Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Americans are eating genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which are not being seriously tested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). How much danger can GMOs be to our health? Here Paul Craig Roberts has accepted biotechnologist Tom Mysiewicz as a Guest Contributor to his blog explaining the bad things that GMO's have already, or might eventually, wreak on us if we consume foods with high GMO contents. It's an eye opener.
Weaponized Agriculture — Tom Mysiewicz
May 26, 2014 | Guest Contribution | Original Here Go here to sign up to receive email notice of this news letter
Tom Mysiewicz is a biotechnologist. In this article he shares with us his conclusions about the dangers of GMO crops.
BOON TO HUMANITY OR RECKLESS SCIENCE?
By Tom Mysiewicz
Recently, an NGO (non-governmental organization) in Russia—the National Association for Genetic Safety–began working closely with the Russian Duma to enact a set of laws criminalizing the introduction of harmful genetically-modified crops (GM or GMO crops) as well as withholding information on harmful effects of such crops. Russian President Vladimir Putin has indicated he will sign such legislation, saying Russia can grow enough food for itself without genetic engineering it.
“If Americans like to eat such foods, they can eat them,” Putin is reported to have said. But with GMO companies in the U.S. massively campaigning to hide GMO content—do Americans really know what they are eating?
I believe Russia and, increasingly, countries elsewhere, are on the right track in this regard. And I base this belief on my first-hand observations from the inception of GMO crops—and the original promises made and assurances given for this technology—to the much different reality I see today.
As founder and editor of the weekly biotechnology newsletter–BioEngineering News–I covered GMOs and ag-biotech from 1980 through 1993 and was the first journalist allowed (under a secrecy agreement) to cover a Gordon Research Conference. This groundbreaking conference, on Plant Genetic Engineering, was at U.C. Davis in the early 1980s. I have also had hands-on research experience, including lab courses on plant tissue culture in which I cloned a variety of plants from jojoba to redwood.
The original promise of genetic engineering was that crops could be grown without fertilizer or pesticides, in salt water if fresh water was scarce, and that the nutritional content could be altered at will by the addition of genes for amino acids (the building blocks of protein) such as L-lysine and genes coding for vitamins, such as vitamin A. In this “brave new world” hunger and malnutrition would be eliminated by massively higher crop yields. And there would be no down side: We were assured that there would be no actual or consequential harmful effects from such alterations.
Many Americans are not aware that the system of clinical trials and double-blind studies for new drugs means that it can cost $30- to $60-million to get a single new drug through FDA-mandated clinical trials. And, still, how many horror stories have we heard of dangerous drug side effects? Imagine if NO clinical trials were required for new drugs and only some rudimentary safety testing was necessary? Would you feel safe taking a new drug?
Well, that is the situation with GMO crops.
In the early 1980s—at about the time of the abovementioned Gordon Conference at U.C. Davis—the USDA and FDA (apparently at the behest of large agribusiness interests) determined that GMO crops were GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) meaning they were substantially equivalent to existing crops and were, therefore, “grandfathered in” and exempt from rigorous testing under existing food, drug and cosmetic laws.
Exempted from costly safety testing, a virtual “gold rush” of ag biotech companies and investors ensued to commercialize the first GMO crops.
Jump to the present. Many (if not most) GMO crops have cloned resistance genes for Monsanto’s Roundup® herbicide (Glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine))—whose effects on weeds are similar to Agent Orange. Previously, this herbicide (an estrogen mimic active in mammals in the part-per-trillion range, some say) could not be used on many of these crops. Now it can be—and vastly more Roundup can be used on GMO crops that previously tolerated it– and some estimates of increased glyphosate usage are sobering:
“Herbicide-resistant crop technology has led to a 239 million kilogram (527 million pounds) increase in herbicide use in the United States between 1996 and 2011.” ( Impacts of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the U.S. — the first sixteen years. Charles M Benbrook, Centre for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, Washington State University, Hulbert 421, PO Box 646242, Pullman, WA, 99164-6242, USA, Environmental Sciences Europe 2012, 24:24 doi:10.1186/2190-4715-24-24. The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://www.enveurope.com/content/24/1/24 )
This means Americans are now ingesting much higher levels of the herbicide and have much higher blood-serum levels of glyphosate—this without adequate knowledge of the cumulative effects of such exposure. My belief is that some of the adverse human and animal effects attributed to GMOs may, in fact, be due to “glyphosate intoxication” indirectly resulting from genetic modification of crops to allow large amounts of this herbicide to be sprayed on fields. Also, most corn and soy is GMO now and this is fed to a variety of meat animals destined for human consumption.
While little has been done to reduce the need for fertilizers or to incorporate salt-tolerance genes into crops, a certain percentage of GMO crops incorporate genes for production of BT toxin, a natural insecticide derived from the pest-killing microbe BT or Bacillus thuringiensis. The gene coding for BT-toxin is “spliced” to various delivery vehicles or vectors designed to get them into the plant cells.
The problem here is that, whereas the BT microbe is sprayed onto crops and can be washed off by the consumer, the gene coding for the BT toxin is cloned into a food plant the consumer eats. Just because the toxin is “natural” (like the deadly ricin) does not mean it is not a poison—as evidenced by the fact that it kills bugs.
Have comprehensive clinical trials been done on the effects of BT toxin? I think not and anecdotal evidence is surfacing of a number of potential ill health effects. In addition, there is also increasing evidence that some of the vehicles (vectors) used to introduce genes into plant cells may also be infecting mammalian cells exposed to them. If these genes were to be expressed in the tissues of consumers ingesting such foods, the levels of BT could rise substantially. Once again, there is no adequate research into the long-term effects.
Then there is the issue of incorporating genes coding for different amino acids to “improve protein quality” in food crops. For instance, it was theorized that a “meatato” could be produced that would have an amino-acid compliment making it nutritionally equivalent to meat. And various genes have been incorporated to raise levels of specific amino acids, as previously mentioned, such as L-lysine.
There is a slight problem with such efforts. Some of the amino acids and proteins produced may not have the proper shape even if they have the same chemical formula. In the body, enzymes are necessary to metabolize proteins and amino acids. Some have likened the process to a lock and key. If the “lock” (protein/amino acid) is the wrong shape the “key” (enzyme) will not fit. And metabolism will be disrupted. This could account for some of the ill effects associated with GMOs.
In the early days of genetic engineering nobody worried about such considerations. But they are important. For instance, a microbial-GMO produced L-tryptophan amino-acid supplement by Japan’s Showa Denko—possibly a mixture containing isomers having the wrong “shape”—is believed to have resulted in 30+deaths and over 1000 injuries. According to Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology (PSRAST) in a report originally issued 6 Jan. 2007 and updated 9 June 2013:
The commonly held “filtration hypothesis” – that the accident was caused by insufficient purification of the product – has been definitely disproven.
Two abnormal substances “IMT” and “EBT”, closely similar to tryptophan, were found in the product.
The only tenable scientific explanation for their appearance is a disturbance of tryptophan metabolism caused by the introduction of four foreign genes all designed to influence synthesis of tryptophan.
It is of minor importance whether these two substances were the specific cause of the deaths, or not. The important thing is that genetic engineering evidently generated at least two unexpected poisonous substances very difficult to detect. In any case, it is established beyond reasonable doubt that some product from disturbed metabolism due to genetic engineering was the ultimate cause of the deadly disease.
