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Aug 14 11 10:59 AM
Theocracy coming; just like Robert Heinlein's "Revolt in 2100", and it will be equally corrupt, just like the Vatican.
Democracy Now! / By Amy Goodman
New Exposé Reveals Rick Perry's Close Ties to Radical Evangelicals and
A group of radical Christians and self-proclaimed prophets from a
little-known movement called the New Apostolic Reformation have been quietly
pushing for Perry.
August 12, 2011 |
AMY GOODMAN: Republican Governor Rick Perry of Texas is expected to announce
Saturday he’ll be entering the presidential race. Perry will make the
announcement at a conference in South Carolina organized by Erick Erickson’s RedState.com. Perry is then scheduled to
travel to New Hampshire, site of the first 2012 presidential primary, and then
on to Iowa.
In 2000, Perry succeeded then-Governor George W. Bush, who resigned to become
president. Perry went on to win three gubernatorial terms, in 2002, 2006 and
2010. Early Perry backers, at least presidential backers, have heralded him as
being behind the so-called Texas economic miracle. This TV ad has already begun
airing in Iowa.
JOBS FOR IOWA AD: What if we had a candidate for president
with a real record of creating jobs, a conservative with proven leadership in
tough times, the leader of a state that created more jobs in the past two years
than the other 49 states combined, with no state income tax and no deficit, a
decade of balanced budgets? What if we had a better option for president? We
do. Rick Perry. Jobs for Iowa is responsible for the content of this
AMY GOODMAN: But many have questioned Governor Perry’s economic claims in
Texas. The Pulitzer Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman pointed out recent
economic data suggest the Texas budget gap is worse than New York’s, about as
bad as California’s, not quite up to New Jersey levels.
Questions have also arisen over Governor Perry’s close ties to the
radical wing of the Christian evangelical movement. On Saturday, Perry helped
organize and spoke at a controversial seven-hour Christian prayer rally in
Houston called "The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in
GOV. RICK PERRY: Father, our heart breaks for America. We
see discord at home. We see fear in the marketplace. We see anger in the halls
of government. And as a nation, we have forgotten who made us, who protects us,
who blesses us. And for that, we cry out for Your forgiveness.
AMY GOODMAN: Governor Perry, leading the prayer session. It drew 30,000
participants, received national press. Little attention was paid to the
Christian evangelicals Perry worked with to organize the event.
The Texas Observer has just published an explosive new article
titled "Rick Perry’s Army of God." It exposes how a group of radical
Christians and self-proclaimed prophets from a little-known movement known as
New Apostolic Reformation have been quietly pushing for Perry to run for
president. The author of the article, Forrest Wilder, is a staff reporter at
theTexas Observer. He’s joining us from Austin.
Welcome to Democracy Now!, Forrest. Talk about this event that
took place. And you were there. Describe what it was like.
FORREST WILDER: Well, the response was patterned after what’s
"TheCall," and TheCall are events that are put on by a group by the
same name out of Kansas City. They’re day-long events of prayer and fasting.
They’re usually laced with pretty hardcore anti-abortion and anti-gay messages.
There was a call recently where the leader of it, Lou Engle, called for a
generation of martyrs. So, The Response, in its programming and its feel, was
very similar to TheCall, and that’s largely because the folks that were
organizing The Response, some of the primary organizers work for TheCall. So it
was an explicitly not just Christian, but explicitly evangelical or
fundamentalist-type rally—same kind of music, same sort of tone, same kind of
themes that ran throughout the event, and a lot of, really, the same people
that move in a certain circle on the religious right.
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about the people that Perry organized this event with,
who they were, what they said. This was characterized in the mainstream media
as very much a non-political event. You had a very different take on it.
FORREST WILDER: Well, as I write about in the article, the organizers and
the endorsers of the event largely come out of what’s called the New Apostolic
Reformation movement. And the founder of this movement, the sort of intellectual
godfather, is a guy named Peter Wagner, and he’s termed it "the most
radical change in the way of doing Christianity since the Protestant
Reformation." Little bit of a grandiose statement, but it is really this
movement that’s happening at the bleeding edge of evangelical Christianity in
this country. And it wasn’t—it’s not really widely known, although it does have
And I think one of the defining characteristics of it is this idea that
there are modern-day prophets and apostles, that the prophets and apostles
didn’t end in the Bible, and we have them now walking amongst us. And so, the
leadership of the movement are self-proclaimed prophets and apostles. They hold
themselves out as such, and they’re recognized as such by their followers. So
this was, by and large, the set of individuals and organizations that were
running The Response.
And, you know, another aspect of their sort of theology is this idea of
the "Seven Mountains," and it’s a form of Christian dominionism.
They’re not the only sort of tendency or movement within American Christianity
that has a form of dominionism, but this one—this doctrine is kind of a little
unusual. The Seven Mountains are basically the power centers of society, so
government, family, media, arts and entertainment, education, and so on and so
forth. And they believe that Christians, or a certain type of Christian, are to
take control of the Seven Mountains and initiate, you know, godly government,
biblical values, inject them into these institutions in preparation for the
installation of the Kingdom of God on earth and Jesus’ return. So that’s kind
of who Perry has thrown in with in this event.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to play another clip from the event. One official
endorser of the Response prayer gathering was Cindy Jacobs, the self-declared
Christian prophet. Earlier this year, she made headlines when she recorded a
video declaring a connection between the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t
Tell" and the sudden death of thousands of blackbirds in Arkansas.
CINDY JACOBS: According to biblical principles, a marriage
is between a man and a woman. So, we have to say, what happens when a nation
makes a decision that is against God’s principles? Well, often what happens is
the nature itself will begin to talk to us. For instance, violent storms,
flooding. There’s something interesting we have been watching. Let’s talk about
this Arkansas pattern and say, could it be a pattern? We’re going to watch and
see. But the blackbirds fell to the ground in Beebe, Arkansas. Well, the
governor of Arkansas’s name is Beebe. And also, there was something put out of
Arkansas called "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," by a former governor, this
was proposed, Bill Clinton.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Cindy Jacobs. Who is she?
FORREST WILDER: Cindy Jacobs is sort of one of the kind of leading
prophets within the movement. She’s based out of Dallas. She frequently issues
these type of prophecies. And they’re taken very seriously by those who follow
her and admire her. I mean, she is sort of, you know, a rock star in this sort
of prophetic circuit. She endorsed—she was an endorser of The Response,
although I did not see her appear on stage. She certainly didn’t say anything.
I don’t know if she was actually there, though some of the other prophets and apostles
And some of their prophecies are very specific. I mean, she has also said
that she predicted the tsunamis in Japan, and not just that, but that that
happened because the Japanese hadn’t sufficiently come to Christianity, so, in
essence, God was punishing them. Peter Wagner, the founder of the movement, for
example, when he was in Germany in 2001, God acted through him to end mad cow
disease in Germany. So they actually think that they have some supernatural
abilities, at least as God works through them, to do things in what they call
"the natural." The natural is basically the real world. So they—the
supernatural and the natural, for them, are constantly interacting, and they’re
kind of the bridge between the two.
AMY GOODMAN: Forrest Wilder, let me play another clip. It’s Governor Rick
Perry speaking at The Response prayer gathering in Houston. And talk about,
afterwards, the significance of Perry’s use of language.
GOV. RICK PERRY: Blow the trumpet in Zion. Declare a holy
fast. Call a sacred assembly. Gather the people. Consecrate the assembly. Bring
together the elders. Gather the children. Gather the mothers, nurturing their
children at the breast.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s Governor Rick Perry, who will be announcing for
president, we expect, on Saturday. Forrest Wilder, what exactly is he saying?
FORREST WILDER: He’s reading from the Book of Joel, and it’s a part of
the Bible, Old Testament, that is very important to the New Apostolic
Reformation movement. In fact, the basis for The Response comes straight out of
Joel chapter 2. And the fundamental idea here is that, just as in—was described
in the Book of Joel, they have an agricultural collapse, they have drought,
they have economic woes. They have—they’re having all sorts of problems as a
society, and the solution to that is to get on one’s knees and repent to God,
who, if your repentance is sufficient enough, will act and, you know, restore
the natural good order of things.
There’s a lot of things actually going on in that particular clip that
you played, of—one, note that people are, you know, sort of cheering, cheering
it on, just this reading of Scripture, very energetically, because there’s all
sorts of meaning that’s loaded up into that, into Joel and those particular
verses. For example, "Blow the trumpet in Zion." This is a Christian
Zionist—a phrase that’s very important to them. For example, John Hagee—he’s
one of the leading Christian Zionists, he has a megachurch down in San
Antonio—is very involved in, you know, sort of right-wing foreign policy stuff
around Israel. That’s a verse that you hear a lot at their events, at their
church services, at their political events. And it’s also a popular song. It’s
kind of the main—I don’t know if it’s the name of the song, but that’s the
theme that runs throughout the song, "Blow the trumpet in Zion." And
it’s about—you know, it’s about the role that Israel plays in their End Times
eschatology and the role that the Jews play in fulfilling biblical prophecy and
ultimately the return of Christ and a thousand-year reign. So, you know—
AMY GOODMAN: We just have—we just have a minute, and I just wanted to get
to Don Finto, and this fits right in with what you were talking about, also the
issue, when talking about Jews, of the conversion of Jews.
FORREST WILDER: Yeah, Don Finto, he’s an evangelist who works in Israel,
and his—basically what he does is try to bring Jews to Jesus. And again, this
fits in with this notion that there must be a believing majority in Israel so
that Jesus can come back. And so, at The Response, he was on stage basically
calling for a mass conversion of Jews. And at one point he brought up a
Messianic Jewish rabbi from Dallas, a guy named Marty Waldman. Waldman didn’t
say anything. He was sort of there as a prop, as a signal, to sort of
underscore and reinforce this idea that Jews in Israel are coming to Christ and
that they will spur a global revival of Christianity, and then, ultimately, you
know, start fulfilling some of the biblical prophecy for this End Times
scenario that they have. That was totally missed, and I didn’t see any mention
of that in the media, but it was an important thing that was happening there.
AMY GOODMAN: Forrest Wilder, we’re going to have to leave it there.
Thanks so much for being with us. We’ll link to your piece
in the Texas Observer, "Rick Perry’s Army of God."
Amy Goodman is the host of the nationally syndicated radio news program, Democracy Now!.
Tyrants are those who have NO PERSONAL POWER. They must either destroy or steal the Power of those who have it.
The first rule of Verbal Abuse
Aug 14 11 12:48 PM
“---bleeding edge of
evangelical Christianity in this country”.
That is a good description. Boy, looks like we have another
kook from Texas.
Aug 22 11 11:02 PM
Sep 5 11 9:38 AM
Turkey Does the Right
By Professor Lawrence Davidson
September 04, 2011 "Information Clearing
House" -- In the wake of the
investigatory report which all but exonerated Israel for its May 31, 2010
attack on the Mavi Marmara–an attack that killed 8 Turkish citizens and 1
Turkish-American–Turkey has downgraded its diplomatic relations with Israel and
suspended all military cooperation. Ankara
had little choice in this matter. The Israeli attack was egregious. It took
place in international waters against an unarmed civilian vessel and was
carried out in defense of a barbaric and illegal policy of collective
punishment against one million Palestinians bottled up in Gaza
by an Israeli blockade.
For their part, the Israelis claim that they murdered the Mavi Marmara Turks
self-defense. I juxtapose the words self defense and murder quite
purposefully, for the Turkish passengers were in the process of defending
themselves from a violent assault when they were gunned down by Israeli
soldiers who now describe their actions as self-defense. This scenario is a
tragic parody of a hundred years of Zionist action in the Middle
East. Having come to the region in the baggage train of an
imperial occupying power (Great Britain) and successfully establishing themselves
by evicting the native population (a process that is on-going), the Israelis
define all acts of resistence to their aggression as attacks which require
their defending themselves. The Mavi Marmara action fits neatly into this
Zionist world of peculiar logic. In this sense, they turn the world upside
The Turkish government will have none of this and demanded the minimum of
decency from the Israelis–an apology and
compensation. In so doing they stand for civilized behavior. The Israelis
refuse to apologize. After all, when you have turned the world upside down in
the fashion described above, any admission that there lies a bit of faulty
reasoning in your outlook threatens to collapse your universe like a deck of
cards. So what can Ankara do? It
can and has distanced itself from these crazy people and refuses any military
affiliations. Why militarily assist the murders of your own citizens?
In making the
announcement Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu observed that the
Israelis apparently see “themselves above international laws and human
conscience.” Actually, that is not the half of it. Not only do the Israelis
disregard international law, be on the high seas, in the maintenance of the
obscene ghetto of Gaza, or through
their colonial impositions in the West Bank, but they
assiduously seduce others to support their criminal behavior anywhere and
everywhere they have lobby influence. Everywhere they go they are the poor
victims who need carte blanche to protect themselves. They are the victims who
victimize others in the name of self-defense. Israel
is taking us all back to a barbaric state of nature.
You can see this perverse influence in the way the UN investigatory report
on the Mavi Marmara assault was manipulated
and distorted. Though headed by Geoffrey Palmer, a New
Zealand lawyer and politician with a
reputation for integrity and honesty, he was hemmed in by having to share the
investigation with ex-Columbian president Alvaro Uribe–a devoted follower of
the Israeli line and ally of Washington.
