Monthly Archives: May 2015

Global Fear-Mongering

World leaders have long known that in order to stay in power, scaring the populace is a vital ingredient in any campaign. Look to the March, 2015 victory of Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu, who fanned the fears of his racist population, claiming that ‘Arabs’ were going to the polls in droves. In the United States, for decades whichever candidate was more successful at stoking the flaming fear of communism glided to easy victory. And as Canada and the U.S. approach election season, with Canada’s election five months away, and the long, drawn out campaign for the White House a tortuous eighteen months away, it is now, apparently, time to begin fanning the fears of what is generally called ‘radical Islam’.

A CNN report of May 11 is headlined thusly: ‘Retired Generals: Be Afraid of ISIS’. The article refers to President Barack Obama as “naïve”; discusses “the ever-growing numbers of victims of radical Islam in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia”, and condemns “the frightfully slow pace America’s commander-in-chief is currently allowing our military and intelligence community to take action against both ISIS and its progenitor, al Qaeda….”

It is interesting that people who make their living from war are called upon to comment on whether war should continue or not. The writers of the CNN article are Retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency; retired Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston, USMC, and congressional counterterrorism adviser Michael S. Smith II. Interestingly, these gentleman are co-founders of a ‘strategic advisory firm’ called Kronos Advisory. A small quotation from their website puts their fear-mongering into perspective:

“Increased global economic competition among rising powers could also exacerbate issues such as these. Indeed, as lucrative opportunities lure companies from nations with limited defense and intelligence resources into ungoverned areas and failed states the potential flashpoints for conflict will multiply.

“To manage increasingly complex international affairs, security officials require more robust decision-support solutions that leverage high-level subject matter expertise and innovative thought leadership in the areas of irregular warfare, geostrategy, and associated policy development. And history tells us human intelligence will be central to any successful programs that seek to advance American and allied interests in this volatile environment.

“From subject matter expertise with transnational extremist networks, to predictive analytic capabilities that can help officials identify and understand future challenges before they materialize, to strong relationships with lawmakers committed to helping defense and intelligence organizations achieve their missions, Kronos Advisory’s global network can deliver a range of vital resources national security managers require to more fully understand their operational environment — and define it.”

And as long as there is war, there can be little doubt that the costly services of Kronos Advisory will be in demand.

While the words from the Kronos Advisory website are self-explanatory, there is one small area that requires particular focus: “relationships with lawmakers committed to helping defense and intelligence organizations achieve their missions”. And now we get to the crux of the matter. Messrs. Flynn, Livingston and Smith all had prominent roles in the government, and now are capitalizing on the ‘strong relationships’ with those members of Congress who rely on the so-called defense industry to fund their campaigns. These members of Congress will keep the war machine working, thus keeping the military lobby happy, providing endless perquisites for the government officials, and keeping businesses such as Kronos Advisory very busy. Where in this is there anything about what’s best for the people?

Let us take just a moment to look at the three ‘frightening’ expressions quoted above. Mr. Obama, these august businessmen say, is naïve. Perhaps he has, naively, not yet sought out their services and expertise, which may have had a lot to do with their motivation for writing for CNN. Secondly, they state with alarm “the ever-growing numbers of victims of radical Islam in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia”, not mentioning that most of those victims die as a result of U.S.-provided bombs. Lastly, they bemoan “the frightfully slow pace America’s commander-in-chief is currently allowing our military and intelligence community to take action against both ISIS and its progenitor, al Qaeda…”, hoping, perhaps, for a wider, more comprehensive war which will require their services to a far greater extent, thus increasing their bottom line, at the expense of the blood of people around the world.

Meanwhile, north of the border, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a short time ago considered vulnerable in this year’s election, said this during a visit to Canadian troops in Kuwait: “Make no mistake: by fighting this enemy here you are protecting Canadians at home. Because this evil knows no borders”. One is reminded of a statement made on September 12, 2008 by then Alaska Governor and Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, when bidding an official farewell to soldiers on their way to Iraq. She said that their mission was to “defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans.” Any connect between Iraq and the September 11 attacks against the U.S. had long since been debunked, but what is this to Mrs. Palin? When the flag can be waved in a patriotic display, what do facts have to do with anything?