The PSRAST website is useful as well as it contains a comprehensive listing of anecdotal side effects of human and animal consumption of GMO foods: http://www.psrast.org/
We now know it’s possible for genetic-engineering vectors in plants to infect mammalian cells. And, since recombinant genes are expressed in pollen, it is certainly possible for GMO crops to infect the same crops and even unrelated plants and weeds.
On an immediate level, the contamination by GMO pollen of non-GM fields can lead to economic ruin if the farmers are competing for non-GMO markets. And GMO agribusiness companies frequently and successfully sue these victims of contamination for patent infringement!
Since GMO crops containing herbicide-resistance genes are so common, it is also well within the realm of possibility that resistance may eventually spread to weeds–ultimately disrupting agriculture and leading to food shortages.
By their nature, GMO plants will also reduce diversity in targeted crops, leaving them susceptible to unforeseen natural diseases and blights—much like the use of a single potato cultivar was a cause of the infamous “Irish potato famine.”
Finally, to prevent seed saving by poor farmers and ensure high profits—ag-biotech companies have developed so-called “suicide genes” that allow only one crop to be grown from purchased seeds. Imagine the global catastrophe that could ensue if such genes were to jump to non-GMO fields, were to infect other food crops and even infect wild plants?
We could be quickly facing a national or international crisis of monumental proportions.
Along these lines, in closing, I’d like to share my opinion that GMO crops are a form of “weaponized agriculture”. Making foreign countries dependent on externally-supplied GMO seeds leaves them open to the worst sort of extortion and could lead to wars and global instability. Further, having established production and distribution facilities for GMO seed could allow rapid targeting of the agricultural sector of an “enemy” country. Simply having this capacity could create a climate of suspicion and lead to retaliatory measures that could substantially reduce the human population.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
YouTube has noticed some of my specific interests and accordingly sends me suggestions such as these ...both of which turn out to be of great personal interest. Hope they grab you too!
Why Uruguay's President is the Most Bad-Ass Leader in the World | Heroes and Villains
Russia/China Energy Deal, Russia Builds Nuke Plants in Iran and Vets Die Waiting for Medical Care
Monday, May 26, 2014
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was not merely Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy under Ronald Reagan and an Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. In 1982 he became the first occupant of the William E. Simon Chair for Economic Policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, holding this position to 1993. He became a Distinguished Fellow at the Cato Institute from 1993 to 1996. In this blog post he speaks of Zbigniew Brzezinski as his colleague, and explains the Brzezinski and Wolfowitz doctrines to prevent other countries from rising above the US. PCR: "In the Wolfowitz Doctrine, any other strong country is defined as a threat and a power hostile to the US regardless of how willing that country is to get along with the US for mutual benefit."
Why War Is Inevitable — Paul Craig Roberts
May 25, 2014 | Original Here Go here to sign up to receive email notice of this news letter
Why War Is Inevitable
Paul Craig Roberts
Memorial Day is when we commemorate our war dead. Like the Fourth of July, Memorial Day is being turned into a celebration of war.
Those who lose family members and dear friends to war don’t want the deaths to have been in vain. Consequently, wars become glorious deeds performed by noble soldiers fighting for truth, justice, and the American way. Patriotic speeches tell us how much we owe to those who gave their lives so that America could remain free.
The speeches are well-intentioned, but the speeches create a false reality that supports ever more wars. None of America’s wars had anything to do with keeping America free. To the contrary, the wars swept away our civil liberties, making us unfree.
President Lincoln issued an executive order for the arrest and imprisonment of northern newspaper reporters and editors. He shut down 300 northern newspapers and held 14,000 political prisoners. Lincoln arrested war critic US Representative Clement Vallandigham from Ohio and exiled him to the Confederacy. President Woodrow Wilson used WWI to suppress free speech, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt used WWII to intern 120,000 US citizens of Japanese descent on the grounds that race made them suspect. Professor Samuel Walker concluded that President George W. Bush used the “war on terror” for an across the board assault on US civil liberty, making the Bush regime the greatest danger American liberty has ever faced.
Lincoln forever destroyed states’ rights, but the suspension of habeas corpus and free speech that went hand in hand with America’s three largest wars was lifted at war’s end. However, President George W. Bush’s repeal of the Constitution has been expanded by President Obama and codified by Congress and executive orders into law. Far from defending our liberties, our soldiers who died in “the war on terror” died so that the president can indefinitely detain US citizens without due process of law and murder US citizens on suspicion alone without any accountability to law or the Constitution.
The conclusion is unavoidable that America’s wars have not protected our liberty but, instead, destroyed liberty. As Alexander Solzhenitsyn said, “A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.”
Southern secession did pose a threat to Washington’s empire, but not to the American people. Neither the Germans of WWI vintage nor the Germans and Japanese of WWII vintage posed any threat to the US. As historians have made completely clear, Germany did not start WWI and did not go to war for the purpose of territorial expansion. Japan’s ambitions were in Asia. Hitler did not want war with England and France. Hitler’s territorial ambitions were mainly to restore German provinces stripped from Germany as WWI booty in violation of President Wilson’s guarantees. Any other German ambitions were to the East. Neither country had any plans to invade the US. Japan attacked the US fleet at Pearl Harbor hoping to remove an obstacle to its activities in Asia, not as a precursor to an invasion of America.
Certainly the countries ravaged by Bush and Obama in the 21st century–Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen posed no military threat to the US. Indeed, these were wars used by a tyrannical executive branch to establish the basis of the Stasi State that now exists in the US.
The truth is hard to bear, but the facts are clear. America’s wars have been fought in order to advance Washington’s power, the profits of bankers and armaments industries, and the fortunes of US companies. Marine General Smedley Butler said, “ I served in all commissioned ranks from a second Lieutenant to a Major General. And during that time, I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism.”
It is more or less impossible to commemorate the war dead without glorifying them, and it is impossible to glorify them without glorifying their wars.
For the entirety of the 21st century the US has been at war, not war against massed armies or threats to American freedom, but wars against civilians, against women, children, and village elders, and wars against our own liberty. Elites with a vested interest in these wars tell us that the wars will have to go on for another 20 to 30 years before we defeat “the terrorist threat.”
This, of course, is nonsense. There was no terrorist threat until Washington began trying to create terrorists by military attacks, justified by lies, on Muslim populations.
Washington succeeded with its war lies to the point that Washington’s audacity and hubris have outgrown Washington’s judgment.
By overthrowing the democratically elected government in Ukraine, Washington has brought the United States into confrontation with Russia. This is a confrontation that could end badly, perhaps for Washington and perhaps for the entire world.
If Gaddafi and Assad would not roll over for Washington, why does Washington think Russia will? Russia is not Libya or Syria. Washington is the bully who having beat up the kindergarden kid, now thinks he can take on the college linebacker.
The Bush and Obama regimes have destroyed America’s reputation with their incessant lies and violence against other peoples. The world sees Washington as the prime threat.
Worldwide polls consistently show that people around the world regard the US and Israel as the two countries that pose the greatest threat to peace. http://www.ibtimes.com/gallup-poll-biggest-threat-world-peace-america-1525008 and
The countries that Washington’s propaganda declares to be “rogue states” and the “axis of evil,” such as Iran and North Korea, are far down the list when the peoples in the world are consulted. It could not be more clear that the world does not believe Washington’s self-serving propaganda. The world sees the US and Israel as the rogue states.