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who is currently under attack by the
United Nations Office of Internal Oversight for weakening the moral integrity
of the organization, also bowed to a combination of American and Israeli
pressure. As a result the panel restricted itself to “reviewing reports from Israel
thus sidestepping any independent gathering of evidence or hearing of testimony
from eyewitnesses.” Ban Ki-Moon insisted that no report would be released
unless Palmer and Uribe could reach consensus. That guaranteed equity for Israel’s
perverse and lopsided logic. Thus the best the investigation could do is come
up with a report that has an Alice
in Wonderland quality to it: Israeli assault troops acted in self-defense
against civilians even through they (the Israelis) used excessive force
bordering on slaughter and mayhem. The investigatory process was suppose to be
“transparent” to avoid this sort of corruption, but Ban Ki-Moon refused to let
course, has rejected the UN report. Now you might say all of this is in vain. Israel’s
influence in the halls of power both in the U.S.
and Europe is too great for Turkey’s
position to be anything but symbolic. Well, you never know. The Turks do have
some leverage. Israel
dreams of the day when it can officially associate itself with NATO. Turkey
is a member of NATO. Indeed, it has the second largest military force in
that alliance and will soon host an extension of the organizations early
warning system. Under present circumstances hell will freeze over before Israel
becomes a full member of NATO. Unfortunately, within Zionist world of illogic, Turkey’s
position will just reinforce Israel’s
narcissistic sense of victimhood. Yasir Arafat once said that Israel
acts like a homicidal “big baby.” He was so right.
Professor Lawrence Davidson - Department of History - West
Sep 8 11 1:40 PM
Was There an Alternative?
Looking Back on 9/11 a Decade Later
We are approaching the 10th anniversary of the horrendous atrocities of September 11, 2001, which, it is
commonly held, changed the world. On May 1st, the presumed mastermind of the
crime, Osama bin Laden, was assassinated in Pakistan by a team of elite US
commandos, Navy SEALs, after he was captured, unarmed and undefended, in
A number of analysts have observed that although bin Laden was finally
killed, he won some major successes in his war against the U.S. "He
repeatedly asserted that the only way to drive the U.S. from the Muslim world
and defeat its satraps was by drawing Americans into a series of small but
expensive wars that would ultimately bankrupt them," Eric Margolis writes.
"'Bleeding the U.S.,'
in his words." The United States,
first under George W. Bush and then Barack Obama, rushed right into bin Laden’s
trap... Grotesquely overblown military outlays and debt addiction... may be the
most pernicious legacy of the man who thought he could defeat the United
States” -- particularly when the debt is being cynically exploited by the far
right, with the collusion of the Democrat establishment, to undermine what
remains of social programs, public education, unions, and, in general,
remaining barriers to corporate tyranny.
That Washington was bent on
fulfilling bin Laden’s fervent wishes was evident at once. As discussed in my
book 9-11, written shortly after those attacks occurred, anyone with
knowledge of the region could recognize “that a massive assault on a Muslim
population would be the answer to the prayers of bin Laden and his associates,
and would lead the U.S. and its allies into a ‘diabolical trap,’ as the French
foreign minister put it.”
The senior CIA analyst responsible for
tracking Osama bin Laden from 1996, Michael Scheuer, wrote shortly after that
“bin Laden has been precise in telling America
the reasons he is waging war on us. [He] is out to drastically alter U.S. and
Western policies toward the Islamic world,” and largely succeeded: “U.S. forces
and policies are completing the radicalization of the Islamic world, something
Osama bin Laden has been trying to do with substantial but incomplete success
since the early 1990s. As a result, I think it is fair to conclude that the United
States of America remains bin Laden’s only
indispensable ally.” And arguably remains so, even after his death.
The First 9/11
Was there an alternative? There is every likelihood that the Jihadi
movement, much of it highly critical of bin Laden, could have been split and
undermined after 9/11. The “crime against humanity,” as it was rightly called,
could have been approached as a crime, with an international operation to
apprehend the likely suspects. That was recognized at the time, but no such
idea was even considered.
In 9-11, I quoted Robert Fisk’s conclusion that the “horrendous
crime” of 9/11 was committed with “wickedness and awesome cruelty,” an accurate
judgment. It is useful to bear in mind that the crimes could have been even
worse. Suppose, for example, that the attack had gone as far as bombing the
White House, killing the president, imposing a brutal military dictatorship
that killed thousands and tortured tens of thousands while establishing an
international terror center that helped impose similar torture-and-terror
states elsewhere and carried out an international assassination campaign; and
as an extra fillip, brought in a team of economists -- call them “the Kandahar
boys” -- who quickly drove the economy into one of the worst depressions in its
history. That, plainly, would have been a lot worse than 9/11.
Unfortunately, it is not a thought experiment. It happened. The only
inaccuracy in this brief account is that the numbers should be multiplied by 25
to yield per capita equivalents, the appropriate measure. I am, of course,
referring to what in Latin America is often called “the first 9/11”: September
11, 1973, when the U.S. succeeded in its intensive efforts to overthrow the
democratic government of Salvador Allende in Chile with a military coup that
placed General Pinochet’s brutal regime in office. The goal, in the words of
the Nixon administration, was to kill the “virus” that might encourage all
those “foreigners [who] are out to screw us” to take over their own resources
and in other ways to pursue an intolerable policy of independent development.
In the background was the conclusion of the National Security Council that, if
the US could
not control Latin America, it could not expect “to
achieve a successful order elsewhere in the world.”
The first 9/11, unlike the second, did not change the world. It was “nothing
of very great consequence,” as Henry Kissinger assured his boss a few days
These events of little consequence were not limited to the military coup
that destroyed Chilean democracy and set in motion the horror story that
followed. The first 9/11 was just one act in a drama which began in 1962, when
John F. Kennedy shifted the mission of the Latin American military from
“hemispheric defense” -- an anachronistic holdover from World War II -- to “internal
security,” a concept with a chilling interpretation in U.S.-dominated Latin
In the recently published Cambridge University History
of the Cold War, Latin American scholar John Coatsworth writes that from
that time to “the Soviet collapse in 1990, the numbers of political prisoners,
torture victims, and executions of non-violent political dissenters in Latin
America vastly exceeded those in the Soviet Union and its East European
satellites,” including many religious martyrs and mass slaughter as well,
always supported or initiated in Washington. The last major violent act was the
brutal murder of six leading Latin American intellectuals, Jesuit priests, a
few days after the Berlin Wall fell. The perpetrators were an elite Salvadorean
battalion, which had already left a shocking trail of blood, fresh from renewed
training at the JFK School of Special Warfare, acting on direct orders of the high
command of the U.S.
The consequences of this hemispheric plague still, of course, reverberate.
From Kidnapping and Torture to Assassination
All of this, and much more like it, is dismissed as of little consequence,
and forgotten. Those whose mission is to rule the world enjoy a more comforting
picture, articulated well enough in the current issue of the prestigious (and
valuable) journal of the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London.
The lead article discusses “the visionary international order” of the
“second half of the twentieth century” marked by “the universalization of an
American vision of commercial prosperity.” There is something to that account,
but it does not quite convey the perception of those at the wrong end of the
The same is true of the assassination of Osama bin Laden, which brings to an
end at least a phase in the “war on terror” re-declared by President George W.
Bush on the second 9/11. Let us turn to a few thoughts on that event and its
On May 1, 2011, Osama bin
Laden was killed in his virtually unprotected compound by a raiding mission of
79 Navy SEALs, who entered Pakistan
by helicopter. After many lurid stories were provided by the government and
withdrawn, official reports made it increasingly clear that the operation was a
planned assassination, multiply violating elementary norms of international
law, beginning with the invasion itself.
There appears to have been no attempt to apprehend the unarmed victim, as
presumably could have been done by 79 commandos facing no opposition -- except,
they report, from his wife, also unarmed, whom they shot in self-defense when
she “lunged” at them, according to the White House.
A plausible reconstruction of the events is provided by veteran Middle
East correspondent Yochi Dreazen and colleagues in the Atlantic.
Dreazen, formerly the military correspondent for the Wall Street Journal,
is senior correspondent for the National Journal Group covering military
affairs and national security. According to their investigation, White House
planning appears not to have considered the option of capturing bin Laden
alive: “The administration had made clear to the military's clandestine Joint
Special Operations Command that it wanted bin Laden dead, according to a senior
with knowledge of the discussions. A high-ranking military officer briefed on
the assault said the SEALs knew their mission was not to take him alive.”
The authors add: “For many at the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence
Agency who had spent nearly a decade hunting bin Laden, killing the militant
was a necessary and justified act of vengeance.” Furthermore, “capturing bin
Laden alive would have also presented the administration with an array of
nettlesome legal and political challenges.” Better, then, to assassinate him,
dumping his body into the sea without the autopsy considered essential after a
killing -- an act that predictably provoked both anger and skepticism in much
of the Muslim world.
As the Atlantic inquiry observes, “The decision to kill bin Laden
outright was the clearest illustration to date of a little-noticed aspect of
the Obama administration's counterterror policy. The Bush administration
captured thousands of suspected militants and sent them to detention camps in Afghanistan,
Iraq, and Guantanamo
Bay. The Obama administration, by
contrast, has focused on eliminating individual terrorists rather than
attempting to take them alive.” That is one significant difference between Bush
and Obama. The authors quote former West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, who
“told German TV that the U.S. raid was ‘quite clearly a violation of
international law’ and that bin Laden should have been detained and put on
trial,” contrasting Schmidt with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who
“defended the decision to kill bin Laden although he didn't pose an immediate
threat to the Navy SEALs, telling a House panel... that the assault had been
‘lawful, legitimate and appropriate in every way.’"
The disposal of the body without autopsy was also criticized by allies. The
highly regarded British barrister Geoffrey Robertson, who supported the
intervention and opposed the execution largely on pragmatic grounds,
nevertheless described Obama’s claim that “justice was done” as an “absurdity”
that should have been obvious to a former professor of constitutional law. Pakistan
law “requires a colonial inquest on violent death, and international human
rights law insists that the ‘right to life’ mandates an inquiry whenever
violent death occurs from government or police action. The U.S.
is therefore under a duty to hold an inquiry that will satisfy the world as to
the true circumstances of this killing.”
Robertson usefully reminds us that “[i]t was not always thus. When the time
came to consider the fate of men much more steeped in wickedness than Osama bin
Laden -- the Nazi leadership -- the British government wanted them hanged
within six hours of capture. President Truman demurred, citing the conclusion
of Justice Robert Jackson that summary execution ‘would not sit easily on the
American conscience or be remembered by our children with pride... the only
course is to determine the innocence or guilt of the accused after a hearing as
dispassionate as the times will permit and upon a record that will leave our
reasons and motives clear.’”
Eric Margolis comments that “Washington has never made public the evidence
of its claim that Osama bin Laden was behind the 9/11 attacks,” presumably one
reason why “polls show that fully a third of American respondents believe that
the U.S. government and/or Israel were behind 9/11,” while in the Muslim world
skepticism is much higher. “An open trial in the U.S.
or at the Hague would have exposed
these claims to the light of day,” he continues, a practical reason why Washington
should have followed the law.
In societies that profess some respect for law, suspects are apprehended and
brought to fair trial. I stress “suspects.” In June 2002, FBI head Robert
Mueller, in what the Washington Post described as “among his most detailed
public comments on the origins of the attacks,” could say only that
“investigators believe the idea of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade
Center and Pentagon came from al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan, the actual
plotting was done in Germany, and the financing came through the United Arab
Emirates from sources in Afghanistan.”
What the FBI believed and thought in June 2002 they didn’t know eight months
earlier, when Washington dismissed tentative offers by the Taliban (how
serious, we do not know) to permit a trial of bin Laden if they were presented
with evidence. Thus, it is not true, as President Obama claimed in his White
House statement after bin Laden’s death, that “[w]e quickly learned that the
9/11 attacks were carried out by al-Qaeda.”
There has never been any reason to doubt what the FBI believed in mid-2002,
but that leaves us far from the proof of guilt required in civilized societies
-- and whatever the evidence might be, it does not warrant murdering a suspect
who could, it seems, have been easily apprehended and brought to trial. Much
the same is true of evidence provided since. Thus, the 9/11 Commission provided
extensive circumstantial evidence of bin Laden’s role in 9/11, based primarily
on what it had been told about confessions by prisoners in Guantanamo.
It is doubtful that much of that would hold up in an independent court,
considering the ways confessions were elicited. But in any event, the
conclusions of a congressionally authorized investigation, however convincing
one finds them, plainly fall short of a sentence by a credible court, which is
what shifts the category of the accused from suspect to convicted.
There is much talk of bin Laden's “confession,” but that was a boast, not a
confession, with as much credibility as my “confession” that I won the Boston
marathon. The boast tells us a lot about his character, but nothing about his
responsibility for what he regarded as a great achievement, for which he wanted
to take credit.
Again, all of this is, transparently, quite independent of one’s judgments
about his responsibility, which seemed clear immediately, even before the FBI
inquiry, and still does.
