Scahill & Greenwald: The Wrong Target (& the wrong context)

 

che statliberty with gunSo there we have it: Jeremy Scahill and Glen Greenwald, regarded by many people as two of the best (and last) investigative journalists of the US, have delivered their first jointly written article:

What a big disappointment for all people who are still able to think for themselves. Why? Read on to understand why this ostensible “revealing” of a “secret role” of the NSA is a red herring …

1 WHAT IS THE TOPIC OF THE ARTICLE?

The gist of it is that the authors are pointing out the “unreliability of the NSA’s targeting methods” because it results in the killing of “innocent people” abroad. N.B.: This is presented in the context of the GWOT (“Global War on Terror”), the tireless “counterterrorism” activities of US-government agencies which (conveniently) escalated after 9/11.

This exciting game of “geo-locating” suspected evil-doers in foreign lands (or rather their SIM-card) with modern surveillance and wireless technology, blown up to STASI meets GESTAPO-like proportions by the NSA, enables the “the CIA and U.S. military to conduct night raids and drone strikes to kill or capture the individual in possession of the device.”

The criticism rests on the fact that mostly signal intelligence (SIGINT) is used as the basis for these military “missions”. The victims violent death (whose identity was never verified by people on the ground) is caused by “unreliable metadata”, observed “activities on a SIM-card”, in other words IT-systems, algorithms, computer programs, etc. so in the end electronic devices determine how and if a “target” is selected (or so it seems).

An algorithm is a step-by-step list of directions that need to be followed to solve a problem. The instructions should be simple enough such that each step can be done without thinking about it. […]

(That sounds about right for the “intelligence” community …and by the way How can you solve complex political problems with mathematical formulae?)

Unlawful Death by Algorithmic Logic?

Deputy chief minister of Pakistan's NortThe NSA did not care to comment on the effectiveness of the “we track ‘em you whack ‘em” co-operation between the NSA, the CIA and the “special forces” of the US military. Only a spokesperson for the NSC told the authors that they do rely on human intelligence (HUMINT in spook parlance) after people have been murdered if there is reason to believe that civilians are among the casualties. That’s something, isn’t it?

The undisclosed source for this article is a former JSOC drone operator who “remains highly disturbed” about the targeting tactics used to locate the cell phones of “terror suspects” because (as the article explains in more detail) they are “fundamentally flawed”.

At the same time we learn that this guy “is adamant that the technology has been responsible for taking out terrorists and networks of people facilitating improvised explosive device attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan  […].”  The obvious “doublethink” of this guy apparently does not bother the authors.

The anonymous former drone operator, who killed strangers in foreign lands with hellfire missiles, cluster bombs and other ghastly weapons, is also quoted with this telling remark:

“It’s of course assumed that the phone belongs to a human being who is nefarious and considered an ‘unlawful enemy combatant. This is where it gets very shady.”

(The importance of this remark and the context in which it is presented will be analysed below).

The article goes on to say that the Taliban “are increasingly aware of these tactics and have begun to confuse their trackers: “… they have purposely and randomly distributed SIM cards among their units in order to elude their trackers.”

I am not going into any more “details” of the article here because in my opinion it is a journalistic charade (or “psy-op”, if you will) and distracts from the real BIG ISSUE behind the drone program and all other surveillance, tracking and “lethal operations” (read: murder)” activities of the US in foreign countries:

2 GLOBAL MURDER INC.: THE LEGAL PERSPECTIVE

The war on terrorism is a bunch of crap.”

Brendan Bryant, former drone-sensor operator on German TV, Nov 28, 2013.

brandon-bryant

Scahill and Greenwald tell us that the story is corroborated by Brendan Bryant, another after-the-fact kind of military “whistle-blower” who left the US Air Force in 2011. The article also says that Bryant “is committed to informing the public about lethal flaws in the U.S. drone program”. This is a misleading understatement:

Bryant appeared in a political Talk-Show on German public TV (ARD) at the end of November last year. The topic of the discussion was “The Secret War”- examining the role of the German government in facilitating illegal US military operations abroad. (“AFRICOM” is headquartered in Ramstein, Germany –drone strikes in Somalia were directed from there, a violation of German and international law).

NO-ONE DESERVES TO DIE”

Bryant said at the beginning: “I was supposed to protect people” (he originally worked as a video-analyst) but as a drone-sensor operator he realized it was all about “killing people and destroying things”. When the talk-show host, Beckmann asked him what he saw on his screen, he answered: “You see people dying … how can you just sit and watch death and destruction?”

He realized that the individual – a human being in a foreign country – is being reduced to a “target” (a thing … stripped of his humanity) and added: “…(but) you see how they interact with their kids, play soccer, etc. …  there is not the intimacy of a battle on the ground but [in contrast to bomber pilots] still you see the consequence of your actions (people dying, their body ripped apart by ghastly weapons…)… … it’s not an “aseptic killing” (just pushing a button to hit a “target”) … there should be no way to accept it (the self-deluding, exculpatory ideology behind the drone strikes). His most important statement regarding the “target” was probably this:

“He has a life just like you … they want us to think that if they say he is an extremist, he deserves to die. With this mind-set they could say the same about you one day … No-one deserves to die.”

Then he added that the cold-blooded murder of the American Muslim cleric Awlaki and his teenage-son Abdulrahman in Yemen (also mentioned in the article and often told by Jeremy Scahill before)

Abdulrahman

gave him the final creeps as he realized that these “missions” were criminal acts, severe violations of the US constitution: “..the pursuit of liberty and justice for all” cannot be reconciled with the concept of “extrajudicial or targeted killings”. Call it what you like, the fact remains the same:

All these “operations” in foreign countries are grave breaches of international law (the hard-earned principle of the inviolability of state sovereignty), the Human Rights Charta of the UN and of course the legal principle of due process, habeas corpus, etc. which protect individuals from the abuse of state-power. Bryant stressed that everybody has a right to “a fair and speedy trial” – in other words the government must prove their alleged guilt in a courtroom beyond a reasonable doubt and the whole concept of killing a “terror-suspect” because he might be planning to do something against the wishes of the US-hegemon is ludicrous and mad.

But of course we all know that the synthetic terror of 9/11, 7/7, the Madrid bombings, etc. were the big “game changer” in the legal dimension. Like the Nazis did in the 1930s, “emergency laws” were passed quickly and the fear induced by the new version of the “Manichean devil” (Bin Laden / Al Qaeda®) was used to drive the “bewildered herd” but also many so called “intellectuals” into mental submission by simply using the immunizing stigma-word  “conspiracy theory”:

The first and simplest stage of discipline, which can be taught even to young children,is called in Newspeak,Crimestop. Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought.[…]

Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.

George Orwell, 1984

When I read the comments on the article, many people thanked Scahill and Greenwald for their “excellent job”, etc. But I don’t think they deserve any gratefulness from us because by narrowing the debate to a technical level (flawed and unreliable methods) they do us a great disservice.

Violence has become the nation’s leading industry…How could we even discuss these issues, if we cannot face up to this arrogant sense of our own superiority, this assumption that it is our God-given role to be the dominant power of the world?”

Senator J. William Fulbright: The Arrogance of Power (1967)

Stressing the point that “the wrong people” get killed by the NSA / CIA / JSOC joint murder operations helps to distract attention from the real concerns of paramount importance:

THE US HAS NO RIGHT WHATSOEVER TO TRACK, OBSERVE, LET ALONE HARM OR KILL ANYBODY IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY.

THE WHOLE “WAR ON TERROR” IS A MONUMENTAL SCAM based on the BIG LIE: 9/11.

The article is written in the spirit and context of “counter-terrorism” in other words it does not even once question / criticize

  • the validity of the underlying premise of the “War on Terror”: that the US is protecting its citizens from harm by killing “suspected” terrorists
  • the illegality of the drone operations and all other (more or less covert) activities of US agencies in foreign countries
  • the cowardice, criminality and bestiality of murdering people with drones (often executing a second strike when family members or other bystanders are trying to aid the first victim …)
  • the utter contempt of the US government for the fundamental legal principles of a civilized society
  • the real guiding principles of American foreign policy and its gargantuan “national security” apparatus
  • that the whole “counter-terrorism” (to protect lives) context is a charade designed to cloak its real purpose: serving as a pretext to undermine the legal restraints achieved after two world wars and re-instate the jus ad bellum although officially the US is not at war (with Pakistan, Yemen, etc.)
  • the fundamental structures of American power

The article’s obvious concern with an “unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people” seems noble but is missing the point:

“They might have been terrorists,” he says. “Or they could have been family members who have nothing to do with the target’s activities.” We’re not going after people – we’re going after their phones, in the hopes that the person on the other end of that missile is the bad guy.”

