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Monday, October 31, 2016

American Irrationalism


American Irrationalism


We are captive to images and forms of propaganda that make us the most self-deluded population on the planet. We are driven by manipulated emotions, not fact or reason. And this is why, even now, Donald Trump could become president.

- There is no shortage of signs of impending environmental catastrophe, including the melting of the polar ice caps and the rise of atmospheric carbon to above 400 parts per million. The earth’s sixth mass extinction is underway. It is not taking place because of planetary forces. Homo sapiens is orchestrating it. Americans are at the same time bankrupting themselves by waging endless and unwinnable wars. We have allowed our elites to push more than half the U.S. population into poverty through deindustrialization. We do nothing to halt the waves of nihilistic violence by enraged citizens who carry out periodic mass shootings in schools, malls, movie theaters and other public places. The political and financial elites flaunt their greed and corruption. Donald Trump appears to pay no federal income taxes. Hillary and Bill Clinton use their foundation as a tool for legalized bribery. Our largest corporations have orchestrated a legal tax boycott. The judicial system is a subsidiary of the corporate state. Militarized police conduct public executions of unarmed people of color. Our infrastructure, including our schools, roads and bridges, along with our deindustrialized cities, are in ruins. Decay and rot—physical and moral—are pervasive. 

We are blinded to our depressing reality by the avalanche of images disseminated by mass media. Political, intellectual and cultural discourse has been replaced with spectacle. Emotionalism and sensationalism are prized over truth. Highly paid pundits who parrot back the official narrative, corporate advertisers, inane talk shows, violent or sexually explicit entertainment and gossip-fueled news have contaminated cultural life. “Reality” television, as contrived as every other form of mass entertainment, has produced a “reality” presidential candidate.

Mass culture, because it speaks to us in easily digestible clichés and stereotypes, reinforces ignorance, bigotry and racism. It promotes our individual and collective self-glorification. It sanctifies nonexistent national virtues. It takes from us the intellectual and linguistic tools needed to separate illusion from truth. It is all show business all the time.

There are hundreds of millions of Americans who know that something is terribly wrong. A light has gone out. They see this in their own suffering and hopelessness and the suffering and hopelessness of their neighbors. But they lack, because of the contamination of our political, cultural and intellectual discourse, the words and ideas to make sense of what is happening around them. They are bereft of a vision. Austerity, globalization, unfettered capitalism, an expansion of the extraction of fossil fuels, and war are not the prices to be paid for progress and the advance of civilization. They are part of the savage and deadly exploitation by corporate capitalism and imperialism. They serve a neoliberal ideology. The elites dare not speak this truth. It is toxic. They peddle the seductive illusions that saturate the airwaves. We are left to strike out at shadows. We are led to succumb to the racism, allure of white supremacy and bigotry that always accompany a culture in dissolution. 

We cannot, for this reason, discount the possibility that Trump will be elected president. The election outcome will be decided by whatever emotion Americans feel when they cast their ballots. 
Celebrity narratives, manufactured pseudo-drama, sex scandals, natural disasters, insults and invective, mass shootings and war flash before us in a constant jumble of images on ubiquitous screens. The sensory assault obliterates reality. A former congressman who sends a picture of himself in underwear to a woman is a national news story. Sober examinations of our economic, foreign, judicial and environmental policies are dismissed as too complicated and boring. They do not produce engaging images. The electronic media’s sole goal is to attract viewers and advertising dollars. It has conditioned us to demand a nonstop vaudeville act.
1
Because of this mass indoctrination, we have become infected by what Daniel Boorstin in “The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America” calls “social narcissism.” The bottomless narcissism of Trump and the Clintons caters to this social narcissism. They reflect back to us our desperate longing for, as well as celebration of, entertainment, celebrity, wealth, power and self-aggrandizement. It is not only advertising and public relations, as Boorstin pointed out, that carry out the incessant manufacturing of illusions that feed social narcissism. Journalists, book publishers, politicians, athletes, entertainers, positive psychologists, self-help gurus, the Christian right and talk show hosts all feed the mania for illusion. They all chant the insane mantra that reality is never an impediment to what we desire. We can have anything we want if we work hard, get an education, believe in ourselves, grasp that we are exceptional and see the impossible as always possible. It is magical thinking. And magical thinking is the only real commodity the elites have left offer to us. Make American Great Again. Or American already is great. Take your pick of idiotic clichés.

“We tyrannize and frustrate ourselves by expecting more than the world can give us or than we can make of the world,” Boorstin wrote. “We demand that everyone who talks to us, or writes for us, or takes pictures for us, or makes merchandise for us, should live in our world of extravagant expectations. We expect this even of the peoples of foreign countries. We have become so accustomed to our illusions that we mistake them for reality. We demand them. And we demand that there be always more of them, bigger and better and more vivid.”

The incessant search for instant gratification and the most appealing image, including the image of ourselves we manufacture for others on social media, has robbed us of the ability to examine ourselves and our society. It has extinguished the truth. The terminal decline of the American empire, the utter inability our elites to manage anything important, the climate crisis, widespread poverty and despair do not fit with the illusion. So these realities are blotted from public consciousness. The poor are rendered invisible. The foreign policy debacles will be fixed with more bombs. Only the Soviet and fascist dictatorships, along with the medieval Catholic Church, controlled thought as effectively.
Candidates Trump and Clinton have no plans to halt our slide to oblivion. They are part of the circus. They, like all of the other elites, profit from the system that is destroying us. They lack the incentive and probably the capacity to challenge the structures and assumptions that define corporate capitalism. They function as high priests. They peddle the illusions. They laud our ingenuity and strength. They preach the inevitability of human progress and American exceptionalism. They tell us what we want to hear. They appeal to our emotions, as does all of mass culture. They do not acknowledge reality. That would spoil the show.

We vote for slogans, manufactured personalities, perceived sincerity, personal attractiveness and the crafted personal narratives peddled by candidates. Office seekers create the illusion of intimacy established between celebrities and their audiences. We see ourselves in them; admirers of the “winner” Trump see themselves as becoming him. No politician succeeds without such artifice. Today’s politics is just one more product of a diseased culture. Our political leaders are much like the celebrities who, in Boorstin’s words, “are receptacles into which we pour our own purposelessness. They are nothing but ourselves seen in a magnifying mirror.”

The incoherent absurdities mouthed for our amusement induce a state of permanent amnesia. Life is lived in an eternal present. How we got here, where we came from, what shaped us as a society, in short the continuum of history that gives us an identity, are eradicated.

The quest for identity through mass culture is self-defeating. We can never achieve what these illusions tell us we can achieve. We can never be who we want to be. It is a ceaseless chase from one chimera to the next. And this is why at the end we fall into despair and rage. It is why huge parts of the country no longer hold genuine political ideas. It is why people vote according to how they feel. It is why hatred and fear are a potent political platform. It is why we are sleepwalking into oblivion.

Chris Hedges, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.


Pro Deo et Constitutione – Libertas aut Mors
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Joseph F Barber

If you will not stand up for your own rights or the rights of your children and future generations to come ?how can I have faith in you to stand up for My rights or any one else for that matter??? Hence there is the seperation between the citizens and the soldier.
Joseph F Barber Sept 23, 2014 

I deal with people everyday and in many situations and on many issue in my line or work and activism I have had some ask me why I call Americans sheep just take a look at the social net and it will explain itself to everyone all you see is talk and that may be good but without action to what anyone speaks that's all it is cheap words “Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient allover the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.”I have never been a spectator.

American Irrationalism


We are captive to images and forms of propaganda that make us the most self-deluded population on the planet. We are driven by manipulated emotions, not fact or reason. And this is why, even now, Donald Trump could become president.

- There is no shortage of signs of impending environmental catastrophe, including the melting of the polar ice caps and the rise of atmospheric carbon to above 400 parts per million. The earth’s sixth mass extinction is underway. It is not taking place because of planetary forces. Homo sapiens is orchestrating it. Americans are at the same time bankrupting themselves by waging endless and unwinnable wars. We have allowed our elites to push more than half the U.S. population into poverty through deindustrialization. We do nothing to halt the waves of nihilistic violence by enraged citizens who carry out periodic mass shootings in schools, malls, movie theaters and other public places. The political and financial elites flaunt their greed and corruption. Donald Trump appears to pay no federal income taxes. Hillary and Bill Clinton use their foundation as a tool for legalized bribery. Our largest corporations have orchestrated a legal tax boycott. The judicial system is a subsidiary of the corporate state. Militarized police conduct public executions of unarmed people of color. Our infrastructure, including our schools, roads and bridges, along with our deindustrialized cities, are in ruins. Decay and rot—physical and moral—are pervasive. 

We are blinded to our depressing reality by the avalanche of images disseminated by mass media. Political, intellectual and cultural discourse has been replaced with spectacle. Emotionalism and sensationalism are prized over truth. Highly paid pundits who parrot back the official narrative, corporate advertisers, inane talk shows, violent or sexually explicit entertainment and gossip-fueled news have contaminated cultural life. “Reality” television, as contrived as every other form of mass entertainment, has produced a “reality” presidential candidate.

Mass culture, because it speaks to us in easily digestible clichés and stereotypes, reinforces ignorance, bigotry and racism. It promotes our individual and collective self-glorification. It sanctifies nonexistent national virtues. It takes from us the intellectual and linguistic tools needed to separate illusion from truth. It is all show business all the time.

There are hundreds of millions of Americans who know that something is terribly wrong. A light has gone out. They see this in their own suffering and hopelessness and the suffering and hopelessness of their neighbors. But they lack, because of the contamination of our political, cultural and intellectual discourse, the words and ideas to make sense of what is happening around them. They are bereft of a vision. Austerity, globalization, unfettered capitalism, an expansion of the extraction of fossil fuels, and war are not the prices to be paid for progress and the advance of civilization. They are part of the savage and deadly exploitation by corporate capitalism and imperialism. They serve a neoliberal ideology. The elites dare not speak this truth. It is toxic. They peddle the seductive illusions that saturate the airwaves. We are left to strike out at shadows. We are led to succumb to the racism, allure of white supremacy and bigotry that always accompany a culture in dissolution. 

We cannot, for this reason, discount the possibility that Trump will be elected president. The election outcome will be decided by whatever emotion Americans feel when they cast their ballots. 
Celebrity narratives, manufactured pseudo-drama, sex scandals, natural disasters, insults and invective, mass shootings and war flash before us in a constant jumble of images on ubiquitous screens. The sensory assault obliterates reality. A former congressman who sends a picture of himself in underwear to a woman is a national news story. Sober examinations of our economic, foreign, judicial and environmental policies are dismissed as too complicated and boring. They do not produce engaging images. The electronic media’s sole goal is to attract viewers and advertising dollars. It has conditioned us to demand a nonstop vaudeville act.
1
Because of this mass indoctrination, we have become infected by what Daniel Boorstin in “The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America” calls “social narcissism.” The bottomless narcissism of Trump and the Clintons caters to this social narcissism. They reflect back to us our desperate longing for, as well as celebration of, entertainment, celebrity, wealth, power and self-aggrandizement. It is not only advertising and public relations, as Boorstin pointed out, that carry out the incessant manufacturing of illusions that feed social narcissism. Journalists, book publishers, politicians, athletes, entertainers, positive psychologists, self-help gurus, the Christian right and talk show hosts all feed the mania for illusion. They all chant the insane mantra that reality is never an impediment to what we desire. We can have anything we want if we work hard, get an education, believe in ourselves, grasp that we are exceptional and see the impossible as always possible. It is magical thinking. And magical thinking is the only real commodity the elites have left offer to us. Make American Great Again. Or American already is great. Take your pick of idiotic clichés.

