as he knew full well that people lie, cheat, and steal. His concern is with the principle of morality and what it requires regardless of whether these requirements are in fact met. By maintaining the occupation, Israel is flouting the moral law while expecting the Palestinians to uphold the same norms.

The second formulation is to never treat another person merely as a means, but always also as an end in themselves. In other words, what Kant is saying is that as free rational beings who can act in accordance with morality, each of us possesses intrinsic worth which implies that we must respect the inherent dignity of each individual.

In the case of the Palestinians who are under occupation, Israel is treating them as objects rather than persons who can rationally consent to the way they are being treated. Israel is coercing the Palestinians physically and psychologically by denying them human rights, through, for example, administrative detention, night raids, and expulsion, thereby robbing them of their dignity and denying them their autonomy.

The second moral theory is Utilitarianism, which in its modern form originated in England with the works of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. In contrast to Kantianism, this theory places all emphasis on the consequences of our actions. It states that an action is morally right if it produces the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people.

The moral evaluation of any policy depends on whether it maximizes utility. Utilitarianism agrees with Kant on one fundamental point, which is that morality prohibits making an exception of oneself. For obvious reasons, governments give greater priority to their own people. But does the occupation maximize the security and well-being of all Israelis?

A boy looking at the rubbles in Palestine

In spite of the fact that Israel takes extraordinary measures to enhance its security, the occupation is in fact undermining the security of the state, as is evident from the repeated bloody clashes. Moreover, if Israel were to extend its moral considerations beyond its own people to include the Palestinians, then the policy of occupation still fails on utilitarian grounds even more acutely.

To be sure, while Israel resorts to utilitarian arguments to justify its treatment of the Palestinians, in the process Israel reveals the classic pitfall of utilitarian thinking, which is that it ultimately does not provide sufficient protection and respect for human rights. This contempt for human rights in fact directly erodes Israel’s moral standing within the community of nations.

The third moral theory is virtue ethics, whose greatest advocate is still Aristotle. In virtue ethics, an act is moral if it is performed as a result of having a virtuous character. Virtue ethics is not primarily about codifying and applying moral principles, but developing the character from which moral actions arise. In this context, the Israeli occupation, while having a major adverse effect on the Palestinians, also has a morally corrupting influence on Israelis themselves.

Virtue ethics recognizes the importance of acquiring the habit to act ethically which involves moral upbringing; as Aristotle is to have said,

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”

The occupation is not educating Israeli youth towards moral virtues, but hardening their hearts as they can live with regular prejudices, discrimination, and dehumanization against the Palestinians. As such, the occupation fails to meet the principles of virtue ethics because it creates an environment which degrades the moral substance of the Israelis themselves. As a result, they continue to commit transgressions against the Palestinians without any sense of moral culpability.

One might argue from a certain Israeli perspective (i.e. the settlement movement) that the occupation engenders virtues such as national solidarity, social cohesiveness, loyalty, courage, and perseverance. While this may appear to be true on the surface, the occupation is in fact tearing the Israelis’ social and political fabric apart and undermining the conditions under which moral virtues such as caring, compassion, and magnanimity can grow and thrive.

Moreover, the longer the occupation persists, the greater the damage is to Israel’s moral character, and Israel will become increasingly disposed to compromising its fundamental values and ideals as a democracy committed to human rights.

Finally, we need to consider the moral theory which says morality is acting in accordance with what divinity commands from us. There are two basic theories, both of which can be traced back to Plato’s Euthyphro where Socrates raises the question:

“…whether the pious or holy is beloved by the gods because it is holy, or holy because it is beloved of the gods.”

The first is the divine command theory, which states that what makes an action moral or right is the fact that God commands it and nothing else. The second theory, defended by Socrates, is that God commands us to do what is right because it is the right thing to do. In other words, morality precedes God’s will and is irreducible to divine command.

In the context of this ancient debate, the usurpation and annexation of Palestinian land may appear to be defensible on the basis of the divine command theory because if God requires us to perform any set of actions, then by definition it would be the moral thing to do.