The same is true with Mr. Harper’s bizarre statement. The indiscriminate killing of Muslims doesn’t protect ‘Canadians at home’. It has, indeed, the opposite effect. A ‘Tweet’ sent in 2012 by a lawyer in Yemen to Mr. Obama applies as well to Mr. Harper: “Dear Mr. Obama, when a U.S. drone missile kills a child in Yemen, the father will go to war with you, guaranteed. Nothing to do with Al Qaeda.” So Canada, continuing to disgrace itself on the world stage, follows along with U.S. mass murder in the Middle East.

But jingoism sells, whether the original, U.S. version, or the copy that has now apparently been successfully exported to Canada. ‘They’ are bad; ‘we’ are good, and the only thing the ‘good’ people can do is kill the ‘bad’ people. Mr. Harper is positioning himself for victory by framing his campaign in the tried and true ‘us vs. them’ model that has long been successful in the U.S. As the U.S. election campaigning ramps up, with more and more clowns entering the two-ring circus known as the Democratic and Republican primaries, we can watch the candidates from both parties fall all over themselves to prove that they want to kill more of the ‘bad’ people, and will do it longer and more effectively, than any of their opponents. No doubt they will be assisted by Kronos Advisory.

What will future generations say? Will they look upon the current world situation as today we might look upon Neanderthal society, observing the way primitive man lived? Will they comment intellectually on the little value that human life had for twenty-first century society, and the way that society worked hard to develop more effective ways to eradicate it? Will they marvel at how close the population came to extinction through war?

This is the legacy we are leaving; this is what our descendants will say about us.

Sadly, with the media corporate-owned, and the U.S. education system only deteriorating, there seems to be little hope for any significant change in the near future.

 

This article was originally published here: https://alethonews.wordpress.com/

 

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Hillary: a Disaster in the Making

One longs for a candidate for president of the United States possessing those rare traits of statesmanship, honesty and integrity. One looks back in vain to see such an example, and the near and far horizons offer no such hope, either.

We will take no time looking at the GOP (Generally Opposed to Progress) candidates, either announced or still keeping everyone on the edge of their seats as they ‘decide’ whether or not to toss their hat into the soon-to-be-crowded ring. Most, including Florida Governor and brother of one of the nation’s worst presidents ever, Jeb Bush, and New Jersey Governor, the obnoxious blowhard Chris Christie, have already decided, but enjoy the spectacle of endless conjecture. So they wait.

But on the Democratic side, no less a worthy than Hillary Rodham Clinton, lawyer, former First Lady, former senator, former Secretary of State, has slow-balled her tattered hat into an otherwise empty ring. Her handlers claim, disingenuously, that she expects competition, and a hard-fought primary campaign. Who, one wants to know, is going to take her on? She has a war chest rumored to hold $2.5 billion, more than twice what Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Barack Obama each spent on their campaigns in 2012; the total is more than their campaign expenditures combined. The only other potential candidate with anything close to her name recognition is Vice President Joe Biden, and it will be impossible for him to generate the puzzling enthusiasm that seems to follow Mrs. Clinton. And there does not appear to be anyone waiting in the wings to grab the spotlight from her, as Mr. Obama did in 2008.

So, while her various aides struggle to avoid any appearance of invincibility, let us all make the assumption that Mrs. Clinton will be the nominee, and work from there. What possible objections can anyone from the moderate to liberal political philosophy spectrum have to her nomination? Well, this writer asks: how much time do you have?
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In the interest of time, let’s just look at a single area; there will be plenty of time to discuss others as the relentless torture session known as a U.S. political campaign drags on.

One of the most horrific oppressions of people currently happening in the world today is being perpetrated by Israel on the people of Palestine. Now, before anyone says that this is a complex, decades-old problem, and Mrs. Clinton can’t be blamed for not solving it, we question these statements, and at the same time object to her worsening of the situation. And, when one looks at her four years as Secretary of State, one can, indeed, blame her for not resolving the situation. Some facts:

* Clinton is beholden to AIPAC (American Israel Political Affairs Committee), and takes her disgraceful, self-appointed obligation to that lobby group more seriously than she does human rights. During her stint as Secretary of State, she blocked every effort Palestinians made at the United Nations to achieve recognition; these successful efforts to thwart the self-determination of an oppressed people win the kudos of AIPAC. She has spoken of Israel in almost romantic terms: “Protecting Israel’s future is not simply a question of policy for me, it’s personal,” she said in 2013, discussing various visits she has made to that apartheid land. She regularly worships at the AIPAC altar.