Crimes of Aggression
It is worth adding that bin Laden’s responsibility was recognized in much of
the Muslim world, and condemned. One significant example is the distinguished
Lebanese cleric Sheikh Fadlallah, greatly respected by Hizbollah and Shia
groups generally, outside Lebanon
as well. He had some experience with assassinations. He had been targeted for
assassination: by a truck bomb outside a mosque, in a CIA-organized
operation in 1985. He escaped, but 80 others were killed, mostly women and
girls as they left the mosque -- one of those innumerable crimes that do not
enter the annals of terror because of the fallacy of “wrong agency.” Sheikh
Fadlallah sharply condemned the 9/11 attacks.
One of the leading specialists on the Jihadi movement, Fawaz Gerges,
suggests that the movement might have been split at that time had the U.S.
exploited the opportunity instead of mobilizing the movement, particularly by
the attack on Iraq, a great boon to bin Laden, which led to a sharp increase in
terror, as intelligence agencies had anticipated. At the Chilcot hearings
investigating the background to the invasion of Iraq, for example, the former
head of Britain’s domestic intelligence agency MI5 testified that both British
and U.S. intelligence were aware that Saddam posed no serious threat, that the
invasion was likely to increase terror, and that the invasions of Iraq and
Afghanistan had radicalized parts of a generation of Muslims who saw the
military actions as an “attack on Islam.” As is often the case, security was
not a high priority for state action.
It might be instructive to ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi
commandos had landed at George W. Bush's compound, assassinated him, and dumped
his body in the Atlantic (after proper burial rites, of course).
Uncontroversially, he was not a “suspect” but the “decider” who gave the orders
to invade Iraq -- that is, to commit the “supreme international crime differing
only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated
evil of the whole” for which Nazi criminals were hanged: the hundreds of
thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, destruction of much of the country
and its national heritage, and the murderous sectarian conflict that has now
spread to the rest of the region. Equally uncontroversially, these crimes
vastly exceed anything attributed to bin Laden.
To say that all of this is uncontroversial, as it is, is not to imply that
it is not denied. The existence of flat earthers does not change the fact that,
uncontroversially, the earth is not flat. Similarly, it is uncontroversial that
Stalin and Hitler were responsible for horrendous crimes, though loyalists deny
it. All of this should, again, be too obvious for comment, and would be, except
in an atmosphere of hysteria so extreme that it blocks rational thought.
Similarly, it is uncontroversial that Bush and associates did commit the
“supreme international crime” -- the crime of aggression. That crime was
defined clearly enough by Justice Robert Jackson, Chief of Counsel for the United
States at Nuremberg.
An “aggressor,” Jackson
proposed to the Tribunal in his opening statement, is a state that is the first
to commit such actions as “[i]nvasion of its armed forces, with or without a
declaration of war, of the territory of another State ….” No one, even the most
extreme supporter of the aggression, denies that Bush and associates did just
We might also do well to recall Jackson’s eloquent words at Nuremberg on the
principle of universality: “If certain acts in violation of treaties are
crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany
does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct
against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.”
It is also clear that announced intentions are irrelevant, even if they are
truly believed. Internal records reveal that Japanese fascists apparently did
believe that, by ravaging China,
they were laboring to turn it into an “earthly paradise.” And although it may
be difficult to imagine, it is conceivable that Bush and company believed they
were protecting the world from destruction by Saddam’s nuclear weapons. All
irrelevant, though ardent loyalists on all sides may try to convince themselves
We are left with two choices: either Bush and associates are guilty of the
“supreme international crime” including all the evils that follow, or else we
declare that the Nuremberg
proceedings were a farce and the allies were guilty of judicial murder.
The Imperial Mentality and 9/11
A few days before the bin Laden assassination, Orlando Bosch died peacefully
in Florida, where he resided along with his accomplice Luis Posada Carriles and
many other associates in international terrorism. After he was accused of
dozens of terrorist crimes by the FBI, Bosch was granted a presidential pardon
by Bush I over the objections of the Justice Department, which found the
conclusion “inescapable that it would be prejudicial to the public interest for
the United States
to provide a safe haven for Bosch.” The coincidence of these deaths at once
calls to mind the Bush II doctrine -- “already… a de facto rule of
international relations,” according to the noted Harvard international
relations specialist Graham Allison -- which revokes “the sovereignty of states
that provide sanctuary to terrorists.”
Allison refers to the pronouncement of Bush II, directed at the Taliban,
that “those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves.”
Such states, therefore, have lost their sovereignty and are fit targets for
bombing and terror -- for example, the state that harbored Bosch and his
associate. When Bush issued this new “de facto rule of international
relations,” no one seemed to notice that he was calling for invasion and
destruction of the U.S.
and the murder of its criminal presidents.
None of this is problematic, of course, if we reject Justice Jackson’s
principle of universality, and adopt instead the principle that the U.S.
is self-immunized against international law and conventions -- as, in fact, the
government has frequently made very clear.
It is also worth thinking about the name given to the bin Laden operation:
Operation Geronimo. The imperial mentality is so profound that few seem able to
perceive that the White House is glorifying bin Laden by calling him “Geronimo”
-- the Apache Indian chief who led the courageous resistance to the invaders of
The casual choice of the name is reminiscent of the ease with which we name
our murder weapons after victims of our crimes: Apache, Blackhawk… We might
react differently if the Luftwaffe had called its fighter planes “Jew” and
The examples mentioned would fall under the category of “American
exceptionalism,” were it not for the fact that easy suppression of one’s own
crimes is virtually ubiquitous among powerful states, at least those that are
not defeated and forced to acknowledge reality.
Perhaps the assassination was perceived by the administration as an “act of
vengeance,” as Robertson concludes. And perhaps the rejection of the legal
option of a trial reflects a difference between the moral culture of 1945 and
today, as he suggests. Whatever the motive was, it could hardly have been
security. As in the case of the “supreme international crime” in Iraq,
the bin Laden assassination is another illustration of the important fact that
security is often not a high priority for state action, contrary to received
Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor emeritus in the MIT Department of
Linguistics and Philosophy. He is the author of numerous bestselling political
works, including 9-11: Was There an Alternative? (Seven Stories Press),
an updated version of his classic account, just being published this week with
a major new essay -- from which this post was adapted -- considering the 10 years
since the 9/11 attacks.
Copyright 2011 Noam Chomsky
Sep 20 11 1:51 PM
As he prepares to singularly veto Palestine's
statehood bid, he must be thinking to himself: 'This isn't right'.
Robert Grenier Last Modified: 20 Sep 2011
Sooner or later, it's going to happen. Most likely, the moment will come
just before his first head-of-state meeting in New York.
Or perhaps it will happen just before his first side-bar meeting with Binyamin
Netanyahu. Or then again, it may come as the cumulative reaction to a series of
embarrassing encounters with fellow world leaders. But the moment will
At some point this coming week, during his visit to the this year's opening
of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, US President Barack Obama
is going to have a nearly irresistible urge. He is going to want to stand up to
his hovering political handlers and the smothering bureaucracy which tries to
dictate his every move, summon his personal dignity, and say
In April of 1995, President Clinton played host to then-Prime Minister
Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan.
US-Pakistan relations were in sharp decline. A few years before, the US
had begun to implement sanctions mandated by the so-called Pressler Amendment,
under which Pakistan
was to be punished with a complete cutoff of aid and of military sales if it
were found to be pursuing a nuclear-weapons capability. The first President
Bush had made such a finding, and now the ties between the two countries were
being progressively cut.
At the heart of the growing ill-feeling between the two nations was the US
cancellation of a previously-agreed sale of 28 F-16 fighter aircraft. The
Pakistanis had realised when they signed the purchase deal that it might be
cancelled if the Pressler Amendment were invoked. Now, given the law and the
previous assertion of Pakistani culpability from President Bush, there was no
longer any question of delivering the aircraft. But there was another
The Pakistanis had paid enormous sums of money which they could ill afford,
in advance, for the airplanes. And now, according to the US,
not only could the Pakistanis not have the warplanes, but they couldn't have
their money back, either. You see, the money wasn't there anymore; it had been
spent by the contractor. The planes had been built. There was no provision
under US law to
provide appropriated funds to compensate the Pakistanis.
Yes, the F-16s could perhaps be sold to another country and the proceeds
given to Pakistan,
but that, too, might require approval from a hostile US
congress, and would most likely not be forthcoming. In short, there was nothing
to be done. And as if to add insult to injury, the Pakistanis were also being
charged a hefty annual storage fee for each plane - each plane that they could
Defending the indefensible
When the entire US
foreign policy/national security apparatus begins to move in one direction, it
is an impressive sight. A vast bureaucracy churns out elaborate rationales for
its decided policy, and these are mind-numbingly repeated in dozens of
different ways for use in dozens of different fora. This was a classic case in
I saw it myself from inside the State Department bureaucracy, where I was
serving at the time. Justifications for the patently unjustifiable were
delivered to the Pakistanis at all levels. They were mouthed by State
Department and White House spokesmen, repeated in Congressional testimony,
delivered to the press in many different settings, elaborated in written
responses to inquiries from congressmen and the public, to say nothing of
internal communications in the Executive Branch.
All of this bureaucratic momentum hurtled forward towards the climactic
moment when President Clinton would deliver the same message, in person, to
Prime Minister Bhutto.
The preparations for such encounters are, again, highly impressive. Huge
briefing books requiring hundreds of man-hours are drawn up. They contain
scene-setters, and backgrounders, and elaborate policy justifications, backed
up with legal briefs organised under alphabeticised tabs, followed by detailed
talking points designed to turn the president into a virtual ventriloquist's
dummy. And then the whole lot is coordinated and cleared up through the system,
through the secretary of state, and the National Security Council, to the
And so it was here. But in this case, at the very end, having carefully
studied all this codified nonsense, this monument to bureaucratic inertia, and
just before walking in to meet with Bhutto, when he would have to look the
Pakistani prime minister in the eye and defend the patently indefensible,
Clinton did something no one - but no one - in the bureaucracy would ever have
With simple, clear-eyed common sense and the innate sense of justice with
which God has endowed most five-year-old children, he said, simply, "but
this is not fair". And then, wonder of wonders, he walked in and said just
that to Bhutto.
Here are Clinton's words recorded moments later, when the two leaders
emerged to speak before the press: "I have already made it clear to
you, and I don't think any American president has ever said this before, I
don't think it's right for us to keep the money and the equipment. That is not
right. And I am going to try to find a resolution to it."
If you have not served in America's
foreign policy bureaucracy, if you have not seen this from the inside, you
cannot imagine the effect which these words would have had - to have a fully
elaborated policy position publicly repudiated by the president, completely and
unexpectedly, at the last possible moment, and on a world stage. It must have
been wonderful. Alas, having seen all the preparation, I was not there for the
denouement, having moved on to another job. I would have given anything to see
Could it happen again?
But this was a comparatively minor issue, followed by few people outside
South Asian policy circles. So just imagine, if you can, something analogous
happening at the UN this week, when President Obama has to justify current US
policy regarding the Palestinian bid for international recognition as a state.
We all know what the Americans have been saying: That what President Mahmoud
Abbas (Abu Mazen) is doing is counter-productive, that it is a repudiation of
the Oslo Accords, that it is an attempt to avoid the necessity of reaching a
negotiated solution with the Israelis. We have seen the US
policy juggernaut gearing up, as the same arguments are repeated by US envoys
to the Palestinians and to the Quartet, elaborated publicly by the secretary of
state and by the White House spokesman, and delivered in dozens of other fora,
both great and small.
However, repeating the same thing, loudly and insistently, does not make it
so. President Obama knows this very well. He understands the
Israeli-Palestinian issue backwards and forwards. He knows the peace process is
at a dead end.
Early in his administration, he tried to revive negotiations by mandating a
complete West Bank settlement freeze, only to be forced
embarrassingly by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to back down. When this past
May he had the temerity to publicly tell the Israelis that their current policy
towards the Palestinians is untenable and unsustainable, and to modestly
suggest a negotiating formula to break the impasse, he was publicly chastised
by Netanyahu and had to submit to the humiliation of seeing the Congressional
leaders of his own party repudiate him in favour of the Israeli prime minister.
In response, though he cannot admit it, Obama has washed his hands of the
Palestinian issue. He knows he can do nothing more. And yet, the issue will not
Now, once again, he is being forced to publicly support an Israeli policy
position fundamentally opposed to his own. He knows fully well that Netanyahu
has no intention of permitting formation of a viable Palestinian state, and
that the Palestinians have little choice but to pursue their current course at
He likewise understands that the US' lonely support for Israel and the
inevitable US veto of the Palestinians' bid for full UN membership will
undermine, perhaps terminally, the US position in a democratising Middle East,
and will expose the US' nominal support for popular Arab rights as a fraud.
The human dimension
All of this is well understood. We can all see it coming. And yet what is
often forgotten is the human dimension.
For the leader of a great nation, at certain points the public becomes
personal, as it did for Bill Clinton one day in April, 1995. I do not know
President Obama personally, but my sense is that this is a proud man. He does
not see himself as an ordinary politician, but as a transformative leader. He
has attempted self-consciously to carve out such a role for himself in the
context of US relations with the Muslim world, but he has been repeatedly
stymied, publicly and disgracefully.
It is one thing to have to sacrifice principle in the face of political
reality. All politicians are forced to do so at various points. But it is
another to do so in a highly public manner, to have to mouth patent falsehoods
in one-on-one meetings with fellow world leaders, who know better and who will
think less of you as a result.
This is what lies in store for President Obama in New
York, and he knows it.