The US and Israel are the only two countries in the world that are in the grip of ideologies. The US is in the grip of the Neoconservative ideology which has declared the US to be the “exceptional, indispensable country” chosen by history to exercise hegemony over all others. This ideology is buttressed by the Brzezinski and Wolfowitz doctrines that are the basis of US foreign policy.
The Israeli government is in the grip of the Zionist ideology that declares a “greater Israel” from the Nile to the Euphrates. Many Israelis themselves do not accept this ideology, but it is the ideology of the “settlers” and those who control the Israeli government.
Ideologies are important causes of war. Just as the Hitlerian ideology of German superiority is mirrored in the Neoconservative ideology of US superiority, the Communist ideology that the working class is superior to the capitalist class is mirrored in the Zionist ideology that Israelis are superior to Palestinians. Zionists have never heard of squatters’ rights and claim that recent Jewish immigrants into Palestine–invaders really–have the right to land occupied by others for millenniums.
Washington’s and Israel’s doctrines of superiority over others do not sit very well with the ”others.” When Obama declared in a speech that Americans are the exceptional people, Russia’s President Putin responded, “God created us all equal.”
To the detriment of its population, the Israeli government has made endless enemies. Israel has effectively isolated itself in the world. Israel’s continued existence depends entirely on the willingness and ability of Washington to protect Israel. This means that Israel’s power is derivative of Washington’s power.
Washington’s power is a different story. As the only economy standing after WWII, the US dollar became the world money. This role for the dollar has given Washington financial hegemony over the world, the main source of Washington’s power. As other countries rise, Washington’s hegemony is imperiled.
To prevent other countries from rising, Washington invokes the Brzezinski and Wolfowitz doctrines. To be brief, the Brzezinski doctrine says that in order to remain the only superpower, Washington must control the Eurasian land mass. Brzezinski is willing for this to occur peacefully by suborning the Russian government into Washington’s empire. ”A loosely confederated Russia . . . a decentralized Russia would be less susceptible to imperial mobilization.” In other words, break up Russia into associations of semi-autonomous states whose politicians can be suborned by Washington’s money.
Brzezinski propounded “a geo-strategy for Eurasia.” In Brzezinski’s strategy, China and “a confederated Russia” are part of a “transcontinental security framework,” managed by Washington in order to perpetuate the role of the US as the world’s only superpower.
I once asked my colleague, Brzezinski, that if everyone was allied with us, who were we organized against? My question surprised him, because I think that Brzezinski remains caught up in Cold War strategy even after the demise of the Soviet Union. In Cold War thinking it was important to have the upper hand or else be at risk of being eliminated as a player. The importance of prevailing became all consuming, and this consuming drive survived the Soviet collapse. Prevailing over others is the only foreign policy that Washington knows.
The mindset that America must prevail set the stage for the Neoconservatives and their 21st century wars, which, with Washington’s overthrow of the democratically elected government of Ukraine, has resulted in a crisis that has brought Washington into direct conflict with Russia.
I know the strategic institutes that serve Washington. I was the occupant of the William E.Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, for a dozen years. The idea is prevalent that Washington must prevail over Russia in Ukraine or Washington will lose prestige and its superpower status.
The idea of prevailing always leads to war once one power thinks it has prevailed.
The path to war is reinforced by the Wolfowitz Doctrine. Paul Wolfowitz, the neoconservative intellectual who formulated US military and foreign policy doctrine, wrote among many similar passages:
“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere [China], that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”
In the Wolfowitz Doctrine, any other strong country is defined as a threat and a power hostile to the US regardless of how willing that country is to get along with the US for mutual benefit.
The difference between Brzezinski and the Neoconservatives is that Brzezinski wants to suborn Russia and China by including them in the empire as important elements whose voices would be heard, If only for diplomatic reasons, whereas the Neoconservatives are prepared to rely on military force combined with internal subversion orchestrated with US financed NGOs and even terrorist organizations.
Neither the US nor Israel is embarrassed by their worldwide reputations as the two countries that pose the greatest threat. In fact, both countries are proud to be recognized as the greatest threats. The foreign policy of both countries is devoid of any diplomacy. US and Israeli foreign policy rests on violence alone. Washington tells countries to do as Washington says or be “bombed into the stone age.” Israel declares all Palestinians, even women and children, to be “terrorists,” and proceeds to shoot them down in the streets, claiming that Israel is merely protecting itself against terrorists. Israel, which does not recognize the existence of Palestine as a country, covers up its crimes with the claim that Palestinians do not accept the existence of Israel.
“We don’t need no stinking diplomacy. We got power.”
This is the attitude that guarantees war, and that is where the US is taking the world. The prime minister of Britain, the chancellor of Germany, and the president of France are Washington’s enablers. They provide the cover for Washington. Instead of war crimes, Washington has “coalitions of the willing” and military invasions that bring “democracy and women’s rights” to non-compliant countries.
China gets much the same treatment. A country with four times the US population but a smaller prison population, China is constantly criticized by Washington as an “authoritarian state.” China is accused of human rights abuses while US police brutalize the US population.
The problem for humanity is that Russia and China are not Libya and Iraq. These two countries possess strategic nuclear weapons. Their land mass greatly exceeds that of the US. The US, which was unable to successfully occupy Baghdad or Afghanistan, has no prospect of prevailing against Russia and China in conventional warfare. Washington will push the nuclear button. What else can we expect from a government devoid of morality?
The world has never experienced rogue states comparable to Washington and Israel. Both governments are prepared to murder anyone and everyone. Look at the crisis that Washington has created in Ukraine and the dangers thereof. On May 23, 2014, Russia’s President Putin spoke to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, a three-day gathering of delegations from 62 countries and CEOs from 146 of the largest Western corporations.
Putin did not speak of the billions of dollars in trade deals that were being formalized. Instead Putin spoke of the crisis that Washington had brought to Russia, and he criticized Europe for being Washington’s vassals for supporting Washington’s propaganda against Russia and Washington’s interference in vital Russian interests.
Putin was diplomatic in his language, but the message that powerful economic interests from the US and Europe received is that it will lead to trouble if Washington and European governments continue to ignore Russia’s concerns and continue to act as if they can interfere in Russia’s vital interests as if Russia did not exist.
The heads of these large corporations will carry this message back to Washington and European capitals. Putin made it clear that the lack of dialogue with Russia could lead to the West making the mistake of putting Ukraine in NATO and establishing missile bases on Russia’s border with Ukraine. Putin has learned that Russia cannot rely on good will from the West, and Putin made it clear, short of issuing a threat, that Western military bases in Ukraine are unacceptable.
Washington will continue to ignore Russia. However, European capitals will
have to decide whether Washington is pushing them into conflict with Russia that is against European interests. Thus, Putin is testing European politicians to determine if there is sufficient intelligence and independence in Europe for a rapprochement.
If Washington in its overbearing arrogance and hubris forces Putin to write off the West, the Russian/Chinese strategic alliance, which is forming to counteract Washington’s hostile policy of surrounding both countries with military bases, will harden into preparation for the inevitable war.
The survivors, if any, can thank the Neoconservatives, the Wolfowitz doctrine, and the Brzezinski strategy for the destruction of life on earth.
The American public contains a large number of misinformed people who think they know everything. These people have been programmed by US and Israeli propaganda to equate Islam with political ideology. They believe that Islam, a religion, is instead a militarist doctrine that calls for the overthrow of Western civilization, as if anything remains of Western civilization.