Even if the person (carrying the targeted phone or SIM card) is “a bad guy” and the decision to “geo-locate” this individual is based on “information from a variety of sources and methods before we draw conclusions”, even if Obama did “kill terrorists with the utmost precision” the US HAS

  • NO RIGHT WHATSOEVER TO TERRORIZE THESE PEOPLE IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES WITH ELECTRONIC SURVEILLANCE, NIGHTLY RAIDS, LET ALONE  DRONE ATTACKS.
  • NO RIGHT TO INTERFERE IN THE INTERNAL AFFAIRS OF ANY NATION, NO MATTER HOW NOBLE THE PRETEXT

At first sight the article seems to be critical of the drone strikes but there are some revealing sentences which call into question the real purpose of its publication:

“The government does not appear to apply the same standard of care in selecting whom to target for assassination.”

The former JSOC drone operator goes on to say that almost 90% of the drone attacks was “triggered by SIGINT,’ which means it was triggered by a geo-location cell [a special unit within the NSA]. Scahill and Greenwald then lament the fact that the WaPo published an article heralding “the NSA’s claims about its effectiveness at locating terror suspects (and relying only on government sources).

drone wars

Any journalist who cares for democratic principles and the rule of law (among civilized peoples) must be aware of the implicit meaning of this sentence: instead of worrying about the inadequate standards used to select “targets for assassination” the outrage ought to be directed against the real and huge problem –

The notion that a “superpower” can terrorize and kill anybody anywhere as long as the media narrative provides some moral fig-leaf for the illegal and inhumane “missions”.

The information that the CIA “utilizes a pod on aircraft that vacuums up massive amounts of data from any wireless routers, computers, smart phones or other electronic devices that are within range” might raise alarm bells in the minds of the readers but this disturbing emotion is quickly “balanced” with the mentioning of the big black bogeyman, Al Qaeda (AQ): if communication devices are “believed to be used by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula then of course we surely understand the need to “vacuum up massive amounts of data” …and call this Orwellian operation “VICTORYDANCE”, semantically celebrating the great achievement of the joint NSA/CIA effort to “map the Wi-Fi fingerprint of nearly every major town in Yemen.” (Soon coming to a major town here?)

Another revealing sentence is this one:

 “JSOC acknowledges that it would be completely helpless without the NSA conducting mass surveillance on an industrial level,” the former drone operator says. “That is what creates those baseball cards you hear about,” featuring potential targets for drone strikes or raids.

I find the use of the word “helpless” in this context very odd: JSOC is a “special forces” team, meaning tough guys prepared to commit all sorts of crimes in foreign countries only because they have been told how “elite” and secret their unit is and that they are carrying out noble missions for the greatest country on earth (the same indoctrination was used by the Nazis for the Waffen-SS). Why put such a statement into the article?

To “balance” the impact of the critique concerning the “flawed methods” of the NSA? This could even be seen as an attempt to legitimize the mass surveillance of the NSA …

who are the real terroristsWhy do Scahill / Greenwald mention

  • that the village in Al-Majala province where women and 22 children were massacred with Tomahawk missiles (releasing hundreds of cluster bomblets which “each explode into over 200 sharp steel fragments that can cause injuries 150m away” – see also his excellent video-documentary “Dirty Wars”) was “an alleged AQ camp”  – to make the brutality and illegality of the attack appear more “reasonable”?
  • that it is “not clear whether the strike was based on metadata collection?
  • What difference does it make to the victims and their relatives if these people were murdered based on HUMINT or SIGINT or a combination of both?  Again, the brutality and illegality of these crimes against humanity (and the unbearable arrogance and self-delusion behind it) must be the focus of the journalistic work not the “flawed tactics” of an insane surveillance system
  • this statement of the former JSOC drone operator:  ‘This isn’t a science. This is an art.’ It’s kind of a way of saying that it’s not perfect.”

Wow. So terrorizing people (whose identity you don’t even know) in faraway countries with a totalitarian surveillance system and “stand-by” killer-drones (with no accountability whatsoever for the perpetrators) is considered “an art” by these people.

reaper Pakistan

The authors make us realize that the application of these new technologies, mean a “deviation from standard operating methods of war” and “represent the dawn of a new era” (comparing their impact to the first atomic bombs dropped in Japan) the military apparently salivating at the thought of how immensely powerful they become with weapons like these) but again they frame the issue (downplay it) by ignoring the legal (illegal) and immoral dimension of the whole “mission” and by using the same misleading military jargon as the perpetrators of these crimes …

KEEP FEEDING THE BEAST

mlk beyoond vietnam--spiritual death

Martin Luther King said in his best speech (“Beyond Vietnam” – for which he was killed exactly one year later):

“My government is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.”

This was true in the 1960s but it is also true today (even more so). Perhaps Scahill and Greenwald should concern themselves with the “bigger picture” before writing about drone wars and the flaws of surveillance systems but the only journalists capable of understanding the real (moral) dimension of what is going on seems to be the wonderful Chris Hedges …

That the whole charade of “national security” is (and always has been) a billion dollar game of deception and intrigue so that the military-intelligence-finance-organized crime-complex gets more power and more influence to conduct their psychological, ideological and “kinetic” wars. A good start would be the books and interviews of Colonel Fletcher Prouty who witnessed the establishment of the CIA as a shadowy network reaching into all civilian and military power structures of the United States and over time became a global covert force (see also the GLADIO operations in Europe). CIA, NSA, JSOC, NSC, whatever their names and acronyms are, taken together they constitute a state within a state and if Obama thinks he is the “commander in chief” he should think twice …

Another extremely important book to see through the maze of deception called “national security” is Ideal Illusions by James Peck. Peck combed through the national archives very thoroughly and exposed how the national security managers deluded themselves (and others) by projecting their own criminal intentions and ideological self-indoctrination on the “enemy” (then “communism” with the embodiment of evil, the Soviet Union). The book is also a treasure-trove for political quotations – here is just a small selection – still relevant today (just replace communism with “terrrorim”, the indoctrination and hypocrisy are the same …)

“More can be won by illusion than by coercion”. Harold Laswell

Isn’t it true that we very often tend to accuse someone with whom we are a rival of the very thing that we have in mind ourselves?”

Senator Fulbright, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations: Hearings on psychological aspects on foreign policy, June 1969

 

Just because Goebbels and the Kremlin debased it, that is no reason why we cannot elevate it …”

C.D.Jackson, 1947  expert of psychological “operations” under Eisenhower

 

Americans are funny kids … they are always sticking their noses into somebody’s business which isn’t any of theirs. We send missionaries and political propagandists to China, Turkey, India, and everywhere to tell people how to live … Russia won’t let them in. But when Russia puts out propaganda to help our parlour pinks – well, that’s bad – so we think. There is not any difference between the two approaches except one is ‘my approach’ and the other is ‘yours’. Just a ‘moat and beam’ affair.”

The Private Papers of Harry S. Truman (1980)

 

 “You all start with the promise that democracy is some good. I don’t think it is worth a damn .. people say, ‘if Congress were more representative of the people it would be better’. I say the Congress is too damn representative. It’s just as stupid as the people are, just as uneducated, just as dumb, just as selfish.”

Dean Acheson (oral interview, Truman Presidential Library) p.24

 “No – but two wrongs never make a right. You Americans are shocked when we are neutral between the two of you. We are not neutral as between freedom and slavery, democracy and dictatorship, but we are neutral as between great power rivalry.

We don’t see the Russian fleet in Oriental waters. We see only the American fleet. We don’t see the Russian Army in mainland China but we see a good deal of the US army in Formosa, Japan, Korea, and Okinawa and the Philippines.”

(Report on the image of the US in other countries (George Allen, Director of the US Information Agency in India asking if thepeople did condone the totalitarian internal policies of the soviets the answer was –)

In my opinion the key and eye-opening insight of the book is (in a nutshell) this:

– highly relevant today also in the context of the “war on terror” and the “promotion of democracy” charade (the latest victim being Ukraine)-

“The cold war then was never about protecting- or even accepting – the sovereignty of other nations … but rather about finding ever more effective ways to break down barriers to American influence. It was always about penetrating other nations, which is why weaker nations were insisting upon the principle of non-intervention in other countries internal affairs and have been ever since. ..”

but

THE NAKED EMPEROR IS STILL ADMIRED FOR HIS WONDERFUL CLOTHES (see Geneva and Sochi “reporting”) … the media is just an assembly line for “pasteurized” news … the  reality is unspeakable:

The United States is a rogue state .. it has committed more crimes (“peacetime operations” in CIA parlance) than any other country on this planet … it is the ultimate terrorist … and yet manages to pose as a moral authority … (see Harold Pinter’s Nobel speech in 2005) and  keeps lecturing others on democracy and freedom …

Full spectrum dominance indeed … (the ultimate power is thought control …)

 

 

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“Black Gold” turning into “Black Death”

30 yrs ago a biologist explained to me in in no uncertain terms what a  fossil fuel economy really means for the biosphere:

“It is like feeding an organism with its own excrement”

This may sound disgusting but I believe it helps to understand how insane our economic system really is, since ecological imperatives have been consistently ignored or subordinated to profit interests and the huge environmental (and social) cost is being “externalized” to society as a whole, including future generations.

