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Fundamentalism Kills

People embrace and mourn at the massive flower field laid in memory of victims of Friday’s twin attacks in Norway.

By Chris Hedges

Fundamentalism Kills

The gravest threat we face from terrorism, as the killings in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik underscore, comes not from the Islamic world but the radical Christian right and the secular fundamentalists who propagate the bigoted, hateful caricatures of observant Muslims and those defined as our internal enemies. The caricature and fear are spread as diligently by the Christian right as they are by atheists such as Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. Our religious and secular fundamentalists all peddle the same racist filth and intolerance that infected Breivik. This filth has poisoned and degraded our civil discourse. The looming economic and environmental collapse will provide sparks and tinder to transform this coarse language of fundamentalist hatred into, I fear, the murderous rampages experienced by Norway. I worry more about the Anders Breiviks than the Mohammed Attas.

The battle under way in America is not between religion and science. It is not between those who embrace the rational and those who believe in biblical myth. It is not between Western civilization and Islam. The blustering televangelists and the New Atheists, the television pundits and our vaunted Middle East specialists and experts, are all part of our vast, simplistic culture of mindless entertainment. They are in show business. They cannot afford complexity. Religion and science, facts and lies, truth and fiction, are the least of their concerns. They trade insults and clichés like cartoon characters. They don masks. One wears the mask of religion. One wears the mask of science. One wears the mask of journalism. One wears the mask of the terrorism expert. They jab back and forth in predictable sound bites. It is a sterile and useless debate between bizarre subsets of American culture. Some use the scientific theory of evolution to explain the behavior and rules for complex social and political systems, and others insist that the six-day creation story in Genesis is a factual account. The danger we face is not in the quarrel between religion advocates and evolution advocates, but in the widespread mental habit of fundamentalism itself.

We live in a fundamentalist culture. Our utopian visions of inevitable human progress, obsession with endless consumption, and fetish for power and unlimited growth are fed by illusions that are as dangerous as fantasies about the Second Coming. These beliefs are the newest expression of the infatuation with the apocalypse, one first articulated to Western culture by the early church. This apocalyptic vision was as central to the murderous beliefs of the French Jacobins, the Russian Bolsheviks and the German fascists as it was to the early Christians. The historian Arnold Toynbee argues that racism in Anglo-American culture was given a special virulence after the publication of the King James Bible. The concept of “the chosen people” was quickly adopted, he wrote, by British and American imperialists. It fed the disease of white supremacy. It gave them the moral sanction to dominate and destroy other races, from the Native Americans to those on the subcontinent.

Our secular and religious fundamentalists come out of this twisted yearning for the apocalypse and belief in the “chosen people.” They advocate, in the language of religion and scientific rationalism, the divine right of our domination, the clash of civilizations. They assure us that we are headed into the broad, uplifting world of universal democracy and a global free market once we sign on for the subjugation and extermination of those who oppose us. They insist—as the fascists and the communists did—that this call for a new world is based on reason, factual evidence and science or divine will. But schemes for universal human advancement, no matter what language is used to justify them, are always mythic. They are designed to satisfy a yearning for meaning and purpose. They give the proponents of these myths the status of soothsayers and prophets. And, when acted upon, they fill the Earth with mass graves, bombed cities, widespread misery and penal colonies. The extent of this fundamentalism is evident in the strident utterances of the Christian right as well as those of the so-called New Atheists.

“What will we do if an Islamist regime, which grows dewy-eyed at the mere mention of paradise, ever acquires long-range nuclear weaponry?” Sam Harris, in his book “The End of Faith,” asks in a passage that I suspect Breivik would have enjoyed. “If history is any guide, we will not be sure about where the offending warheads are or what their state of readiness is, and so we will be unable to rely on targeted, conventional weapons to destroy them. In such a situation, the only thing likely to ensure our survival may be a nuclear first strike of our own. Needless to say, this would be an unthinkable crime—as it would kill tens of millions of innocent civilians in a single day—but it may be the only course of action available to us, given what Islamists believe.”

“We are at war with Islam,” Harris goes on. “It may not serve our immediate foreign policy objectives for our political leaders to openly acknowledge this fact, but it is unambiguously so. It is not merely that we are at war with an otherwise peaceful religion that has been ‘hijacked’ by extremists. We are at war with precisely the vision of life that is prescribed to all Muslims in the Koran, and further elaborated in the literature of the hadith, which recounts the sayings and teachings of the Prophet.”

Harris assures us that “the Koran mandates such hatred,” that “the problem is with Islam itself.” He writes that “Islam, more than any other religion human beings have devised, has all the makings of a thoroughgoing cult of death.”

A culture that exalts its own moral certitude and engages in uncritical self-worship at the expense of conscience commits moral and finally physical suicide. Our fundamentalists busy themselves with their pathetic little monuments to Jesus, to reason, to science, to Western civilization and to new imperial glory. They peddle a binary view of the world that divides reality between black and white, good and evil, right and wrong. We are taught in a fundamentalist culture to view other human beings, especially Muslims, not as ends but as means. We abrogate the right to exterminate all who do not conform.

Fundamentalists have no interest in history, culture or social or linguistic differences. They are a remarkably uncurious, self-satisfied group. Anything outside their own narrow bourgeois life, petty concerns and physical comforts bores them. They are provincials. They do not investigate or seek to understand the endemic flaws in human nature. The only thing that matters is the coming salvation of humanity, or at least that segment of humanity they deem worthy of salvation. They peddle a route to assured collective deliverance. And they sanction violence and the physical extermination of other human beings to get there.