For one as busy as a US
president, there are many distractions, many ways to avoid confronting the
unpleasant. But at some point, when the president is alone with his briefing
book in New York, it is going to
strike him. He will feel a tightening in his chest, and he will have an urge to
pick up this plastic-bound tome to craven political expediency and hurl it at
someone, and then to walk out and say what he really thinks.
We all know that the president will do no such thing. He will suppress this
urge, for to do otherwise would spell political suicide. No, the president will
swallow his anger, and do what he must do. But it is worth giving some
consideration, as the US
again undermines its security and its global position, pointlessly and
gratuitously, in blind allegiance to an ungrateful and self-destructive ally,
that we will also be watching something else, something far more personal: The
public mortification of Barack Hussein Obama.
Robert Grenier is a retired, 27-year veteran of the CIA's
Clandestine Service. He was Director of the CIA's
from 2004 to 2006.
Sep 23 11 8:59 AM
After the president's speech to the UN, our senior analyst
wonders why US
leaders continue to pander to a foreign power.
Marwan Bishara Last Modified: 22 Sep 2011 18:23
Obama is the "the first Jewish
President". That's the title of New York
magazine's lead article, written by John Heilemann and quoting a major
Listening to Obama speak at the United Nations on Wednesday many would
nod in agreement, not less in Palestine and the Arab world.
president has embraced the rejectionist Israeli position on the question of
international recognition of an independent Palestinian state.
But that's not a Jewish position. It's a radical Zionist position. Many Jews,
including US and Israeli Jews, do not embrace such extremist views.
But the fact that Obama surpassed his predecessor George W Bush, the most
radical supporter of Israel
among all US
Presidents, has left everyone in Israel
dumbstruck. The latest Zionist US president sounded like Israel's
own founding fathers.
Never have they heard a US
president read straight from the papers of the Israeli government.
Propaganda passes for history
You would think after six decades of dispossession, four decades of
occupation and two decades of peace processes that President Obama would
recognise a political and moral discrepancy that needs fixing.
That he would underline, not undermine, his own words uttered in Cairo
a year and a half ago about the need for Israel
to stop its illegal settlements in Palestine.
That he would underline, not undermine his own projection - read promise -
from the same podium last September of a Palestinian state within a year,
meaning this week.
That he would underline, not undermine, his own rhetoric about freedom in
the Arab region.
Or that he would underline, not undermine, his own opening emphasis about a
peace based on withdrawal, not more of the same logic of war.
Alas, President Obama undermined his entire "change we can believe
His narrative is inspired by the worst of Israel's
official propaganda. Indeed, much of it is cut and pasted from their playbook.
He spoke of historical "facts" that have long been repudiated by
Israeli historians, and of truths that are nothing more than one sided
interpretations of a political situation.
Obama claimed that the Arabs launched wars against Israel.
But, in actual fact, Israel
is the aggressor, launching or instigating wars in: 1956, 1967, 1982, 2006 and
2008. Only the 1973 war was launched by Arabs, but only to recuperate occupied
territories after the US
rejected Anwar Sadat's peace overtures.
He underlined the work of Israelis in forging a successful state in their
"historic homeland". But most of the world, and certainly the Arab
world, saw Israel's
inception as a colonial project with theological pretexts.
believes that Kosovo is the birth place of its nation; should they be allowed
to forge a successful state of their own, an exclusively Serbian state in that
Should each and every occupied people search from accommodation with their
occupiers without interference from the international community? Is that how
African and Middle Eastern nations gained their independence from European
Should a whole people go on living under occupation until their occupier is
satisfied with the conditions for surrender?
It's politics, stupid
Every other commentator in town would like to remind you not to expect much
action from a US
president on Israel
during an election year.
As Heilemann illustrates in his article, Obama's career was built on his
relationships with generous Jewish contributors in Chicago.
Indeed, the guy who brought the most money to the Democratic party over the
last several decades became Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel. Today, he's
the mayor of Chicago.
But it's not only about money. It's also about crucial support in Congress
over urgent domestic issues that could make or break the Obama presidency. And
the Israeli lobby, AIPAC, can make the president's life miserable over the
course of the next year.
Now, I understand all of that. But what I don't understand is why it is
accepted as a fait accompli! As the nature of politics! Take it or
If this is the case, then let's at least call a spade a spade; and out the
US administration(s) for being what so many seem to say it is: Not Jewish or
Zionist, rather hypocritical.
It speaks of justice but pursues unfair policies; speaks of repression, but
promotes its own interests at any cost. It preaches freedom but supports
occupation; speaks of human rights but insists on entrusting the wolf, and only
the wolf, with the hen house.
The joke is on everyone
Why should the Palestinians be held victims to US politics while being held
hostage to Israeli politics for the last six decades. Why should most Israelis
continue to live in a garrison state incapable of normalising relations with
Why should Americans watch as their politicians are held hostage to a
foreign power and its influential supporters?
The pro-Israeli Jewish lobby, J Street,
commented on the alarming pandering to Israel
not only among Democrats but also Republicans, saying: "There's no limit,
it seems, to how far American politicians will go these days in pandering on Israel
for political gain."
While there has been strategic logic for the US
support for Israel
in the past, Washington's current
pandering makes little sense.
Washington has long used its
influence with Israel
as strategic leverage to reign in Arab leaders. Only Washington
can restrain Israel
in war and wring concessions in diplomacy, Arab leaders once reckoned.
But the dictators who either exploited Palestine
to garner popular support at home, or bartered it in return for Western
favours, belong to the past.
Today's Arabs are bitter and angry at US-Israeli complicity in Palestine
and they won't be as easily bounded or bribed as their fallen
Marwan Bishara is Al Jazeera's
senior political analyst. He was previously a professor of International
Relations at the American University of Paris. An author who writes extensively on global
politics, he is widely regarded as a leading authority on the Middle East and international affairs.
Sep 25 11 4:36 PM
Interesting documentary on voodoo in Africa:
Oct 9 11 9:55 AM
Item found today. I know nothing of Golden Wolf. Here's the url:
Revelations from Golden
Posted on March 18, 2011
Golden Wolf on Japan
There are so many mixed
messages concerning Japan and the unfolding events. We wish to give you
possibilities to ponder which are not being covered. There is a complete
contradiction between the mainstream media, bought scientists and what is truly
unfolding. Your corporate sponsored
leadership and mainstream media has lost all heart and soul. Their drive is profit and their only
allegiance is to power. Your best minds
and scientists go to the war industry or the major corporations and follow the
corporate agenda. The corporate agenda
is profit at any expense. Their goals
are short sighted and based on instant gratification. Time is money, and any
way they can cut corners to increase profits is the goal. The concerns for
humanity and the earth are not factored in.
They create projects, use their scientist and spin doctors to sell it,
and in many cases apply the problem-reaction-solution formula to generate vast
wealth. This is done with absolutely no
regard for humanity and the earth.
I would read this above
paragraph again; let it sink in because it is the key to almost all the ills of
humanity and the earth. You do not have democracies. The republics created for the people and by
the people copied from our ancestors went by way of the corporations a long
time ago. There is no civilian oversight
with any power and you do not have a say in your future, only the illusion
acted out at the polls. The splitting
into adversarial positions by republicans and democrats is nothing but an
elaborate show; they serve the corporate elite.
Your politicians tell you want you want to hear, then do what they are
told by the mega corporations who fund their elections. What you have is a corporate sponsored
dictatorial democracy. Now remember the
goals of the heartless and soulless corporations and their regards to humanity
and the earth; then you will see how and why events like the bankster bailouts,
the gulf oil crises, nuclear meltdowns and other horrendous environmental
disasters occur around the world, many of which you never hear about. You will also see where your jobs went, and
why you lost your homes.
The banksters are
breathing a big sigh of relief because now everyone is focused on the nuclear
meltdowns and not on them. HAARP had a
role in the Haiti quake and now it is looking like the Japan quake as
well. There was a HAARP signature in the
ionosphere, strange cloud formations and Japan was bucking the takeover of
their monetary system by the N.W.O. (new world order). They were having meetings in their parliament
about 911 and came to the conclusion it was an inside job. They were snubbing their nose at the oil
industry by building magnetic generators, cars running on water, fuel cells,
magnetic engines, etc. They were a thorn in the goal of world domination and
enslavement through dependency. There
are also other natural forces at play in this quake, yet those with agendas of
world domination capitalize upon these forces.
The majority of humanity
are completely unaware, dumbed down through chemicals in their water, food and
now even the air with the chemtrails.
They are being led to slaughter like ignorant sheep. Those with any integrity and courage are far
and few between. The very agencies put
in place to protect and serve are protecting and serving the corporations and
are the muscle for their agendas. This includes your military. To make it very clear the war and disease
profiteers, soulless corporations who care nothing for humanity and the earth,
are in charge. I want you to reason this.
Your wars are very profitable for a select few. The plagues are very profitable for a select
few. Most of the new viruses and
bacteria are generated in labs, not occurring naturally. You cannot get a human, swine and bird flu
virus to combine outside a lab. When the
new vaccines come out with the emotional blockers designed to shut off the
emotional receptors in the brain, there will be no hope for those who give in
to them. Why don’t you have the cure for
cancer? It was given in the 20′s. Raise the PH and the blood oxygen and cancer
goes away as well as many other diseases.
Our ancestors never experienced cancer or many of the other diseases now
afflicting humanity. It is a direct
result of moving away from nature and giving mega corporations control over
your food supply.
Cancer needs an acidic
environment and low oxygen to exist; it is anaerobic. Why is almost all the
processed food acidic? Why is aspartame
and corn syrup in almost everything along with a plethora of other toxic chemicals
acidifying the body and having other serious negative impacts on the body? Where is your FDA concerning this? They are out attacking all safe and natural
remedies and jailing those who promote them.
Yes, even farmers selling milk as well as organic foods.
Did you know heavy metal
buildup is also a known cause for many of your illnesses? They are spraying massive amounts of
aluminum, barium, and strontium a radioactive material in an aerosol-spraying
program (chemtrails) all of which are accumulative. Did you know aluminum is a poison? Did you
know it blocks the water intake in roots.
What is it doing to your crops, your forests, the fish and
wildlife? Did you know all of these
heavy metals are measured in your snow packs at 6,000 times the hazardous
levels? This was sold to the world as a
global project to prevent global warming with no – I repeat – absolutely no
civilian oversight, and operated “BY THE MEGA CORPORATIONS.” Excuse me, but our people and those close to
the land find this to be a complete assault on humanity and the earth.
meltdowns, the poisoning of the air, land, lakes and oceans as well as the
poverty, plagues and food shortages all come back to one root cause -RECKLESS
CORPORATE GREED. The complete disregard
for humanity and the earth with an elite few, heart and soulless entities
calling all the shots. These soulless
people own the majority of your politicians, and the people with heart and soul
are just now waking up to the man behind the curtain. There is a fail-safe mechanism to all of
this. It is within the soul of the
people and it is called the Spirit/God/Creator within. It is also within the
soul of earth herself. It is awakening, remembering, looking around at what has
happened to Eden. It is also looking at
who is behind what happened to Eden. The
revolution will not just be the people; it will be the very earth herself along
with the heavens saying enough. It is
finished. The beast and its network are
going to collapse. Those that serve the
beast will experience the same demise and it will be directly related to their
actions against humanity and nature. You
cannot hide from action/reaction; wherever you go in your separate egotistical
beliefs your soul is with you and it will deliver the lessons to bring balance. The controllers know this, they feel it, they
know a day of reckoning is coming and you are the enemy. They learned this from
the last French Revolution. No
underground facility will save them, no amount of armed guards, or remote
castles. It is themselves they are
running from. I want you to imagine an
underground facility filled with control freaks when all their fears, anger and
unresolved issues come forward. Imagine their undergrounds breaking up and
filling with water or gasses from the reeling and shaking earth. As I said; not a very promising future. Their only future is to come clean, shift
their assets and energies to the awakening and healing process and start making
restitution. This is a Cosmic Event and
there is nowhere to hide.
This leads us into the
Star Nations. They do exist and are
observing all of these calamities. As
long as the masses support the tyrants and their leadership concerning the downward
spiral of social, economic and environmental collapse, and continue to be
willing participants, they will keep observing.
Humanity did not learn from Chernobyl.
The off-worlders intervened on that event changing the nature of the
meltdown. The Russian scientists
observed a ship hovering over the event sending a beam of light straight into
the meltdown. The radiation levels
dropped immensely. Did this stop the
building of new reactors and the use of depleted uranium in your wars? Do you have any idea about the long-term
consequences to the troops who used depleted uranium shells, the cities and
villages they used them in? The diseases
and birth defects that followed? Did you
know these same reactors, which are presently melting down, are going to be
built around the world?
Government contracts have
been given despite the present meltdowns.
Do you know how to end this? Send
all the bought scientists praising how safe these reactors are, along with the
CEOs of the companies that build them, to Chernobyl and Fukushima. Then take all the nuclear waste and meltdown
material and put it in their trunks and dump it on their front lawns. Send the politicians as well and, while you
are at it, send them to the front lines of the wars they sponsor. Have them all
get inoculated in public first before forcing others to get inoculated. Make them drink the pesticides and herbicides
they create as well as eat the GMO foods.