Anyone with half a brain must see that bringing children into this insane world is totally irresponsible, because the forces of unbridled capitalism in a “financialized” and “globalized” economy (run by mentally ill, sociopathic people) can no longer be contained and, given its cancerous properties, it will eventually destroy the host system …

In a wider context, I find it extremely absurd and even ironic that fanatic “pro-life” groups  in the US denounce abortion as the ultimate sin while often supporting a right-wing “free enterprise” and “free individual” (no collective responsibility) political agenda that aggravates the degradation of  ecosystems on which future generations depend.

It does not really  matter who is the US president (… choose the lesser of two evils …), since they are all so indoctrinated with the “free market” BS and are unable to see that “Full Spectrum Dominance” is a recipe for global disaster. While the corporate state seeks to gain control over all “strategic resources”, (i.e. energy) they have not even begun to understand  that without the invaluable services of living ecosystems (which we must respect and sustain, not try to control) any talk about  “energy security” is a cruel joke …

As people like E.F. Schumacher realized decades ago, a  system  that has no self-limiting principle is bound to be self-destructive so a totally economised market society which accepts profit maximization as the (rational) organizing principle is digging its own (environmental and social) grave …

Economic theory recognizes capital and labor as the major factors of production and focuses on the  prices of all commodities but the HUGE FALLACY has been  that nature is treated as “income”, not as limited capital and that the intrinsic value of ecosystems has been ignored:

If it is helpful to consider our natural resource base as capital assets, it is fair to say that the Assessment demonstrates that humanity has been squandering these assets at a quickening pace. In fact, we have treated many of these assets as if they had no value. The people who clear forests for agriculture, build dams for water retention or power, …. may benefit from those changes, but society at large pays significant costs associated with the loss of nature’s economic, cultural, or intrinsic values. No one in the private sector, or the public sector for that matter, would keep his job with a record of financial mismanagement and waste that the Assessment documents for our natural assets.”

Read the whole report here

Back in the 1980s, when environmentalism began to question the established economic paradigms, Greenpeace sold stickers and T-shirts with the following words of native American  wisdom:

“Only when the last tree has died, the last river has been poisoned and the last fish been caught will they realise that money cannot be eaten.

What is there left to say?

I hate to say it, but it seems to me nature will have to get rid of humans in order to ensure survival of the system but what about the enormous radioactive and toxic legacy?

On top of the human misery (exploding child-cancer rates,  horrible congenital malformations – see also the last paragraphs of my post “Flat Earth News”  ) in  Iraq  people were shocked to see football-sized tomatoes and strange purple carrots, animals are born with two heads and other gross deformities, see also the latest report about the true “cost” of Chernobyl ...

To understand the bigger picture of the devastating impact of the  artificially enforced “market society” try this thought-provoking book:

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Persians, Pharisees and Phony US “Anti-Proliferation

This is a reply to Iran Slams US as ‘World’s Only Atomic Criminal’

ISRAEL: A SAFE HAVEN FOR JEWS? FORGET IT


“Israel never confirms or denies claims that it has nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The country positions itself outside international treaties, which would make it subject to inspection. They say the costs of such secrecy to Israeli democracy are too great. Uzi Even, was a young scientist working, in the 60s, at Dimona – Israel’s nuclear reactor….Today, Mr Even says it should be shut down.

Forty-year-old reactors tend to have accidents and he believes that Dimona, which is beyond the reach of the Israeli parliament, needs to be brought into a system of accountability and public scrutiny. Mr Even explained: “You should have an outside watchdog. “The secrecy more or less created an extra- territorial area in Israel where standard procedures of safety monitoring are not implemented. “So worker safety, environmental questions and industrial safety procedures, are not covered, and there are thousands of people working there.”

ENFORCED SILENCE


Nothing illustrates this better than the sensitive issue of Dimona’s cancer victims. In an Israeli documentary in 2002, Dimona workers said accidents had been routine. They spoke of explosions, fires and liquid and toxic gas leaks that they had to clean, often without protection.

The authorities denied they had worked with radioactive materials. They have refused to compensate them or their families for their years of loyal service. Because of the strict secrecy rules they were even unable to fight for their rights. When Correspondent approached one of the workers, who was dying of cancer, he refused to be interviewed – but with some regret.

Unaware he was being filmed, he said: “I wanted to talk to you but I have been silenced.

“They came from intelligence and told me not to talk. “They said I would be like Vanunu.” Vanunu has another year in jail. When his sentence is finished he hopes to emigrate to America. But Mr Horev has clearly let it be known he never intends to let Vanunu leave Israel.”

Source: BBC

Watch the shocking and still relevant documentary:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=178254070504611595#

.. the Israel people were exposed only to the Israeli media, the Israel media brainwash, the Israel media bias against me. Not they, they were not open to see all the story and all the danger of nuclear weapons in secret in such small state, Israel.

And also that these people was not exposed to the idea that these Israel people were sending a lot of propaganda, what they call holocaust industry, to know and to understand that nuclear weapons are the real holocaust and the Jewish people have no right and no justification to use the atomic bomb.”

Excerpt from an interview with Mordechai Vanunu by David Frost

From the BBC documentary:

“Despite claims that Dimona was for peaceful purposes only, Israel’s leader Ben Gurion was summoned to Washington.  President Kennedy feared an arms race in the Middle East and demanded inspections.But when inspectors finally entered the plant in May 1961 they were tricked. They were shown a fake control room on the ground floor. They were unaware of the six floors below where the plutonium was made.

Well this was something of great pride and almost a legendary story in Dimona, according to Vanunu.  When the Americans came they were completely hoodwinked. All the entrances including the lift shafts were bricked up and plastered over so it was impossible for anyone to find their way down to the lower floors.”

AFTER KENNEDY’S ASSASSINATION THE PRESSURE ON ISRAEL WAS OFF …


His successor Lyndon Johnson turned a blind eye. Then In 1969 Israel’s Golda Meir and President Richard Nixon struck a deal, renewed by every President to this day. Israel’s nuclear programme could continue as long as it was never made public. It’s called nuclear ambiguity.”

(The reporter interviews the former Israeli Prime Minister (now President) on the subject)

BBC: The term nuclear ambiguity, in some ways it sounds very grand.  But isn’t just a euphemism for deception?

PERES: If somebody wants to kill you, and you use a deception to save your life it is not immoral.  If we wouldn’t have enemies we wouldn’t need deceptions.  We wouldn’t need deterrent.

Remember this argument next time  Obama accuses Iran of  deception, although it has not violated any  (NPT) treaty obligations so far and the IAEA inspectors  have found no evidence for weapons-grade uranium enrichment let alone the production of plutonium …

BBC: Was this the justification for concealing the floors of the plutonium reprocessing areas from the Americans, the inspectors, when they came?

PERES: You are having a dialogue with yourself, not with me.

BBC: But that’s been documented in a number of books

PERES: Ask the question to yourself, not to me.I don’t have to answer your questions even.  I don’t see any reason why.”

Imagine, Ahmadinejad talking like that …  all hell would break loose…

As some arrogant asshole from a conservative think-tank said on the eve of the Iraq war to a peace activist who was accusing USrael of unbearable hypocrisy on the topic of WMD:

“It’s not the weapons, it’s WHO has them.

The same unacceptable and self-delusional “argument” was used by Benjamin Netanyahu recently, trying to justify Israel’s  immoral, hypocriticial and dangerous refusal to sign the NPT, to say nothing of the enforced media silence on the subject of demanding accountability for Israel’s nuclear arsenal,, while harping on about the manufactured “threat” from Iran.

We are the good  (morally and racially superior) guys, our diabolical weapons and even our cruelty are necessary for a “just” cause, so we are entitled to destroy and kill indiscriminately (Arabs, of course) – that line of argument goes back  directly to the Nuremberg trials …

Even US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates acknowledged, that Iran’s alleged “secret” attempts to acquire nuclear weapons are to be viewed in the context of deterrence, not military aggression, but he was quickly admonished for his candour and “brought back” in line with the official Zionist PR-story by Senator Graham …

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Do you believe the Iranians are trying to acquire nuclear weapons capability?

GATES: Yes, sir, I do.

GRAHAM: The president of Iran has publicly disavowed the existence of the Holocaust, he has publicly stated that he would like to wipe Israel off the map [NO, he has NOT!]. Do you think he’s kidding?