Many believe this propaganda even in the face of complete proof that the Sunnis and Shi’ites hate one another far more than they hate their Western oppressors and occupiers. The US has departed Iraq, but the carnage today is as high or higher than during the US invasion and occupation. The daily death tolls from the Sunni/Shi’ite conflict are extraordinary. A religion this disunited poses no threat to anyone except Islamists themselves. Washington successfully used Islamist disunity to overthrow Gaddafi, and is currently using Islamist disunity in an effort to overthrow the government of Syria. Islamists cannot even unite to defend themselves against Western aggression. There is no prospect of Islamists uniting in order to overthrow the West.
Even if Islam could do so, it would be pointless for Islam to overthrow the West. The West has overthrown itself. In the US the Constitution has been murdered by the Bush and Obama regimes. Nothing remains. As the US is the Constitution, what was once the United States no longer exists. A different entity has taken its place.
Europe died with the European Union, which requires the termination of sovereignty of all member countries. A few unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels have become superior to the wills of the French, German, British, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Greek, and Portuguese peoples.
Western civilization is a skeleton. It still stands, barely, but there is no life in it. The blood of liberty has departed. Western peoples look at their governments and see nothing but enemies. Why else has Washington militarized local police forces, equipping them as if they were occupying armies? Why else has Homeland Security, the Department of Agriculture, and even the Postal Service and Social Security Administration ordered billions of rounds of ammunition and even submachine guns? What is this taxpayer-paid-for arsenal for if not to suppress US citizens?
As the prominent trends forecaster Gerald Celente spells out in the current Trends Journal, “uprisings span four corners of the globe.” Throughout Europe angry, desperate and outraged peoples march against EU financial policies that are driving the peoples into the ground. Despite all of Washington’s efforts with its well funded fifth columns known as NGOs to destabilize Russia and China, both the Russian and Chinese governments have far more support from their people than do the US and Europe.
In the 20th century Russia and China learned what tyranny is, and they have rejected it.
In the US tyranny has entered under the guise of the “war on terror,” a hoax used to scare the sheeple into abandoning their civil liberties, thus freeing Washington from accountability to law and permitting Washington to erect a militarist police state. Ever since WWII Washington has used its financial hegemony and the “Soviet threat,” now converted into the “Russian threat,” to absorb Europe into Washington’s empire.
Putin is hoping that the interests of European countries will prevail over subservience to Washington. This is Putin’s current bet. This is the reason Putin remains unprovoked by Washington’s provocations in Ukraine.
If Europe fails Russia, Putin and China will prepare for the war that Washington’s drive for hegemony makes inevitable.
Memorial Day was created to honor our veterans, both those who died in battle and those who returned home. However, America has done a deplorable job of caring for her veterans. "Indeed, in recent years, military servicemen and women—many of whom are decorated—have found themselves increasingly targeted for surveillance, censorship, threatened with incarceration or involuntary commitment, labeled as extremists and/or mentally ill, and stripped of their Second Amendment rights, all for daring to voice their concerns about the alarming state of our union and the erosion of our freedoms."
The War on America’s Military Veterans, Waged with SWAT Teams, Surveillance and Neglect
John W. Whitehead Original Here
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”—John F. Kennedy
Just in time for Memorial Day, we’re once again being treated to a generous serving of praise and grandstanding by politicians and corporations eager to go on record as being supportive of our veterans. Patriotic platitudes aside, however, America has done a deplorable job of caring for her veterans. We erect monuments for those who die while serving in the military, yet for those who return home, there’s little honor to be found.
Despite the fact that the U.S. boasts more than 23 million veterans who have served in World War II through Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan, the plight of veterans today is deplorable, with large numbers of them impoverished, unemployed, traumatized mentally and physically, struggling with depression, thoughts of suicide, and marital stress, homeless (a third of all homeless Americans are veterans), subjected to sub-par treatment at clinics and hospitals, and left to molder while their paperwork piles up within Veterans Administration (VA) offices.
According to the National Veterans Foundation, the VA has had a backlog of as many as 1.2 million unprocessed claims in recent years, in addition to the fraud and mismanagement within the VA and its network of offices across the country, and secret lists containing thousands of names of veterans who were forced to wait months just to see a doctor.
While President Obama has now declared that he “will not stand” for the mistreatment of veterans under his watch, the time for words is long past. As Slate political correspondent John Dickerson observed, these inexcusable delays represent “a failure of one of the most basic transactions government is supposed to perform: keeping a promise to those who were asked to protect our very form of government.”
Then again, as I detail in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, the government has been breaking its promises to the American people for a long time now, starting with its most sacred covenant to uphold and defend the Constitution. Yet if the government won’t abide by its commitment to respect our constitutional rights to be free from government surveillance and censorship, if it completely tramples on our right to due process and fair hearings, and routinely denies us protection from roadside strip searches and militarized police, why should anyone expect the government to treat our nation’s veterans with respect and dignity?
Indeed, in recent years, military servicemen and women—many of whom are decorated—have found themselves increasingly targeted for surveillance, censorship, threatened with incarceration or involuntary commitment, labeled as extremists and/or mentally ill, and stripped of their Second Amendment rights, all for daring to voice their concerns about the alarming state of our union and the erosion of our freedoms.
For example, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program dubbed Operation Vigilant Eagle tracks military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and characterizes them as extremists and potential domestic terrorist threats because they may be “disgruntled, disillusioned or suffering from the psychological effects of war.” Since launching Operation Vigilant Eagle, the government has steadily ramped up its campaign to “silence” dissidents, especially those with military backgrounds. Coupled with the DHS’ dual reports on Rightwing and Leftwing “Extremism,” which broadly define extremists as individuals, military veterans and groups “that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely,” these tactics have boded ill for anyone seen as opposing the government.
An important point to consider, however, is that the government is not merely targeting individuals who are voicing their discontent so much as it is locking up individuals trained in military warfare who are voicing feelings of discontent. Under the guise of mental health treatment and with the complicity of government psychiatrists and law enforcement officials, these veterans are increasingly being portrayed as ticking time bombs in need of intervention. In 2012, for instance, the Justice Department launched a pilot program aimed at training SWAT teams to deal with confrontations involving highly trained and often heavily armed combat veterans.
Unfortunately, as we’ve seen in recent years, the problem with depicting veterans as potential enemy combatants is that any encounter with a military veteran can escalate very quickly into an explosive and deadly situation—at least, on the part of law enforcement.
For example, Jose Guerena, a Marine who served in two tours in Iraq, was killed in 2011 after an Arizona SWAT team kicked open the door of his home during a mistaken drug raid and opened fire. Thinking his home was being invaded by criminals, Guerena told his wife and child to hide in a closet, grabbed a gun and waited in the hallway to confront the intruders. He never fired his weapon. In fact, the safety was still on his gun when he was killed. The SWAT officers, however, not as restrained, fired 70 rounds of ammunition at Guerena—23 of those bullets made contact. Apart from his military background, Guerena had had no prior criminal record, and the police found nothing illegal in his home.
John Edward Chesney, a 62-year-old Vietnam veteran, was killed earlier this year by a SWAT team allegedly responding to a call that the Army veteran was standing in his San Diego apartment window waving what looked like a semi-automatic rifle. SWAT officers locked down Chesney’s street, took up positions around his home, and fired 12 rounds into Chesney’s apartment window. It turned out that the gun Chesney reportedly pointed at police from three stories up was a “realistic-looking mock assault rifle.”