Many orthodox Jews hold to the divine command theory, as they interpret the concept of “mitzvah” (good deed) first and foremost as “command,” the goodness of which cannot even be contemplated apart from the fact that this is what God has commanded us to do.

As such, those who take the Bible as the revelation of God’s commands use it to justify the concept of Greater Israel. As a result, they view the Palestinian presence as an impediment God placed before them to test their resolve. Therefore, their harsh treatment of the Palestinians becomes morally permissible because it is consistent with divine decree.

By adopting the command theory, they are ascribing to a position which has and continues to be used to justify acts which are blatantly immoral. The defender of this theory may counter that because God is good, he does not command anything which is immoral.

However, this argument is hollow because if morality is simply what God approves of, to say that God is good is merely to assert that he approves of himself and his own will. In this case, there is still no safeguard against the extremists who use the command theory to justify even the most heinous crimes. Furthermore, if the command in question satisfies a deep seated psychological need—say, for a God-given Jewish homeland—then what humans ascribe to God eventually becomes ‘the will of God.’

Another problem with the divine command theory is that, as the philosopher Gottfried Leibniz observed, it turns God into a kind of Tyrant unworthy of our love and devotion:

“For why praise him for what he has done, if he would be equally praiseworthy for doing just the opposite?”

Turning to the theory that God commands us to do the good because it is good, what becomes clear is that any action must derive its moral worth independently of God’s will. In that case, the Israeli policy toward the occupation will have to be morally justifiable without reference to some divine mandate. We have already examined, however briefly, Israel’s policy in light of deontology, utilitarianism, and virtue ethics, and found that it comes up short and fails to meet the basic requirement of these theories. Therefore, it lacks independent moral justification on which God’s commands could possibly be based on.

Israel’s occupation cannot be defended on moral grounds or in terms of national security. Israel can defend itself and prevail over any of its enemies now and in the foreseeable future, but it is drowning in moral corruption that the continued occupation only deepens. It is that—the enemy from within—that poses the greatest danger Israel faces.

To listen to an audio version of this article, click here.

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UK Election: Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn?

NOVANEWS

The Unknown Factor in that YouGov Poll: Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn? The Unknown Factor in that YouGov Poll

 

When Theresa May called a snap election two months after reiterating seven times in as many months that she would not do so, there were seemingly good reasons behind it. Not least, May was in a commanding 21 point lead ahead of Corbyn and she appeared at the time to be the most solid politician to help negotiate a good Brexit deal for the country. In addition, Labour was in the midst of an internal battle, driven by a more right-wing ‘Blairite’ agenda.

Predictions were calling this a coronation more than an election. It was considered a slam-dunk, an election was not really necessary but democracy required going through the motions.

On May 13th – Professor Michael Thrasher, Sky Election Analyst predicted how Theresa May could deliver a landslide win and score a majority of as much as 212 seats in Parliament. Thrasher speculates by using historical information that

“a rather modest 2% swing directly from Labour to the Conservatives, therefore, gives Mrs May an extra lift, resulting in 420 seats and a 190 majority”.

Yesterday, Thrasher is in more somber mood, this time making no predictions.

“The outcome in each (constituency) will determine whether the Brexit election will be remembered as a brilliant tactical gambit by a new and inexperienced Prime Minister or a reckless and futile attempt to strengthen our hand in the negotiation with Europe.”

The time between Threshers Sky News analysis then and now has been, lets’s say ‘testing’ for Theresa May. Truthfully, she has shown what type of leader she would in fact be in the choppy waters of Brexit Britain. Not that good. And not that stable either.

One should not forget that it was a ‘reckless and futile’ attempt to quieten Brexteer MP’s once and for all by David Cameron that has led to the chaotic situation the country finds itself in. Not only is Britain now facing a fight with 27 nations just across the channel with the Tories happy with a ‘good deal or no deal’ scenario, but also one on our doorstep with Independence for Scotland looking ever more likely.