“We tyrannize and frustrate ourselves by expecting more than the world can give us or than we can make of the world,” Boorstin wrote. “We demand that everyone who talks to us, or writes for us, or takes pictures for us, or makes merchandise for us, should live in our world of extravagant expectations. We expect this even of the peoples of foreign countries. We have become so accustomed to our illusions that we mistake them for reality. We demand them. And we demand that there be always more of them, bigger and better and more vivid.”

The incessant search for instant gratification and the most appealing image, including the image of ourselves we manufacture for others on social media, has robbed us of the ability to examine ourselves and our society. It has extinguished the truth. The terminal decline of the American empire, the utter inability our elites to manage anything important, the climate crisis, widespread poverty and despair do not fit with the illusion. So these realities are blotted from public consciousness. The poor are rendered invisible. The foreign policy debacles will be fixed with more bombs. Only the Soviet and fascist dictatorships, along with the medieval Catholic Church, controlled thought as effectively.
Candidates Trump and Clinton have no plans to halt our slide to oblivion. They are part of the circus. They, like all of the other elites, profit from the system that is destroying us. They lack the incentive and probably the capacity to challenge the structures and assumptions that define corporate capitalism. They function as high priests. They peddle the illusions. They laud our ingenuity and strength. They preach the inevitability of human progress and American exceptionalism. They tell us what we want to hear. They appeal to our emotions, as does all of mass culture. They do not acknowledge reality. That would spoil the show.

We vote for slogans, manufactured personalities, perceived sincerity, personal attractiveness and the crafted personal narratives peddled by candidates. Office seekers create the illusion of intimacy established between celebrities and their audiences. We see ourselves in them; admirers of the “winner” Trump see themselves as becoming him. No politician succeeds without such artifice. Today’s politics is just one more product of a diseased culture. Our political leaders are much like the celebrities who, in Boorstin’s words, “are receptacles into which we pour our own purposelessness. They are nothing but ourselves seen in a magnifying mirror.”

The incoherent absurdities mouthed for our amusement induce a state of permanent amnesia. Life is lived in an eternal present. How we got here, where we came from, what shaped us as a society, in short the continuum of history that gives us an identity, are eradicated.

The quest for identity through mass culture is self-defeating. We can never achieve what these illusions tell us we can achieve. We can never be who we want to be. It is a ceaseless chase from one chimera to the next. And this is why at the end we fall into despair and rage. It is why huge parts of the country no longer hold genuine political ideas. It is why people vote according to how they feel. It is why hatred and fear are a potent political platform. It is why we are sleepwalking into oblivion.

Chris Hedges, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.


Pro Deo et Constitutione – Libertas aut Mors
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Joseph F Barber

If you will not stand up for your own rights or the rights of your children and future generations to come ?how can I have faith in you to stand up for My rights or any one else for that matter??? Hence there is the seperation between the citizens and the soldier.
Joseph F Barber Sept 23, 2014 

I deal with people everyday and in many situations and on many issue in my line or work and activism I have had some ask me why I call Americans sheep just take a look at the social net and it will explain itself to everyone all you see is talk and that may be good but without action to what anyone speaks that's all it is cheap words “Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient allover the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.”I have never been a spectator.


The De Facto US/Al Qaeda Alliance

The announcement last week by the United States of the largest military aid package in its history – to Israel – was a win for both sides.Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu could boast that his lobbying had boosted aid from $3.1 billion a year to $3.8bn – a 22 per cent increase – for a decade starting in 2019.
Mr Netanyahu has presented this as a rebuff to those who accuse him of jeopardising Israeli security interests with his government’s repeated affronts to the White House.
In the past weeks alone, defence minister Avigdor Lieberman has compared last year’s nuclear deal between Washington and Iran with the 1938 Munich pact, which bolstered Hitler; and Mr Netanyahu has implied that US opposition to settlement expansion is the same as support for the “ethnic cleansing” of Jews.
American president Barack Obama, meanwhile, hopes to stifle his own critics who insinuate that he is anti-Israel. The deal should serve as a fillip too for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic party’s candidate to succeed Mr Obama in November’s election.
In reality, however, the Obama administration has quietly punished Mr Netanyahu for his misbehaviour. Israeli expectations of a $4.5bn-a-year deal were whittled down after Mr Netanyahu stalled negotiations last year as he sought to recruit Congress to his battle against the Iran deal.
In fact, Israel already receives roughly $3.8bn – if Congress’s assistance on developing missile defence programmes is factored in. Notably, Israel has been forced to promise not to approach Congress for extra funds.
The deal takes into account neither inflation nor the dollar’s depreciation against the shekel.
A bigger blow still is the White House’s demand to phase out a special exemption that allowed Israel to spend nearly 40 per cent of aid locally on weapon and fuel purchases. Israel will soon have to buy all its armaments from the US, ending what amounted to a subsidy to its own arms industry.
Nonetheless, Washington’s renewed military largesse – in the face of almost continual insults – inevitably fuels claims that the Israeli tail is wagging the US dog. Even The New York Times has described the aid package as “too big”.
Since the 1973 war, Israel has received at least $100bn in military aid, with more assistance hidden from view. Back in the 1970s, Washington paid half of Israel’s military budget. Today it still foots a fifth of the bill, despite Israel’s economic success.
But the US expects a return on its massive investment. As the late Israeli politician-general Ariel Sharon once observed, ­Israel has been a US “aircraft carrier” in the Middle East, acting as the regional bully and carrying out operations that benefit Washington.
Almost no one blames the US for Israeli attacks that wiped out Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear programmes. A nuclear-armed Iraq or Syria would have deterred later US-backed moves at regime overthrow, as well as countering the strategic advantage Israel derives from its own nuclear arsenal.
In addition, Israel’s US-sponsored military prowess is a triple boon to the US weapons industry, the country’s most powerful lobby. Public funds are siphoned off to let Israel buy goodies from American arms makers. That, in turn, serves as a shop window for other customers and spurs an endless and lucrative game of catch-up in the rest of the Middle East.
The first F-35 fighter jets to arrive in Israel in December – their various components produced in 46 US states – will increase the clamour for the cutting-edge warplane.
Israel is also a “front-line laboratory”, as former Israeli army negotiator Eival Gilady admitted at the weekend, that develops and field-tests new technology Washington can later use itself.
The US is planning to buy back the missile interception system Iron Dome – which neutralises battlefield threats of retaliation – it largely paid for. Israel works closely too with the US in developing cyber­warfare, such as the Stuxnet worm that damaged Iran’s civilian nuclear programme.
But the clearest message from Israel’s new aid package is one delivered to the Palestinians: Washington sees no pressing strategic interest in ending the occupation. It stood up to Mr Netanyahu over the Iran deal but will not risk a damaging clash over Palestinian statehood.
Some believe that Mr Obama signed the aid package to win the credibility necessary to overcome his domestic Israel lobby and pull a rabbit from the hat: an initiative, unveiled shortly before he leaves office, that corners Mr Netanyahu into making peace.
Hopes have been raised by an expected meeting at the United Nations in New York on Wednesday. But their first talks in 10 months are planned only to demonstrate unity to confound critics of the aid deal.
If Mr Obama really wanted to pressure Mr Netanyahu, he would have used the aid agreement as leverage. Now Mr Netanyahu need not fear US financial retaliation, even as he intensifies effective annexation of the West Bank.
Mr Netanyahu has drawn the right lesson from the aid deal – he can act against the Palestinians with continuing US impunity.
- See more at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net/2016-09-19/palestinians-lose-in-us-military-aid-deal-with-israel/#sthash.fL4Eq28N.dpuf
The De Facto US/Al Qaeda Alliance

Exclusive: Buried deep inside Saturday’s New York Times was a grudging acknowledgement that the U.S.-armed “moderate” rebels in Syria are using their U.S. firepower to back an Al Qaeda offensive, reports Robert Parry.
A curious aspect of the Syrian conflict – a rebellion sponsored largely by the United States and its Gulf state allies – is the disappearance in much of the American mainstream news media of references to the prominent role played by Al Qaeda in seeking to overthrow the secular Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.

There’s much said in the U.S. press about ISIS, the former “Al Qaeda in Iraq” which splintered off several years ago, but Al Qaeda’s central role in commanding Syria’s “moderate” rebels in Aleppo and elsewhere is the almost unspoken reality of the Syrian war. Even in the U.S. presidential debates, the arguing between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton has been almost exclusively about ISIS, not Al Qaeda.

Though Al Qaeda got the ball rolling on America’s revenge wars in the Middle East 15 years ago by killing several thousand Americans and others in the 9/11 attacks, the terrorist group has faded into the background of U.S. attention, most likely because it messes up the preferred “good guy/bad guy” narrative regarding the Syrian war.

For instance, the conflict in Aleppo between Syrian government forces and rebels operating primarily under Al Qaeda’s command is treated in the Western media as simply a case of the barbaric Assad and his evil Russian ally Vladimir Putin mercilessly bombing what is portrayed as the east Aleppo equivalent of Disney World, a place where innocent children and their families peacefully congregate until they are targeted for death by the Assad-Putin war-crime family.

The photos sent out to the world by skillful rebel propagandists are almost always of wounded children being cared for by the “White Helmet” rebel civil defense corps, which has come under growing criticism for serving as a public-relations arm of Al Qaeda and other insurgents. (There also are allegations that some of the most notable images have been staged, like a fake war scene from the 1997 dark comedy, “Wag the Dog.”)

Rare Glimpse of Truth

Yet, occasionally, the reality of Al Qaeda’s importance in the rebellion breaks through, even in the mainstream U.S. media, although usually downplayed and deep inside the news pages, such as the A9 article in Saturday’s New York Times by Hwaida Saad and Anne Barnard describing a rebel offensive in Aleppo. It acknowledges: “The new offensive was a strong sign that rebel groups vetted by the United States were continuing their tactical alliances with groups linked to Al Qaeda, rather than distancing themselves as Russia has demanded and the Americans have urged. … The rebels argue that they cannot afford to shun any potential allies while they are under fire, including well-armed and motivated jihadists, without more robust aid from their international backers.” (You might note how the article subtly blames the rebel dependence on Al Qaeda on the lack of “robust aid” from the Obama administration and other outside countries – even though such arms shipments violate international law.)
What the article also makes clear in a hazy kind of way is that Al Qaeda’s affiliate, the recently renamed Nusra Front, and its jihadist allies, such as Ahrar al-Sham, are waging the brunt of the fighting while the CIA-vetted “moderates” are serving in mostly support roles. The Times reported:

“The insurgents have a diverse range of objectives and backers, but they issued statements of unity on Friday. Those taking part in the offensive include the Levant Conquest Front, a militant group formerly known as the Nusra Front that grew out of Al Qaeda; another hard-line Islamist faction, Ahrar al-Sham; and other rebel factions fighting Mr. Assad that have been vetted by the United States and its allies.”