That, in a nutshell, is the answer to the problem. If they have a war and no one comes, if they
create a vaccine and no one takes it, if they create a product or sponsor a
project that is detrimental to humanity and the earth, have them step up and
personally participate. This puts an end
to the nonsense. Humanity needs to rise up, as well as hold those accountable
on all levels for their participation, and varying degrees of participation in
actions, that are harmful to humanity and the earth. The revolution has begun, the grand awakening
with nothing hidden. How it plays out is
up to us. I do not know the degree in
which humanity will participate, but I do know nature will have the last word.
Osiyo, Golden Wolf
Oct 15 11 5:24 AM
Oct 15 11 9:08 AM
"As the U.S. government marks Columbus Day on October 10, it is disheartening that the oppression of indigenous people that began with the conquerors’ arrival back in 1492 continues to this day."
“disheartening” is not quite the right word. This was/is a
holocaust never matched in history. Hitler actually got lessons from it:
And yet this continent gave us don Juan, who, without an
ounce of self pity, gave freely of his knowledge.
Thanks for the link, Julia.
Oct 16 11 2:34 AM
Oct 26 11 2:24 PM
The Media’s Deathgasm
It’s official: capturing someone alive and quickly executing them, then
parading the corpse around on TV 24 hours is “a good thing”. It’s hard to know
who the winner was, but the BBC, ITV, Sky
and a number of other channels have gone all out the last few days to prove
who’s the best at gloating over the murder of Gaddafi (after he was dragged
through the streets and sodomized with
a knife). Following the alleged
“death” of bin Laden and the drone strike which killed Anwar al-Awlaki, and
the many other victims of the West’s extrajudicial killings (a tactic
increasingly in favour as the “War of Terror” rolls into its eleventh year) it
should come as little surprise to people when, once again, the nations which
claim to be the strictest adherents to the rule of law bend the rules to the
point of breaking when it comes to justifying their own killings.
To be fair to those members of the public who are
celebrating the death of Gaddafi, many of them have a dire understanding both
of the current situation in Libya
and the historical context of the Gaddafi regime. Gaddafi – like Saddam,
Milosovic, Ahmadinejad and countless others before him – has been overblown as
the greatest threat to humanity since (you guessed it) Hitler, a comparison
which has become so overworn and debased through constant hyperbole as to
become almost meaningless. It’s a routine response from those who defend the
West for their crimes against humanity – we may well have killed over a million
Iraqis since 2003 (not to mention the 100,000s of children who died as a direct
consequence of the pre-invasion UN sanctions) but that doesn’t require any
condemnation. After all, we’re the “civilized nations” who are helping to
“rebuild” the backwards lands of Africa, the Middle
East, and wherever else we see fit to bestow the benefits of
“freedom and democracy”. Any deaths that come as a consequence of our noble
mission is “utterly regrettable”; the wasteland and degradation we leave behind
“good intentions gone awry”.
Gaddafi’s Rule: The Facts They Omit
One of the perennial myths about the 42 year Gaddafi regime is that it was
utterly brutal and repressive – all lived in fear of disappearing into his
torture dungeons or being executed while poverty and despair were the facts of
daily life. Muhammad min Libya (a pseudonym), writing
in the Guardian echoes this, stating, “Many Libyan citizens stood in a long
line to take a final look at the man who inflected harm upon each and every one
of us through four decades of his dictatorship.” An examination of the facts,
however, presents a very different picture.
In 2009, Libya
sat at the top of the table for Africa on the Human
Development Index. According to the United
Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, Libya
“has made strides in public health and, since 1980, child mortality rates have
dropped from 70 per thousand live births to 19 in 2009. Life expectancy has
risen from 61 to 74 years of age during the same span of years.” Here are some statistics from the
World Health Organization in the same year:
Total life expectancy at birth
Male life expectancy at birth
Female life expectancy at birth
Newborns with low birth weight
Perinatal mortality rate per 1000 total births 19
Infant mortality rate (per 1000 live
Under five mortality rate (per 1000 live births) 20.1
Maternal mortality ratio (per 10000 live births) 23
The WHO has described Libya’s
public health care prior to Operation
Odyssey Dawn in the following terms: “Health care is available to all
citizens free of charge by the public sector. The country boasts the highest
literacy and educational enrollment rates in North Africa.
The Government is substantially increasing the development budget for health
services…” Similarly, UNESCO’s
Institute for Statistics demonstrates a high literacy rate of 89% (99% for
the youth), a primary school enrollment rate of 97%, while according
to the World Bank, “In a relative short period of time, Libya achieved
universal access for primary education, with 98% gross enrollment for
secondary, and 46% for tertiary education. In the past decade, girls’
enrollment increased by 12% in all levels of education.”
None of the above squares with the idea perpetuated by politicians and the
media that Gaddafi had no support in Libya.
Indeed, footage of a pro-Gaddafi march held after the NATO bombing had already
begun suggests the exact opposite – over 1.5 million people – out of a
population of approximately 6 million – took to the streets. Their voices were
ignored by the Western press:
As for the alleged crimes against humanity, which formed the backbone of the
case for “intervention”, you can read my exchange with the International
Criminal Court and overview of the evidence presented here,
since which, further evidence has emerged which appears to confirm that these
accusations were largely
Destroying The Great Man Made River Project and other NATO War
It’s interesting to note how the BBC reported on
Gaddafi’s Great Man Made River Project back in March 2006, a time when he was
in favour with the West. Quite rightly, the BBC used phrases such as, “it is
impossible not to be impressed with the scale of the project,” and “It is hard
to fault the Libyans on their commitment. They estimate that when the Great
Man-Made River is completed, they will have spent almost $20bn. So far, that
money has bought 5,000km of pipeline that can transport 6.5 million cubic
metres of water a day from over 1,000 desert wells. As a result, Libya
is now a world leader in hydrological engineering, and it wants to export its
expertise to other African and Middle-Eastern countries facing the same
problems with their water.” It is the world’s largest irrigation project.
Or rather, it was. In July of 2011, NATO bombed the pipeline, adding to the
expanding list of war crimes committed by the organization whose mission in
Libya was based on the “responsiblity to protect” civilians. Some estimate that
in the region of 30,000 people have been killed since NATO began attacking Libya
in March, and there is clear evidence that the destruction of the water supply
is far from the only contravention of the laws of war committed by NATO in Libya.
None of which should come as a surprise: as with all of NATO’s previous
“interventions”, schools, hospitals, electric power stations, basic
infrastructure and built up civilian districts have taken heavy losses and
often been reduced to rubble, ready for the IMF to enter the fray with
reconstruction packages – this is where the real looting begins.
It’s nothing new: back in April 2000, Michel Chossudovsky observed
the similarities between an IMF take over of a country through the use of
Structural Readjustment Programs and the Multilateral Agreement on Investments,
and the take over of a country through the use of NATO forces: “… there’s a
good deal of coordination between the IMF and NATO. You saw it in Kosovo. The
IMF and the World Bank had set up a postwar economic plan including free market
reforms well before the onset of bombing. They work together. If a country
refuses IMF intervention, NATO steps in, or NATO and various covert agencies,
and they create the proper conditions for IMF programs to be imposed …
Sometimes war creates the conditions, and then the economic institutions come
in and pick up the pieces. Or conversely the IMF itself does the destabilizing
Aftermath: Post-Gaddafi Spoils and the Stride Towards Civil War
In Libya the
jackals and wolves have performed their task and the country is now open to
pillaging by Western corporations – it took no time at all before British
businessmen were told: “pack
your bags” and head to the ruined North African nation to squabble over the
spoils. It remains to be seen who the major players will be, but if the Iraq
war is anything to go by, we can expect to see further soaring profits for the
likes of Halliburton, Bechtel, numerous private military contractors such as Xe
Corporation, defence contractors such as General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin
as well as the ubiquitous presence of the major energy cartels.
As for the Libyans themselves, the track record of other nations destroyed
by NATO and “rebuilt” by the IMF and their corporate friends points to an
increasingly bleak future. Already, the National Transitional Council has
stated that Sharia Law will form the basis of their constitution. In addition
to the numerous atrocities carried out by the CIA/SAS-backed
“rebels” (many of whom are not Libyans, many more with close associations to
al-Qaeda), Human Rights Watch have already called for an investigation into the
of 53 Gaddafi supporters in Sirte, the city where the former leader met his
demise. They might add to that call for an investigation the “rebel” beheading
of Libyans and murder of blacks. Civil war is likely, given that the tried and
tested tactics of “divide and rule” have again been applied – just as the US
sectarian violence in Iraq, so too has NATO’s actions in Libya set the
stage for violence and conflict between the many tribal and ethnic factions in
the country and the numerous foreign fighters who made up the “rebels”.
Meanwhile, increasing pressure is being applied to Syria
long-standing targets of the Western powers. I’ve had a persistent feeling of
déjà vu for some time now. Something tells me it isn’t going away any time
Nov 13 11 9:42 AM
Economic globalization , where all people, everywhere, are repressed by the same 1%, has led to the globalization of the opposition as well!
Protest Planet: How a Neoliberal Shell Game Created an Age of Activism
Thursday 10 November 2011
by: Juan Cole, TomDispatch | News Analysis
From Tunis to Tel Aviv, Madrid to Oakland, a new generation of youth activists is challenging the neoliberal state that has dominated the world ever since the Cold War ended. The massive popular protests that shook the globe this year have much in common, though most of the reporting on them in the mainstream media has obscured the similarities.
Whether in Egypt or the United States, young rebels are reacting to a single stunning worldwide development: the extreme concentration of wealth in a few hands thanks to neoliberal policies of deregulation and union busting. They have taken to the streets, parks, plazas, and squares to protest against the resulting corruption, the way politicians can be bought and sold, and the impunity of the white-collar criminals who have run riot in societies everywhere. They are objecting to high rates of unemployment, reduced social services, blighted futures, and above all the substitution of the market for all other values as the matrix of human ethics and life.
Pasha the Tiger
In the “glorious thirty years” after World War II, North America and Western Europe achieved remarkable rates of economic growth and relatively low levels of inequality for capitalist societies, while instituting a broad range of benefits for workers, students, and retirees. From roughly 1980 on, however, the neoliberal movement, rooted in the laissez-faire economic theories of Milton Friedman, launched what became a full-scale assault on workers’ power and an attempt, often remarkably successful, to eviscerate the social welfare state.
Neoliberals chanted the mantra that everyone would benefit if the public sector were privatized, businesses deregulated, and market mechanisms allowed to distribute wealth. But as economist David Harvey argues, from the beginning it was a doctrine that primarily benefited the wealthy, its adoption allowing the top 1% in any neoliberal society to capture a disproportionate share of whatever wealth was generated.
In the global South, countries that gained their independence from European colonialism after World War II tended to create large public sectors as part of the process of industrialization. Often, living standards improved as a result, but by the 1970s, such developing economies were generally experiencing a leveling-off of growth. This happened just as neoliberalism became ascendant in Washington, Paris, and London as well as in Bretton Woods institutions like the International Monetary Fund. This “Washington consensus” meant that the urge to impose privatization on stagnating, nepotistic postcolonial states would become the order of the day.
Egypt and Tunisia, to take two countries in the spotlight for sparking the Arab Spring, were successfully pressured in the 1990s to privatize their relatively large public sectors. Moving public resources into the private sector created an almost endless range of opportunities for staggering levels of corruption on the part of the ruling families of autocrats Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunis andHosni Mubarak in Cairo. International banks, central banks, and emerging local private banks aided and abetted their agenda.
It was not surprising then that one of the first targets of Tunisian crowds in the course of the revolution they made last January was the Zitouna bank, a branch of which they torched. Its owner? Sakher El Materi, a son-in-law of President Ben Ali and the notorious owner of Pasha, the well-fed pet tiger that prowled the grounds of one of his sumptuous mansions. Not even the way his outfit sought legitimacy by practicing “Islamic banking” could forestall popular rage. A 2006 State Department cable released by WikiLeaks observed, “One local financial expert blames the [Ben Ali] Family for chronic banking sector woes due to the great percentage of non-performing loans issued through crony connections, and has essentially paralyzed banking authorities from genuine recovery efforts.” That is, the banks were used by the regime to give away money to his cronies, with no expectation of repayment.
Tunisian activists similarly directed their ire at foreign banks and lenders to which their country owes $14.4 billion. Tunisians are still railing and rallyingagainst the repayment of all that money, some of which they believe was borrowed profligately by the corrupt former regime and then squandered quite privately.
Tunisians had their own 1%, a thin commercial elite, half of whom were related to or closely connected to President Ben Ali. As a group, they were accused by young activists of mafia-like, predatory practices, such as demanding pay-offs from legitimate businesses, and discouraging foreign investment by tying it to a stupendous system of bribes. The closed, top-heavy character of the Tunisian economic system was blamed for the bottom-heavy waves of suffering that followed: cost of living increases that hit people on fixed incomes or those like students and peddlers in the marginal economy especially hard.
It was no happenstance that the young man who immolated himself and so sparked the Tunisian rebellion was a hard-pressed vegetable peddler. It’s easy now to overlook what clearly ties the beginning of the Arab Spring to the European Summer and the present American Fall: the point of the Tunisian revolution was not just to gain political rights, but to sweep away that 1%, popularly imagined as a sort of dam against economic opportunity.