062.3

Source: YouGov/True Publica

Then that YouGov poll suddenly turns up with the results of a ‘Shock Poll’ predicting for the first time that we are now in hung parliament territory.

The YouGov poll predicts that no one political party would secure enough seats in the 650-seat House of Commons where 326 seats are required to form a government. It predicts the Conservatives would win 310 seats, down from 330 now.

With these results, a coalition would be required to form some sort of working government. And that would be uncomfortable at best for whoever becomes the Tory partner. And on that point ex British Ambassador Craig Murray speculates the outcome:

As the polls continue to shift, there is one distinct possibility for the result of this General Election looming. The Tories might be the largest party but with no overall majority. In which case they would form either a formal or a de facto alliance with their friends in the Northern Irish unionist parties. This would either force the unionists to take ownership of hard Brexit and the consequent imposition of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, or force Theresa May to abandon hard Brexit and outrage her supporters. I suspect the former is more likely, and the consequences of unionist enabled hard Brexit for Northern Ireland would be immense.”

But before you run down to the bookies and bet your wages on a hung parliament, there’s a problem with that poll. At their own admission, YouGov were, for the first time using a new and controversial polling model, which by their own admission was what they termed – ‘brave’. And this change of modelling was only deployed for the first time – just 10 days before a crucial election. To all intents and purposes this is not an opinion poll in the usual sense but a seat by seat “estimate” projected into a national result.

Confirmation that the YouGov poll is nowhere near tested enough to have any validity comes from YouGov’s chief executive, who says that is only a central projection that “allows for a wide range of error” and he concedes:

“However, these are just the midpoints and, as with any model, there is leeway either side. He goes further to say that the “Tories could end up with as many as 345 and Labour as few as 223, leading to an increased Conservative majority.”

BritainElects is a poll aggregation service that aims to deliver non-partisan analysis of the state of public opinion – a ‘poll of all polls’ if you like. On April 6th they had the Tory lead at an unassailable 16 points. One month later on May 6th, BritainElects reports the Tory lead had increased to 18 points.

Source: Highcharts/True Publica

This contradicts the usual pollsters who by now are predicting that Theresa May’s commanding lead has crested and Corbyn’s slide arrested – what ever next.

By May 31st that unassailable lead has dramatically declined by 8 points in just three weeks. The lag in collecting data from each poll is now showing a marked trend and could well be shy of real voter intentions.

As for the recent  ‘brave’ YouGov result, there’s a real sting in the tail. As we know now, polling has had a mixed record in the U.K. and elsewhere in recent times. YouGov had predicted that Scotland would leave the U.K. in its 2014 independence referendum, which of course, it didn’t; that Labour and the Conservatives would be a dead heat ahead of the 2015 general election, which the Conservatives won; and that Brexit would be a close call where Leave won on a margin of 1.2 million votes at 52-48.

And the sting? YouGov’s chief scientist, said the new model, whose data was not published at the time, showed ‘Leave’ winning easily, which it did – and no-one in the main-stream pollsters were saying that. The same modelling that correctly predicted Brexit and did so with some accuracy is being used in this election.

So, with on week to go, will be it be the election that Theresa May lost or the stunning win that a resurgent left grabbed at a crucial moment in Britain’s history?

There’s one final thought that should not be overlooked. That of how the Brexit vote was rigged by billionaires in the first place. It is here that democracy is threatened the most.

In my article entitled The Link Between Brexit And The US Election, MI6, Fake News And Dark Money I broke the story to Britain weeks ahead of The Guardian article that confirmed my worst fears. American billionaires had colluded with LEAVE campaigners who had themselves illegally joined up with competing parties to push an unsuspecting electorate over the line with a massive military strategy utilising personal data sold by social media organisations. In BREXIT: Proof That Britain’s EU Referendum Was Rigged the accusation is made that we in Britain have just made the first step into a brave, new, increasingly undemocratic world controlled not by government, but by the founders of new transnational corporations whose world view takes no consideration of democratic principles.

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