* In 2014, as Israel was using U.S.-provided weaponry, some of it illegal under international law, to carpet-bomb the beleaguered and blockaded Gaza Strip, Mrs. Clinton had nothing but praise for Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu. She further echoed the tired old line about Israel’s ‘right to defend itself’ from rocket fire, as if an occupied nation does not have an internationally-recognized right to fight its occupier. One must note that, during 55 days in the summer of 2014, Israel fired more rockets into the Gaza Strip than Gaza fired into Israel in the previous 14 years. Additionally, Dr. Norman Finkelstein, the son of Holocaust survivors and an outspoken critic of Israel (he is no longer allowed in that country), calls those ‘rockets’ fired from Gaza ‘enhanced fire works’. No one refers to the advanced weaponry the U.S. gives to Israel in such terms.

*During her last campaign for the presidency, she stated that, if Iran attacked her beloved Israel with nuclear weapons, the U.S., under her presidency would attack Iran and could ‘totally obliterate’ it. One must take her at her word, since she voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq, a nation that in no way threatened the U.S., and in which over half the population was under the age of 15. So she would, one assumes, not hesitate to invade Iran, a nation with twice the population of Iraq, if it, too, did nothing to threaten the U.S.

So why, one wonders, is there so much enthusiasm among Democrats for a woman who, by all accounts, is a hypocritical war-monger, who is more motivated to enhance her own bottom line than to serve the cause of human rights? What is it that draws adoring crowds to her? Perhaps people are seduced by the idea of another first: they elected the first African-American president, so why not follow it up with the first woman president? Maybe it is her resume, which is, indeed, impressive. But any job-seeker will highlight notable job titles on their resume, but once at the interview, may have difficulty pointing to any real accomplishments. The voters, as interviewers, should take a close look at what achievements, if any, Mrs. Clinton has to support those remarkable job titles. They will find little.

But what is all this, when the candidate is surrounded by the magic of invincibility, the aura of newness, and represents the final shattering of the glass ceiling? Does she not deserve the presidency, for all her hard work, regardless of the lack of any real accomplishment? Don’t we, the voters, owe her this?

No, we don’t. She isn’t fit to serve in any capacity in government, due to the reasons detailed above, in addition to many others (stay tuned). In this case it is the empress, not the emperor, who has new clothes, only seen by Democrats stricken with some sudden myopia that prevents them from seeing the reality of her accomplishments which, like the new clothes, simply don’t exist.

One can generally rely on the Republicans to nominate a worse candidate than the Democrats; one hesitates to say the Democrat is usually better, since we are not operating in a ‘good, better, best’ zone here; far beneath it, unfortunately. But this time around, there may simply be no ‘lesser of two evils’ choice to make. And the U.S. will provide yet another tragedy for the country, and the world.

 

(first published in Counterpunch.org http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/04/17/hillary-a-disaster-in-the-making/)

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Anti-Israel vs. Anti-Semitism

An apparent rise in anti-Semitism is being commented on throughout parts of Europe. This isn’t terribly surprising, since talking heads seem to be falling all over themselves to portray Israel as a struggling, vulnerable nation with hardly a friend in the world, so why not magnify any episodes of what might be construed as anti-Semitism to throw in as further evidence, no matter how dubious. But, if there is an increase in incidents of alleged anti-Semitism anywhere in the world, perhaps it might be worthwhile to take a closer look. By doing so, we may be able to determine if it is, indeed, anti-Semitism, or simply a manifestation of anger against Israel for its brutal oppression of Palestine.