Tahrir Square, Zuccotti Park, Rothschild Avenue
The success of the Tunisian revolution in removing the octopus-like Ben Ali plutocracy inspired the dramatic events in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria, and even Israel that are redrawing the political map of the Middle East. But the 2011 youth protest movement was hardly contained in the Middle East. Estonian-Canadian activist Kalle Lasn and his anti-consumerist colleagues at the Vancouver-based Adbusters Media Foundation were inspired by the success of the revolutionaries in Tahrir Square in deposing dictator Hosni Mubarak.
Their organization specializes in combatting advertising culture through spoofs and pranks. It was Adbusters magazine that sent out the call on Twitter in the summer of 2011 for a rally at Wall Street on September 17th, with the now-famous hash tag #OccupyWallStreet. A thousand protesters gathered on the designated date, commemorating the 2008 economic meltdown that had thrown millions of Americans out of their jobs and their homes. Some camped out in nearby Zuccotti Park, another unexpected global spark for protest.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has now spread throughout the United States, sometimes in the face of serious acts of repression, as in Oakland, California. It has followed in the spirit of the Arab and European movements in demanding an end to special privileges for the richest 1%, including their ability to more or less buy the U.S. government for purposes of their choosing. What is often forgotten is that the Ben Alis, Mubaraks, and Qaddafis were not simply authoritarian tyrants. They were the 1%, and the guardians of the 1%, in their own societies -- and loathed for exactly that.
Last April, around the time that Lasn began imagining Wall Street protests, progressive activists in Israel started planning their own movement. In July, sales clerk and aspiring filmmaker Daphne Leef found herself unable to cover a sudden rent increase on her Tel Aviv apartment. So she started a protest Facebook page similar to the ones that fueled the Arab Spring and moved into a tent on the posh Rothschild Avenue where she was soon joined by hundreds of other protesting Israelis. Week by week, the demonstrations grew, spreading to cities throughout the country andculminating on September 3rd in a massive rally, the largest in Israel’s history. Some 300,000 protesters came out in Tel Aviv, 50,000 in Jerusalem, and 40,000 in Haifa. Their demands included not just lower housing costs, but a rollback of neoliberal policies, less regressive taxes and more progressive, direct taxation, a halt to the privatization of the economy, and the funding of a system of inexpensive education and child care.
Many on the left in Israel are also deeply troubled by the political and economic power of right-wing settlers on the West Bank, but most decline to bring the Palestinian issue into the movement’s demands for fear of losing support among the middle class. For the same reason, the way the Israeli movement was inspired by Tahrir Square and the Egyptian revolution has been downplayed, although “Walk like an Egyptian” signs -- a reference both to the Cairo demonstrations and the 1986 Bangles hit song -- have been spotted on Rothschild Avenue.
Most of the Israeli activists in the coastal cities know that they are victims of the same neoliberal order that displaces the Palestinians, punishes them, and keeps them stateless. Indeed, the Palestinians, altogether lacking a state but at the complete mercy of various forms of international capital controlled by elites elsewhere, are the ultimate victims of the neoliberal order. But in order to avoid a split in the Israeli protest movement, a quiet agreement was reached to focus on economic discontents and so avoid the divisive issue of the much-despised West Bank settlements.
There has been little reporting in the Western press about a key source of Israeli unease, which was palpable to me when I visited the country in May. Even then, before the local protests had fully hit their stride, Israelis I met were complaining about the rise to power of an Israeli 1%. There are now 16 billionaires in the country, who control $45 billion in assets, and the current crop of 10,153 millionaires is 20% percent larger than it was in the previous fiscal year. In terms of its distribution of wealth, Israel is now among the most unequal of the countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Since the late 1980s, the average household income of families in the bottom fifth of the population has been declining at an annual rate of 1.1%. Over the same period, the average household income of families among the richest 20% went up at an annual rate of 2.4%.
While neoliberalism has produced more unequal societies throughout the world, nowhere else has the income of the poor declined quite so strikingly. The concentration of wealth in a few hands profoundly contradicts the founding principles of Israel’s Labor Zionism, and results from decades of right-wing Likud policies punishing the poor and middle classes and shifting wealth to the top of society.
The Indignant Ones
European youth were also inspired by the Tunisians and Egyptians -- and by a similar flight of wealth. I was in Barcelona on May 27th, when the police attacked demonstrators camped out at the Plaça de Catalunya, provoking widespread consternation. The government of the region is currently led by the centrist Convergence and Union Party, a moderate proponent of Catalan nationalism. It is relatively popular locally, and so Catalans had not expected such heavy-handed police action to be ordered. The crackdown, however, underlined the very point of the protesters, that the neoliberal state, whatever its political makeup, is protecting the same set of wealthy miscreants.
Spain’s “indignados” (indignant ones) got their start in mid-May with huge protests at Madrid’s Puerta del Sol Plaza against the country's persistent 21% unemployment rate (and double that among the young). Egyptian activists in Tahrir Square immediately sent a statement of warm support to those in the Spanish capital (as they would months later to New York’s demonstrators). Again following the same pattern, the Spanish movement does not restrict its objections to unemployment (and the lack of benefits attending the few new temporary or contract jobs that do arise). Its targets are the banks, bank bailouts, financial corruption, and cuts in education and other services.
Youth activists I met in Toledo and Madrid this summer denounced both of the country’s major parties and, indeed, the very consumer society that emphasized wealth accumulation over community and material acquisition over personal enrichment. In the past two months Spain’s young protesters have concentrated on demonstrating against cuts to education, with crowds of 70,000 to 90,000 coming out more than once in Madrid, and tens of thousands in other cities. For marches in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement,hundreds of thousands reportedly took to the streets of Madrid and Barcelona, among other cities.
The global reach and connectedness of these movements has yet to be fully appreciated. The Madrid education protesters, for example, cited for inspiration Chilean students who, through persistent, innovative, and large-scale demonstrations this summer and fall, have forced that country’s neoliberal government, headed by the increasingly unpopular billionaire president Sebastián Piñera, to inject $1.6 billion in new money into education. Neither the crowds of youth in Madrid nor those in Santiago are likely to be mollified, however, by new dorms and laboratories. Chilean students have already moved on from insisting on an end to an ever more expensive class-based education system to demands that the country’s lucrative copper mines be nationalized so as to generate revenues for investment in education. In every instance, the underlying goal of specific protests by the youthful reformists is the neoliberal order itself.
The word “union” was little uttered in American television news coverage of the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, even though factory workers and sympathy strikes of all sorts played a key role in them. The right-wing press in the U.S. actually went out of its way to contrast Egyptian demonstrations against Mubarak with the Wisconsin rallies of government workers against Governor Scott Walker’s measure to cripple the bargaining power of their unions.
The Egyptians, Commentary typically wrote, were risking their lives, while Wisconsin’s union activists were taking the day off from cushy jobs to parade around with placards, immune from being fired for joining the rallies. The implication: the Egyptian revolution was against tyranny, whereas already spoiled American workers were demanding further coddling.
The American right has never been interested in recognizing this reality: that forbidding unions and strikes is a form of tyranny. In fact, it wasn’t just progressive bloggers who saw a connection between Tahrir Square and Madison. The head of the newly formed independent union federation in Egypt dispatched an explicit expression of solidarity to the Wisconsin workers, centering on worker’s rights.
At least, Commentary did us one favor: it clarified why the story has been told as it has in most of the American media. If the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya were merely about individualistic political rights -- about the holding of elections and the guarantee of due process -- then they could be depicted as largely irrelevant to politics in the United States and Europe, where such norms already prevailed.
If, however, they centered on economic rights (as they certainly did), then clearly the discontents of North African youth when it came to plutocracy, corruption, the curbing of workers’ rights, and persistent unemployment deeply resembled those of their American counterparts.
The global protests of 2011 have been cast in the American media largely as an “Arab Spring” challenging local dictatorships -- as though Spain, Chile, and Israel do not exist. The constant speculation by pundits and television news anchors in the U.S. about whether “Islam” would benefit from the Arab Spring functioned as an Orientalist way of marking events in North Africa as alien and vaguely menacing, but also as not germane to the day to day concerns of working Americans. The inhabitants of Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan clearly feel differently.
Facebook Flash Mobs
If we focus on economic trends, then the neoliberal state looks eerily similar, whether it is a democracy or a dictatorship, whether the government is nominally right of center or left of center. As a package, deregulation, the privatization of public resources and firms, corruption and forms of insider trading, and interference in the ability of workers to organize or engage in collective bargaining have allowed the top 1% in Israel, just as in Tunisia or the United States, to capture the lion’s share of profits from the growth of the last decades.
Observers were puzzled by the huge crowds that turned out in both Tunis and Tel Aviv in 2011, especially given that economic growth in those countries had been running at a seemingly healthy 5% per annum. “Growth,” defined generally and without regard to its distribution, is the answer to a neoliberal question. The question of the 99% percent, however, is: Who is getting the increased wealth? In both of those countries, as in the United States and other neoliberal lands, the answer is: disproportionately the 1%.
If you were wondering why outraged young people around the globe are chanting such similar slogans and using such similar tactics (includingFacebook “flash mobs”), it is because they have seen more clearly than their elders through the neoliberal shell game.
Copyright 2011 Juan Cole
Nov 13 11 9:47 AM
Nov 20 11 5:00 PM
This is an oxymoron, but it is worth repeating. I always enjoyed how Dick Gregory said it: Say you have some men sleeping in a room. Someone puts a teakettle on the stove. When hot , it begins to whistle. Now , some of these guys don't like the sound, so they go and PLUG UP the kettle, rather than remove it from the fire, and relieve the conditions. To make the story short, when the kettle explodes, everyone in the room gets burned. That is a good metaphor about repression. Syria is facing an explosion now. So is Bloomberg and Oakland. Nixon learned the hard way , too.
Excerpt: "As the destruction of the Occupy encampments proceeds, this movement will disperse into many locations and become larger and stronger. From the neighborhoods, joining with long-valiant community groups, the Occupy protesters will return by day to these public squares for their ever-more innovative demonstrations."
Repression Expands Resistance
By Ralph Nader, Reader Supported News
17 November 11
From Oakland, California to New York City, the police, ordered by politicians, have smashed through Occupy encampments. Noted for their rigorous non-violence and orderly arrangements - tents with medical assistance, legal aid, libraries, media relations and sanitation controls - the Occupy protestors are being shoved out of their public places all over the country.
The Mayor of Oakland admitted to the BBC in an interview that mayors, police and other security officials have been in contact with each other regarding how to deal with the removal of the protestors, including an 18 mayor conference call she participated in recently.
The police power is always the first response to a mobilized citizen action that refuses to go away. Even a protest against corporate greed and governmental complicity shattering the economy and millions of livelihoods, which has widespread support by the American people, faces police intervention.
How else has the plutocracy of the corporatists and the oligarchy of the politicians who serve them responded? President Obama has remained aloof, as he did earlier this year with the giant Wisconsin labor protests. California Governor Jerry Brown has stayed out of the fray. The Congress is wallowing in its tone-deaf bubble squabbling over how to reduce the crumbs for the masses while the obscenely-bonused corporate bosses feast on the tables of corporate welfare and privilege.
Chris Hedges, the Pulitzer-prize winning war correspondent - described what entrenched illegitimacy by the power brokers has to offer besides force:
"Our elites have exposed their hand. They have nothing to offer. They can destroy but they cannot build. They can repress but they cannot lead. They can steal but they cannot share. They have no ideas, no plans and no vision for the future."
Except, one may add, for the perpetuation of their autocratic, self-enriching, dominant rule at the expense of the "99 percent." Their outcry is for law and order - clear the tents from the public parks. These are the same corporatists who constantly receive from the corporate-dominated state all kinds of waivers from health and safety regulations, from government contract rules, from fair labor standards, from taxes. And all kinds of loopholes to enhance their profits and executive pay packages. But there are no waivers for orderly encampments non-violently advancing justice for "we the people" by spotlighting the gross inequities and cruelties imposed on tens of millions of innocent Americans.
As the destruction of the Occupy encampments proceeds, this movement will disperse into many locations and become larger and stronger. From the neighborhoods, joining with long-valiant community groups, the Occupy protestors will return by day to these public squares for their ever-more innovative demonstrations.
One protestor told "Democracy Now" that their expulsion from over-night stays in Zuccotti Park will show "how intuitive and ingenious a movement we have." Already the protestors have shown their adaptive creativity. They responded to a ban on bullhorns or other amplifiers with the "human microphone," relaying words through waves of people.
Occupy Wall Street had a 5,000 book library loaning books to residents without access to a nearby city library branch. So taken was the "Washington Post's" architectural editor, Phillip Kennicott with Occupy Washington at McPherson Square that he devoted two pages to an aerial view and report of its intricate organization calling it a "vibrant brand of urbanism." The same is true of the other Washington, D.C. Occupy site at Freedom Plaza. So far City Hall and the National Park Service have left them alone.
With the coming of winter and the Occupy sites overwhelmed with the hungry and homeless poor - some urged to go there by the police - it was time for stage two. By not being somewhere, the Occupy movement will now be everywhere - in the neighborhoods, on the campuses, in churches and union halls, and marching in the streets toward the edifices of the corporatists and their political lackeys.
Furthermore, this diffusion and magnification will spread into the established institutions themselves as first a few and then more whistleblowers, dissenters and other silent patriots do their part to subordinate the corporate structures and political controllers to the sovereignty of the people. After all our Constitution's preamble starts with "we the people," and ends without a single mention of corporations or political parties.