All fundamentalists worship the same gods—themselves. They worship the future prospect of their own empowerment. They view this empowerment as a necessity for the advancement and protection of civilization or the Christian state. They sanctify the nation. They hold up the ability the industrial state has handed to them as a group and as individuals to shape the world according to their vision as evidence of their own superiority. Fundamentalists express the frustrations of a myopic and morally stunted middle class. They cling, under their religious or scientific veneer, to the worst values of the petite bourgeois. They are suburban mutations, products of an American landscape that has been perverted by a destruction of community and a long and successful war against complex thought. The self-absorbed worldview of these fundamentalists brings smiles of indulgence from the corporatists who profit, at our expense, from the obliteration of moral and intellectual inquiry.

Stephen Dedalus in James Joyce’s “Ulysses” acidly condemned all schemes to purify the world and serve human progress through violence. He said that “history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.” Dedalus in the same passage responded to the schoolmaster Deasy’s claim that “the ways of the Creator are not our ways,” and that “all history moves towards one great goal, the manifestation of God.” A soccer goal is jubilantly scored by boys in the yard outside the school window as Deasy expounds on divine will. God, Dedalus tells Deasy as the players yell in glee over the goal, is no more than the screams from the schoolyard —“a shout in the street.” Joyce, like Samuel Beckett, excoriated the Western belief in historical teleology—the notion that history has a purpose or is moving toward a goal. The absurdity of this belief, they wrote, always feeds fanatics and undermines the possibility of human community. These writers warned us about all those—religious and secular—who call for salvation through history.

There are tens of millions of Americans who in their desperation and insecurity yearn for the assurance and empowerment offered by a clearly defined war against an external evil. They are taught in our fundamentalist culture that this evil is the root of their misery. They embrace a war against this evil as a solution to the drift in their lives, their economic deprivation and the moral and economic morass of the nation. They see in this conflict with these dark forces a way to overcome their own alienation. They find in it certitude, meaning and structure. They believe that once this evil is vanquished, an evil that extends from Muslims to undocumented workers, liberals, intellectuals, homosexuals and feminists, they can transform America into a land of plenty and virtue. But this fundamentalism, which cloaks itself in the jargon of scientific rationality, Christian piety and nativism, is a recipe for fanaticism. All those who embrace other ways of being and believing are viewed, as Breivik apparently viewed his victims, as contaminates that must be eliminated.

This fundamentalist ideology, because it is contradictory and filled with myth, is immune to critiques based on reason, fact and logic. This is part of its appeal. It obliterates doubt, nuance, intellectual and scientific rigor and moral conscience. All has been predicted or decided. Life is reduced to following a simple black-and-white road map. The contradictions in these belief systems—for example the championing of the “rights of the unborn” while calling for wider use of the death penalty or the damning of Muslim terrorists while promoting pre-emptive war, which delivers more death and misery in the Middle East than any jihadist organization—inoculate followers from rational discourse. Life becomes a crusade.

All fundamentalists, religious and secular, are ignoramuses. They follow the lines of least resistance. They already know what is true and what is untrue. They do not need to challenge their own beliefs or investigate the beliefs of others. They do not need to bother with the hard and laborious work of religious, linguistic, historical and cultural understanding. They do not need to engage in self-criticism or self-reflection. It spoils the game. It ruins the entertainment. They see all people, and especially themselves, as clearly and starkly defined. The world is divided into those who embrace or reject their belief systems. Those who support these belief systems are good and forces for human progress. Those who oppose these belief systems are stupid, at best, and usually evil. Fundamentalists have no interest in real debate, real dialogue, real intellectual thought. Fundamentalism, at its core, is about self-worship. It is about feeling holier, smarter and more powerful than everyone else. And this comes directly out of the sickness of our advertising age and its exaltation of the cult of the self. It is a product of our deep and unreflective cultural narcissism.

Our faith in the inevitability of human progress constitutes an inability to grasp the tragic nature of history. Human history is one of constant conflict between the will to power and the will to nurture and protect life. Our greatest achievements are always intertwined with our greatest failures. Our most exalted accomplishments are always coupled with our most egregious barbarities. Science and industry serve as instruments of progress as well as instruments of destruction. The Industrial Age has provided feats of engineering and technology, yet it has also destroyed community, spread the plague of urbanization, uprooted us all, turned human beings into cogs and made possible the total war and wholesale industrial killing that has marked the last century. These technologies, even as we see them as our salvation, are rapidly destroying the ecosystem on which we depend for life.

There is no linear movement in history. Morality and ethics are static. Human nature does not change. Barbarism is part of the human condition and we can all succumb to its basest dimensions. This is the tragedy of history. Human will is morally ambiguous. The freedom to act as often results in the construction of new prisons and systems of repression as it does the safeguarding of universal human rights. The competing forces of love and of power define us, what Sigmund Freud termed Eros and Thanatos. Societies have, throughout history, ignored calls for altruism and mutuality in times of social upheaval and turmoil. They have wasted their freedom in the self-destructive urges that currently envelope us. These urges are very human and very dangerous. They are fired by utopian visions of inevitable human progress. When this progress stalls or is reversed, when the dreams of advancement and financial stability are thwarted, when a people confronts its own inevitable downward spiral, dark forces of vengeance and retribution are unleashed. Fundamentalists serve an evil that is unseen and unexamined. And the longer this evil is ignored the more dangerous and deadly it becomes. Those who seek through violence the Garden of Eden usher in the apocalypse.