It is estimated that in the last few years, at least a million residents have moved out of Israel. Studies indicate that this group consists mainly of better-educated, liberal Jews who, for whatever reason, may have wanted to immigrate to Israel, but, once there, found that it wasn’t a democracy, but a totalitarian, racist regime. Their departure paved the way for the re-election this year of Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu. It has also allowed the continuing land theft, daily kidnapping and murder of Palestinians, bombing of the Gaza Strip, and the many other atrocities that Israel commits on a daily basis. As Israeli leaders screech about Israel being a ‘Jewish’ state, and the world sees that very state killing and oppressing innocent men, women and children on a daily basis, and sometimes in huge numbers, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the world may begin to equate being Jewish with being abominably cruel. The realistic extension of this is hostility towards Jews. Then the corporate-owned and controlled press screams anti-Semitism.

It is interesting to see how this cycle works. Israel commits genocide against Palestine, with weaponry the United States provides. This causes increased isolation of, and hostility towards, Israel. The government then plays the anti-Semitism card, and tells the U.S. it needs more money for weaponry for its ‘national security’ (it is amazing to this writer how so many diverse things represent an existential threat to Israel). The U.S. Congress, which is best seen as the humble employee of Israel, rushes in to provide that weaponry, which Israel uses to further oppress Palestine with unmatched barbarity. More nations, businesses and individuals respond to the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement, further isolating Israel, as the blogosphere reports its atrocities. Hostility increases, and the merry-go-round never ends.

In addition to providing the weapons and technology Israel uses for its murders and oppression, the U.S. plays another role in the global marginalization and hostility towards Israel, by protecting it from international accountability at the United Nations, and under-reporting (to put it mildly) Israeli atrocities. With those atrocities whitewashed in the news media and by governmental officials, but the reality being shown on Facebook, Twitter and other sites, there is a general feeling of collusion between the two nations. That this collusion is factual is undisputed.

The schoolyard bully who complains that no one likes him has created his own problems. If coddled by the school administration, it, too, is complicit in his ostracization. On a macro level, the bully is Israel, with the U.S. serving the same function as the coddling school administration. And the result is the same: further marginalization of the Israeli bully.

There is a danger whenever a bully, be it an individual or a nation, begins to see that its intimidation is not resulting in its getting its way, but rather is causing it to be thwarted at every turn. In 2007, Russia chose not to sell defense weaponry to Iran, due in large part to pressure from the U.S. and apartheid Israel. Things are different in 2015, and Russia has confirmed that it will sell defense weapons to Iran. This is upsetting to the U.S. and Israel, saying it will complicate any attack they may want to make on Iran. And yes, it certainly will; one thinks that is probably Iran’s goal in obtaining these weapons. With two very powerful militaries rattling their sabers at Iran, that nation, like every other nation on the planet, must do what it can to protect its citizens. That Russia is willing to assist is a very positive sign.

The bully and its main cohort, the U.S., are feeling the effects of their actions, and not liking them one little bit. This will probably ramp up aggression from both; Israel will take out its anger on beleaguered Palestine, the struggling nation who’s destruction the U.S. finances, while the U.S. arms whatever nations it thinks might assist Israel, should a war with that country start. And all this buying and selling of weaponry is a great benefit to U.S. military companies, which are the largest suppliers of weapons in the world. They don’t care if Israel, Iran, Russia or France, for that matter, gets blown off the map: as long as the profits soar, the blood that finances them is unimportant.

No one likes a bully, and when the bully is Israel, the so-called ‘Jewish state’, the news media and the government can attempt to diminish hostility towards that bully by calling it anti-Semitism. They can attempt to shift the focus to violent extremists who pervert one or two verses from the Qur’an to justify their crimes. And why not? It works so well for the so-called Christian right to pick and choose verses from the Bible out of context, to justify their hatred of the poor, minorities, and anyone they view as ‘different’.

But those who oppose Israeli apartheid will not be so easily influenced; the news media, and government-appointed talking heads, are no longer the only sources of information available to the general public. People can see Israel for what it is, and the U.S. as its cash cow. It isn’t anti-Semitism that Israel needs to worry about; it is the exposure of its continued crimes against humanity that is causing so much hostility. That hostility is justified, and will continue until such time as the international community demands justice for Palestine. The strong winds of change are blowing, and not even the mighty U.S. can stop them.

 

(First published on the Palestine News Network: http://english.pnn.ps/index.php/opinion/9565-anti-israel-vs-anti-Semitism)

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