Becoming stronger from violent over-reaction by the police, it will become an "Occupy America" movement with demands for long-overdue revisions of priorities and equities relating to children, workers, consumers, taxpayers, retirees and restricted voters. The sheer volume of Americans coming into the streets with their non-violence will exhaust police resources and police resolve. Already, the city police and local district attorney in Albany, New York refused the governor's order to arrest and remove peaceful protestors. Why? Because said one police official "we don't have those resources and these people were not causing trouble," as quoted in the instant new paperback "This Changes Everything."
At the University of California at Berkeley demonstration, Daniel Ellsberg said that the official enforcers' "instinct for repression is irrepressible." That is the dark view, predicted by Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World Revisited" - a copy of which was found, ironically, in the debris of the destroyed Zuccotti Park library by Amy Goodman of "Democracy Now."
But the instinct for freedom and justice is also irrepressible. Who are you betting on to prevail this time?
Nov 20 11 5:06 PM
Europe Bans X-Ray Body Scanners Used at US Airports
By Michael Grabell, ProPublica
16 November 11
The European Union on Monday prohibited the use of X-ray body scanners in European airports, parting ways with the US Transportation Security Administration, which has deployed hundreds of the scanners as a way to screen millions of airline passengers for explosives hidden under clothing.
The European Commission, which enforces common policies of the EU's 27 member countries, adopted the rule "in order not to risk jeopardizing citizens" health and safety."
As a ProPublica/PBS NewsHour investigation detailed earlier this month, X-ray body scanners use ionizing radiation, a form of energy that has been shown to damage DNA and cause cancer. Although the amount of radiation is extremely low, equivalent to the radiation a person would receive in a few minutes of flying, several research studies have concluded that a small number of cancer cases would result from scanning hundreds of millions of passengers a year.
European countries will be allowed to use an alternative body scanner, on that relies on radio frequency waves, which have not been linked to cancer. The TSA has also deployed hundreds of those machines - known as millimeter-wave scanners - in US airports. But unlike Europe, it has decided to deploy both types of scanners.
The TSA would not comment specifically on the EU"s decision. But in a statement, TSA spokesman Mike McCarthy said, "As one of our many layers of security, TSA deploys the most advanced technology available to provide the best opportunity to detect dangerous items, such as explosives.
"We rigorously test our technology to ensure it meets our high detection and safety standards before it is placed in airports," he continued. "Since January 2010, advanced imaging technology has detected more than 300 dangerous or illegal items on passengers in US airports nationwide."
Body scanners have been controversial in the United States since they were first deployed in prisons in the late 1990s and then in airports for tests after 9/11. Most of the controversy has focused on privacy because the machines can produce graphic images. But the manufacturers have since installed privacy filters.
As the TSA began deploying hundreds of body scanners after the failed underwear bombing on Christmas Day 2009, several scientists began to raise concerns about the health risks of the X-ray scanner, noting that even low levels of radiation would increase the risk of cancer.
As part of our investigation, ProPublica surveyed foreign countries" security policies and found that only a few nations used the X-ray scanner. The United Kingdom uses them but only for secondary screening, such as when a passenger triggers the metal detector or raises suspicion.
Under the new European Commission policy, the U.K. will be allowed to complete a trial of the X-ray scanners but not to deploy them on a permanent basis when the trial ends, said Helen Kearns, spokeswoman for the European transport commissioner, Siim Kallas.
"These new rules ensure that where this technology is used it will be covered by EU-wide standards on detection capability as well as strict safeguards to protect health and fundamental rights," Kallas said.
Five-hundred body scanners, split about evenly between the two technologies, are deployed in US airports. The X-ray scanner, or backscatter, which looks like two large blue boxes, is used at major airports, including Los Angeles International Airport, John F. Kennedy in New York and Chicago's O"Hare. The millimeter-wave scanner, which looks like a round glass booth, is used in San Francisco, Atlanta and Dallas.
Within three years, the TSA plans to deploy 1,800 backscatter and millimeter-wave scanners, covering nearly every domestic airport security lane. The TSA has not yet released details on the exact breakdown.
Nov 20 11 5:09 PM
Occupy Wall Street Needs Michael Bloomberg
By Keith Olbermann, Countdown/Current TV
KEITH OLBERMANN: First, as promised, a special comment on the events of Monday night at Occupy Wall Street at Zuccotti Park:
For the entirety of the life of our nation, democracy has been protected -- not merely by the strenuous efforts of those of us who cherish it, but mostly, and most profoundly, by the limitless stupidity of those who would ration it, keep it for themselves and themselves alone, or destroy it.
The protests that ended the war in Vietnam reached critical mass only in 1970, when Governor James Rhodes of Ohio pounded on a desk at a news conference and called the student protesters at Kent State University un-American. They were not un-American, they were unarmed. And the next day, four were shot and killed by the National Guard and 10 days later, two more were killed at Jackson State.
Those protests had themselves only gone mainstream 20 months earlier, when Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago overreacted with mindlessness and sadism to the massing of demonstrators outside the 1968 Democratic convention and the whole world watched.
A century of the institutionalized, codified, legalized, pseudo-slavery that followed the real thing was fatally stricken only Governor George Wallace of Alabama used his inaugural address to promise, "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." Within two years came the marches on Selma and the atrocities at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. And ten weeks after the first violence, the president had proposed the Voting Rights Act to Congress.
The mounting paranoia of three decades of scapegoating of -- and fear mongering about -- liberals, only ended when its last white knight self-destructed on the national stage of televised hearings, when Joe McCarthy questioned the loyalty of the US military and -- towards one junior attorney -- he revealed the depths of his cruelty and megalomania. And he revealed that -- at long last -- he, indeed, had no shame.
Pick any moment in our history -- our history as a country founded by and invigorated by and re-invigorated by protests -- and you will find men like George Wallace and Joe McCarthy and Jim Rhodes and Richard Daley. Go back further -- to men like the owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company or the officials who sent the police to the Haymarket Square and the troops to the Pullman town or John Brown or George Grenville, the British politician who had a bright idea about the American colonies, an idea called the Stamp Act.
American freedom has not flourished in spite of these morons of history, it has flourished because of them -- because they overreacted, because they under-thought, overreached, under-understood. We owe them our traditions of protest. We owe them our freedoms. We owe them our very independence. None of them ever understood that -- around these parts anyway -- suppression always creates the opposite of the effect desired.
Such a man is Michael Rubens Bloomberg, mayor of New York City and -- as of today -- the most valuable, the most essential, the most irreplaceable man inside the Occupy movement.
Who else but a cliché like Bloomberg could take a protest beginning to grow a little stale around the edges and vault it back in the headlines, complete with mortifying scenes of police dressed as storm troopers, carrying military weapons, using figurative bazookas to kill figurative mosquitoes?
Who else but an archetype like Bloomberg could claim a group of protesters was making too much noise in a residential area and then choose to try to disperse them by bringing out LRAD audio cannons, machines that send painful waves of sound indiscriminately over the very same residential area?
Who else but a cartoon like Bloomberg could have become rich creating a multi-billion-dollar media and news company and then authorize illegally preventing reporters from witnessing police actions he claimed were utterly legal, and then authorize the arrests of four reporters at a church?
Who else but a human platitude like Bloomberg could have just gotten back from Jerusalem -- and the dedication of a ten-million-dollar medical facility for which he generously paid -- and then enabled the image of policemen seizing 5,500 books from the Occupy Wall Street library, and throwing them in a Dumpster as if the cops were book burners?
Who else but a hypocrite like Bloomberg could have overridden -- by a backroom deal with the New York City Council -- the results of two separate referendums, limiting those in his office to just two terms as mayor, so he could serve a third term? And then had police arrest, beat up and incarcerate a member of the New York City Council?
Who else but a putz like Bloomberg could have insisted protesters were not above the rule of law and yet -- when the courts ruled he could not sees the protesters' tents and sleeping bags, nor kick them out of Zuccotti park, nor keep them from returning with their tents and sleeping bags -- who else could have stalled for hours until he could find another judge to give him the ruling he insisted upon?
Who else but the epitome of tone-deafness that is Bloomberg could have better illustrated the fundamental issue of Occupy, when he puts the entire weight of the most people-driven city in the history of the Earth behind already-crushingly rich and their efforts to grab themselves still more advantages from those people and he, himself, is the 12th richest man in America?
Who else but a publicity addict like Bloomberg could have enabled the arrest of 700 protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge and yet, two months later, frozen 20 square miles of New York City in gridlock traffic over two days, so somebody could film another goddamned Batman movie on the 59th Street Bridge? Leading to the inescapable conclusion that -- if you want to tie up a little traffic during a protest for equality and freedom from corporate domination on a bridge in New York City -- you will be arrested. But -- if you want to tie up all of the traffic during a goddamned movie shoot for the financial benefit of corporate domination -- the city of New York will embrace you and give you tax breaks.
Michael Bloomberg -- no such a figure, no such a living, breathing embodiment of all that is wrong and all that is stupid in the establishment in this country could be ordered up from the works of fiction, or the casting calls of that goddamned Batman movie they filmed the weekend before he ordered the raid on Occupy Wall Street.
Obviously, Mayor Bloomberg, you should resign and your little bully of a police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, should go with you. You have overstepped all reasonable interpretations of your rights and responsibilities and you have made Americans and people around the world realize that you are simply smaller, more embarrassing versions of the tin-pot tyrants who have fallen around the globe in the past year.
But -- as some of us first thought you might be, back on that fateful afternoon that sadistic cops pepper-sprayed four women who had already been trapped inside a police overreaction, and as we thought again the following weekend during the arrests on Brooklyn Bridge -- Michael Bloomberg, you have now, indeed, become the symbol of the Occupy movement. You are ready to take your historic place with Mayor Daley and Governor Wallace and Senator McCarthy and Prime Minister Grenville and every other idiot who has made the fateful and fatal mistake of thinking that -- just because he had power and money -- that this was a nation in which everything has a price tag on it.
We need you, Michael Bloomberg. We need you to keep making these mistakes -- tone-deaf, sensibility-offending, world-changing mistakes -- like the pepper spray and the Brooklyn Bridge and the paramilitary assault on Occupy Wall Street last night.
Hell, Mike, the freedoms of this wonderful and transcendent nation-- corrupted by the endless greed of you and the other dozen richest people in it, and the corporations who nevertheless have still managed to own you somehow -- these freedoms will not be restored to us in just the next two years. I am endorsing you for a fourth term! Your nation needs you, Mr. Mayor! Occupy needs you!
Bloomberg now! Bloomberg tomorrow! Bloomberg forever!
Nov 22 11 10:23 AM
Until I saw this, I had no idea there was contact between Westerners and the Egyptians. Recent news is that Egyptians have responded with support for OWS, and, today's news seems to indicate that the Egyptian interim military leaders have resigned after renewed protests.note: Some , if not all of the links on this post work, apparently. Checked the post for the heck of it. Sometimes I forget. Anyway, the one on 'feeding the Trolls' is hilarious!HCQuinn Norton reports: "The conversation about Anonymous points to this trickster nature, veering between praise and fear, with the media at a loss for even how to describe them. We've tried hacker group, notorious hacker group, hacktivists, the Internet Hate Machine, pimply-faced, basement-dwelling teenagers, an activist organization, a movement, a collective, a vigilante group, online terrorists, and any number of other fantastical and colorful terms. None of them have ever really fit. Anonymous has constantly forced us to reach for the thesaurus - revealing that as a whole, we in the media have no idea what Anonymous really is or what it means."
Anonymous activists wear masks during a demonstration against the Church of Scientology in Berlin, 08/14/08. (photo: Michael Gottschalk/AFP/Getty Images)
Anonymous 101: Introduction to the Lulz
By Quinn Norton, Wired
09 November 11
Wired Editor's Note: Any decent coverage of Anonymous is going to verge on some NSFW material at points. There will be questionable language and strange imagery.
Last week the net and the media were ablaze with the news that Anonymous might be taking on the Zeta drug cartel in Mexico, a story that has morphed into a wider drug corruption story, and led to one American law enforcement official in North Carolina being named as a gang conspirator.
Also this year, Anons released documents on, or d0xed, several police organizations and one prominent police vendor in retaliation for heavy-handed law enforcement reaction to occupations associated with the Occupy Wall Street movement. They've fought with child pornographers, hacked Sony repeatedly, and even tried to release compromising pictures to blackmail Bay Area Rapid Transit spokesman Linton Johnson into resigning. (Johnson claimed to have authored and then defended BART's controversial decision to shut off mobile phone service in BART stations to pre-empt an anti-police brutality protest.)
They've created law enforcement excitement that's verged on panic, given net and media pundits hyperbolic logorrhea about "cyber terrorism" and "cyber freedom", and happily skipped between damn funny, deeply disturbing, and self-aggrandizing, depending on the mood of the hive mind at the moment.
But what is Anonymous?
In this in-depth series "Anonymous: Beyond the Mask," we're going to do our best to answer that.
NYU Professor and Anonymous researcher Biella Coleman compares Anonymous to the trickster god archetype.
"The trickster does exist across America, across Europe, really across the world and it is not in myth but in embodied in group and living practice: in that of the prankster, hacker, the phreaker, the troller (all of whom, have their own unique elements of course, but so does each trickster)," she wrote in Social Text.