The article cites Charles Lister, a senior fellow and Syria specialist at the Middle East Institute in Washington, and other analysts noting that “the vast majority of the American-vetted rebel factions in Aleppo were fighting inside the city itself and conducting significant bombardments against Syrian government troops in support of the Qaeda-affiliated fighters carrying out the brunt of front-line fighting.”

Lister noted that 11 of the 20 or so rebel groups conducting the Aleppo “offensive have been vetted by the C.I.A. and have received arms from the agency, including anti-tank missiles. …
“In addition to arms provided by the United States, much of the rebels’ weaponry comes from regional states, like Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Mr. Lister said, including truck-borne multiple-rocket launcher systems and Czech-made Grad rockets with extended ranges.”

The U.S./Al Qaeda Alliance

In other words, the U.S. government and its allies have smuggled sophisticated weapons into Syria to arm rebels who are operating in support of Al Qaeda’s new military offensive against Syrian government forces in Aleppo. By any logical analysis, that makes the United States an ally of Al Qaeda.

The Times article also includes a quote from Genevieve Casagrande, a Syria research analyst from the Institute for the Study of War, a neoconservative “think tank” that has supported more aggressive U.S. military involvement in Syria and the Middle East.

“The unfortunate truth, however, is that these U.S.-backed groups remain somewhat dependent upon the Al Qaeda linked groups for organization and firepower in these operations,” Casagrande said.
The other unfortunate truth is that the U.S.-supplied rebels have served, either directly or indirectly, as conduits to funnel U.S. military equipment and ordnance to Al Qaeda.

One might think that the editors of The New York Times – if they were operating with old-fashioned news judgment rather than with propagandistic blinders on – would have recast the article to highlight the tacit U.S. alliance with Al Qaeda and put that at the top of the front page.

Still, the admissions are significant, confirming what we have reported at Consortiumnews.com for many months, including Gareth Porter’s article last February saying: “Information from a wide range of sources, including some of those the United States has been explicitly supporting, makes it clear that every armed anti-Assad organization unit in those provinces [of Idlib and Aleppo] is engaged in a military structure controlled by [Al Qaeda’s] Nusra militants. All of these rebel groups fight alongside the Nusra Front and coordinate their military activities with it. …
“At least since 2014 the Obama administration has armed a number of Syrian rebel groups even though it knew the groups were coordinating closely with the Nusra Front, which was simultaneously getting arms from Turkey and Qatar.”

Double Standards

The Times article on page A9 also deviated from the normal propaganda themes by allowing a statement by Syrian officials and the Russians regarding their suspension of airstrikes over the past week to permit the evacuation of civilians from east Aleppo and the rebels’ refusal to let people leave, even to the point of firing on the humanitarian corridors:

“The [Syrian] government and its [Russian] allies accused the rebels of forcing Aleppo residents to stay, and of using them as human shields.”

The “human shields” argument is one that is common when the United States or its allies are pummeling some city controlled by “enemy” forces whether Israel’s bombardment of Gaza or the U.S. Marines’ leveling of Fallujah in Iraq or the current campaign against ISIS in the Iraqi city of Mosul. In those cases, the horrific civilian bloodshed, including the killing of children by U.S. or allied forces, is blamed on Hamas or Sunni insurgents or ISIS but never on the people dropping the bombs.

An entirely opposite narrative is applied when U.S. adversaries, such as Syria or Russia, are trying to drive terrorists and insurgents out of an urban area. Then, there is usually no reference to “human shields” and all the carnage is blamed on “war crimes” by the U.S. adversaries. That propaganda imperative helps explain why Al Qaeda and its jihadist comrades have been largely whited out of the conflict in Aleppo.

Over the past few years, U.S. regional allies, such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, also have shifted their public attitudes toward Al Qaeda, seeing it as a blunt instrument to smash the so-called “Shiite crescent” reaching from Iran through Syria to Lebanon. For instance, in September 2013, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, then a close adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told the Jerusalem Post that Israel favored Syria’s Sunni extremists over President Assad.

“The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc,” Oren told the Jerusalem Post in an interview. “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.” He said this was the case even if the “bad guys” were with Al Qaeda.

And, in June 2014, speaking as a former ambassador at an Aspen Institute conference, Oren expanded on his position, sayingIsrael would even prefer a victory by the brutal Islamic State over continuation of the Iranian-backed Assad in Syria. “From Israel’s perspective, if there’s got to be an evil that’s got to prevail, let the Sunni evil prevail,” Oren said.

Warming to Al Qaeda

As Israeli officials shifted toward viewing Al Qaeda and even ISIS as the lesser evils and built a behind-the-scenes alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Sunni states, American neoconservatives also began softening their tone regarding the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks.
Across the U.S. foreign policy establishment, pressure built for “regime change” in Damascus even if that risked handing Syria to Sunni jihadists. That strategy hit a road bump in 2014 when ISIS began chopping off the heads of Western hostages in Syria and capturing swathes of territory in Iraq, including Mosul.
That bloody development forced President Barack Obama to begin targeting ISIS militants in both Iraq and Syria, but the neocon-dominated Washington establishment still favored the Israeli-Saudi objective of “regime change” in Syria regardless of how that might help Al Qaeda.

Thus, Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and its jihadist ally, Ahrar al-Sham, faded into the background under the fiction that the anti-Assad forces were primarily noble “moderates” trying to save the children from the bloodthirsty fiends, Assad and Putin.
Grudgingly, The New York Times, deep inside Saturday’s newspaper, acknowledged at least part of the troubling reality, that the U.S. government has, in effect, allied itself with Al Qaeda terrorists.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon andbarnesandnoble.com).
The announcement last week by the United States of the largest military aid package in its history – to Israel – was a win for both sides.Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu could boast that his lobbying had boosted aid from $3.1 billion a year to $3.8bn – a 22 per cent increase – for a decade starting in 2019.
Mr Netanyahu has presented this as a rebuff to those who accuse him of jeopardising Israeli security interests with his government’s repeated affronts to the White House.
In the past weeks alone, defence minister Avigdor Lieberman has compared last year’s nuclear deal between Washington and Iran with the 1938 Munich pact, which bolstered Hitler; and Mr Netanyahu has implied that US opposition to settlement expansion is the same as support for the “ethnic cleansing” of Jews.
American president Barack Obama, meanwhile, hopes to stifle his own critics who insinuate that he is anti-Israel. The deal should serve as a fillip too for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic party’s candidate to succeed Mr Obama in November’s election.
In reality, however, the Obama administration has quietly punished Mr Netanyahu for his misbehaviour. Israeli expectations of a $4.5bn-a-year deal were whittled down after Mr Netanyahu stalled negotiations last year as he sought to recruit Congress to his battle against the Iran deal.
In fact, Israel already receives roughly $3.8bn – if Congress’s assistance on developing missile defence programmes is factored in. Notably, Israel has been forced to promise not to approach Congress for extra funds.
The deal takes into account neither inflation nor the dollar’s depreciation against the shekel.
A bigger blow still is the White House’s demand to phase out a special exemption that allowed Israel to spend nearly 40 per cent of aid locally on weapon and fuel purchases. Israel will soon have to buy all its armaments from the US, ending what amounted to a subsidy to its own arms industry.
Nonetheless, Washington’s renewed military largesse – in the face of almost continual insults – inevitably fuels claims that the Israeli tail is wagging the US dog. Even The New York Times has described the aid package as “too big”.
Since the 1973 war, Israel has received at least $100bn in military aid, with more assistance hidden from view. Back in the 1970s, Washington paid half of Israel’s military budget. Today it still foots a fifth of the bill, despite Israel’s economic success.
But the US expects a return on its massive investment. As the late Israeli politician-general Ariel Sharon once observed, ­Israel has been a US “aircraft carrier” in the Middle East, acting as the regional bully and carrying out operations that benefit Washington.
Almost no one blames the US for Israeli attacks that wiped out Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear programmes. A nuclear-armed Iraq or Syria would have deterred later US-backed moves at regime overthrow, as well as countering the strategic advantage Israel derives from its own nuclear arsenal.
In addition, Israel’s US-sponsored military prowess is a triple boon to the US weapons industry, the country’s most powerful lobby. Public funds are siphoned off to let Israel buy goodies from American arms makers. That, in turn, serves as a shop window for other customers and spurs an endless and lucrative game of catch-up in the rest of the Middle East.
The first F-35 fighter jets to arrive in Israel in December – their various components produced in 46 US states – will increase the clamour for the cutting-edge warplane.
Israel is also a “front-line laboratory”, as former Israeli army negotiator Eival Gilady admitted at the weekend, that develops and field-tests new technology Washington can later use itself.
The US is planning to buy back the missile interception system Iron Dome – which neutralises battlefield threats of retaliation – it largely paid for. Israel works closely too with the US in developing cyber­warfare, such as the Stuxnet worm that damaged Iran’s civilian nuclear programme.
But the clearest message from Israel’s new aid package is one delivered to the Palestinians: Washington sees no pressing strategic interest in ending the occupation. It stood up to Mr Netanyahu over the Iran deal but will not risk a damaging clash over Palestinian statehood.
Some believe that Mr Obama signed the aid package to win the credibility necessary to overcome his domestic Israel lobby and pull a rabbit from the hat: an initiative, unveiled shortly before he leaves office, that corners Mr Netanyahu into making peace.
Hopes have been raised by an expected meeting at the United Nations in New York on Wednesday. But their first talks in 10 months are planned only to demonstrate unity to confound critics of the aid deal.
If Mr Obama really wanted to pressure Mr Netanyahu, he would have used the aid agreement as leverage. Now Mr Netanyahu need not fear US financial retaliation, even as he intensifies effective annexation of the West Bank.
Mr Netanyahu has drawn the right lesson from the aid deal – he can act against the Palestinians with continuing US impunity.
- See more at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net/2016-09-19/palestinians-lose-in-us-military-aid-deal-with-israel/#sthash.fL4Eq28N.dpuf
The De Facto US/Al Qaeda Alliance

Exclusive: Buried deep inside Saturday’s New York Times was a grudging acknowledgement that the U.S.-armed “moderate” rebels in Syria are using their U.S. firepower to back an Al Qaeda offensive, reports Robert Parry.
A curious aspect of the Syrian conflict – a rebellion sponsored largely by the United States and its Gulf state allies – is the disappearance in much of the American mainstream news media of references to the prominent role played by Al Qaeda in seeking to overthrow the secular Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.

There’s much said in the U.S. press about ISIS, the former “Al Qaeda in Iraq” which splintered off several years ago, but Al Qaeda’s central role in commanding Syria’s “moderate” rebels in Aleppo and elsewhere is the almost unspoken reality of the Syrian war. Even in the U.S. presidential debates, the arguing between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton has been almost exclusively about ISIS, not Al Qaeda.

Though Al Qaeda got the ball rolling on America’s revenge wars in the Middle East 15 years ago by killing several thousand Americans and others in the 9/11 attacks, the terrorist group has faded into the background of U.S. attention, most likely because it messes up the preferred “good guy/bad guy” narrative regarding the Syrian war.