Thankfully, Ramon Hooks’ encounter with a Houston SWAT team did not end as tragically, but it very easily could have. Hooks, a 25-year-old Iraq war veteran, was using an air rifle gun for target practice outside when a Homeland Security Agent, allegedly house shopping in the area, reported him as an active shooter. It wasn’t long before the quiet neighborhood was transformed into a war zone, with dozens of cop cars, an armored vehicle and heavily armed police. Hooks was arrested, his air rifle pellets and toy gun confiscated, and charges filed against him for “criminal mischief.”
Although no toy guns were involved in Brandon Raub’s case, his fact scenario is even more chilling, given that he was targeted for exercising his First Amendment rights on Facebook. The 26-year-old decorated Marine actually found himself interrogated by government agents about his views on government corruption, arrested with no warning, labeled mentally ill for subscribing to so-called “conspiratorial” views about the government, detained against his will in a psych ward for standing by his views, and isolated from his family, friends and attorneys.
On August 16, 2012, a swarm of local police, Secret Service and FBI agents arrived at Raub’s Virginia home, asking to speak with him about posts he had made on his Facebook page made up of song lyrics, political opinions and dialogue used in a political thriller virtual card game. Among the posts cited as troublesome were lyrics to a song by a rap group and Raub’s views, shared increasingly by a number of Americans, that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were an inside job.
After a brief conversation and without providing any explanation, levying any charges against Raub or reading him his rights, Raub was then handcuffed and transported to police headquarters, then to a medical center, where he was held against his will due to alleged concerns that his Facebook posts were “terrorist in nature.” Outraged onlookers filmed the arrest and posted the footage to YouTube, where it quickly went viral. Meanwhile, in a kangaroo court hearing that turned a deaf ear to Raub’s explanations about the fact that his Facebook posts were being read out of context, Raub was sentenced to up to 30 days’ further confinement in a psychiatric ward.
Thankfully, The Rutherford Institute came to Raub’s assistance, which combined with heightened media attention, brought about his release and may have helped prevent Raub from being successfully “disappeared” by the government. Even so, within days of Raub being seized and forcibly held in a VA psych ward, news reports started surfacing of other veterans having similar experiences.
That the government is using the charge of mental illness as the means by which to immobilize (and disarm) these veterans is diabolically brilliant. With one stroke of a magistrate’s pen, these service men are being declared mentally ill, locked away against their will, and stripped of their constitutional rights. Make no mistake, these returning veterans are being positioned as enemy number one.
Indeed, Raub’s case, a prime example of the government’s war on veterans, exposes the seedy underbelly of a governmental system that is targeting Americans—especially military veterans—for expressing their discontent over America’s rapid transition to a police state.
A federal judge actually dismissed Raub’s lawsuit challenging the government’s “Operation Vigilant Eagle” campaign and its increasing view of veterans as potential domestic terrorists as “far-fetched.” Yet what may sound far-fetched to the courts is a grim reality to Americans who are daily being targeted for daring to exercise their constitutional rights to speak their minds, criticize the government, and defend themselves and their families against over-reaching government surveillance and heavy-handed police tactics.
It’s ironic, isn’t it, that we raise our young people to believe that it is their patriotic duty to defend freedom abroad by serving in the military, then when they return home, bruised and battle-scarred and suddenly serious about defending their freedoms at home, we treat them like terrorists. Then again, perhaps it’s not so much ironic as it is tragic and pathetic—a sad tribute, indeed, to those willing to put their lives on the line.
John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. Whitehead's concern for the persecuted and oppressed led him, in 1982, to establish The Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties and human rights organization whose international headquarters are located in Charlottesville, Virginia. Whitehead serves as the Institute’s president and spokesperson, in addition to writing a weekly commentary that is posted on The Rutherford Institute’s website ( www.rutherford.org )
Sunday, May 25, 2014
Paul Craig Roberts: "False arrests ... are common in the US. Indeed, they are more common than justified arrests. The police and the courts are completely corrupted institutions that reek of injustice and evil." "America’s injustice is a unique kind. American injustice has actually managed to completely destroy the achievements dating from Magna Carta that made law a shield of the people instead of a weapon in the hands of the state. Today America is pre-Magna Carta England."
Justice Is Dead In Amerika
May 21, 2014 | Original Here Go here to sign up to receive email notice of this news letter
Justice Is Dead In Amerika
Paul Craig Roberts
Cecily McMillan is an Occupy protester who was seized from behind by a goon thug cop–a goon thug with a long record of abuse of authority–by her boobs. One was badly bruised. Cecily McMillan’s elbow reflexively and instinctively came up, and Cecily was arrested for assaulting a goon thug. The goon thug was not arrested for sexually assaulting a young woman.
False arrests of this sort are common in the US. Indeed, they are more common than justified arrests. The police and the courts are completely corrupted institutions that reek of injustice and evil.
Cecily was locked up in Rikers Island without bail by the judge who sees his role as protecting the abuse of police and prosecutorial power. The judge would not allow evidence in behalf of Cecily to be presented to the jury.
Nevertheless, the jurors, or 75% of them, understood that something was wrong and although they were coerced into convicting the young woman they sent a letter to the judge requesting that no prison time be imposed on Cecily. Nevertheless, the judge for whom all must stand in respect in the courtroom, gave the goon thug’s victim 90 days in prison and 5 years probation. This was Amerika’s sendoff of an idealistic young woman who was about to receive a master’s degree from an important educational education.
I have been concerned as a main focus of my work since the 1990s with American injustice. America’s injustice is a unique kind. American injustice has actually managed to completely destroy the achievements dating from Magna Carta that made law a shield of the people instead of a weapon in the hands of the state. Today America is pre-Magna Carta England.
My concern with the destruction of Justice in America was shared by my colleague, Lawrence Stratton. Together in 2000 we produced a book documenting the destruction of the achievement of liberty and the accountability of government to law under the publisher’s title of “The Tyranny of Good Intentions” (our title was, “How The Law Was Lost”). In 2008 a new edition was published.
The book was cited a few times by federal district court judges but had no influence on law schools’ worship of unaccountable executive power or on the appointment of Justice (sic) Department flunkies such as John Yoo and David Barron to prominent University law schools and federal courts. Yoo and Barron are the tyrants who justified in US Justice Department memos torture, despite US and international laws against it, and the murder of US citizens on suspicion alone without due process of law, an obvious violation of the US Constitution.
Judging from the legal arena’s response to our work, justice is no longer the purpose of US law and it is no longer thought necessary for the US government to be accountable to law. To insouciant Americans these might seem like extreme statements, but the conclusion is unavoidable.
In the United States there is no longer law. There is only retribution. Cecily McMillan by her non-violent protest against the looting of America and the world by Wall Street became “an enemy of the people.” The “people,” of course, are the one percent. The 99 percent do not count.
The jury in Cecily’s trial did not count. At least 75% of the jurors understood that they were being coerced into a conviction, which they sought to lighten by requesting the judge not to impose a prison sentence. But the judge represents the repressive state, not justice. The jurors were out to lunch. They had no idea of the corrupt nature of the criminal political system or else they lacked the courage to stand up to it.