The trickster isn't the good guy or the bad guy, it's the character that exposes contradictions, initiates change and moves the plot forward. One minute, the loving and heroic trickster is saving civilization. A few minutes later the same trickster is cruel, kicking your ass and eating babies as a snack.
The conversation about Anonymous points to this trickster nature, veering between praise and fear, with the media at a loss for even how to describe them.
We've tried hacker group, notorious hacker group, hacktivists, the Internet Hate Machine, pimply-faced, basement-dwelling teenagers, an activist organization, a movement, a collective, a vigilante group, online terrorists, and any number of other fantastical and colorful terms. None of them have ever really fit. Anonymous has constantly forced us to reach for the thesaurus - revealing that as a whole, we in the media have no idea what Anonymous really is or what it means.
It wasn't until I downloaded and listened to Lulz: A corruption of LOL's second album, Corruption, that I grasped what Anonymous really is.
It's a culture.
It takes cultures to have albums, idioms, and iconography, and I was swimming in these and more. Anonymous is a nascent and small culture, but one with its own aesthetics and values, art and literature, social norms and ways of production, and even its own dialectic language.
It is no wonder we in the media and the wider culture are often confused. Any study of Anonymous must be anthropological, taking into account the way people exist in different societies. The media has just been looking for an organization with a leader who could explain why Anonymous seems to do weird things. Not only that, but Anonymous seems to be built around doing weird things, and even has a term for it: the lulz.
The lulz (a corruption of LOL, online shorthand for laugh out loud) is the most important and abstract thing to understand about Anonymous, and perhaps the internet itself. The lulz is laughing instead of screaming. It's a laughter of embarrassment and separation. It's schadenfreude. It's not the anesthetic humor that makes days go by easier, it's humor that heightens contradictions. The lulz is laughter with pain in it. It forces you to consider injustice and hypocrisy, whichever side of it you are on in that moment.
In the culture of Anonymous, the lulz is the reason for doing. Anonymous wasn't made for easy times; the trickster sleeps when all is well.
Cultures don't emerge from vacuums, and Anonymous is no exception. The birthplace of Anonymous is a website called 4chan founded in 2003, that developed an "anything goes" random section known as the /b/ board. 4chan itself comes from a Japanese-language predecessor called 2chan, founded in 2001. Before that, the lulz and hacker pranking was alive and well in old-school IRC chat rooms, EFnet, and the 1990s hacker scene.
But if you're going back that far, add as influences Mondo 2000, and publications like RE/Search, and a billion shitty zines that were dead by 1996. But those all came from something, too.
Hacker culture, and almost all of computer culture back in the day is shot through with the Discordian edge of 1960/1970s counter-culture and Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea's Illuminatus. So from there it's the yippies, Andy Kaufmann, and the Situationists we need to first comprehend. Or do we head back to early 20th century absurdists of Dada? Or maybe we venture all the way to that olde booke of epic trolling lulze, Tristram Shandy?
We're all the way to 1759 now.
Perhaps this means the 1960s Discordians are right, and there's a Ha Ha Only Serious giggle that is cosmic in nature. That there is a part of reality, a force of physics, that is actually a Fundamental Sense of Humor. But the gravity we deal with can only be explained to an even larger amount of Dark Humor, woven into the fabric of the universe.
The point is Anonymous, despite the false shock of contemporary news reporting, isn't sui generis. It's not a surprise, and it didn't spring fully formed from the forehead of Ceiling Cat.
In this place and time, with the exhaustion of political discourse, the overwhelming pressures of modern life, and rise of the internet, the stochastic network organism of Anonymous was inevitable.
I will confess up front that I love Anonymous, but not because I think they're the heroes.
Like Alan Moore's character V who inspired Anonymous to adopt the Guy Fawkes mask as an icon and fashion item, you're never quite sure if Anonymous is the hero or antihero. The trickster is attracted to change and the need for change, and that's where Anonymous goes. But they are not your personal army - that's Rule 44 - yes, there are rules. And when they do something, it never goes quite as planned. The internet has no neat endings.
The trickster as myth proved so compelling that the network made it real. Anonymous, the net's trickster, emerged like supernatural movie monster out of the misty realm of ideas and into the real world.
But to be historical, let's start with 4chan.org, a wildly popular board for sharing images and talking about them, and in particular, 4chan's /b/ board (Really, really, NSFW). /b/ is a web forum where posts have no author names and there are no archives and it's explicitly about anything at all. This technological format meeting with the internet in the early 21st Century gave birth to Anonymous, and it remains the mother's teat from which Anonymous sucks. (Rule 22)
Once you pull your hands away from your face and start looking, /b/ is hard to look away from.
/b/ is the id of the internet, the collective unconscious's version of the place from which the base drives arise. There is no sophistication in the slurs, sexuality, and destruction in the savage landscape of /b/ - it is the natural state of networked man.
In this, it has a kind of innocence and purity. Terms like 'nigger' and 'faggot' are common, but not there because of racism and bigotry - though racism and bigotry are easily found there. Their use is there to keep you out. These words are heads on pikes warning you that further in it gets much worse, and it does.
Nearly any human appetite is acceptable, nearly any flaw exploited, and probably photographed with a time stamp. But /b/ reminds us that the id is the seat of creative energy. Much of it, hell even most of it, is harmless or even sweet. People reach out for help on /b/, and they find encouragement and advice. The id and /b/ are the foxholes of those who feel powerless and disenfranchised.
That's what you'll find in /b/, the unspoken. '/b/tards', as denizens of the board are called and call themselves, create incest porn, fantasize about beating women, look for dataviz examples or coding tips. They are grown men that really want to talk about "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic." Maybe it's ironic, maybe it's not. (I'm told by one such brony that the show is just a lot better than you'd expect.)
At some moment lost in its unrecorded history, /b/ and Anonymous reached an inflection point, and the id spilled into the rest of the net in the form of "ultra-coordinated motherfuckery," as one anon described it to Coleman. This was the ability to use the technological tools of social coordination so quickly and well that anons working together could collectively attack targets for any perceived slight, or just for fun, without those targets ever having a chance to see it coming or defend themselves.
These came to be called "raids."
Over time raids took many forms, eventually moving into the regular world. They could look like protests, massively coordinated pranks, distributed-denial-of-service attacks (DDOS) or straight-up hacking attacks. D0xing, ordering unpaid pizzas, signing people up for embarrassing junk mail were all common raids. There's a raid that you know for sure. It's likely you've even participated, and even more likely you've been a victim of it; the rickroll. The rickroll began as a tool of the /b/tard/Anonymous raid, before spreading so far into the culture that the Oregon legislature and even the US Speaker of the House were rickrolling the world.
Anonymous spat out other memes like lolcats and pedobear that spread far enough for their origins to be lost to many, but with little profound effect on the rest of the world.
Even then, Anonymous had a vigilante streak, and it could be downright mean. They'd d0x someone who abused a cat. In particular they went after abusers of cats, because Anonymous loves cats and pictures of cats. They blocked the pool at the online kid's game Habbo Hotel with black, generously fro'd avatars declaring "Pool is closed due to AIDS" as a protest to perceived racism on the part of Habbo's admins.
But Anonymous was never particularly focused. Raids could be devastating or funny, but either way they came and went quickly, the net's own little tornado system. Anonymous was never anyone's personal army, and never stayed on any one topic for very long.
It took Tom Cruise to change all that and give Anonymous a political consciousness. Specifically, Tom Cruise as cringe-worthy Scientologist.
Birth of the 'Moralfags'
A video of a disturbingly manic Cruise leaked out of Scientology in January 2008, and the notably litigious church tried to force hosting services and Gawker to take it down with legal nastygrams.
But the video contained some truly epic lulz, and Anonymous wouldn't let it die. The church's effort to kill it off so enraged Anons they decided to destroy the church itself. By enraged, I mean a pissy kind of laughing and spitting at once. For Anonymous being mad meant wanting to troll the church very hard, but it was never to get serious, because getting serious for Anons meant losing.
To accomplish this op (short for operation), Anons created Project Chanology, which arguably marked both the birth of political consciousness for Anonymous, and the development of its methods of taking mass action.
Destroying the church was going to be aggro funny, as well as require a lot of dancing. Many have wondered since then, were they serious about destroying the church, or was it all a joke?
The answer is yes, and understanding that is vital to understanding Anonymous.
There's no proof that the people that started Project Chanology had any personal beefs against the Church of Scientology beyond their secondhand annoyance at the Church's litigious history and attempted suppression of speech. But probably most importantly, the Church was rampantly guilty of feeding the trolls. (Rule 14)
But Project Chanology was the perfect way for the people who did have a history with Scientology to jump under the wing of the haughty and lulzy collective. Scientology had pursued its detractors with mean spirited ruthlessness, delving into critic's personal lives, following them with investigators and ruining their reputations.
Anonymous didn't care. Call them rapists, and they'd laughingly tell you they were child rapists. Accuse them of any crime, and they could point to worse on /b/. Anonymity and the 'words will never hurt me' ethic that arose out of the aesthetic of extremes on 4chan made them immune to the Church's arsenal.
But some existing Anons, and the ones that came in from the community of Scientology detractors, really cared about winning this one. They wanted to be the good guys and Scientology to play the bad guys. The Church, they reasoned, hurt people, took their money, and lied to them under the guise of being caretakers and teachers.
Anonymous claimed to do all those bad things too, but didn't really, and would never promise to take care of you and teach you, but sometimes did anyway.
As Coleman put it in her study, they were the perfect nemeses. But Anons caring about doing the right thing is about morality, and morality, at least straight morality, is not the lulz. Many veterans saw this as a corruption of the purity of Anonymous - the cancer that was killing /b/.
On February 10, 2008, the "moralfags" took the whole thing to a new level. They set up meeting times and places in cities around the world, bought masks and made signs.
Anons left the internet by the thousands and showed up in front of church locations and Scientology centers around the world, many wearing their new Guy Fawkes masks, V for Vendetta movie merchandise sold by Warner Brothers, to obscure their identities.
They played music and walked around with signs that both accused Scientology of crimes and referenced obscure internet memes. They met each other in meat space for the first time. They partied with their own in front of aghast Scientologists in more than 90 cities.
For the first time, the internet had shown up on the real street, en masse.
And yes, they brought Long Cat.
Nov 22 11 10:30 AM
Together and solo, these two have released some really fine, sometimes dreamy, music. Graham Nash has, over the years, put his time on the line against dangerous nuclear plants and weapons. I witnessed him once, at the Savannah River Nuke plant protest, South Carolina, USA, in 1980 or so.HC
At Zuccotti Park, a Sound of the ’60sBy MATT FLEGENHEIMERJenna Mandaglio swayed gently to the music, waving a hand-craftedsunflower in her right hand.“It’s an air of 1968,” said Ms. Mandaglio, 20, a student at theFashion Institute of Technology. “But I’m more of a Grateful Deadfan.”On Tuesday afternoon, David Crosby and Graham Nash — sans Stills andYoung — treated protesters to a five-song set on a marble platform inthe middle of Zuccotti Park. “You’re going to know some of the songs,so sing with us,” Mr. Nash said before they began, and the predictionproved mostly true.Though many protesters were decades from birth when Mr. Nash, 69,first informed listeners of his “very, very, very fine house,” thepair attracted a significant audience in the crammed space betweentents and work stations. Ms. Mandaglio arrived with a classmate, whocompared a look at the men to “watching history.”Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, who has been to Zuccotti Park severaltimes, said that he was not familiar with the duo’s music, but that heexpected to appreciate its message “based on what I read.” Some whowere close enough to hear the acoustic set from their tents simplypopped their heads out when the music began. Even a Wall Street traderpopped in.Todd Heisler/The New York TimesGraham Nash (right) and David Crosby in Zuccotti Park on Tuesday.Wearing a purple T-shirt, worn-in loafers and a wool hat over tufts ofwhite hair, Mr. Crosby, 70, might have blended in with the protestersif he had not been escorted to the stage area with a chorus ofapplause. As the men played, a sign hung from the tree behind him:“Demand: Return Bankruptcy Protections to All Student Loans.” On thepark’s western edge, one protester marked the occasion with a moremusically inclined offering: “Dear Police, Synchronicity Was the WorstAlbum Ever.”Bob Visintainer, 59, who lives in the Flatiron district, said he wentto the park for the first time on Tuesday to see the concert. Thepresence of Mr. Crosby and Mr. Nash, he said, could legitimize theOccupy Wall Street protests in the eyes of an older audience. “Theywere the guys back in the ’60s,” Mr. Visintainer said. “You can lookat them and see a mirror of this whole movement.”Though the singers’ lucrative careers may have elevated them from theranks of the 99 percent, their song selections touched on manyprotesters’ favored tropes: “Military Madness,” “They Want It All,”and “Teach Your Children,” which closed the show and, if participationis the measure, was most familiar to the audience.When the concert ended, to protracted cheers and vigorousfinger-waggling, an oft-used signal of appreciation inside the park,Ms. Mandaglio spoke of the thrill of seeing a favorite group from abygone era. She was asked what song of theirs she liked best. “The onethey were playing before,” she said, taking a long drag on a cigaretteas she dangled the sunflower between her fingers.But she was not the best person to ask, Ms. Mandaglio added. She wasreally more of a Bob Dylan fan.More:http://cityroom.blogs.nyt...-park-a-sound-of-the-60s\/
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