Chris Hedges is a weekly Truthdig columnist and a fellow at The Nation Institute. His newest book is “The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.”

Copyright © 2011 Truthdig, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

 

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Psycho Politics: Technicians of Influence Legitimize Mass Murder And Economic Slavery

By Michael Vail

Psycho Politics: Technicians of Influence Legitimize Mass Murder And Economic Slavery

Commentary Based on The Works of Jacques Ellul

Propaganda must also furnish an explanation for all happenings, a key to understand the whys and the reasons for economic and political developments. News loses its frightening character when it offers information for which the listener already has a ready explanation in his mind, or for which he can easily find one. The great force of propaganda lies in giving modern man all-embracing, simple explanations and massive doctrine causes, without which he could not live with the news” –Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes

Propaganda is nearly as ubiquitous as oxygen and is as rarely noticed by society. At every waking moment we are bombarded by latent messages telling us how we should feel, how we should live and who to trust. These technocrats are masters of persuasion and manipulation, in this fear laden society we live in they invade our perceptions and distort our morals. The image of the normal family has been altered as well as the American way. Advertisements on radio, television and the movies tell us what to buy and who to vote for. Who has the fortitude not to be indoctrinated in this war on the psyche?

Modern propaganda reaches individuals enclosed in the mass and as participants in that mass, yet it also aims at a crowd, but only as a body composed of individuals. What does this mean? First of all that the individual never is considered an individual, but always in terms of what he has in common with others, such as his motivations, his writings, or his myths.” –Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes

Propaganda tends to make the individual live in a separate world; he must not have outside points of reference. He must not be allowed a moment of meditation or reflection..Instead, successful propaganda will occupy every moment of the individual’s life: through posters and loudspeakers when he is out walking, through radio and newspapers at home, through meetings and movies in the evening. –Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes

The mainstream mockingbird media will never address individuals directly but connects people together with what they have in common. It is far easier to control groups than people. They seek out what you have in common with those groups. If you are a Democrat, Republican, Baptist, Lutheran or Protestant you have similar goals and desires. The technocrats work on the level of mass communication and work to indoctrinate the masses. It is far easier to infiltrate an organization than go door to door propagandizing people.

A related point, central in Ellul’s thesis, is that modern propaganda cannot work without ‘education’; he thus reverses the widespread notion that education is the best prophylactic against propaganda. On the contrary he says, education, or what usually goes by that word in the modern world, is the absolute prerequisite for propaganda. In fact, education is largely identical with what Ellul calls ‘pre-propaganda –the conditioning of minds with vast amounts of incoherent information, already dispensed for ulterior purposes and posing as ‘facts’ and as ‘education’.” –Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes

To make the organization of propaganda possible, the media must be concentrated, the number of news agencies reduced, the press brought under single control and radio and film monopolies established. The effect will still be greater if the various media are concentrated in the same hands.”–Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes

Modern humans believe that we have everything in control, we know the mysteries of space and time, yet our brains are filled with useless drivel and we easily default to our original paradigm or pattern during any debate. We cannot handle the idea that we might be wrong about something as we are so well read and take much effort to read the Wall Street Journal daily. We boil down and simply the most complex ideals which is truly the goal of indoctrination. We are immersed in it so deeply that the smartest men on the planet today are blithering idiots. Every so many decades we have to throw out many of the theories we so strongly believed because in the final analysis we know so little it is appalling. We rely on experts, leaders and vacuous puppets in expensive suits to get our daily information. The real question isn’t how much of our information is propaganda but how much is factual and verifiable?

Stalinist propaganda was in great measure founded on Pavlov’s theory of the conditioned reflex. Hitlerian propaganda was in great measure founded on Freud’s theory of repression and libido. American propaganda is founded in great measure on Dewey’s theory of teaching” –Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes

Each medium is particularly suited to a certain type of propaganda. The movies and human contacts are the best media for sociological propaganda in terms of social climate, slow infiltration, progressive inroads, and over-all integration. Public meetings and posters are more suitable tools for providing shock propaganda, intense but temporary, leading to immediate action. The press tends more shape general views; radio is likely to be an instrument of international action and psychological warfare, whereas the press is used domestically…Direct propaganda, aimed at modifying opinions and attitudes, must be preceded by propaganda that is sociological in character…Sociological propaganda can be compared to plowing, direct propaganda to sowing; you cannot do one without doing the other first.” –Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes

The black arts have been used for centuries. It is not surprising that both Obama and Hitlery Clinton both were community activists, direct and indirect students of Saul Alinsky. Agitation Propaganda is perfect for activists so that they can spur people to action, making the propaganda effect permanent. Integration propaganda is used to bring people into a mass consensus and integrate into a mass consciousness. Propaganda created for persuasion always has bits of truth to it so it can be adopted rapidly. Obama has hired a propagandist to manage media relations to spin negative press in his bid to remain in the white house in 2012. The technicians of influence are paid a handsome price to con the populace into thinking torture is merely pressure and undeclared wars are kinetic military actions. The Newspeak Dictionary is updated constantly, so much so that the citizenry is required to watch many hours of television to stay up to date. Cut your strings and see the shadow puppet theatre for what it truly is, a desperate attempt by Lilliputians to control our thoughts and actions.