This insouciance is true of the bulk of the American population. They are sheeple, unaware that they have been stripped of constitutional protections and that they are propagandized into supporting the evil actions of an unaccountable government. For example, as Gerald Celente demonstrates in the current issue of the Trends Journal, the onslaught of Washington’s propaganda against the Sochi Olympic Games, alleging terror attacks, a filthy city and hotel rooms, unsafe water, and so forth, resulted in a drop in TV ratings for the Olympics and in majorities of Americans acquiring negative attitudes toward Russia and Putin. Thus, when Washington set off the Ukraine crisis, “American minds had already been pre-programmed by propaganda. Facts would not get in the way. The stage for war and hate had been masterfully set.”
As John Whitehead at the Rutherford Institute says,
“If you have been paying attention to the news lately, you may have noticed that the building blocks for a police state are now in place: the surveillance networks, fusion centers and government contractors monitoring what is being said by whom; government databases tracking who poses a potential threat to the government’s power; militarized police, working in conjunction with federal agencies, coordinating with the federal government to round up troublemakers; and the courts which sanction the government’s methods, no matter how unlawful. “Indeed, the government has been maintaining a growing list of ‘dangerous’ opinions and activities that might classify someone as an enemy of the state — a.k.a. an extremist — a.k.a. terrorist or sympathetic to terrorist activities — and thus qualify you for detention.
“Included in that list of ‘dangerous’ viewpoints are advocating for states’ rights, believing the government to be unnecessary or undesirable, ‘conspiracy theorizing’ (this applies to those who believe 9/11 might have been an inside job), concern about the government’s efforts to build domestic internment camps, opposition to war, organizing for ‘economic justice,’ frustration with ‘mainstream ideologies,’ opposition to abortion, opposition to globalization, and ammunition stockpiling. “As you can see, anyone seen as opposing the government—whether they’re Left, Right or somewhere in between—is a target.”
When a sexually assaulted American citizen can be falsely arrested for assaulting a police officer, brought to trial by a corrupt prosecutor whose false case is endorsed by a corrupt judge and convicted by an insouciant jury, you know that justice is dead in America.
The death of Justice is a huge problem. The US not only has the largest percentage of its population in prison of every country in the world, the US also has the largest absolute number of prison inmates, larger even than “authoritarian” China which has a population four times larger than the US. In China, despite Washington’s endless lies about “human rights abuses,” a citizen has a far lower chance of imprisonment than does a “freedom and democracy” American.
Chris Hedges and Cecily McMillan bring the story home. If you read their account below and do not weep, you are a brainwashed sheeple headed for the slaughter.
May 19, 2014: “Truth Dig” – RIKERS ISLAND, N.Y.—Cecily McMillan, the Occupy activist who on Monday morning will appear before a criminal court in New York City to be sentenced to up to seven years on a charge of assaulting a police officer, sat in a plastic chair wearing a baggy, oversized gray jumpsuit, cheap brown plastic sandals and horn-rim glasses. Other women, also dressed in prison-issued gray jumpsuits, sat nearby in the narrow, concrete-walled visitation room clutching their children, tears streaming down their faces. The children, bewildered, had their arms wrapped tightly around their mothers’ necks. It looked like the disaster scene it was.
“It’s all out in the open here,” said the 25-year-old student, who was to have graduated May 22 with a master’s degree from The New School of Social Research in New York City. “The cruelty of power can’t hide like it does on the outside. You get America, everything America has become, especially for poor people of color in prison. My lawyers think I will get two years. But two years is nothing compared to what these women, who never went to trial, never had the possibility of a trial with adequate legal representation, face. There are women in my dorm who, because they have such a poor command of English, do not even understand their charges. I spent a lot of time trying to explain the charges to them.”
McMillan says Grantley Bovell, who was in plainclothes and did not identify himself as a police officer, grabbed her from behind during a March 17, 2012, gathering of several hundred Occupy activists in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. In a video of the incident she appears to have instinctively elbowed him in the face, but she says she has no memory of what happened. Video and photographs—mostly not permitted by the trial judge to be shown in the courtroom—buttressed her version of events. There is no dispute that she was severely beaten by police and taken from the park to a hospital where she was handcuffed to a bed. On May 5 she was found guilty after a three-week trial of a felony assault in the second degree. She can receive anything from probation to seven years in prison.
“I am prepared mentally for a long sentence,” she told me this past weekend when I interviewed her at the Rikers Island prison in the Bronx. “I watched the trial. I watched the judge. This was never about justice. Just as it is not about justice for these other women. One mother was put in here for shoplifting after she lost her job and her house and needed to feed her children. There is another prisoner, a preschool teacher with a 1-year-old son she was breastfeeding, who let her cousin stay with her after her cousin was evicted. It turns out the cousin sold drugs. The cops found money, not drugs, that the cousin kept in the house and took the mother. They told her to leave her child with the neighbors. There is story after story in here like this. It wakes you up.”
McMillan’s case is emblematic of the nationwide judicial persecution of activists, a persecution familiar to poor people of color. Her case stands in contrast with the blanket impunity given to the criminals of Wall Street. Some 8,000 nonviolent Occupy protesters have been arrested. Not one banker or investor has gone to jail for causing the 2008 financial meltdown. The disparity of justice mirrors the disparity in incomes and the disparity in power.
Occupy activists across the country have been pressured to “plea out” on felony charges in exchange for sentences of years of probation, which not only carry numerous restrictions, including being unable to attend law school or serve on a jury, but make it difficult for them to engage in further activism for fear of arrest and violating their probation. McMillan was offered the same plea deal but refused it. She was one of the few who went to trial.
“I am deeply committed to nonviolence, especially in the face of all the violence around me inside and outside this prison,” she said in the interview. “I could not accept this deal. I had to fight back. That is why I am an activist. Being branded as someone who was violent was intolerable.”
McMillan’s case is as much about our right to nonviolent protest as it is about McMillan. It is about our right to carry out such protest without being subjected to police violence intended to crush peaceful and lawful dissent. It is about our right to engage in political organization without our groups being monitored and infiltrated by the security and surveillance state. It is about our right of free speech and free assembly, guaranteed under the Constitution but effectively stripped from us in a series of judicial rulings and through municipal ordinances that make it impossible to protest in many U.S. cities.
Judge Ronald A. Zweibel was caustic and hostile to McMillan and her defense team during the trial. He barred video evidence that would have helped her case. He issued a gag order that forbade the defense lawyers, Martin Stolar and Rebecca Heinegg, to communicate with the press. And, astonishingly, he denied McMillan bail.
The judge also assiduously protected Bovell against challenges to his credibility. He refused to allow the jurors to hear about or see the excessive police violence that was used to clear the park the night McMillan was arrested—violence many activists say was the most indiscriminate and abusive ever inflicted during the Occupy movement. He hid Bovell’s history of misconduct as a police officer from the jury. Bovell has been investigated at least twice by the internal affairs section of the New York City Police Department, the Guardian newspaper reported. Bovell and his police partner, in one of the cases, were sued for allegedly using an unmarked police car to strike a 17-year-old fleeing on a dirt bike. The teenager said his nose was broken, two teeth were knocked out and his forehead was lacerated. The case was settled out of court for a significant amount of money. There is also a video that appears to show Bovell relentlessly kicking a suspect on the floor of a Bronx grocery. In addition, Bovell was involved in a ticket-fixing scandal in his Bronx precinct. And Austin Guest, 33, a Harvard University graduate who was arrested at Zuccotti Park on the night McMillan was assaulted, is suing Bovell and the NYPD because the officer allegedly intentionally banged his head on the internal stairs and seats of a bus that took him and other activists in for processing. The judge barred the running down of the teenager on the dirt bike and Bovell’s alleged abuse of Guest from being discussed in front of the jury.