GATES: No, I don’t think he’s kidding. And—but I think that there are, in fact, higher powers in Iran than he, than the president. And I think that while they are certainly pressing, in my opinion, for a nuclear capability, I think that they would see it in the first instance as a deterrent. They are surrounded by powers with nuclear weapons—Pakistan to their east, the Russians to the north, the Israelis to the west, and us in the Persian Gulf—

GRAHAM: Do you believe the president of Iran is lying when he says he’s not?

GATES: Yes, sir.

GRAHAM: Do you believe the Iranians would consider using that nuclear weapons capability against the nation of Israel?

GATES: I don’t know that they would do that, Senator. I think that the risks for them obviously are enormously high. I think that they see value—

GRAHAM: If I may?

GATES: Yes, sir.

GRAHAM: Can you assure the Israelis that they will not attack Israel with a nuclear weapon, if they acquire one?

GATES: No, sir, I don’t think that anybody can provide that assurance.

How effective  propaganda (now called “strategic communication”) and global “churnalism” created the global “wiped-off-the-map” hoax, was also analyzed earlier by Jonathan Steele in The Guardian:

“Ask anyone in Washington, London or Tel Aviv if they can cite any phrase uttered by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the chances are high they will say he wants Israel “wiped off the map”.

Again it is four short words, though the distortion is worse than in the Khrushchev case. The remarks are not out of context. They are wrong, pure and simple. Ahmadinejad never said them. Farsi speakers have pointed out that he was mistranslated. The Iranian president was quoting an ancient statement by Iran’s first Islamist leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini, that “this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time” just as the Shah’s regime in Iran had vanished.

He was not making a military threat. He was calling for an end to the occupation of Jerusalem at some point in the future. The “page of time” phrase suggests he did not expect it to happen soon. There was no implication that either Khomeini, when he first made the statement, or Ahmadinejad, in repeating it, felt it was imminent, or that Iran would be involved in bringing it about.”

If you want to understand what “churnalism” is all about (the media acting as as a flock of sheep or an echo-chamber …) try this video:

Back to the BBC documentary:

“The programme listed more than a hundred Dimona workers
who’d developed cancer and whose claims were being ignored
. A doctor and two lawyers backed their story. It was the first time Dimona workers had spoken out.

BBC: “I want to talk to Ariel Spieler.  He’s suffering from cancer and in the last few years he’s seen a number of his friends and colleagues who worked there with him die of the disease. He’s been fighting for compensation for their families, for their widows, and I know he’d really like to talk to us about this. He’s told me he wishes he could, but he’s also told me he’s been warned off.  He’s been told not to talk.  I’m going to go and see him and see if he’ll change his mind.”

Spieler: “The Secret Service silenced me.They’ve silenced me completely. They told me not to say one word. What can I do?  What can I do? They told me: “You’ll end up like Vanunu”.How long has he been in prison? 15 years? Do you want me to go to jail?

BBC: “I really wanted to talk. I asked the others but they refused.Nobody wants to talk… the doctors, the relatives, the lawyers. Nobody is prepared to talk about it. I just don’t get it.

If this was Iraq or North Korea I’d understand why people are so scared to talk. But this is Israel.

This is supposed to be a democracy.”

(Perception is everything…)







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NucLIAR & Flat Earth News

Congratulations! Thanks to the publication of the latest NucLiar “strategic information” piece, the Guardian is now the front-runner for the “Flat Earth News Media Award”, (category: Daft Science & Environment Editor) founded by the Edward Bernays Society for contributions to “moulding public opinon” as part of a hidden economic agenda.

In the middle of the “climate change” dilemma, wouldn’t it be a great PR-idea to sponsor an Oxford professor (pay for the publication of his ludicrous book) who claims that “nuclear dangers are overstated” in order to  generate support for the “nuclear renaissance”?  Worried about the easily detectable, systemic distortions of an incompetent “expert” and  the dangerous “dumbing down” of science? No Fear!    “They report what they are given” [cited in  “Flat Earth News”]

Excuse the irony & candour, but this is so obviously a piece of propaganda for the nuclear industry that the editor who approved it, ought to be fired at the spot: either for lack of journalistic integrity or for sheer stupidity. Here are some basic reasons why the whole story is a  PR-scam:

1) Lack of Expertise:

Allison is a particle physicist, not an expert in molecular biology, biochemistry, biophysics  &  genetics  (the  combined, overlapping knowledge necessary for radiation biology). The focus of all big questions about the effects of low doses of ionizing radiation is the cellular, molecular level not the primitive concepts of  “body dose” or “organ dose” which are based on crude physical models developed by – you guessed it – physicists.

2) Comparing apples  to oranges

Allison, as echoed in the article, makes no distinctions between different types of radiation exposure but the effects of  acute,  external, low LET ionizing radiation (gamma-rays from nuclear explosions or x-rays) cannot be simply extrapolated to estimate the health risks from nuclear installations because they result from chronic, internal, high LET ionizing radiation, especially from inhaled or ingested alpha-particles.

Also, not all radioisotopes have the same biological impact if internalized:  e.g. whether from “ hot particles”, “warm particles”, Plutonium or Uranium, the effects are different. If particles are “stuck” in tissue or sequentially decaying radionuclides like Strontium 90 (from weapons fallout) bind to DNA, the radiological and chemical toxicity cannot just be lumped together under the heading of “same dose, same risk”. Auger emitters for example, widely used for radiotherapy, create much greater damage at the cellular level than other radionuklides, i.e. x-rays:

“Even in the case of uniform distribution, some of those Auger emitters are highly radiotoxic compared to hard gamma rays. For Auger emitters to bond to radiosensitive sites in cell nucleus, much higher radiation effectiveness could be expected.”

This is another reason why the simple comparison of risk between radiotherapy exposure, X-rays, CT-scans, Sellafield and “natural background” exposure is not valid since Allison’s arguments are based on the premise that ionizing energy  is  always evenly distributed in  the body, which is demonstrably false. (More on the subject see under 4 below)

3) Nucliar AtTAC aided by “ Truth-Avoiding Coverage

Instead of inflicting on the public yet another endless debate between disagreeing scientists,  it ought to be the job of journalists to investigate who is telling the truth[1] and who is lying or serving a hidden agenda. We need an independent press to establish trust and authenticity in order  to get real insight.

As Nick Davies rightly points out, the concept of “neutrality” or “balance” must be reassessed to stop “the packaging of conflicting claims which is precisely the opposite of truth-telling”. Jha and Bosley are a perfect example of this problem: The assertions of Allison  are “balanced” by reporting what other scientists have to say, but all statements are dubious and not illuminative as long as the bigger political context is missing and even more so,  if the “background” is also a showcase for “churnalism”: “Nuclear radiation risk: The current consensus” which brings us to

4) Who the hell is the ICRP? How is “dose” calculated and what does it mean?

How is the public supposed to make an informed judgement if journalists do not bother to get a deeper understanding of a controversial subject BEFORE they write about it (or publish relevant “material”)? The aforementioned “current consensus” background by Alok Jha is another showcase for ignorant “science reporting”:

“How is radiation harmful?” ( One size fits all – Oversimplifications)

Ionising radiation … can damage the DNA in the nucleus of a cell. Unless the cell’s repair machinery can fix the breaks, or else the cell itself is killed, it has a higher chance of becoming cancerous.”

If the “editor” had bothered to do even a quick research on the subject, he would have discovered, that this is  no longer a valid assessment of risk because hundreds of studies have challenged the outdated view, that relevant biological damage occurs only if the cell nucleus is hit:

To be sure, new mechanistic possibilities must now be considered in interpreting the results of both in vitro and in vivo studies inasmuch as nuclear DNA alone no longer can be viewed as the only relevant target for the actions of IR, or even necessarily the most important target for eliciting at least some detrimental effects of IR under some exposure conditions.”[2]

“What is a safe dose?”

This is an even greater insult to any intelligent reader (and to painstaking journalism) because Jha has obviously just copied the “industry friendly information” (lacking any scientific credibility) he received from Allison. Besides, the first thing he should have done is explain  what “dose” realls means, that it is not based on scientific measurement but just a theoretical, mathematical construct:  to give an  estimate based on a physical “ model”, multiplied with another factor to give “RBE”,  which is supposed to enable the quantification of risk (the likelihood and extent of biological damage). A great source of information for all these questions is the 2004 CERRIE Report (and the surrounding controversy of political influence) which the guardian reported – why did Jha not use  these sources instead of recycling the rubbish from Allison?