Revisiting Israel’s Terror War on Gaza

By Steve Lendman

Revisiting Israel’s Terror War on Gaza

Despite no legitimate provocation, Israel began terror bombing Gaza on December 27, 2008. Invasion followed, attacking innocent civilian men, women and children for over three weeks, using missiles, bombs, shells, and illegal weapons against defenseless people. Mass slaughter and destruction ensued.

Brazen crimes of war and against humanity were committed. No culpable officials were held responsible. Security Council no-fly zone protection wasn’t ordered. International community leaders approved or were silent. Washington was complicit by supplying Israel with weapons, munitions, and encouragement. Obama acts the same as Bush, waging a quartet of lawless wars and using proxies in others.

Operation Cast Lead remains one of history’s greatest crimes. Yet Israel was green-lighted to wage it with impunity, what it’s done numerous times in its history, besides terrorizing Palestinians by:

— illegal military occupation;

— collective punishment and intimidation;

— air and ground attacks;

— isolating Gaza illegally under siege;

— intermittently bombing and shooting its residents, including noncombatant farmers, fishermen and children;

— regular residential neighborhood incursions;

— bulldozing homes;

— dispossessing residents;

— land seizures;

— arbitrary arrests;

— torture as official policy, including against women and children;

— targeted assassinations;

— denying refugees their right of return;

— movement and free expression restrictions;

— violence, not peaceful coexistence;

— confrontation, not diplomacy;

— war, not peace; and

— denying Palestinian sovereignty, as well as equal justice, human rights and civil liberty protections.

Israel is a rogue terror state, a democracy in name only affording rights solely to Jews. Remember Cast Lead, one of history’s greatest crimes. Justice Richard Goldstone documented them convincingly in his 575 page report titled, “Human Rights in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories: Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict.”

It covered Operation Cast Lead, the Gaza siege, the impact of Israel’s West Bank military occupation, and much more, including:

— events between the “ceasefire” period from June 18, 2008 to Israel’s initiated hostilities on December 27, 2008;

— applicable international law;

— Occupied Gaza under siege;

— an overview of Cast Lead;

— obligations of both sides to protect civilians;

— indiscriminate Israeli attacks on civilians, causing many hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries;

— “the use of certain weapons;”

— attacking “the foundations of civilian life in Gaza: destruction of industrial infrastructure, food production, water installations, sewage treatment plants and housing;”

— using Palestinians as human shields;

— detention and incarceration of Gazans during the conflict;

— the IDF’s objectives and strategy;

— impact of the siege and military operations on Gazans and their human rights;

— the detention of the Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit;

— internal Gaza violence – Hamas v. Fatah;

— the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem;

— Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank, including excessive or lethal force during demonstrations;

— Palestinians in Israeli prisons;

— Israeli violations of free movement and access rights;

— Fatah targeting Hamas supporters in the West Bank, and restricting free assembly and expression;

— rocket and mortar attacks against Israeli civilians;

— repression of dissent, access to information, and treatment of human rights defenders in Israel;

— Israeli responses to war crimes charges;

— proceedings by Palestinian authorities;

— universal jurisdiction;

— reparations; and

— conclusions and recommendations.

It collected enough information “of a credible and reliable nature….to make a finding in fact.” It established clear evidence of crimes, determining they were deliberate or reckless. An accompanying press release said:

“(T)here is evidence indicating serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law were committed by Israel during the Gaza conflict, and that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity.”

It explained that Israel falsely used the pretext of rocket attacks to attack “the people of Gaza as a whole” illegally.

A detailed discussion of Goldstone’s findings can be accessed through the following link:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2009/09/goldstone-commission-gaza-conflict.html

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights Report Remembers Cast Lead

In its December 2010 report titled, “The Illegal Closure of the Gaza Strip: Collective Punishment of the Civilian Population,” the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) remembered Cast Lead, saying it exacerbated isolation:

— killing over 1,400 Gazans, mostly civilians;

— injuring thousands more, many seriously; and

— causing “extensive destruction of houses and civilian infrastructure, including schools, hospitals, and industry.”

Moreover, Israel violated Security Council Resolution 1860 (January 8, 2009), calling for “full withdrawal of Israeli forces,” as well as “unimpeded humanitarian assistance” for Gazan victims. As a result, deepening crisis ensued.

On April 1, Richard Goldstone’s Washington Post op-ed headlined, “Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes,” saying:

“Our report found evidence potential war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity by both Israel and Hamas.” The latter ones, in fact, were minor by comparison, responding only to Israeli provocations.

Israel’s, however, “were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where….evidence (pointed to no) other reasonable conclusion.”

Goldstone, however, softened his initial condemnation by commending Israel’s Cast Lead inquiry, ignoring how all its internal investigations whitewash crimes of war and against humanity – most recently the Gaza and May 2010 Freedom Flotilla massacres.

According to PCHR:

“Rather than uphold the rule of law, the Israeli investigative and judicial system is artfully manipulated to provide an illusion of investigative and judicial rigour, while systematically perpetuating pervasive impunity” for crimes too extreme to ignore.

Whitewash Examples

On April 29, 2009, IDF Chief of Staff, General Gabi Ashkenazi authorized publication of the findings of five military investigate teams. Unsurprisingly, they concluded that:

“(T)throughout the fighting in Gaza, the IDF operated in accordance with international law. The IDF maintained a high professional and moral level while facing an enemy that aimed to terrorize Israeli civilians whilst taking cover amidst uninvolved civilians in the the Gaza strip and using them as human shields.”