The case has galvanized many activists, who see in McMillan’s persecution the persecution of movements across the globe struggling for nonviolent democratic change. McMillan was visited in Rikers by Russia human rights campaigners of the group Pussy Riot. Hundreds of people, including nine of the 12 jurors and some New York City Council members, have urged Judge Zweibel to be lenient. Some 160,000 people have signed an online petition calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to intervene on her behalf. But so far pleas like these have failed to mollify the corporate state’s determination to use the McMillan case as a tool to prevent any new mass movements.
“I am very conscious of how privileged I am, especially in here,” McMillan said. “When you are in prison white privilege works against you. You tend to react when you come out of white privilege by saying ‘you can’t do that’ when prison authorities force you to do something arbitrary and meaningless. But the poor understand the system. They know it is absurd, capricious and senseless, that it is all about being forced to pay deference to power. If you react out of white privilege it sets you apart. I have learned to respond as a collective, to speak to authority in a unified voice. And this has been good for me. I needed this.”
“We can talk about movement theory all we want,” she went on. “We can read Michel Foucault or Pierre Bourdieu, but at a certain point it becomes a game. You have to get out and live it. You have to actually build a movement. And if we don’t get to work to build a movement now there will be no one studying movement theory in a decade because there will be no movements. I can do this in prison. I can do this out of prison. It is all one struggle.”
McMillan has been held in Rikers’ Rose M. Singer Center, Dorm 2 East B, with about 40 other women. They sleep in rows of cots. Nearly all the women are poor mothers of color, most of them black, Hispanic or Chinese. McMillan is giving lessons in English in exchange for lessons in Spanish.
McMillan has bonded with an African-American woman known as “Fat Baby” who ogled her and told her she had nice legs. Fat Baby threw out a couple of lame pickup lines that, McMillan said, “sounded as if she was a construction worker. I told her I would teach her some pickup lines that were a little more subtle.”
McMillan, who is required to have a prison activity, participates in the drug rehabilitation program although she did not use drugs. She is critical of the instructor’s feeding of “positive” and Christian thinking to the inmates, some of whom are Muslims. “It is all about the power of positive thinking, about how they made mistakes and bad choices in life and now they can correct those mistakes by taking another road, a Christian road, to a new life,” she said. “This focus on happy thoughts pervades the prison. There is little analysis of the structural causes for poverty and oppression. It is as if it was all about decisions we made, not that were made for us. And this is how those in power want it. This kind of thinking induces passivity.”
McMillan was receiving 30 to 40 letters daily at Rikers but during the week before the interview was told every day that she had none. She suspects the prison has cut off the flow of mail to her.
Because my pens and paper were confiscated during the two-hour process it took to enter the prison, after the visit I had to reconstruct the notes from our conversation, which lasted an hour and a half. The entry process is normal for visitors, who on weekends stand in long lines in metal chutes outside the prison. My body was searched and my clothing was minutely inspected for contraband, and I had to go through two metal detectors.
During the interview a guard asked McMillan to roll down her sleeves and admonished her once for crossing her legs. “You scratch a hole in the crotch,” McMillan said, running a fingernail up and down the crotch seam of her jumpsuit. “You make a small hole. And when the visitor slips you a cigarette you push up your vagina. I am learning a lot in prison. I have gotten very good at hiding books on my way to medical and stealing food to bring back to the dorm.”
“It is hard to read, it is hard to write,” she went on. “There is constant movement and constant noise.”
She was working Sunday on the statement she would read in court Monday. She said it draws heavily from Leo Tolstoy’s “The Kingdom of God Is Within You.”
McMillan had just finished writing a message to supporters who planned to rally in her support Sunday afternoon in New York City. She told them:
I came to New York the summer of 2011 to go to school—Rikers Island was definitely not on my list of intended experiences. Though I did call myself “a radical” that title stretched only as far to include plans to start a socialist student chapter and study welfare policy with aims of improving it. Within 1 week, these plans were railroaded by the Occupy Wall Street Movement—and for the following 3 months, I did little else.
Like many, the eviction of Zuccotti left me lost, searching for that infectious energy that bound so many together in efforts to transform the world. Like many, I’ve spent the time since trying to understand what we had & striving to get back to it.
Like many I point to a lack of militancy in our movement—a commitment of one’s entire being—personally, politically, emotionally & physically—to the greater good. But I examined what action those beautiful words entailed, I exchanged “militancy” for the concept of “love ethic”—a distinction born of the belief that fights between “usses and thems” run counter to the collective “we”. “We” being human society with each person as an integral part—that must be seen, heard, felt & loved—in order to transform the whole.
Like many, I found my beliefs easy to come by but difficult to act on. I always strived, but often struggled, to see, hear, feel, to love—even as I expected as much in return. I began to question, “If it is such a struggle to solidify amongst a few, how can we hope to strengthen love ethic across the many?”
Unlike most, when my trial began: friends formed a support structure, comrades came to court, journalists reported injustices. When the verdict was read, cries of outrage were heard, the news spread, & sympathy was shared from around the world.
Unlike most, during my weakest hour, I had never felt more supported. Though I had never ever felt more oppressed, I had never felt so loved. I stand resolved to keep fighting, because your love ethic props me up and allows me to do so.
Unlike most, I am blessed with the support of so many. And though I am thankful, I am also thoughtful of the many forced to face such oppression alone. I know you have already done so much, but I’m going to ask for one thing more:
If you feel safe enough to share, please raise your hand if you have suffered police violence? If you have suffered sexual violence? If you have suffered the violence of the justice system? If you have suffered the violence of the prison system?
Oppression is rampant. Take a moment to try & really see, hear, feel the suffering of the many around you. Now imagine the power of your collective love ethic to stand against it.
Only through the pervasive spread of such a love ethic by the many for the many—not just the privileged few—will we finally have ourselves a movement.
McMillan takes comfort from her supporters and her family and from those of her heroes who endured prison for a just cause. She reads and rereads the speech Eugene V. Debs made to a federal court in Cleveland before he went to prison for opposing the draft in World War I. His words, she said, have become her own.
“Your honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth,” Debs said. “I said it then, as I say it now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”
Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.
Friday, May 23, 2014
Here Paul Craig Roberts shows us that Americas wars have never been to protect us from foreign powers and that the main results of these wars have been millions of dead civilians and thousands of new American millionaires and billionaires. Finally he remarks that with about 17,300 nuclear weapons deployed in at least 9 countries it would take only "one fool – and Washington has thousands of fools – and all life on earth terminates in 45 minutes."
Militarist Bunkum — Paul Craig Roberts
May 19, 2014 | Original Here Go here to sign up to receive email notice of this news letter
Paul Craig Roberts
Did you know that 85 to 90 percent of war’s casualties are non-combatant civilians? That is the conclusion reached by a nine-person research team in the June 2014 issue of the American Journal of Public Health. The deaths of soldiers who are fighting the war are a small part of the human and economic cost. Clearly, wars do not protect the lives of civilians. The notion that soldiers are dying for us is false. Non-combatants are the main victims of war.
Keep that in mind for July 4th, which is arriving in six weeks.
July 4th is America’s most important national holiday celebrating American independence from Great Britain. On July 4th, 1776, America’s Founding Fathers declared that the Thirteen Colonies were no longer colonies but an independent country in which the Rights of Englishmen would prevail for all citizens and not only for King George’s administrators. (Actually, the Second Continental Congress voted in favor of independence on July 2, and historians debate whether the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4 or August 2.)