It is not so hard to understand  that, whether a tiny alpha-particle is stuck in lung tissue or in the lymph nodes, etc. makes a huge difference in determining the detrimental health effects, not only because different organs have a different radiation sensitivity.  Besides, it is plainly ridiculous to calculate / extrapolate linearly from the “equivalent” (organ) dose which is in turn derived from “effective” (body) dose when effects on microscopic (incredibly tiny, i.e. millionths of a milimeter) volumes at the molecular and cellular  level  need to be examined and understood.

In addition, we also need to understand if and how different radionuclides move in the body (biokinetics). It is pretty obvious that the risk assessement for complex cellular systems  cannot be adopted from studies on external exposure to x-rays or gamma-rays, with a relatively uniform distribution of energy in the tissue. A reliable  model to estimate the combined effects of different types of radiation  has not yet been found.

But all the evidence strongly points to the conclusion that it is the concentration of ionization (its density) in a small group of cells, or even a single cell that defines “risk” at the molecular level, not the bodily dose (more a political consensus than a scientific one)  as Paul  Brown correctly reported in 2004:

The National Radiological Protection Board has always measured a tiny dose received by an individual as if it affected the entire body evenlyso the result was a dilution that appeared to do little harm. The possibility that the dose would lodge near a bone or in the brain and emit radiation inflicting localised damage leading to cancer had not been not accepted.

So all the talks about “background dose” or “safe dose” is meaningless and the absurd claims that below 100 mSv, there is no problem whatsoever and below 200 mSv DNA repair can fix everything (and other absurdities) prove that Allison is a charlatan and I bet 10.000 EUR, that if investigated properly, some connection to the nuclear industry will be found. If Jha had bothered to look at the sources Allison frequently uses, the penny would already have dropped: the US DoE, the NEI, the  NEA, the “Radiation, Science & Health Inc.” (a front group, if there ever was one) and obscure and refuted studies like “Is Chronic Radiation an effective  prophylaxis against cancer?” The man even champions the routine  irradiation of food! (see his website) Allison’s  attempt, to bring the “hormesis myth back to life is obvious, but futile.

The “lack of understanding” of how the body deals with LDIR is the result of ostracizing  independent scientists who represent a danger to the nuclear industry and its unhealthy ties to the military, the great protector of the nuclear holy grail. So any “article” dealing with risks of IR can only make sense if accompanied by “background” about the political agenda behind the “peaceful use of nuclear energy”. The Orwellian character of this charade ought to have been clear from the beginning, with the ludicrous slogan “atoms for peace” which demonstrates that exactly the opposite of Allison’s claim is true: not the “anti-nuclear” lobby created “irrational fear” but the very rational fear of ionizing radiation (a life-preserving instinct since we have no sensory receptor) was ridiculed and the immense risks and uncertainties downplayed, to foster acceptance of an insane technology that threatens all life on earth and has caused a global cancer epidemic (among other diseases).

Since the second world war, scientists have worked on the basis that there is no dose of radiation so low that it’s not dangerous.”

This is complete BS. A quick look at the historical development of the ICRP model shows that for decades the converse view was taken: Based on the extrapolations from Hiroshima, the accepted wisdom was that below a certain threshold, health risks were negligible. The “acceptable” or “permissible” (maximum) dose had to be  adjusted downward again and again as increasing scientific evidence showed that the risks were much higher than originally assumed.

You do have authentic and independent experts on radiation biology (biochemistry) in the UK: among them the courageous Dr. Chris Busby – Why is he not allowed to write in the Guardian or serve as competent advisor on the subject?

Your reports about genetic engineering are also very uncritical …  Political / economic pressure?

The ethical responsibility of the press  to inform the public about these controversial  scientific issues (affecting many generations to come)  is enormous …

Are you up to it with these “reporters” ?

( ….This  comment was sent as reply to the guardian’s “coverage” of the dangers of ionizing radiation….)

Sources:

http://www.protectnv.org/documents/FalsePromises.pdf

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Portal:Nuclear_Issues

http://www.greenaudit.org/

http://www.umrc.net/uranium_basics.aspx

http://www.wise-uranium.org/dissbk.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/nuclear-waste-may-be-used-in-household-products-1269778.html

http://www.nature.com/onc/journal/v22/n45/full/1206988a.html

http://www.ratical.com/radiation/CNR/HEIRreports.html

http://www.radiation.org/reading/index.html

http://www.hpa.org.uk/webw/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1243928248447

http://books.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11340

http://www.pnas.org/content/97/10/5381.full.pdf+html

http://www.pnas.org/content/100/9/5057.full.pdf+html

Beyond Treason and « Gulf War Syndrome – Killing Our Own «

<<<<to watch the BT video click on the  image

P.S.  Send Simon Jenkins to Iraq and let him see the deformed babies, the exploding cancer incidence in children, the immense suffering,  for himself. The man is a small-minded idiot: the incredibly stupid assertion that “Nobody makes money from downplaying risk (how about the nuclear industry, eh? – the evidence of a cover-up (just look at the “official” Chernobyl figures) is staring in your face) while at the same time accusing the “anti-nuclear lobby” of  exaggerating risk for personal gain must go down in the history of print as one of the darkest moments of human bias and ignorance …. because people are suffering and dying while Jenkins gets paid for his high  bollocks  turnout …  (remember Asbestos, DDT, PCBs,  – wasn’t it all “safe” ..???!!!)

Fatima, this little girl, was suffering from severe congenital malformations, is – in Jenkins universe, the result of “irrational fears about irradiation”

Tell that to her parents… (Fatima has died in the meantime, she was born with two heads ….) What can one say to express the feelings of outrage and grief?


Remember, this is the result of “Operation Iraqi Freedom” …..

[1] IFJ: “Respect for Truth and for the right of the public to truth is the first duty of the journalist”      Is it in reality?

[2] i.e. Radiation-induced effects in unirradiated cells: A review and implications in cancer, 2002

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The Evil of Banality: Kopenhagen Climate Summit

“Since I gave up hope, I’ve felt a lot better.”

(Woody Allen)

The Great Global Sale .....

This is a reply to a recent article in The Guardian:  “Kopenhagen  Climate Change talks must fail says top scientist”

Hansen is right, of course. All these big climate conferences lead to nowhere because the political “leaders” who attend them, have not even begun to understand the REAL problem. The central problem is not the emission of greenhouse gases (they are just a symptom) but the quasi- religious doctrine of “market-rule, economic growth and global competition” (which is basically a race to the bottom).

Industrial production is embedded in the natural production cycle but the economic “experts” chose to ignore the ecological imperatives which ensure the stability and functioning of ecosystems.

These ecosystems are the basis of our lives, their services are indispensable and invaluable and although most idigenous people did not know what “ecosystems” are, they had a natural reverence for all forms of life because they experienced themselves as part of nature, not her conqueror. This is also evident in the language i.e. the indigenous people of Latin America call the earth “pacha mama” and of course the ancient forms of religion are also rooted in this attitude (i.e. the worshipping of a (soil) fertility goddess like Demeter in ancient Greece).

But economic “progress” and “enlightenment” changed all that completely: “Mother Earth” became a huge, untapped reservoir of natural “resources” waiting to be exploited by the industrial revolution and today, only a hundred years later, literally everything, every living being (even their genes) has been turned into a “commodity” to be bought, patented and sold – or rather to be sacrificed on the altar of the omnipotent “market” whose “forces” are now ruling over us, no matter how devastating they are (see the latest “financial crisis” and the  massive growth of  global poverty and inequality).

The only thing that counts is: everything has to be “profitable”, the GATS and the WTO treaties have created a legal obligation for governments to obey the overriding principle of our society:  “investors’ interests” – this means in practice the predominance of  property rights (and an invented “right” to  profit with full externalisation of environmental and social costs to society) for an economic elite over human rights for all ….

Funny, most people think about political rights  in the context of Human Rights but never about economic or social rights. In fact, today we have no say in determining economic policies, the right to vote for a political party does not really entail this power (it is an illusion, because practically all parties have now accepted market-rule, to say nothing of the EU …). We can only choose the lesser of two or three  evils ….

All natural systems have a self-limiting principle i.e. the growth of cells is controlled by genes (which react to environmental changes) and therefore all living organisms cannot grow indefinitely. Infinite economic growth (which is of course exponential) is complete madness and can only be compared to a cancer cell: at first glance, it seems to have the “competitive advantage” over normal cells because it can grow fast and soon “beats” the normal cells in the competition for blood supply, etc. But in the end of course, it kills the host organism. So the “unregulated”, unhindered growth ends in a castastrophe.