For instance, the conflict in Aleppo between Syrian government forces and rebels operating primarily under Al Qaeda’s command is treated in the Western media as simply a case of the barbaric Assad and his evil Russian ally Vladimir Putin mercilessly bombing what is portrayed as the east Aleppo equivalent of Disney World, a place where innocent children and their families peacefully congregate until they are targeted for death by the Assad-Putin war-crime family.

The photos sent out to the world by skillful rebel propagandists are almost always of wounded children being cared for by the “White Helmet” rebel civil defense corps, which has come under growing criticism for serving as a public-relations arm of Al Qaeda and other insurgents. (There also are allegations that some of the most notable images have been staged, like a fake war scene from the 1997 dark comedy, “Wag the Dog.”)

Rare Glimpse of Truth

Yet, occasionally, the reality of Al Qaeda’s importance in the rebellion breaks through, even in the mainstream U.S. media, although usually downplayed and deep inside the news pages, such as the A9 article in Saturday’s New York Times by Hwaida Saad and Anne Barnard describing a rebel offensive in Aleppo. It acknowledges: “The new offensive was a strong sign that rebel groups vetted by the United States were continuing their tactical alliances with groups linked to Al Qaeda, rather than distancing themselves as Russia has demanded and the Americans have urged. … The rebels argue that they cannot afford to shun any potential allies while they are under fire, including well-armed and motivated jihadists, without more robust aid from their international backers.” (You might note how the article subtly blames the rebel dependence on Al Qaeda on the lack of “robust aid” from the Obama administration and other outside countries – even though such arms shipments violate international law.)
What the article also makes clear in a hazy kind of way is that Al Qaeda’s affiliate, the recently renamed Nusra Front, and its jihadist allies, such as Ahrar al-Sham, are waging the brunt of the fighting while the CIA-vetted “moderates” are serving in mostly support roles. The Times reported:

“The insurgents have a diverse range of objectives and backers, but they issued statements of unity on Friday. Those taking part in the offensive include the Levant Conquest Front, a militant group formerly known as the Nusra Front that grew out of Al Qaeda; another hard-line Islamist faction, Ahrar al-Sham; and other rebel factions fighting Mr. Assad that have been vetted by the United States and its allies.”

The article cites Charles Lister, a senior fellow and Syria specialist at the Middle East Institute in Washington, and other analysts noting that “the vast majority of the American-vetted rebel factions in Aleppo were fighting inside the city itself and conducting significant bombardments against Syrian government troops in support of the Qaeda-affiliated fighters carrying out the brunt of front-line fighting.”

Lister noted that 11 of the 20 or so rebel groups conducting the Aleppo “offensive have been vetted by the C.I.A. and have received arms from the agency, including anti-tank missiles. …
“In addition to arms provided by the United States, much of the rebels’ weaponry comes from regional states, like Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Mr. Lister said, including truck-borne multiple-rocket launcher systems and Czech-made Grad rockets with extended ranges.”

The U.S./Al Qaeda Alliance

In other words, the U.S. government and its allies have smuggled sophisticated weapons into Syria to arm rebels who are operating in support of Al Qaeda’s new military offensive against Syrian government forces in Aleppo. By any logical analysis, that makes the United States an ally of Al Qaeda.

The Times article also includes a quote from Genevieve Casagrande, a Syria research analyst from the Institute for the Study of War, a neoconservative “think tank” that has supported more aggressive U.S. military involvement in Syria and the Middle East.

“The unfortunate truth, however, is that these U.S.-backed groups remain somewhat dependent upon the Al Qaeda linked groups for organization and firepower in these operations,” Casagrande said.
The other unfortunate truth is that the U.S.-supplied rebels have served, either directly or indirectly, as conduits to funnel U.S. military equipment and ordnance to Al Qaeda.

One might think that the editors of The New York Times – if they were operating with old-fashioned news judgment rather than with propagandistic blinders on – would have recast the article to highlight the tacit U.S. alliance with Al Qaeda and put that at the top of the front page.

Still, the admissions are significant, confirming what we have reported at Consortiumnews.com for many months, including Gareth Porter’s article last February saying: “Information from a wide range of sources, including some of those the United States has been explicitly supporting, makes it clear that every armed anti-Assad organization unit in those provinces [of Idlib and Aleppo] is engaged in a military structure controlled by [Al Qaeda’s] Nusra militants. All of these rebel groups fight alongside the Nusra Front and coordinate their military activities with it. …
“At least since 2014 the Obama administration has armed a number of Syrian rebel groups even though it knew the groups were coordinating closely with the Nusra Front, which was simultaneously getting arms from Turkey and Qatar.”

Double Standards

The Times article on page A9 also deviated from the normal propaganda themes by allowing a statement by Syrian officials and the Russians regarding their suspension of airstrikes over the past week to permit the evacuation of civilians from east Aleppo and the rebels’ refusal to let people leave, even to the point of firing on the humanitarian corridors:

“The [Syrian] government and its [Russian] allies accused the rebels of forcing Aleppo residents to stay, and of using them as human shields.”

The “human shields” argument is one that is common when the United States or its allies are pummeling some city controlled by “enemy” forces whether Israel’s bombardment of Gaza or the U.S. Marines’ leveling of Fallujah in Iraq or the current campaign against ISIS in the Iraqi city of Mosul. In those cases, the horrific civilian bloodshed, including the killing of children by U.S. or allied forces, is blamed on Hamas or Sunni insurgents or ISIS but never on the people dropping the bombs.

An entirely opposite narrative is applied when U.S. adversaries, such as Syria or Russia, are trying to drive terrorists and insurgents out of an urban area. Then, there is usually no reference to “human shields” and all the carnage is blamed on “war crimes” by the U.S. adversaries. That propaganda imperative helps explain why Al Qaeda and its jihadist comrades have been largely whited out of the conflict in Aleppo.

Over the past few years, U.S. regional allies, such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, also have shifted their public attitudes toward Al Qaeda, seeing it as a blunt instrument to smash the so-called “Shiite crescent” reaching from Iran through Syria to Lebanon. For instance, in September 2013, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, then a close adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told the Jerusalem Post that Israel favored Syria’s Sunni extremists over President Assad.

“The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc,” Oren told the Jerusalem Post in an interview. “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.” He said this was the case even if the “bad guys” were with Al Qaeda.

And, in June 2014, speaking as a former ambassador at an Aspen Institute conference, Oren expanded on his position, sayingIsrael would even prefer a victory by the brutal Islamic State over continuation of the Iranian-backed Assad in Syria. “From Israel’s perspective, if there’s got to be an evil that’s got to prevail, let the Sunni evil prevail,” Oren said.

Warming to Al Qaeda

As Israeli officials shifted toward viewing Al Qaeda and even ISIS as the lesser evils and built a behind-the-scenes alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Sunni states, American neoconservatives also began softening their tone regarding the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks.
Across the U.S. foreign policy establishment, pressure built for “regime change” in Damascus even if that risked handing Syria to Sunni jihadists. That strategy hit a road bump in 2014 when ISIS began chopping off the heads of Western hostages in Syria and capturing swathes of territory in Iraq, including Mosul.
That bloody development forced President Barack Obama to begin targeting ISIS militants in both Iraq and Syria, but the neocon-dominated Washington establishment still favored the Israeli-Saudi objective of “regime change” in Syria regardless of how that might help Al Qaeda.

Thus, Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and its jihadist ally, Ahrar al-Sham, faded into the background under the fiction that the anti-Assad forces were primarily noble “moderates” trying to save the children from the bloodthirsty fiends, Assad and Putin.
Grudgingly, The New York Times, deep inside Saturday’s newspaper, acknowledged at least part of the troubling reality, that the U.S. government has, in effect, allied itself with Al Qaeda terrorists.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon andbarnesandnoble.com).