It continued at some length justifying brazen Israeli crimes of war and against humanity. In contrast, a year after hostilities ended, Human Rights Watch called Israeli attacks “indiscriminate, disproportionate (and) at times seemingly deliberate, in violation of the laws of war,” condemning IDF investigations as no “substitute for impartial and thorough investigations into laws-of-war violations” they whitewashed.

In his April 1 op-ed, Goldstone failed to explain and denounce them. Instead, he defended the indefensible.

Netanyahu’s (Jacob) Turkel commission investigation of Israel’s Freedom Flotilla massacre also produced lies, distortions, omissions, false conclusions, and exoneration of cold-blooded murder, ordered by top government and military officials who got off scot-free like Cast Lead criminals.

Specifically, it concluded that Israel’s (illegal siege) does not break international law….(and) there were clear indications that the flotilla intended to break the naval blockade….By clearly resisting capture, the Mavi Marmara had become a military objective,” despite on board activists having no weapons and offering no resistance. Saying so was a lie.

In contrast, an independent UN Human Rights Council investigation “concluded that a series of violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, were committed by the Israeli forces during the interception of the flotilla and during the detention of passengers in Israel prior to deportation.”

It added that Israel’s attack:

“was unnecessary, disproportionate, excessive and inappropriate and resulted in the wholly avoidable killing and maiming of a large number of civilian passengers.”

Also that at least six of the dead were killed by “extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions,” some shot multiple times in the head at close range.

Moreover, similar tactics were used before, during, and after Cast Lead, facts Richard Goldstone knows and should have explained instead of suggesting civilians may not have been “intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.”

Indeed they always are under Israel’s “Dahiya Doctrine,” targeting civilians as official policy. Named after the Beirut suburb IDF attacks destroyed in the 2006 Lebanon war, it’s how all Israeli wars are waged. IDF Northern Commander Gabi Eisenkot explained, saying:

“What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on. We will apply disproportionate force at the heart of the enemy’s weak spot (civilians) and cause great damage and destruction. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages (towns or cities), they are military bases. This is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved.”

It also prioritizes damaging or destroying assets, economic interests, and centers of civilian power, requiring long-term reconstruction even though international law prohibits attacking civilians and non-military related targets. Israel spurned international law in Cast Lead, against humanitarian Flotilla activists, and in all its belligerent confrontations.

Instead of condemning this policy, Goldstone softened his criticism, contradicting his detailed findings, replicated by other reputable human rights studies, unequivocally accusing Israel of crimes of war and against humanity.

A Final Comment

On March 25, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution, urging the General Assembly address Israel’s Cast Lead impunity by asking the Security Council to request investigation, action and resolution by the International Criminal Criminal Court (ICC).

For over two years, justice for thousands of Palestinian victims has been denied. Gaza remains illegally under siege. Meaningful action is demanded. Crimes this great can’t be tolerated.

Under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the Security Council can request ICC action. Washington’s veto, of course, looms. Nonetheless, it’s high time other members demanded, shamed, and did whatever it takes to assure long-suffering Palestinians justice. Then do it for other victims of injustice instead of authorizing war on Libya when it should have acted resolutely to prevent it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

American Interventionism: Protecting the Profit Machine

March 24, 2011: By Richard William Posner

American Interventionism: Protecting the Profit Machine

Why America is really so concerned about the push for democracy in the Middle East.

A Brief Refresher Course

America is the spawn of empire building and from the start has itself engaged heavily in that activity. In nearly all cases it has shown a preference for bribery, coercion, intimidation and force over diplomacy and cooperation.

As a nation founded on invasion, occupation and genocide, America has maintained its empire by those means to this day.

Although Spain began the slaughter with the voyages of Columbus, the British colonies that became the United States continued it with a vengeance.

On October 26, 1606, King James I of England granted a royal charter to establish The London Company, a for-profit, joint stock venture that was also known as the Charter of the Virginia Company of London. The company’s purpose was the colonization, for profit, of North America.

From the Start; Murdering the Real Americans

In 1607 the British arrived in Jamestown and, shortly thereafter, began the calculated extermination of the indigenous population. By 1890 an estimated 90,000,000 people, in North, Central and South America had been systematically slaughtered in the fulfillment of Manifest Destiny.

The overt genocide in North America was curtailed after the infamous massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890.

I did not know then how much was ended. When I look back now from this high hill of my old age, I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes still young. And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A people’s dream died there. It was a beautiful dream. And I, to whom so great a vision was given in my youth, — you see me now a pitiful old man who has done nothing, for the nation’s hoop is broken and scattered. There is no center any longer, and the sacred tree is dead. —

Black Elk, Oglala Holy Man on the aftermath of the Massacre at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, December, 1890. The United States Army Seventh Cavalry used Gatling guns to slaughter 300 helpless Lakota children, men and women.

Although efforts at limited, selective genocide have continued, they have become much more clandestine.

Lee Brightman, United Native Americans President, estimates that of the Native population of 800,000 (in the US), as many as 42% of the women of childbearing age and 10% of the men…have been sterilized… The first official inquiry into the sterilization of Native women…by Dr. Connie Uri…reported that 25,000 Indian women had been permanently sterilized within Indian Health Services facilities alone through 1975…

No one actually knows how many native women were sterilized during the seventies. You may rest assured that the eugenics movement, although out of sight, is not extinct.