The socially devastating results of unhindered (artificial) growth in the  ongoing global Ponzi scheme that passes for “finance and investment” should have been the final proof that our economic system is totally insane and that we  must no longer accept the “rule of the market” or the absurd notion that “business” thrives best when all moral constraints have been removed. We do not live to serve “the economy”, the economy must be embedded in (a humane) society, not the other way round. When price and value do no longer correspond, something is very wrong  ( … when a ton of gravel sells for more than a ton of wheat…)

When we accept that a Wall Street trader makes (“earns” is not applicable here) more than a thousand dollars PER HOUR (for organized fraud and selling AAA rated “toilet paper”) but a firefighter, a nurse, a policeman, a farmer, a teacher, etc. (whose services are badly needed) has to put up with a steadily declining income and in the end, many even lose their homes as a result of predatory lending, we have turned democracy into a farce and a fraud which resembles more and more a plutocracy.

In the 18th century, our forefathers fought against a rich aristocracy who extracted their wealth from the exploited, powerless masses and paid no taxes. “No taxation without representation” – wasn’t that the battle cry in 1776?

It seem to me  we are approaching similiar circumstances today – a refeudalisation of society is taking place. We are paying for insane wars and insane economic doctrines while the new aristocracy controls the “government” whose only function is to assist them in increasing their power and wealth so that they can accelerate the destruction of our environment and the last remnants of  ideas about social justice.

The special role of the unspeakable PR-industry in this charade should be dissected in the public debate but it is mostly ignored (see also the  surreal Kafkaesque rhetoric of the “Middle East Peace Process” or the “War on Terror”-Scam )

The crazy notion, that this perverse system can go on with just a little “cap and trade” on the side (which is just another Ponzi scheme from Wall Street) and miraculously, carbondioxide-levels will go down within a decade or so, clearly shows how stupid and  hypocritical our leaders are.

As long as the economy must keep “growing” (to pay the interest on the astronomical debt the banks have created – see also the ZEITGEIST Addendum videos on YouTube) and the enormous value of intact (“undeveloped”) ecosystems is ignored, nothing will change for the better. As long as the likes of Goldman-Sachs and ExxonMobil rule the world, we are doomed.

What is necessary is a huge paradigm shift in economic thinking. The “theoclassical economic theory” has one big problem: it is  just a theory and does not work in the real world. Alan Greenspan called this ” a flaw in his model” when he testified before a congressional committee, investigating his role as chief of the Federal Reserve in the financial “meltdown”.  To cling to the absurd idea that markets are “rational”, because their behaviour is driven by insatiable greed for profit (which Greenspan obviously considers “normal” &  & rational” for the “homo oeconomicus” in the form of the modern “investor”) shows, how blind these people are to anything outside their economic ideology.

Perhaps the biggest problem is, that we have been duped into accepting the  immoral and insane as “normal” (rational) and inevitable behaviour: How can anyone accept the fact that trillions (in the form of debt created by and for the banks)  are spent for corporate crooks, Ponzi schemes  and military aggression but that “there is no money” for health care and other badly needed social programs?

I cannot help thinking that the absolutist kings in France were sent to the guillotine for lesser crimes …. The looting of public wealth by a (monetary) aristocracy is bad enough, the (shrugged-off) consequence of  poverty and hunger even worse, but destroying the natural basis of our lives, the fertility of the soil,  the wonderful biodiversity of this lonely, blue planet and the dynamic equilibrium that has held a complex system of  thousands of eco-subsystems together is the ultimate crime … In the end it amounts to a form of collective suicide (in slow-motion) so “climate change” is a totally unsuitable euphemism to initiate real change in production or consumption patterns …. (which the political-economic elite do not want, of course)

So, coming back to Kopenhagen:

As Einstein said “You cannot solve a problem with the same way of thinking that created the problem in the first place…”

As long as the media repeats these meaningless phrases about “reduction of greenhouse gases (and even that simplification has been further reduced to CO²)” without explaining the bigger context (the whole economic paradigm must be changed fundamentally), nothing will change. A global order, based on brutal “competition” is expected to suddenly change shape to a “international community” in order to solve huge problems? How is this supposed to work?

Besides: Has anyone ever bothered to question how these alleged “emission-cuts” are measured? By whom?  Let alone the huge scam of “offsetting” (see the above link [‘cap and trade’] to the report “A Dangerous Obsession” by Friends of the Earth for details)

Sources:

http://www.scienceblog.com/community/older/2002/G/2002038.html

http://www.greenfacts.org/en/ecosystems/

http://www.palmerlab.umd.edu/

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“Crying and Shooting” with EU support

Separation Wall with BalloonUN ENDORSES GAZA WAR CRIMES REPORT

Given the extremely difficult circumstances, I think Judge Goldstone did a good job with his report on Operation Cast Lead. Those who accuse him of “bias” should present facts that support their allegations or keep quiet.

His findings simply confirm a long line of previous reports from Human Rights Organisations (including B’t Selem) and the revelations by groups like “Breaking the Silence” although there is one dubious premise which needs to be clarified:

I absolutely agree with Norman Finkelstein, that to refer to the massacre in Gaza as a “war” is totally unacceptable and deliberately misleading, given the huge disparity of force between Hamas militants and the IDF and the fact, that the real military  target was  the civilian  population (as the report confirmed). From the days of Ben Gurion, it was clear to all Israeli leaders that the greatest threat, the “time-bomb” for the “Jewish” state has been the significantly higher birth rate of Palestinians. So from this cynical standpoint, killing women and children indiscriminately, does make sense ….(even poisoning the survivors (their DNA) with DU, DIME and other “novel” weapons ..)

Who can be so cruel? This is a demonization of the  IDF and the political leaders of Israel you might think. Try this to grasp the moral abyss on which this state was founded:

Video: ?????????

Therefore, even though the “firing of (comparatively ridiculous) rockets” into civilian neighbourhoods may be a violation of humanitarian law in principle, the moral dimensions of Israel’s systemic violence ( i.e. the brutal occupation as such, assassinations of Hamas leaders in broad daylight (“extra-judicial killings”) which usually result in the death of many innocent bystanders, etc.) and the occasional symbolic outbursts of “revenge” through these rockets are totally different. This is also demonstrated by comparing the “fatalities” on each side: Can the killing of 1400 Palestinians be judged on the same moral basis as the death of 9 Israelis? (6 were members of security forces – Source: Bt Selem)

The hypocrisy here is in the legal groundwork: people under occupation are entitled to “resist”, to fight againt the occupier but they ought to restrict their attacks to the military. But in light of the seemingly endless horrors of the occupation, the brutal retaliations against peaceful demonstrations and rather harmless “resistance” like stone-throwing children, let alone the ongoing and intensifying violation of human rights in the form of land expropriation, evictions and the inhumane siege on Gaza, this restraint is practically impossible and would require super-human self-control.

I know I am walking on thin ice here because this kind of reasoning leads quickly  to the “argument” of  the  Israeli government: “Our violence is for a good cause, theirs is evil; we are only fighting back, they are the ones who threaten our security, etc.” Violence is always bad and I am not saying that firing rockets into civilian neighbouhoods is no big deal, but the perception Israel wants to create (that they act only in self-defense) is totally wrong as Professor Avi Shlaim also pointed out in January 2009:

“As always, mighty Israel claims to be the victim of Palestinian aggression but the sheer asymmetry of power between the two sides leaves little room for doubt as to who is the real victim.

This is indeed a conflict between David and Goliath, but the Biblical image has been inverted – a small and defenceless Palestinian David faces a heavily armed, merciless, and overbearing Israeli Goliath.

The resort to brute military force is accompanied, as always, by the shrill rhetoric of victimhood and a farrago of self-pity overlaid with self-righteousness. In Hebrew this is known as the syndrome of bokhim ve-yorim (“crying and shooting”).

Gaza-7thumbShlaim also demonstrates that the hailed “return of the Gaza strip” was just another PR-scam to present Israel (under Sharon) as striving for a peaceful solution while in fact they knew that the cruel (economic) stranglehold on Gaza combined with (little publicised, often clandestine) military aggression now and then would sooner or later lead to more “rocket firing” which could then be presented as proof for the “evil” intentions of Hamas and reinforce the recurring theme of “crying and shooting” … Shlaim goes on:

[…] Gaza, however, is not simply a case of economic underdevelopment but a uniquely cruel case of deliberate de-development. Israel turned the people of Gaza into a source of cheap labour and a captive market for Israeli goods.

The development of local industry was actively impeded so as to make it impossible for the Palestinians to end their subordination to Israel and to establish the economic underpinnings essential for real political independence.”

Numerous reports from the UN have also highlighted the dramatic situation in Gaza even before Operation Cast Lead began  (sewage systems on the brink of collapse, food scarcity, high unemployment, frequent power shortages, etc. – all the result of the isolation and siege of Gaza). And in the West Bank a smiliar strategy to destroy the economy (and hope) was used …

gaza_sewage_lakeGiven these horrific circumstances, this hopelessness, 1,4 million people being imprisoned in this small strip of land, helplessly watching how Israel steals more and more land in the West Bank and East Jeruslaem, and the “international community” does nothing to stop these crimes, it is remarkable that there have not been more outbursts of violence. No-one, not even Ghandi would have advocated civil disobedience in this scenario …

Goldstone knows perfectly well that the accurate historical context is necessary to be able to judge actions on both sides and he draws a clear picture about the events that lead to the end of Hamas initiated cease-fires. That is perhaps the main reason why Israel must prevent any detailed discussion of the report because then the whole “tapestry of lies” would fall apart ….