Not Guilty: The Power of Nullification to Counteract Government Tyranny

Not Guilty: The Power of Nullification to Counteract Government Tyranny




“The people have the power, all we have to do is awaken that power in the people. The people are unaware. They’re not educated to realize that they have power. The system is so geared that everyone believes the government will fix everything. We are the government.”—John Lennon
How do you balance the scales of justice at a time when Americans are being tasered, tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed, hit with batons, shot with rubber bullets and real bullets, blasted with sound cannons, detained in cages and kennels, sicced by police dogs, arrested and jailed for challenging the government’s excesses, abuses and power-grabs?
Politics won’t fix a system that is broken beyond repair.
No matter who sits in the White House, the shadow government will continue to call the shots behind the scenes.
Relying on the courts to restore justice seems futile.
Indeed, with every ruling handed down, it becomes more apparent that we live in an age of hollow justice, with government courts, largely lacking in vision and scope, rendering narrow rulings focused on the letter of the law. This is true at all levels of the judiciary, but especially so in the highest court of the land, the U.S. Supreme Court, which is seemingly more concerned with establishing order and protecting government agents than with upholding the rights enshrined in the Constitution.
Even so, justice matters.
It matters whether you’re a rancher protesting a federal land-grab by the Bureau of Land Management, a Native American protesting an oil pipeline that will endanger sacred sites and pollute water supplies, or an African-American taking to the streets to protest yet another police shooting of an unarmed citizen.
Unfortunately, protests and populist movements haven’t done much to push back against an authoritarian regime that is deaf to our cries, dumb to our troubles, blind to our needs, and accountable to no one.
It doesn’t matter who the activists are (environmentalists, peaceniks, Native Americans, Black Lives Matter, Occupy, or the Bundys and their followers) or what the source of the discontent is (endless wars abroad, police shootings, contaminated drinking water, government land-grabs), the government’s modus operandi has remained the same: shut down the protests using all means available, prosecute First Amendment activities to the fullest extent of the law, and discourage any future civil uprisings by criminalizing expressive activities, labelling dissidents as extremists or terrorists, and conducting widespread surveillance on the general populace in order to put down any whispers of resistance before it can take root.
Thus, if there is any means left to us for thwarting the government in its relentless march towards outright dictatorship, it may rest with the power of juries and local governments to invalidate governmental laws, tactics and policies that are illegitimate, egregious or blatantly unconstitutional.
Just recently, in fact, an Oregon jury rejected the government’s attempts to prosecute seven activists who staged a six-week, armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
In finding the defendants not guilty—of conspiracy to impede federal officers, of possession of firearms in a federal facility, and of stealing a government-owned truck—the jury sent its own message to the government and those following the case: justice matters.
The Malheur occupiers were found not guilty despite the fact that they had guns in a federal facility (their lawyers argued the guns were “as much a statement of their rural culture as a cowboy hat or a pair of jeans”). They were found not guilty despite the fact that they used government vehicles (although they would argue that government property is public property available to all taxpayers). They were found not guilty despite the fact that they succeeded in occupying a government facility for six weeks, thereby preventing workers from performing their duties (as the Washington Postpoints out, this charge has also been used to prosecute extremist left-wingers and Earth First protesters).
Many other equally sincere activists with eloquent lawyers and ardent supporters have gone to jail for lesser offenses than those committed at the Malheur Refuge, so what made the difference here?
The jury made all the difference.
These seven Oregon protesters were found not guilty because a jury of their peers recognized the sincerity of their convictions, sympathized with the complaints against an overreaching government, and balanced the scales of justice using the only tools available to them: common sense, compassion and the power of the jury box.
Jury nullification works.
As law professor Ilya Somin explains, jury nullification is the practice by which a jury refuses to convict someone accused of a crime if they believe the “law in question is unjust or the punishment is excessive.” According to former federal prosecutor Paul Butler, the doctrine of jury nullification is “premised on the idea that ordinary citizens, not government officials, should have the final say as to whether a person should be punished.”
Imagine that: a world where the citizenry—not the government or its corporate controllers—actually calls the shots and determines what is just.
In a world of “rampant overcriminalization,” where the average citizen unknowingly breaks three laws a day, jury nullification acts as “a check on runaway authoritarian criminalization and the increasing network of confusing laws that are passed with neither the approval nor oftentimes even the knowledge of the citizenry.”
Indeed, Butler believes so strongly in the power of nullification to balance the scales between the power of the prosecutor and the power of the people that he advises:
If you are ever on a jury in a marijuana case, I recommend that you vote “not guilty” — even if you think the defendant actually smoked pot, or sold it to another consenting adult. As a juror, you have this power under the Bill of Rights; if you exercise it, you become part of a proud tradition of American jurors who helped make our laws fairer.
In other words, it’s “we the people” who can and should be determining what laws are just, what activities are criminal and who can be jailed for what crimes.
Not only should the punishment fit the crime, but the laws of the land should also reflect the concerns of the citizenry as opposed to the profit-driven priorities of Corporate America.
This is where the power of jury nullification is so critical: to reject inane laws and extreme sentences and counteract the edicts of a profit-driven governmental elite that sees nothing wrong with jailing someone for a lifetime for a relatively insignificant crime.
Of course, the powers-that-be don’t want the citizenry to know that it has any power at all.
They would prefer that we remain clueless about the government’s many illicit activities, ignorant about our constitutional rights, and powerless to bring about any real change.
In an age in which government officials accused of wrongdoing—police officers, elected officials, etc.—are treated with general leniency, while the average citizen is prosecuted to the full extent of the law, jury nullification is a powerful reminder that, as the Constitution tells us, “we the people” are the government.
For too long we’ve allowed our so-called “representatives” to call the shots. Now it’s time to restore the citizenry to their rightful place in the republic: as the masters, not the servants.
Nullification is one way of doing so.
Various cities and states have been using this historic doctrine with mixed results on issues as wide ranging as gun control and healthcare to “claim freedom from federal laws they find onerous or wrongheaded.”
Where nullification can be particularly powerful, however, is in the hands of the juror.
The reality with which we must contend is that justice in America is reserved for those who can afford to buy their way out of jail.
For the rest of us who are dependent on the “fairness” of the system, there exists a multitude of ways in which justice can and does go wrong every day. Police misconduct. Prosecutorial misconduct. Judicial bias. Inadequate defense. Prosecutors who care more about winning a case than seeking justice. Judges who care more about what is legal than what is just. Jurors who know nothing of the law and are left to deliberate in the dark about life-and-death decisions. And an overwhelming body of laws, statutes and ordinances that render the average American a criminal, no matter how law-abiding they might think themselves.
If you’re to have any hope of remaining free—and I use that word loosely—your best bet remains in your fellow citizens.
Your fellow citizens may not know what the Constitution says (studies have shown Americans to be abysmally ignorant about their rights), they may not know what the laws are (there are so many on the books that the average American breaks three laws a day without knowing it), and they may not even believe in your innocence, but if you’re lucky, those who serve on a jury will have a conscience that speaks louder than the legalistic tones of the prosecutors and the judges and reminds them that justice and fairness go hand in hand.
That’s ultimately what jury nullification is all about: restoring a sense of fairness to our system of justice. It’s the best protection for “we the people” against the oppression and tyranny of the government, and God knows, we can use all the protection we can get. It’s a powerful way to remind the government—all of those bureaucrats who have appointed themselves judge, jury and jailer over all that we are, have and do—that we’re the ones who set the rules.
We could transform this nation if only Americans would work together to harness the power of their discontent.
Unfortunately, the government’s divide and conquer tactics are working like a charm.
Despite the laundry list of grievances that should unite “we the people” in common cause against the government, the nation is more divided than ever by politics, by socio-economics, by race, by religion, and by every other distinction that serves to highlight our differences.
The real and manufactured events of recent years—the invasive surveillance, the extremism reports, the civil unrest, the protests, the shootings, the bombings, the military exercises and active shooter drills, the color-coded alerts and threat assessments, the fusion centers, the transformation of local police into extensions of the military, the distribution of military equipment and weapons to local police forces, the government databases containing the names of dissidents and potential troublemakers—have all conjoined to create an environment in which “we the people” are more divided, more distrustful, and fearful of each other.
What we have failed to realize is that in the eyes of the government, we’re all the same.
In other words, when it’s time for the government to crack down—and that time is coming—it won’t matter whether we supported Hillary or Trump, whether we stood with the pipeline protesters or opposed BLM, or whether we spoke out against government misconduct and injustice or remained silent.
When the government cracks down, we’ll all suffer.
Here’s the thing: the government wants a civil war.
The objective: compliance and control.
Its strategy: destabilize the economy through endless wars, escalate racial tensions, polarize the populace, heighten tensions through a show of force, intensify the use of violence, and then, when all hell breaks loose, clamp down on the nation for the good of the people and the security of the nation.
The government has been anticipating and preparing for such a civil uprising for some time now.
Those protests in FergusonBaltimore and Baton Rouge to protest police brutality? The militarized police “clad in Kevlar vests, helmets, and camouflage, armed with pistols, shotguns, automatic rifles, and tear gas” turning towns into war zones? The kenneling of pipeline protesters in North Dakota?
Those were just dress rehearsals for the government to work out the kinks in its operating manual on how to deal with civil unrest.
They were also previews of what’s in store if we continue to challenge the powers-that-be.
After all, it’s hard to persuade anyone to stand against tyranny when all you can promise them as a reward is persecution, prosecution and a one-way trip to the morgue. And when the outcome seems to be a foregone conclusion—the government always wins—it can seem pointless, even foolhardy, to dare to challenge the system.
So how do you not only push back against the police state’s bureaucracy, corruption and cruelty but also launch a counterrevolution aimed at reclaiming control over the government using nonviolent means?
You start by changing the rules and engaging in some (nonviolent) guerilla tactics.
Employ militant nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience, which Martin Luther King Jr. used to great effect through the use of sit-ins, boycotts and marches.
Take part in grassroots activism, which takes a trickle-up approach to governmental reform by implementing change at the local level (in other words, think nationally, but act locally).
And then, as I explain in more detail in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, nullify everything. Nullify the court cases. Nullify the laws. Nullify everything the government does that is illegitimate, egregious or blatantly unconstitutional.

By John W. Whitehead
Pro Deo et Constitutione – Libertas aut Mors
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Joseph F Barber
Lawful Rebellion 

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”


 I SAY STAND AND BE COUNTED FOR I WILL NOT BE GOVERNED FOR “To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be place under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality."