In this American assertion of self-determination citizens of Great Britain were not allowed to vote. Therefore, according to Washington’s position on the votes in Crimea and in eastern Ukraine–the former Russian territories of Donetsk and Luhansk–America’s Declaration of Independence was “illegitimate and illegal.”
On July 4th all across America there will be patriotic speeches about our soldiers who gave their lives for their country. To an informed person these speeches are curious. I am hard pressed to think of any examples of our soldiers giving their lives for our country. US Marine General Smedley Butler had the same problem. He said that his Marines gave their lives for United Fruit Company’s control of Central America. “War is a racket,” said General Butler, pointing out that US participation in World War I produced 21,000 new American millionaires and billionaires.
When General Butler said “war is a racket,” he meant that war is a racket for a few people getting rich on the backs of millions of dead people. According to the article in the American Journal of Public Health, during the 20th century 190 million deaths could be directly and indirectly related to war.
190 million is 60 million more than the entire US population in the year that I was born.
The only war fought on US territory was the war against Southern Secession. In this war Irish immigrants fresh off the boat gave their lives for American Empire. As soon as the South was conquered, the Union forces were set loose on the Plains Indians and destroyed them as well.
Empire over life. That has always been Washington’s guiding principle.
America’s wars have always been fought elsewhere–Cuba, Haiti, Mexico, Philippines, Japan, Germany, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Somalia. Washington even attacks countries with which the US is not at war, such as Pakistan and Yemen, and engages in proxy wars. The article cited above reports: “The United States launched 201 overseas military operations between the end of World War II and 2001, and since then, others, including Afghanistan and Iraq.”
Not a single one of these wars and military operations had anything whatsoever to do with defending the US population from foreign threats.
Not even Japan and Germany posed a threat to the US. Neither country had any prospect of invading the US and neither country had any such war plans.
Let’s assume Japan had conquered China, Burma, and Indonesia. With such a vast territory to occupy, Japan could not have spared a single division with which to invade the US, and, of course, any invasion fleet would never have made it across the Pacific. Just as was the fate of the Japanese fleet at Midway, an invasion fleet would have been sitting ducks for the US Navy.
Assume Germany had extended its conquests over Europe to Great Britain, Russia and North Africa. Germany would have been unable to successfully occupy such a vast territory and could not have spared a single soldier to send to invade America. Even the US superpower was unable to successfully occupy Iraq and Afghanistan, countries with small land areas and populations in comparison.
Except for its wars against the South, the Plains Indians, Haiti, Spain, Panama, Grenada, and Mexico, the US has never won a war. The Southern Confederates, usually outnumbered, often defeated the Union generals. Japan was defeated by its own lack of military resources. Germany was defeated by the Soviet Union. The allied invasion of Normandy did not occur until June 6, 1944, by which time the Red Army had ground up the Wehrmacht.
When the allies landed in Normandy, three-fourths of the German Army was on the Russian front. The allied invasion was greatly helped by Germany’s shortage of fuel for mobilized units. If Hitler had not allowed hubris to lead him into invading the Soviet Union and, instead, just sat on his European conquests, no allied invasion would have been possible. Today Germany would rule all of Europe, including the UK. The US would have no European Empire with which to threaten Russia, China, and the Middle East.
In Korea in the 1950s, General Douglas MacArthur, victorious over Japan, was fought to a standstill by third world China. In Vietnam American technological superiority was defeated by a third world army. The US rolled up mighty Grenada in the 1980s, but lost its proxy war against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua.
Is there anyone so foolish as to think that Grenada or the Sandinistas were a threat to the United States, that North Korea or North Vietnam comprised threats to the United States? Yet, the Korean and Vietnam wars were treated as if the fate of the United States hung in the balance. The conflicts produced voluminous dire predictions and strategic debates. The communist threat replaced the Hitler threat. The American Empire was at risk from third world peoples. Dominoes would fall everywhere.
Currently Washington is at work overturning President Reagan’s accomplishment of ending the Cold War. Washington orchestrated a coup that overthrew the elected government of Ukraine and installed a stooge government. Washington’s stooges began issuing threats against Russia and the Russian speaking population in Ukraine. These threats resulted in those parts of Ukraine that were formerly part of Russia declaring their independence. Washington blames Russia, not itself, and is stirring the pot, demonizing Russia and recreating the Cold War with military deployments in the Baltics and Eastern Europe. Washington needs to reinvent the Cold War in order to justify the hundreds of billions of dollars that Washington annually feeds the military/security complex, some of which recycles in political campaign donations. In contrast to Washington’s propaganda, an honest view of the events in Ukraine can be found here: http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
In the United States patriotism and militarism have become synonyms. This July 4th find the courage to remind the militarists that Independence Day celebrates the Declaration of Independence, not the American Empire. The Declaration of Independence was not only a declaration of independence from King George III but also a declaration of independence from unaccountable tyrannical government. The oath of office commits the US officeholder to the defense of the US Constitution from enemies ”foreign and domestic.”
In the 21st century Americans’ worst enemies are not al Qaeda, Iran, Russia, and China. America’s worst enemies are our own presidents who have declared repeatedly that the orchestrated “war on terror” gives them the right to set aside the civil liberties guaranteed to every citizen by the US Constitution. Presidential disrespect for the US Constitution is so extreme that Obama has nominated David Barron to the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Barron is the Justice (sic) Department official who wrote the memos fabricating a legal justification for the Office of President to murder US citizens without due process of law. http://www.credomobilize.com/petitions/tell-the-senate-keep-assassination-memo-nominee-david-barron-off-the-federal-bench?akid=10688.1090360.wP_x-8&rd=1&suppress_one_click=true&t=3
Having stripped US citizens of their civil liberties, executive branch agencies are now stocking up vast amounts of ammunition, and the Department of Agriculture has placed an order for submachine guns. The Department for Homeland Security has acquired 2,717 mine-resistant armored personnel carriers. Congress and the media are not interested in why the executive branch is arming itself so heavily against the American people.
During the entirely of the 21st century–indeed, dating from the Clinton regime at the end of the 20th century–the executive branch has declared its independence from law (both domestic and international) and from the Constitution, Congress, and the Judiciary. The executive branch, with the help of the Republican Federalist Society, has established that the office of the executive is a tyranny unaccountable to law, domestic or international, as long as the executive declares a state of war, even a war that is not conducted against another country or countries but a vague, undefined or ill-defined war against a vague stateless enemy such as al Qaeda, with which the US is currently allied against Syria.
Al Qaeda now has a dual role. Al Qaeda is Washington’s agent for overthrowing the elected Assad government in Syria and al Qaeda is the evil force against which US civil liberties must be sacrificed.
The illegitimate power asserted by the Office of the President is not only a threat to every American but also to every living being on planet earth. As the article cited above reports: “Approximately 17,300 nuclear weapons are presently deployed in at least 9 countries, many of which can be launched and reach their targets within 45 minutes.”
It only takes one fool–and Washington has thousands of fools–and all life on earth terminates in 45 minutes. The neoconservative belief that the United States is the exceptional, indispensable country chosen by history to rule the earth is a belief full of the arrogance and hubris that lead to war.
Keep your likely fate in mind as you watch the military bands and marches on July 4th and listen to the hot air of militarism.