Besides, as far as I know, at the beginning of the intifada, the Palestinian attacks were limited to IDF soldiers but the massacre in a Hebron mosque in 1994 was the incentive for Hamas to attack also civilians inside Israel.

It is painfully clear, that Israel WANTS and NEEDS to provoke violent resistance so that it can portray its own cruelty and violence as “defense” in the context of the “war on terror” …

It is highly ironic, that the world has been duped into believing that Islam represents a threat to global security while in fact Zionism is the real threat (as political abuse of religion is has replaced Christian hypocrisy in the colonial mindset …) and is never even mentioned in this context (at least not here in Germany).

In his book Overcoming Zionism” Joel Kovel (a Jewish psychiatrist) shows the insanity of Zionism as a political instrument and the staggering hypocrisy and self-deception this has entailed: the eternal “victims” with their (self-attributed) high Jewish morality, created a state on the brutal expropriation and misery of another people. The “victims” (Zionism started long before Hitler appeared on the scene)  became racist perpetrators but in order to maintain their collective identity and exculpatory self-image,  they had to bend over backwards to put the blame somehow on the victims …. so they invented “reasons” why their criminal and inhumane actions could be justified before their conscience and before their God. This can be very well illustrated by a quote from Golda Meir:

“I will never forgive the Arabs for forcing us to kill them

Jewish souls are very special, no less than a part of God, so we have learned. Baruch Goldstein, a medical doctor, who committed the above mentioned massacre in Hebron,  refused to treat non-Jews, even in the IDF …

To return to the UN-GA resolution: I am deeply ashamed that with the exception of IRELAND, NO EU member state  has voted FOR  the resolution.

The majority of the EU-hypocrites abstained …

Considering how hard it was to fight for a Declaration of Human Rights, how many people suffered or even died to reach that goal,  I find it totally unacceptable that a “Human Rights Council” allows abstentions during a voting session.

Recently, I saw a movie called “One against the Wind” which tells the true story of a brave woman, who supported the resistance in France during the German occupation, by taking care of wounded allied soldiers and getting them out of the country. She was eventually sent to a concentration camp but survived … In one scene she tells the American ambassador in Paris (before the US entered the war): “There is a special hell for fence-sitters…” Precisely – in the context of Israel’s impunity this hell must already be heavily overcrowded …

In this insane world, where property rights, the “freedom” of capital  and “strategic interests” make a mockery of human “values” on a regular basis, we can no longer afford to “abstain”, when  the defense of these  values is called for. A supposedly universal “right” that exists only on paper, and is only defended when a certain category of people is involved, has not just lost its meaning, it has become a farce.

So when Jewish wire services report that  “He [Foreign Minister Lieberman] believes Israel’s diplomatic work on the eve of the General Assembly vote led to fitting results” and that “Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon has confirmed that there is a “silent understanding” with the US that it would not let the Security Council endorse such a resolution” – what can one say? That the whole idea of the “United Nations” and “Human Rights” has been turned into a theatre of the absurd? That the UN should replace symbolic decorations like Picasso’s “Guernica” with George Orwell’s “Some are more equal than others” (as a kind of  “mission statement” endorsed by the US) engraved in stone?

Former US ambassador to the UN,  John Bolton, a diplomat who seldom hid behind “diplomatic language”, used to call the UN “an instrument of US foreign policy and nothing else”. His point was proven in a spectacular fashion during the last “Anti-Racism Conference in Geneva, when USrael staged a brilliant PR-event to further demonize and isolate Iran because “the new Hitler” Ahmadinejad had the audacity to talk about Zionism (as a form of racism) and its links to the new forms of colonialism (better known as “globalisation”). Since then the hyped “nuclear threat” to the world, allegedly coming from Iran is the latest attempt to divert attention from the real culprits.

Of course the display of  “outrage” by the Israeli ambassador and his US-“echo” after the endorsement of the  Goldstone report on Gaza,  was yet another attempt to reframe the debate. Let the people forget the clear evidence of Israel’s guilt: If it (the government) has nothing to hide

  • Why did it prevent foreign reporters from entering Gaza?
  • Why did it refuse to cooperate with the UN fact-finding mission? (Refusing even to let Goldstone enter Gaza through Israel, so he had to enter via Egypt)
  • Why did it also treat former UN-envoys with disrespect (not to say contempt)i.e. Richard Falk?
  • Why did it even belittle and debase  the testimony from IDF soldiers ( “Breaking the Silence”)?
  • Why does it always try to get rid of justified criticism by “character assassination”? (claiming its supposedly “superior moral standing” as proof of honesty while accusing opponents of despicable motives, (anti-semitism) or having no right “to teach us about morals…” (the “Zionist” argument par excellence)

One has to concede that, if countries like Saudi Arabia show consternation about human rights violations by Israel, it is appropriate to say “ Mind your own business”. At the same time we all know, that without the great “friendship” of the US, Saudi princes would sleep less soundly. In fact, without US-support many undemocratic and repressive regimes would not have come to power or stayed in power (see for example Mubarak in Egypt)  in the first place.

However, on the other hand, there have been several genuine peace initiatives from the Arab states but all have been rejected by Israel on some pretext. Peace is the last thing, the Zionist government wants. The whole identity of Israel ( “a military with a government”) is based on “defense”, on eternal victimhood, on being a lone island of “European civilization” among the “primitive Arabs” and Jew haters, who want to “drive us into the sea”… Pathetic as it sounds, it still works in the media ….

noEU_320And Europe? What about the “community based on values” as the EU has sought to present itself by adopting the Declaration of Human Rights as part of the Lisbon treaty (formerly called  “constitution”)?

The puppets in Eastern Europe voted against the resolution (… divide and conquer does work …) , but the biggest assholes are GERMANY, ITALY AND THE NETHERLANDS. Germany sells heavily subsidized submarines to Israel and the EU has awarded  Israel a “privileged” trade status …

Professor Avi Shlaim also touched on the subject in his article:

“America and the European Union shamelessly joined Israel in ostracising and demonising the Hamas government and in trying to bring it down by withholding tax revenues and foreign aid. A surreal situation thus developed – where a significant part of the international community imposed economic sanctions not against the occupier but against the occupied, not against the oppressor but against the oppressed.”

This “surreal” picture became even worse when the tendency to decouple the EU’s economic preferential treatment from Israel’s terrible human rights record became clearly visible:

The Czech Republic, which held the European presidency until 30 June, made no secret of its desire to see closer ties and more exchange between the EU and Israel. The outgoing Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolanek, made this clear in an interview with the Tel Aviv daily Haaretz on 26 April in which he said that “the peace process mustn’t be linked to EU-Israeli relations.

In doing so, he was reacting to the view expressed by Benita Ferrero-Waldner, EU commissioner for external relations and European neighbourhood policy. She said: “We believe that good relations with Israel are essential…” (Why?)

While other media sources fell victim to the diplomatic waffle and reported that according to a Senior European diplomat “people are saying there should be a pause in close ties between Israel and the union.”

What breathtaking hypocrisy. While the Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert described the horrible injuries and deaths he saw in the  Shifa  hospital in Gaza as “scenes from Dante’s inferno” the EU talks about “a pause” in the close relations to Israel. It is like saying “I know, on top of all the other human rights violations, Israel is bombing an overcrowded ghetto right now and hundreds of people are going to be terribly wounded or killed, so what? Let’s just wait till the furor has died down and then we’ll continue with business as usual …”

As LMD reported, The General Affairs and External Relations Council brushed aside the parliamentarians’ concerns [about human rights violations in Gaza] and after France took over the EU presidency at the end of 2008, …. the council expressed its determination to strengthen its links with Israel from April 2009:

“In accordance with the political commitment made on 16 June 2008 at the 8th Association Council meeting between the European Union and Israel, the Council reaffirms its determination to upgrade the level and intensity of its bilateral relations with Israel within the context of the adoption of the new instrument which will replace the current Action Plan from April 2009. That building-up must be based on the shared values of both parties, and particularly on democracy, respect for human rights, the rule of law and fundamental freedoms, good governance and international humanitarian law.”