Not Guilty: The Power of Nullification to Counteract Government Tyranny




“The people have the power, all we have to do is awaken that power in the people. The people are unaware. They’re not educated to realize that they have power. The system is so geared that everyone believes the government will fix everything. We are the government.”—John Lennon
How do you balance the scales of justice at a time when Americans are being tasered, tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed, hit with batons, shot with rubber bullets and real bullets, blasted with sound cannons, detained in cages and kennels, sicced by police dogs, arrested and jailed for challenging the government’s excesses, abuses and power-grabs?
Politics won’t fix a system that is broken beyond repair.
No matter who sits in the White House, the shadow government will continue to call the shots behind the scenes.
Relying on the courts to restore justice seems futile.
Indeed, with every ruling handed down, it becomes more apparent that we live in an age of hollow justice, with government courts, largely lacking in vision and scope, rendering narrow rulings focused on the letter of the law. This is true at all levels of the judiciary, but especially so in the highest court of the land, the U.S. Supreme Court, which is seemingly more concerned with establishing order and protecting government agents than with upholding the rights enshrined in the Constitution.
Even so, justice matters.
It matters whether you’re a rancher protesting a federal land-grab by the Bureau of Land Management, a Native American protesting an oil pipeline that will endanger sacred sites and pollute water supplies, or an African-American taking to the streets to protest yet another police shooting of an unarmed citizen.
Unfortunately, protests and populist movements haven’t done much to push back against an authoritarian regime that is deaf to our cries, dumb to our troubles, blind to our needs, and accountable to no one.
It doesn’t matter who the activists are (environmentalists, peaceniks, Native Americans, Black Lives Matter, Occupy, or the Bundys and their followers) or what the source of the discontent is (endless wars abroad, police shootings, contaminated drinking water, government land-grabs), the government’s modus operandi has remained the same: shut down the protests using all means available, prosecute First Amendment activities to the fullest extent of the law, and discourage any future civil uprisings by criminalizing expressive activities, labelling dissidents as extremists or terrorists, and conducting widespread surveillance on the general populace in order to put down any whispers of resistance before it can take root.
Thus, if there is any means left to us for thwarting the government in its relentless march towards outright dictatorship, it may rest with the power of juries and local governments to invalidate governmental laws, tactics and policies that are illegitimate, egregious or blatantly unconstitutional.
Just recently, in fact, an Oregon jury rejected the government’s attempts to prosecute seven activists who staged a six-week, armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
In finding the defendants not guilty—of conspiracy to impede federal officers, of possession of firearms in a federal facility, and of stealing a government-owned truck—the jury sent its own message to the government and those following the case: justice matters.
The Malheur occupiers were found not guilty despite the fact that they had guns in a federal facility (their lawyers argued the guns were “as much a statement of their rural culture as a cowboy hat or a pair of jeans”). They were found not guilty despite the fact that they used government vehicles (although they would argue that government property is public property available to all taxpayers). They were found not guilty despite the fact that they succeeded in occupying a government facility for six weeks, thereby preventing workers from performing their duties (as the Washington Postpoints out, this charge has also been used to prosecute extremist left-wingers and Earth First protesters).
Many other equally sincere activists with eloquent lawyers and ardent supporters have gone to jail for lesser offenses than those committed at the Malheur Refuge, so what made the difference here?
The jury made all the difference.
These seven Oregon protesters were found not guilty because a jury of their peers recognized the sincerity of their convictions, sympathized with the complaints against an overreaching government, and balanced the scales of justice using the only tools available to them: common sense, compassion and the power of the jury box.
Jury nullification works.
As law professor Ilya Somin explains, jury nullification is the practice by which a jury refuses to convict someone accused of a crime if they believe the “law in question is unjust or the punishment is excessive.” According to former federal prosecutor Paul Butler, the doctrine of jury nullification is “premised on the idea that ordinary citizens, not government officials, should have the final say as to whether a person should be punished.”
Imagine that: a world where the citizenry—not the government or its corporate controllers—actually calls the shots and determines what is just.
In a world of “rampant overcriminalization,” where the average citizen unknowingly breaks three laws a day, jury nullification acts as “a check on runaway authoritarian criminalization and the increasing network of confusing laws that are passed with neither the approval nor oftentimes even the knowledge of the citizenry.”
Indeed, Butler believes so strongly in the power of nullification to balance the scales between the power of the prosecutor and the power of the people that he advises:
If you are ever on a jury in a marijuana case, I recommend that you vote “not guilty” — even if you think the defendant actually smoked pot, or sold it to another consenting adult. As a juror, you have this power under the Bill of Rights; if you exercise it, you become part of a proud tradition of American jurors who helped make our laws fairer.
In other words, it’s “we the people” who can and should be determining what laws are just, what activities are criminal and who can be jailed for what crimes.
Not only should the punishment fit the crime, but the laws of the land should also reflect the concerns of the citizenry as opposed to the profit-driven priorities of Corporate America.
This is where the power of jury nullification is so critical: to reject inane laws and extreme sentences and counteract the edicts of a profit-driven governmental elite that sees nothing wrong with jailing someone for a lifetime for a relatively insignificant crime.
Of course, the powers-that-be don’t want the citizenry to know that it has any power at all.
They would prefer that we remain clueless about the government’s many illicit activities, ignorant about our constitutional rights, and powerless to bring about any real change.
In an age in which government officials accused of wrongdoing—police officers, elected officials, etc.—are treated with general leniency, while the average citizen is prosecuted to the full extent of the law, jury nullification is a powerful reminder that, as the Constitution tells us, “we the people” are the government.
For too long we’ve allowed our so-called “representatives” to call the shots. Now it’s time to restore the citizenry to their rightful place in the republic: as the masters, not the servants.
Nullification is one way of doing so.
Various cities and states have been using this historic doctrine with mixed results on issues as wide ranging as gun control and healthcare to “claim freedom from federal laws they find onerous or wrongheaded.”
Where nullification can be particularly powerful, however, is in the hands of the juror.
The reality with which we must contend is that justice in America is reserved for those who can afford to buy their way out of jail.
For the rest of us who are dependent on the “fairness” of the system, there exists a multitude of ways in which justice can and does go wrong every day. Police misconduct. Prosecutorial misconduct. Judicial bias. Inadequate defense. Prosecutors who care more about winning a case than seeking justice. Judges who care more about what is legal than what is just. Jurors who know nothing of the law and are left to deliberate in the dark about life-and-death decisions. And an overwhelming body of laws, statutes and ordinances that render the average American a criminal, no matter how law-abiding they might think themselves.
If you’re to have any hope of remaining free—and I use that word loosely—your best bet remains in your fellow citizens.
Your fellow citizens may not know what the Constitution says (studies have shown Americans to be abysmally ignorant about their rights), they may not know what the laws are (there are so many on the books that the average American breaks three laws a day without knowing it), and they may not even believe in your innocence, but if you’re lucky, those who serve on a jury will have a conscience that speaks louder than the legalistic tones of the prosecutors and the judges and reminds them that justice and fairness go hand in hand.
That’s ultimately what jury nullification is all about: restoring a sense of fairness to our system of justice. It’s the best protection for “we the people” against the oppression and tyranny of the government, and God knows, we can use all the protection we can get. It’s a powerful way to remind the government—all of those bureaucrats who have appointed themselves judge, jury and jailer over all that we are, have and do—that we’re the ones who set the rules.
We could transform this nation if only Americans would work together to harness the power of their discontent.
Unfortunately, the government’s divide and conquer tactics are working like a charm.
Despite the laundry list of grievances that should unite “we the people” in common cause against the government, the nation is more divided than ever by politics, by socio-economics, by race, by religion, and by every other distinction that serves to highlight our differences.
The real and manufactured events of recent years—the invasive surveillance, the extremism reports, the civil unrest, the protests, the shootings, the bombings, the military exercises and active shooter drills, the color-coded alerts and threat assessments, the fusion centers, the transformation of local police into extensions of the military, the distribution of military equipment and weapons to local police forces, the government databases containing the names of dissidents and potential troublemakers—have all conjoined to create an environment in which “we the people” are more divided, more distrustful, and fearful of each other.
What we have failed to realize is that in the eyes of the government, we’re all the same.
In other words, when it’s time for the government to crack down—and that time is coming—it won’t matter whether we supported Hillary or Trump, whether we stood with the pipeline protesters or opposed BLM, or whether we spoke out against government misconduct and injustice or remained silent.
When the government cracks down, we’ll all suffer.
Here’s the thing: the government wants a civil war.
The objective: compliance and control.
Its strategy: destabilize the economy through endless wars, escalate racial tensions, polarize the populace, heighten tensions through a show of force, intensify the use of violence, and then, when all hell breaks loose, clamp down on the nation for the good of the people and the security of the nation.
The government has been anticipating and preparing for such a civil uprising for some time now.
Those protests in FergusonBaltimore and Baton Rouge to protest police brutality? The militarized police “clad in Kevlar vests, helmets, and camouflage, armed with pistols, shotguns, automatic rifles, and tear gas” turning towns into war zones? The kenneling of pipeline protesters in North Dakota?
Those were just dress rehearsals for the government to work out the kinks in its operating manual on how to deal with civil unrest.
They were also previews of what’s in store if we continue to challenge the powers-that-be.
After all, it’s hard to persuade anyone to stand against tyranny when all you can promise them as a reward is persecution, prosecution and a one-way trip to the morgue. And when the outcome seems to be a foregone conclusion—the government always wins—it can seem pointless, even foolhardy, to dare to challenge the system.
So how do you not only push back against the police state’s bureaucracy, corruption and cruelty but also launch a counterrevolution aimed at reclaiming control over the government using nonviolent means?
You start by changing the rules and engaging in some (nonviolent) guerilla tactics.
Employ militant nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience, which Martin Luther King Jr. used to great effect through the use of sit-ins, boycotts and marches.
Take part in grassroots activism, which takes a trickle-up approach to governmental reform by implementing change at the local level (in other words, think nationally, but act locally).
And then, as I explain in more detail in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, nullify everything. Nullify the court cases. Nullify the laws. Nullify everything the government does that is illegitimate, egregious or blatantly unconstitutional.

By John W. Whitehead
Pro Deo et Constitutione – Libertas aut Mors
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Joseph F Barber
Lawful Rebellion 

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.”


 I SAY STAND AND BE COUNTED FOR I WILL NOT BE GOVERNED FOR “To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be place under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality."



Spy Scandals, Globalism and the Betrayal of America

Hillary Clinton and her top aide, Huma Abedin, are at the very least, security risks. It could become the biggest spy scandal since Alger Hiss

Spy Scandals, Globalism and the Betrayal of America



By any objective measure, it can be argued that the stench of globalism is starting to affect everything, even perceptions of our founding documents. It may also invite foreign penetration into the highest levels of our government.
Visitors to Independence Hall in Philadelphia are surprised to learn that the site of the adoption of our Declaration of Independence is now a World Heritage Site designated by the United Nations. A big plaque with the designation faces you after you get a lecture from the U.S. Park Service and prepare to enter the historic building. Referring to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, the United Nations declares, “The universal principles of freedom and democracy set forth in these documents are of fundamental importance to American history and have also had a profound impact on law-makers around the world.” These are nice thoughts. But the U.N. is hardly a tribute to freedom and democracy. Ordinary patriotic Americans don’t like the idea of the corrupt United Nations claiming some form of jurisdiction over Independence Hall.
What’s more, visitors to the Liberty Bell see a big picture of Nelson Mandela raising a clenched fist salute. The Mandela quotation that the Liberty Bell is “a very significant symbol for the entire democratic world” is featured next to the photograph. These, too, are nice thoughts. But while Mandela presided over a democratic transition that turned the whites out of power in South Africa, revelations after his death proved that he was a secret member of the South African Communist Party. He had concealed his true motives and allegiances from those who elected him. South Africa is a member of the Russian orbit of nations, known as BRICS, and some of the remaining whites are fleeing.
The “Citizenship in the World” merit badge is now required for the highest rank in Scouting, Eagle Scout, with one of the requirements being, “Explain what citizenship in the world means to you and what you think it takes to be a good world citizen.”
What Hillary Clinton is trying to carry forward is something that her husband talked openly about in 2003. In his “Global Challenges” speech, former President Clinton outlined a form of world government. “We cannot continue to live in a world where we grow more and more and more interdependence, and we have no over-arching system to have the positive elements of interdependence outweigh the negative ones,” he said. He went on to say, “…I think the great mission of 21st Century world is to make it a genuine global community. To move from mere interdependence to integration, to a community that has three characteristics: shared responsibilities, shared benefits, and shared values.”
That “over-arching system” includes strengthening the United Nations, a process still underway, and currently using the alleged threat of “climate change” to build up the power of this world body and move toward a “genuine global community.”
As president, Clinton had sent a June 22, 1993 letter congratulating the members of the World Federalist Association for meeting to give Strobe Talbott the annual Norman Cousins Global Governance Award. “Norman Cousins worked for world peace and world government,” Clinton said. Talbott, a former Time magazine columnist and U.S. diplomat who served in Clinton’s administration, was a “voice for global harmony,” Clinton said. As a Time magazine writer, Talbott had written a column openly calling for world government. Now the head of the Brookings Institution, Talbott had direct but confidential contacts with Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state, according to recent WikiLeaks disclosures. The book, Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia’s Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War, documents questionable contacts between Talbott and the Russian intelligence service. Mrs. Clinton spoke to the same World Federalist group in 1999, congratulating former CBS Evening News anchorman Walter Cronkite upon his receipt of the Norman Cousins award.
Yet, Talbott’s continuing relationship with Hillary Clinton is not a subject that alarms the major media.
However, the disclosure that the FBI discovered some of Hillary Clinton’s emails on the Huma Abedin/Anthony Weiner computer could also have national security implications. Were these emails shared with or hacked by our foreign adversaries? Tragically, the American people may not have the answer to this question by Election Day, November 8. But the carelessness of the arrangement is such that we have to suspect the worst, and that Hillary Clinton and her top aide, Huma Abedin, are at the very least, security risks. It could become the biggest spy scandal since Alger Hiss, the former State Department official who was exposed as a Soviet spy. He happened to be a founder of the United Nations.