Motivation for Mass Murder

Throughout most of American history, the primary motivation for innumerable annexations, invasions, occupations, coups, assassinations and the installation of genocidal dictators has been to advance the agenda of capitalist globalization and to protect the privatized profit machine wherever footholds have been established.

Whatever the nature of the “business” that has entrenched itself in any sovereign nation, it can count upon the protection of its private security company; the U.S. government.

Chiquita Banana Republic?

Jacobo Arbenz became the democratically elected president of Guatemala in 1951, winning 65% of the vote. In 1952 Arbenz announced an Agrarian Reform Program which threatened to nationalize the United Fruit Company (Chiquita Banana). Faced with the reforms of a socialist democracy, the corporation sought American intervention. (emphasis added)

The democratically elected, progressive government of Guatemala was overthrown in 1954 by a CIA-organized and funded coup. The pretense for this assault on democracy was the alleged, ubiquitous threat of Soviet takeover when, in fact, Russia had no interest in the country. They did not even maintain diplomatic relations. (emphasis added)

This act of U.S. terrorism resulted in one of the most inhumane chapters of the 20th century. A forty year reign of terror ensued, eight years of which was supported by the Reagan administration. This was a period of torture, military-government death squads, mass executions, disappearances and inconceivable cruelty resulting in the extermination of at least 200,000 civilians.

In 1982 Reagan went to visit General Efrain Rios Montt, possibly the worst of the military dictators, who had slaughtered the Guatemalan Indians and peasants indiscriminately. Montts’ actions had won him global condemnation. After meeting with the butcher, Reagan stated that the general was getting “a bad deal”.

This is but a single example among many. To gain further knowledge, try What Uncle Sam Really Wants by Noam Chomsky and Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions since World War II by William Blum.

Also visit Serendipity for some rather stark and ghastly revelations.

Ronnie Strikes a Blow for “Democracy”

In Nicaragua the proxy army of Ronald Reagan, AKA the Contras, was formed from the vicious National Guard of Somoza, a mercilessly repressive, U.S.-friendly dictator.

From 1981-1989 the Contras waged all-out war, on behalf of Washington, against the Sandinistas. Their goal was to destroy progressive government social and economic programs, which were not favorable to the capitalist “free market” agenda.

The civilian death toll was well over 13,000.

John Stockwell, 13-year veteran of the CIA and former U.S. Marine Corps major, had this to say about the American method of “spreading democracy”.

They go into villages. They haul out families. With the children forced to watch, they castrate the father. They peel the skin off his face. They put a grenade in his mouth, and pull the pin. With the children forced to watch, they gang-rape the mother, and slash her breasts off. And sometimes, for variety, they make the parents watch while they do these things to the children.

These are the activities done by the Contras. The Contras are the people President Reagan called ‘freedom fighters.’ He said: ‘they are the moral equivalent of our founding fathers’.

Source

The Addicted Empire

Venezuela is the largest oil producer in South America.

In 2002, a U.S. backed coup in Venezuela became a U.S. back-fired coup. The democratically elected Hugo Chavez was temporarily ousted and replaced by the Bush-approved businessman Pedro Carmona. The outraged response from the people of Venezuela, including most of the military, was so overwhelming that the U.S. puppet was forced to give up his stolen prize after less than 48 hours. He fled Venezuela after he was placed under house arrest pending trial for his part in the failed coup, sought and was granted asylum by Colombia and later turned up in Miami. (emphasis added)

The American instigators/enablers of this recent “intervention” were appointees to the Bush administration whose careers were established orchestrating the dirty wars of Ronald Reagan.

The reason this coup was attempted and why Chavez has a target painted on his back by America can be summed up in a single word: oil. That’s probably the single most important commodity on Earth today, though water may soon overtake it, but that’s another discussion. America’s petroleum industry wants global control of oil production and the profits from it. They don’t want to share those profits with the People of Venezuela or anyone else, but that’s exactly what they’ve been forced to do by the Chavez government.

Since Venezuela is a democracy — in fact, and not in name only like the U.S. — there is a much stronger social component. That is to say, the government attempts to act in the best interests of the majority of the citizens rather than in service of powerful special interests.

The social democracy of Venezuela is hindering the capitalist profit machine in its impossible quest for infinite growth. That the filthy peasants of some back-water Third World country should have their lives improved at the expense oil company stockholders and billionaire CEOs is simply unacceptable.

The U.S. is attempting to do in Venezuela what it did when it came to the rescue of the United Fruit Company in Guatemala. Hugo Chavez is a marked man. I’m surprised he’s still alive. Then again, look how many assassination attempts Fidel Castro has survived.

Go East Young Empire!

The U.S. planned an invasion of Afghanistan well before the conveniently timed “attack” of September 11th. There are strong economic and strategic interests, centered on the control of oil reserves in Central Asia, which are the true motivation for the occupation of Afghanistan.

The U.S. is eying those reserves in the Caspian and Central Asia as an alternative to oil from the unstable Persian Gulf region. Afghanistan is the preferred gateway to and delivery route for the oil, for which American oil companies have acquired rights to as much as 75 percent. Big Oil wants a pipeline through Afghanistan to the Pakistani port of Karachi on the Arabian Sea.