In the past the European parliament repeatedly tried to call for the suspension of its association agreement with the Israelis (.. when Israeli atrocities received a short media spotlight ..). but the council always undermined these calls for accountability. Even the “diplomatic” (read: alrady hypocritical) rhetoric now shows what all the great talks about “European values” is really worth: The original text stated that “Relations between the Parties, as well as all the provisions of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this Agreement but the latest update (see above) says “it must be based on the shared values of both parties, ..particularly on democracy, respect for human rights ..”, etc.

This is of course totally meaningless. To say in this context that something “must be based on …” is simply a euphemism for saying “it should be based on. It is like the Sunday sermon of a priest, it sounds rather noble, but the people who wrote it,  never expect it to really happen.  In a world where the categorical imperative would rule, moral behaviour would be the norm. (It still is for most ordinary people, I daresay but the profit cult  makes it harder every day …) but in a world based on “might is right”, rules have to be enforced by sanctions and these must be applicable to all parties.

boycott-israel-anim2Will Europe be forever sucking up to the “gangster state” (see Avi Shlaim) Israel because they have excelled at exploiting Holocaust guilt? The perpetrators of unspeakable Nazi crimes are dead. The Holocaust is over. But the crimes against the Palestinians go on and on so we have a moral responsibility to stop them and demand accountability from Israel.

The Eurpean Union has no moral  authority whatsoever. It is a Trojan horse for corporate interests, the financial, neo-feudal, extractive “aristocracy” and the cult of the market. It destroys national sovereignity and undermines democratic decision-making (see the case of Ireland: Voting “No” against a treaty – is not applicable), it pushes for the militarization of Europe  while posing as a “community of values”.

A “European” version of a foreign minister has no democratic legitimacy at all and heaven help us, if it is going to be Tony Bliar ….

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Nobel Peace Prize & Merchants of Death

Obama peaceMy first reaction when I heard the news was disbelief and  spontaneous laughter – the absurdity of  it all is too much and can perhaps best be expressed with paraphrasing Eric Margolis (he was referring to the Afghan elections) : ..”a fraud wrapped up in a farce”.

The PR-industry who invented the brand “Obama” (“Hope & Change” Trademark) has more reason to celebrate….

That any US president should get a “Peace Prize” is utterly ridiculous but in the case of Obama it is plainly absurd because he has done NOTHING for a peaceful world except delivering eloquent speeches.

As many other commentators have pointed out already, Obama is basically continuing the foreign policy of GWB – the only difference is style: he is intelligent, polite, articulate and conciliatory (in his rhetoric) and “offers a hand” to those states whose learders are willing to concede that defying the interests of the United States of Arrogance (by executing policies in the interest of the population)  in the long run is a bad idea and must stop ASAP.

The recent “intervention” of the Obama administration at the UN – to postpone / avert an urgent UNSC discussion of the devastating Goldstone Report on Israeli war crimes in Gaza  is just one absurd example of  …”a  [a new US-] policy  [of] exporting peace and stability to the world…”

But this incredible farce (even the “naked emperor” tale pales in comparison) can also be seen in another, more realistic light which suddenly makes Obama (as US president) a suitable candidate for the prize:

All these awe-inspiring talks about the “Nobel-Prize” are very deceptive because nobody talks anymore about the basis for all this money:

The Nobel family made a fortune with  (possibly the first) “weapons of mass destruction”:  a new class of explosives   that killed thousands of people. Alfred Nobel’s father “made a killing” (excuse the pun) in the Crimean War and the American Civil War – he was perhaps the first mass manufacturer of mines . Alfred Nobel believed in the idea of “deterrence”- not “education for peace” through values like solidarity and working for economic & social justice.

1999_Bertha_von_SuttnerHis life-long (but unfulfilled) love was  Baroness Bertha von Suttner, the first international female peace activist who probably inspired the Nobel Peace Prize. She worked for a short time as his private secretary and became famous with the publication of her novel “Lay Down your Arms”  in 1889 which sold hundreds of thousands of copies and was translated in many languages. The book was sensational not only because of its female aristocratic author but  because it depicted in graphic detail the horrors of war in an era of nationalism, where “the military and patriotic duties to the fatherland” were considered sacrosanct.

She called war “commanded mass murder”, denounced the deceptive language of “patriotism” and  was also aware of the connection between  (systemic) economic / social injustice and war; she also correspondend with the famous Russian novelist Leo Tolstoi, who supported her work. For Tolstoi “the people lead a slave-like existence to serve the interests of a rich minority who lived at their expense” (that was long ago, one might argue but isn’t the “bank bailout” in the trillions yet another symptom for the refeudalisation of society, for serving the interests of a financial aristocracy?)

Bertha von Suttner also travelled to the United States and one of her comments about America is  still highly relevant today: (.. here the circle to Wall Street supporting Obama and Obama supporting Wall Street …. is closed…)

„While talking about doomed monarchies and the constitution of republics, we build  in the “ideal Republic America” a monetary monarchy , which is more absolute than the power of the Russian tsar…”

Bertha von Suttner received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1905. She died shortly before the outbreak of World War I.

Before Alfred Nobel actually died, a premature obituary appeared in a French newspaper titled  “Le marchand de la mort est mort(“The Merchant of Death is Dead”) referring to  Nobel as the man “who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before”.

From this perspective, awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the (current) President of the United States makes a lot of sense. To give this award to  the “Commander in Chief” of the mightiest military machine in the world and to the president of a “superpower” whose economic, financial and military elite sees no problem in demanding  global “full spectrum dominance” – no matter what the moral, social and human cost –  seems quite logical to me.

che statliberty with gun

The profits of one  “Merchant of Death” are being used to reward another MoD, the leader of a country that spends more money on weapons (designed for mass murder)  than all other states combined (but always kills for a “good cause” of course)… and at the same time, we have a government unwilling to provide affordable health insurance to all its citizens (another way to increase suffering and death) because this would means lesser profits for the private health insurers who basically run their business as a racket.

(On “Full Spectrum Dominance” and America’s “role in the world”, how it sees itself” – see also (the second part of) the Nobel Prize speech by Harold Pinter with the theme “What is true and what is false?” and the conclusion: “We are surrounded by a vast tapestry of lies…and if we let this situation of organized deception  prevail, humanity and human dignity are doomed… )

This also resonates with Ghandi’s  concept of “Satyagraha” : the power of truth, to fight for truth, hold on to truth, etc. (…. not to be confused with non-violence…)

Coming back to the Goldstone Report and its instant “burial” by the media, followed by the US-supported demise from the UNSC agenda – Ghandi must be turning in his grave… What did he say about Zionism during his lifetime (in 1938)?

“The cry for the national home for the Jews does not make much appeal to me. The sanction for it is sought in the Bible and the tenacity with which the Jews have hankered after return to Palestine.
Why should they not, like other peoples of the earth, make that country their home where they are born and where they earn their livelihood?
Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct. The mandates have no sanction but that of the last war.

Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home. The nobler course would be to insist on a just treatment of the Jews wherever they are born and bred. The Jews born in France are French in precisely the same sense that Christians born in France are French.

[…]  If I were a Jew and were born in Germany and earned my livelihood there, I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest gentile German might, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon; I would refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment. And for doing this I
should not wait for! the fellow Jews to join me in civil resistance, but would have confidence that in the end the rest were bound to follow my example…

[…]  And now a word to the Jews in Palestine. I have no doubt that they are going about it in the wrong way. The Palestine of the Biblical conception is not a geographical tract. It is in their hearts. But if they must look to the Palestine of geography as their national home, it is wrong to enter it under  the hadow of the British gun. A religious act cannot be performed with the aid of the bayonet or the bomb. They can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs. They should seek to convert the Arab heart.

The same God rules the Arab heart who rules the Jewish heart… They will find the world opinion in their favor in their religious aspiration. There are hundreds of ways of reasoning with the Arabs, if they will only discard the help of the British bayonet. As it is, they are co-sharers with the British in despoiling a people who have done no wrong to them. I am not defending the Arab excesses. I wish they had chosen the way of non-violence in resisting what they rightly regarded as an unwarrantable encroachment upon their country. But according to the accepted canons of right and wrong, nothing can be said against the Arab resistance in the face of overwhelming odds.” […]

So much for “non-violence” under all circumstances…

But the astounding “act of hypnosis” (which Pinter referred to in his speech) ist still working: no matter how many “reports” about war crimes or crimes against humanity committed by the Israeli government are being published:  they are followed by –   silence.

How is that possible?  The two involved “Merchants of Death”, the US and Israeli government have eternal impunity, no human law can apparently touch them… they seem to be  a  (immoral) class of their own… as the following dialogue between a professor of international law and a former legal counsel to the IDF, which really took place)  shows:

You have inflicted Nuremberg crimes on the Palestinians”. How can you justify that?

“Military necessity.”

That argument was rejected at Nuremberg”.

We have PR-people in the United States who handle these matters for us.”

(Case closed.)

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