Cliff Kincaid —

Pro Deo et Constitutione – Libertas aut Mors
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Joseph F Barber


Hillary Clinton and her top aide, Huma Abedin, are at the very least, security risks. It could become the biggest spy scandal since Alger Hiss

Spy Scandals, Globalism and the Betrayal of America



By any objective measure, it can be argued that the stench of globalism is starting to affect everything, even perceptions of our founding documents. It may also invite foreign penetration into the highest levels of our government.
Visitors to Independence Hall in Philadelphia are surprised to learn that the site of the adoption of our Declaration of Independence is now a World Heritage Site designated by the United Nations. A big plaque with the designation faces you after you get a lecture from the U.S. Park Service and prepare to enter the historic building. Referring to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, the United Nations declares, “The universal principles of freedom and democracy set forth in these documents are of fundamental importance to American history and have also had a profound impact on law-makers around the world.” These are nice thoughts. But the U.N. is hardly a tribute to freedom and democracy. Ordinary patriotic Americans don’t like the idea of the corrupt United Nations claiming some form of jurisdiction over Independence Hall.
What’s more, visitors to the Liberty Bell see a big picture of Nelson Mandela raising a clenched fist salute. The Mandela quotation that the Liberty Bell is “a very significant symbol for the entire democratic world” is featured next to the photograph. These, too, are nice thoughts. But while Mandela presided over a democratic transition that turned the whites out of power in South Africa, revelations after his death proved that he was a secret member of the South African Communist Party. He had concealed his true motives and allegiances from those who elected him. South Africa is a member of the Russian orbit of nations, known as BRICS, and some of the remaining whites are fleeing.
The “Citizenship in the World” merit badge is now required for the highest rank in Scouting, Eagle Scout, with one of the requirements being, “Explain what citizenship in the world means to you and what you think it takes to be a good world citizen.”
What Hillary Clinton is trying to carry forward is something that her husband talked openly about in 2003. In his “Global Challenges” speech, former President Clinton outlined a form of world government. “We cannot continue to live in a world where we grow more and more and more interdependence, and we have no over-arching system to have the positive elements of interdependence outweigh the negative ones,” he said. He went on to say, “…I think the great mission of 21st Century world is to make it a genuine global community. To move from mere interdependence to integration, to a community that has three characteristics: shared responsibilities, shared benefits, and shared values.”
That “over-arching system” includes strengthening the United Nations, a process still underway, and currently using the alleged threat of “climate change” to build up the power of this world body and move toward a “genuine global community.”
As president, Clinton had sent a June 22, 1993 letter congratulating the members of the World Federalist Association for meeting to give Strobe Talbott the annual Norman Cousins Global Governance Award. “Norman Cousins worked for world peace and world government,” Clinton said. Talbott, a former Time magazine columnist and U.S. diplomat who served in Clinton’s administration, was a “voice for global harmony,” Clinton said. As a Time magazine writer, Talbott had written a column openly calling for world government. Now the head of the Brookings Institution, Talbott had direct but confidential contacts with Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state, according to recent WikiLeaks disclosures. The book, Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia’s Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War, documents questionable contacts between Talbott and the Russian intelligence service. Mrs. Clinton spoke to the same World Federalist group in 1999, congratulating former CBS Evening News anchorman Walter Cronkite upon his receipt of the Norman Cousins award.
Yet, Talbott’s continuing relationship with Hillary Clinton is not a subject that alarms the major media.
However, the disclosure that the FBI discovered some of Hillary Clinton’s emails on the Huma Abedin/Anthony Weiner computer could also have national security implications. Were these emails shared with or hacked by our foreign adversaries? Tragically, the American people may not have the answer to this question by Election Day, November 8. But the carelessness of the arrangement is such that we have to suspect the worst, and that Hillary Clinton and her top aide, Huma Abedin, are at the very least, security risks. It could become the biggest spy scandal since Alger Hiss, the former State Department official who was exposed as a Soviet spy. He happened to be a founder of the United Nations.

Cliff Kincaid —

Pro Deo et Constitutione – Libertas aut Mors
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Joseph F Barber




It's a Mad, Mad War


It's a Mad, Mad War

Russia and the West are fighting to decide whether Syria will be run by Sunni Islamists backed by Saudi Arabia or Shiite Islamists backed by Iran. This insane civil war has burned up countless lives, not to mention plenty of dollars, rubles, euros and pounds. The only certain winners of this war, once the dust has settled, will chant “Allahu Akbar” and call for the death of the infidels.
Sadly this is nothing new. Russia got the PLO started before Bill Clinton decided to become its sugar daddy. Smuggling weapons to the Mujahedeen to fight the Russians got us into Afghanistan. Except these days it’s the Russians who, through the Iranians, are funneling weapons to the locals to fight us. Between us and the Russians, we’ve put wagonloads of weapons into the hands of Jihadis in Iraq and Syria. The consequences will be felt in Moscow, New York, London and Paris.

The West and the Warsaw Pact countries used to fuel foreign wars. These days the war is at home.

Russia and the NATO countries suffer from low birth rates and rising Muslim demographics, but are in a senseless competition to determine which emergent Caliphate will be able to draw its borders in territories it can’t populate. It’s a battle over a pittance taking place in a burning building.

Moscow has around 2 million Muslims. London has over 1 million. Both sides are at risk of losing their own capital cities to real invasions. The EU and Putin’s Eurasian dreams are both built on the Roman notion that the barbarians can be integrated and will make good foot soldiers and laborers.

France’s President Hollande has called for the creation of an “Islam of France”. Putin suggests that the Russian Orthodox Church has more in common with Islam than Catholicism. Obama preaches that, “Islam has always been part of America”. But such efforts at integration will always fail.

The popular European excuse is that Islamic terrorism represents a failure to integrate the terrorist. Islamic terrorism is indeed caused by a failure to integrate. The mistake is assuming that integration on a civilizational scale is possible. It’s not. You can integrate a few people. You can’t integrate a civilization.

There is a long history of Europeans using Islamic raiders and invaders as weapons against each other. Most of us know that our first international conflict was the First Barbary War against Muslim slavers and pirates. But it was the British who found it useful to use the Barbary pirates to clear rivals from the water. Louis XIV of France played a similar role in the Battle of Vienna. For that matter the Muslim conquest of the Middle East heavily depended on their exploitation of Christian rivalries.

Our modern malaise is simply a failure to learn anything useful from history.

The Cold War has become reborn as a strange farce in which two failing power blocs are fighting an old war that no longer has any purpose or meaning. Russia has reinvented its brand, but not its ambitions. Its clumsy alliance with Iran will fall apart once the Shiite terror state has gotten what it wanted and boots the Russians out of its backyard. America’s alliance with Saudi Arabia may one day be described by historians as the cause of our downfall.

The West and Russia are reliant on Muslim demographics to power faltering empires whose ideological ends stand in sharp contrast to their Islamic means. Putin claims to want to protect Christendom with an army that is increasingly Muslim. The EU asserts that it is defending secular democracy, but it’s betting its future on a citizenry whose Islamic religion mandates theocratic Sharia jurisprudence.

A Muslim citizenry will not maintain secular democracy. A Muslim army will not protect Christians. The West used to be dependent on Muslim oil. It has since become addicted to the much more dangerous supply of Muslim demographics. Societies with low birth rates are relying on Muslims to make up the gap in manpower and maintain nations that are not expanding or even replacing their own numbers.

Oil dependency was dangerous. Demographic dependency is lethal.

Russia and the West can make jets that casually break the sound barrier. What they aren’t doing is making people. European welfare states and Russian expansionism are built on Muslim populations.

As imperial strategies go, that’s a suicide pact.

But instead of addressing this core civilizational threat, the West and Russia are squandering blood and treasure to decide whether Sunnis or Shiites should dominate Syria. Billions of dollars are being spent to lend an air force, weapons and some measure of ground troops to Iran and the Saudis in their spat.

Russian S-300 missiles now protect Iran’s Fordow nuclear fuel plant. Fordow is located near the Shiite holy city of Qom because Iran’s nuclear plans are inextricably tied to its theology. Last year, Putin offered Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Khamenei a copy of the Koran that had been gifted by Lenin to Uzbekistan. Putin might have done better to keep it and read it before looking at a map of Greater Iran.

The United States has been dragged into several wars by Saudi Arabia. We have spent trillions of dollars defending the Saudis, Kuwaitis, Qataris and their assorted brethren from their enemies while fighting Sunni terror spread by them. The tentacles of Sunni terror now regularly reach deep inside our homeland while we continue defending the homelands of the financiers of Sunni Islamic terror.

Syria is an imperialist war. But it’s not our imperialism. It’s barely even Russia’s imperialism.

Russia and the West are there as pawns of their Islamic allies. Putin and NATO aren’t protecting their influence because the influence goes entirely the other way. The West does not dictate anything to the Saudis nor does Russia get to tell Iran what to do. Instead the old empires are called in when the wannabe caliphates want a power with a big military machine to do their dirty work for them.

Russia and the West are obsessed with a factional struggle in the face of a civilizational struggle. Their failure to recognize the civilizational threat of the caliphate is the greatest threat to their future.

Familiar wars and familiar enemies are easier to fight. It is easier to recreate the Cold War as farce than to recognize that a far older war has come around again. Russia and the West are replaying the tragic history of the Byzantine–Sassanid wars whose ultimate victors were the Mohammedan invaders.

The only thing that the wars between the Byzantine Empire and the Persian Empire accomplished was to weaken them enough to allow Islam to conquer both of the proud empires. Both sides courted the Arab tribes and made use of them in their conflict with each other. They did not consider the possibility that the prolonged conflict would not end with either a Persian or Byzantine victory, but that the barbarians they had been using as pawns would end up claiming everything. It’s a familiar story replaying today.

Civilizations that fail to learn from history become the object lessons of history. It would be a tragedy if Europe went the way of the Byzantine Empire and a shame if Russia went the way of Persia.

It might be time to rethink what there is to be gained in Syria and lost in the besieged cities of the West.


It's a Mad, Mad War

Russia and the West are fighting to decide whether Syria will be run by Sunni Islamists backed by Saudi Arabia or Shiite Islamists backed by Iran. This insane civil war has burned up countless lives, not to mention plenty of dollars, rubles, euros and pounds. The only certain winners of this war, once the dust has settled, will chant “Allahu Akbar” and call for the death of the infidels.
Sadly this is nothing new. Russia got the PLO started before Bill Clinton decided to become its sugar daddy. Smuggling weapons to the Mujahedeen to fight the Russians got us into Afghanistan. Except these days it’s the Russians who, through the Iranians, are funneling weapons to the locals to fight us. Between us and the Russians, we’ve put wagonloads of weapons into the hands of Jihadis in Iraq and Syria. The consequences will be felt in Moscow, New York, London and Paris.

The West and the Warsaw Pact countries used to fuel foreign wars. These days the war is at home.

Russia and the NATO countries suffer from low birth rates and rising Muslim demographics, but are in a senseless competition to determine which emergent Caliphate will be able to draw its borders in territories it can’t populate. It’s a battle over a pittance taking place in a burning building.

Moscow has around 2 million Muslims. London has over 1 million. Both sides are at risk of losing their own capital cities to real invasions. The EU and Putin’s Eurasian dreams are both built on the Roman notion that the barbarians can be integrated and will make good foot soldiers and laborers.

France’s President Hollande has called for the creation of an “Islam of France”. Putin suggests that the Russian Orthodox Church has more in common with Islam than Catholicism. Obama preaches that, “Islam has always been part of America”. But such efforts at integration will always fail.

The popular European excuse is that Islamic terrorism represents a failure to integrate the terrorist. Islamic terrorism is indeed caused by a failure to integrate. The mistake is assuming that integration on a civilizational scale is possible. It’s not. You can integrate a few people. You can’t integrate a civilization.

There is a long history of Europeans using Islamic raiders and invaders as weapons against each other. Most of us know that our first international conflict was the First Barbary War against Muslim slavers and pirates. But it was the British who found it useful to use the Barbary pirates to clear rivals from the water. Louis XIV of France played a similar role in the Battle of Vienna. For that matter the Muslim conquest of the Middle East heavily depended on their exploitation of Christian rivalries.

Our modern malaise is simply a failure to learn anything useful from history.