It seems apparent however, that there is little enthusiasm for such a project from whatever powers may be in Afghanistan. In order for the pipeline to become a reality, an obedient puppet regime, enabling U.S. remote control of the country, is required.

The slaughter taking place in Afghanistan has little to do with “the war on terror”, which is nothing more than a pretext for escalating American aggression, and much to do with advancing the agenda of the capitalist profit machine. It’s simply a variation on a theme.

Don’t Mess With the Dollar!

Saddam Hussein made a fatal error when he became the first OPEC member to demand payment for oil in euros rather than dollars. A shift from petrodollar to petroeuro would have a catastrophic effect on the American economy.

Continued American control of Iraqi oil is the reason for the illegal invasion and occupation of that sovereign nation. Anyone who was paying the least attention knew long before the attack was launched; there were no weapons of mass destruction and no connection with Al Qaeda.

One of the first things done after the invasion was to put Iraq back on the petro-dollar. America was largely in control of the inputs and outputs of Iraqi throughout the 1990s. Payment for the oil was in petrodollars, and there was no invasion. No sooner was the switch made to petroeuros than incontrovertible evidence of imminent danger from Saddam’s awesome military might and close ties with Al Qaeda were discovered (invented) and used as a pretext for invasion and occupation.

Once again the capitalist enforcer, U.S. military might, was brought in to ensure that “business as usual” would not be interrupted. In the years following the illegal invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, with the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives, big oil is making the highest profits of any industry in the history of the world.

War profiteering and weapons sales have also been very profitable.

The Peasants are Revolting!

At least that’s how the globalist elite feel.

Suddenly, as if some multi-lingual epiphany has simultaneously struck in several places, common people in the Middle East and elsewhere are getting uppity. They are demanding democracy and insisting that their human rights be recognized. They are taking inspiration from each other and, hopefully, a chain reaction has begun that will lead to a better world for all.

Even in America, lowly, insignificant, middle-class blue collar laborers are emerging from a long sleep of indoctrinated complacency and demanding their civil liberties be returned and their human rights honored. Could things get any worse for our masters?

I certainly hope so. Imagine if you will, several OPEC nations suddenly being transformed from capitalist-friendly monarchies and dictatorships into social democracies like those that are beginning to emerge in Central and South America.

Envision the peoples of Third World countries all over Earth coming to the understanding that the internal strife in their societies, which is often fomented and exaggerated by outside forces, is allowing those same forces to steal their resources and heritage, destroy their culture and environment and deprive them of their dignity, integrity and humanity.

It’s one thing for America and its “allies” to bring in the enforcers and abort one or two isolated, nascent, “socialist” experiments. It would be quite another to deal with a global flare-up of societies, especially those in oil producing nations, suddenly awakened and enraged by the injustices they have endured for centuries at the hands of a cadre of parasitic, psychopathic, self-proclaimed rulers.

“It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!” — R.E.M.

Could it be possible that we are about to witness, even participate in, a global, societal sea change? Is there a chance that homo sapiens are beginning to access their species consciousness, awakening their potential to embrace the reality of a single human family?

Perhaps the would-be rulers of the world have finally pushed too far, hard and wide in their quest for supremacy over all. Their actions, made so highly visible today by the nearly instantaneous global spread of information, may become the catalyst that will initiate the disintegration of their dystopian dream. Their lust for power and control and the ruthless pursuit of them may be about to backfire.

The technological “shrinking” of our world, the sudden ability of practically everyone to know what is happening, almost everywhere, nearly in real time, is making us all more aware of each other and our shared humanity than ever before in history. That awareness also brings the recognition of the injustice, oppression and exploitation we are all being subjected to.

If sufficient numbers of people realize they ultimately share the same goal; if they instinctively work toward that single, identical purpose, however independently, nothing will stop them from achieving it.

If it’s true that the darkest hour is just before dawn, then the sun is just about to rise.

Richard Posner is a writer, computer graphics and image editor, and is skilled at electronic music applications.  The full range of his political and ideological views, and the background for those, can be found on his own site.  Richard can be contacted directly at coldwarbaby@gmail.com

There is no Fate but what we Make

(ASSOCIATED PRESS VIA ABC NEWS, DET. GREG SEMENDINGER)

By Jon Bourn

We are told that airplanes filled with jet fuel melted two towers that primarily consist of steel at temperatures that are not possible with jet fuel. Even stranger, we are told an array of Saudi’s (a country we did not retaliate against) used utility knifes as weapons to murder and take-over airline pilots which was enough to fumble down NORAD among other national defense systems. We are told fighters were grounded, we are told a gigantic airplane disappeared inside the Pentagon and into a hole in Pennsylvania, we see buildings turned into dust that had no previous damage based on a logic that has never before occurred. Why would so much dust appear without implosion? How can towers fall so perfectly as building seven (third tower that fell that day) at free fall speed without implosion? Why was this tower not included with the commission report?

 

Why have we not been provided answers to these questions that are part of an thorough investigation? The photo shown was obtained by ABC with a Freedom of Information request, view gallery photos shared here.

Please take a long and thoughtful glance at the photo and begin to ask the following questions. If steel has melted, then where did the momentum derive from? Where is the fire? The fires were apparently about to go out when the buildings fell. Where are the core steel beams as we know jet fuel is not hot enough to melt at less than 3000 degrees, a temperature never reached? Wouldn’t there have been some steel bending and flying around? Concrete does not pulverize itself completely when falling, it stacks up, and there would be visible chunks. Look at all the other fires and disasters where buildings fall on others. Look at how buildings fall when they are imploded called (controlled demolition). Have you ever seen a building fall that was not imploded, the tallest buildings in the world let’s say, and fall in only 10 seconds without any pancake resistance? Why do we only see plumes of dust in controlled demolitions? Why were there so many reports of explosions going off inside the buildings? Are we to believe that all this is simply possible by visiting Home Depot’s tool department?

How is it possible to identify the not-so-dead terrorist so quickly when they are not on any of the passenger manifests? The amount of coincidence involved and passively accepted in relation to the 9/11 pearl harbor event, one that has catalyzed war against invisible terror has significant Zionist influence as the enemies of elite bigotry and choosiness have already declared war on life in general through immense racism and lack of compassion for multiculturalism. The countries that have been destroyed represent strategic interests that are contrary to Zionism and Jewish influence in America which has been built out of the great void as the food to feed on and this is the ability to strive as a community. Apartheid only works on one side of the fence, the other is rejected. The insane ideology of divide and conquer rots from the inside, as the delusion of being chosen as an excuse to plunder and destroy a living Palestinian community.

There is no way to set your heart straight without addressing all of these issues together and in a context that reveals the truth. It is not a conspiracy theory for a crime to have been committed. They happen all the time. What has grown out of this event has changed the face of America and aligned it with Zionism in America as a way of living, it has already begun. To live in fear and to build walls around a consecration and illusion that poor people are bad, and their out to get you. It is all a lie as food for the great void of sleeping while awake. Once you’re awake, you can begin to breathe and avoid the collective unconscious who feed on our freedom by abusing the social and evolutionary premise of peace on earth, and humanity to living beings with religious beliefs. You would expect this as much. How many wars must be fought to prove we can’t see the real enemy? How many children must die, how many women raped and tortured, to set your heart straight? Isn’t the big thing about wars the end? Why haven’t we declared that?

The truth has begun to reveal itself in the Arab world as we see countries are not really at war with America, they are in fact seeking a similar path as Americans, one of a civil society presently where factions are entwined into the fabric of economic feudalism fitted for the Zionist profile, such as the control of resources. Supply is now what ever you can steal, as prices have nothing to do with sustainability or regulation by those who are forced to pay for their rightful use. All these interests are acquired as in Iraq and Afghanistan as privileges arranged in the warring puppetry. We may see that the twists and turns in the spin have lost their zeal of foolery.

There was no great enemy only an event of unconscious arrival that has set forth a campaign of death especially to those who are opposed to Zionism and the oppression and ridicule of a culture that is particularly opposite the apartheid affairs stemming out of Israel. They want the basic human rights that have been exposed, they are not our enemies in the least. To begin to see all of the elements in a context of who benefits the most the confession war has long been a racket, but it has never been a way of life. There is no fate but what we make.

Related:

March 15, 2011: Veterans Today: Congress, AIPAC-Israel and 9/11

The Reign of the Psychopaths

February 11, 2011 2 comments

By Steven LaTulippe

The Reign of the Psychopaths

One of the key traits of psychopathic personality disorder is a near-total absence of empathy. To the psychopath, other people exist as mere objects, to be used and discarded at the psychopath’s whim.

“I had to beat my mother with that baseball bat,” claims the typical psychopath. “She wouldn’t give me her pension check, and I needed it to buy more beer.”

Such statements are made without irony or sarcasm, since the psychopath literally cannot imagine that other human beings might have needs distinct from his own.

While watching events unfold these past weeks in Egypt, it became apparent to me that the United States is suffering from a foreign policy malady frighteningly analogous to psychopathic personality disorder.

On one hand, the history of the Mubarak regime is well-documented. For decades, the Egyptian people have lived in grinding poverty – on less than $2 per day, by some estimates – while Mubarak and his family have amassed vast fortunes. The Egyptian government routinely uses torture against its political opponents and denies the people even basic freedoms. Election fraud, censorship, and police brutality are realities of everyday Egyptian life.

That the Egyptian people have rebelled against such a regime should come as no surprise. And one would expect that the American government – itself the creation of a revolution against an authoritarian monarchy – would support their cause, at least morally if not materially.

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Mubarak’s Thirty-Year Dictatorship

February 8, 2011 1 comment

By Steve Lendman

Mubarak’s Thirty-Year Dictatorship

Throughout decades of brutal rule, Mubarak remained a steadfast US ally. As a result, Washington rewarded him generously. US administrations also ignored his crimes, corruption, and lawlessness, as late January released WikiLeaks cables reveal, showing Obama knew he kept power through ruthless state terror.

On January 15, 2009, ambassador Margaret Scobey called security force brutality “routine and pervasive,” saying:

“(P)olice using force to extract confessions from criminals (is) a daily event. (US informants) estimate there are literally hundreds of torture incidents every day in Cairo police stations alone.”

Political activists and opponents are also targeted, Scobey adding:

“(T)he GOE (government of Egypt) is probably torturing (an April 6 activist) to scare other….members into abandoning their political activities.” It also referred to the “sexual molestation of a female ‘April 6 activist,’ ” and that another victim’s torture only stopped “when he began cooperating.”

Moreover, “standing orders from the Interior Ministry between 2000 and 2006 (instructed) the police to shoot, beat and humiliate judges in order to undermine judicial independence.”

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