The Cold War has become reborn as a strange farce in which two failing power blocs are fighting an old war that no longer has any purpose or meaning. Russia has reinvented its brand, but not its ambitions. Its clumsy alliance with Iran will fall apart once the Shiite terror state has gotten what it wanted and boots the Russians out of its backyard. America’s alliance with Saudi Arabia may one day be described by historians as the cause of our downfall.

The West and Russia are reliant on Muslim demographics to power faltering empires whose ideological ends stand in sharp contrast to their Islamic means. Putin claims to want to protect Christendom with an army that is increasingly Muslim. The EU asserts that it is defending secular democracy, but it’s betting its future on a citizenry whose Islamic religion mandates theocratic Sharia jurisprudence.

A Muslim citizenry will not maintain secular democracy. A Muslim army will not protect Christians. The West used to be dependent on Muslim oil. It has since become addicted to the much more dangerous supply of Muslim demographics. Societies with low birth rates are relying on Muslims to make up the gap in manpower and maintain nations that are not expanding or even replacing their own numbers.

Oil dependency was dangerous. Demographic dependency is lethal.

Russia and the West can make jets that casually break the sound barrier. What they aren’t doing is making people. European welfare states and Russian expansionism are built on Muslim populations.

As imperial strategies go, that’s a suicide pact.

But instead of addressing this core civilizational threat, the West and Russia are squandering blood and treasure to decide whether Sunnis or Shiites should dominate Syria. Billions of dollars are being spent to lend an air force, weapons and some measure of ground troops to Iran and the Saudis in their spat.

Russian S-300 missiles now protect Iran’s Fordow nuclear fuel plant. Fordow is located near the Shiite holy city of Qom because Iran’s nuclear plans are inextricably tied to its theology. Last year, Putin offered Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Khamenei a copy of the Koran that had been gifted by Lenin to Uzbekistan. Putin might have done better to keep it and read it before looking at a map of Greater Iran.

The United States has been dragged into several wars by Saudi Arabia. We have spent trillions of dollars defending the Saudis, Kuwaitis, Qataris and their assorted brethren from their enemies while fighting Sunni terror spread by them. The tentacles of Sunni terror now regularly reach deep inside our homeland while we continue defending the homelands of the financiers of Sunni Islamic terror.

Syria is an imperialist war. But it’s not our imperialism. It’s barely even Russia’s imperialism.

Russia and the West are there as pawns of their Islamic allies. Putin and NATO aren’t protecting their influence because the influence goes entirely the other way. The West does not dictate anything to the Saudis nor does Russia get to tell Iran what to do. Instead the old empires are called in when the wannabe caliphates want a power with a big military machine to do their dirty work for them.

Russia and the West are obsessed with a factional struggle in the face of a civilizational struggle. Their failure to recognize the civilizational threat of the caliphate is the greatest threat to their future.

Familiar wars and familiar enemies are easier to fight. It is easier to recreate the Cold War as farce than to recognize that a far older war has come around again. Russia and the West are replaying the tragic history of the Byzantine–Sassanid wars whose ultimate victors were the Mohammedan invaders.

The only thing that the wars between the Byzantine Empire and the Persian Empire accomplished was to weaken them enough to allow Islam to conquer both of the proud empires. Both sides courted the Arab tribes and made use of them in their conflict with each other. They did not consider the possibility that the prolonged conflict would not end with either a Persian or Byzantine victory, but that the barbarians they had been using as pawns would end up claiming everything. It’s a familiar story replaying today.

Civilizations that fail to learn from history become the object lessons of history. It would be a tragedy if Europe went the way of the Byzantine Empire and a shame if Russia went the way of Persia.

It might be time to rethink what there is to be gained in Syria and lost in the besieged cities of the West.


The Little Jewish Village That Makes Obama Boil

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Little Jewish Village That Makes Obama Boil

Halfway to the sky sits a tiny village of little white houses that has attracted the ire of the White House.
The village of Amona with its small white houses and red roofs could easily be mistaken for some lost Italian village or a dusty California town. But the White House would not have “boiled in anger”, as one anonymous official claimed, over the doings of some Italian village.

There’s only one place on earth that makes Obama’s blood boil. It isn’t Iran or North Korea. It’s Israel.

Amona’s small scattering of houses have a fraction of the square footage of the White House. The 40 families living there in defiance of Islamic terrorists and left-wing lawfarers would hardly be noticeable if they all crowded into the White House foyer. And yet they've been condemned by the State Department in more virulent tones than most Muslim dictators.

What is it about this handful of Jews caught between heaven and earth that outrages so many?

That may be the great question of history. It will not be solved among the sheep pens and orchards, the little white houses of Amona and their inhabitants, who despite the rage of the big White House, continue to go to work each day, to raise their children and to worship in the way of their ancestors.

In the official parlance of the media, Amona is a “settlement”. That is to say it dates back a mere 3,300 years to the time when Joshua, born a slave in Egypt, commanded the Jews, “'Go and walk through the land, and describe it, and come back to me, and I will cast lots for you here before the Lord in Shilo.”

Today Shilo is a city of some 3,500. Like Jerusalem, it is also deemed a settlement. But on the list of places described by Joshua’s men, the mere speck of Amona appears before Jerusalem.

But then Amona, unlike Jerusalem, vanished from history. For thousands of years the name would have only meant something to the most dedicated biblical scholars. And then the left went to war against Amona. And out of that hatred the forgotten town was raised up from its forgotten place in history.

The handful of families living in Amona have been the subject of more legal proceedings, international debates, threats and international outrage than most genocides. 3,000 feet above sea level, its residents look up at a kind blue sky and down at an angry world that is unwilling to let them live in peace.

They meet the challenges of gravity and rage with simple faith. Asked about the threat of Islamic terror, a 5-year old girl answered, "As God helped Joshua, so he will also help us."

Amona and its residents need all the help they can get. They have been under siege for decades. What the Islamic terrorists couldn’t do to the residents, lawyers and activists who receive funding from the Soros network and assorted international left-wing billion dollar organizations, strive to accomplish.
Demolition and eviction orders have been issued. Police have converged on the handful of buildings with clubs and yells. In one such battle a 15-year-old girl, whom we only know as Nili, stood in their way. The image of the teenage girl blocking the path of dozens of riot police in black became a Pulitzer Prize winning photo. “Anyone who looks today at the ruins of the houses in Amona - understands that in this operation there was no sense whatever, except destruction,” she said in an interview.

There is still no sense whatsoever to the war against Amona except destruction. It isn’t about the land.

Amona’s main antagonist is the extremist left-wing group Peace Now. There is nothing peaceful about Peace Now which seeks peace only with Islamic terrorists. One co-founder, Uri Avnery, declared, “The time has come to bury them.” Another Peace Now co-founder, Yigal Tumarkin weighed in, “My true contribution would be if I grabbed a sub-machine-gun, instead of a pen and pencil, and killed them.”

The children of Israel’s small towns and villages excite such unnatural fury from left-wing notables.

Under pressure from a radical left-wing judiciary, Israel’s government decided to relocate the families of Amona by building houses for them in Shilo. It is this which reportedly made Obama boil like a little teapot. The Jews of Amona are not to be permitted to live in their town. Or in any other.

According to some anonymous official, the plan to build houses for the evacuees in Shiloh is “of great concern” to the White House. Anyone wondering why Obama isn’t concerned about ISIS or the economy had better realize that his eye is firmly fixed on a small town in Israel up against the bulldozer.

And he’s determined to see to it that the bulldozer wins.

State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner claimed that building 98 homes would endanger peace. Peace in Israel is as dead as the dodo. But somehow it never seems to be endangered by any amount of Muslim suicide bombings, stabbings or rockets. The Palestinian Authority funds Islamic terrorism by paying salaries to terrorists using taxpayer money dispensed to them by Obama.

And this butchery of Jewish families and massacres of Rabbis in no way endangers peace.

It is only the very real risk that the families of Amona might find some shelter that renders the glorious infrastructure of “a viable Palestinian state more remote”. Like Haman, the Islamic terrorist state cannot stand to see a Binyaminite, no matter how alone, standing tall in defiance of its hunger and malice. These handfuls of homes represent, according to the State Department, “perpetual occupation.”

State has a point. 3,300 years isn’t quite perpetual, but it’s a lot longer than Toner has been hanging around D.C. It’s a long longer than appeasers who know not to eat with their left hand and to curse Israel when visiting Muslim countries have been sliming their way around Foggy Bottom.

Can a few dozen families really “block” the rise of an Islamic terrorist state in Israel? During Israel’s War of Independence the small village of Kfar Darom held out against sustained assaults from the Muslim Brotherhood. Among the Muslim Brotherhood terrorists was an Egyptian Jihadist named Yasser Arafat.

Moral courage enables a handful of people to do what the massive array of government cannot.

Nili explained her actions by saying, "You see me in the photograph, one against many, but that is only an illusion. Behind the many stands one man... but behind me stands the Lord.” Today that man is Barack Hussein Obama. The residents of Amona stand in the way of his dream of an Islamic Palestine.
Who are the people of Amona? For the most part, they are children. Amona has nearly 200 of them. 5 children are on the small side for a local family. Today Amona could pass for a village, tomorrow it’s a town and the day after it’s a city. That has been Israel’s history. In a world where the great cities of civilization are overrun by the terrible tide of Muslim demographics, it is a place whose people still believe in the future. Such little villages full of white houses with red roofs are fortresses of hope.

In Amona, you will find deer meandering through the street. The Nizri family, with eight children, sees to the casks of French oak in the winery. There are raspberries to pick, tools to mend and a life to build.

It is not mere height above sea level that enables the people of Amona to tower above their enemies. It is their determination to live lives of ordinary courage. They have attracted the ire and enmity of some of the most powerful people in their country, their region and the world. And yet they go on.

Obama boils in his anger like a lobster in a pot. The UN Security Council has scheduled a special meeting where Israel will be denounced by the likes of Venezuela and Angola. And in Amona, the children play.

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Little Jewish Village That Makes Obama Boil

Halfway to the sky sits a tiny village of little white houses that has attracted the ire of the White House.
The village of Amona with its small white houses and red roofs could easily be mistaken for some lost Italian village or a dusty California town. But the White House would not have “boiled in anger”, as one anonymous official claimed, over the doings of some Italian village.

There’s only one place on earth that makes Obama’s blood boil. It isn’t Iran or North Korea. It’s Israel.

Amona’s small scattering of houses have a fraction of the square footage of the White House. The 40 families living there in defiance of Islamic terrorists and left-wing lawfarers would hardly be noticeable if they all crowded into the White House foyer. And yet they've been condemned by the State Department in more virulent tones than most Muslim dictators.

What is it about this handful of Jews caught between heaven and earth that outrages so many?

That may be the great question of history. It will not be solved among the sheep pens and orchards, the little white houses of Amona and their inhabitants, who despite the rage of the big White House, continue to go to work each day, to raise their children and to worship in the way of their ancestors.

In the official parlance of the media, Amona is a “settlement”. That is to say it dates back a mere 3,300 years to the time when Joshua, born a slave in Egypt, commanded the Jews, “'Go and walk through the land, and describe it, and come back to me, and I will cast lots for you here before the Lord in Shilo.”

Today Shilo is a city of some 3,500. Like Jerusalem, it is also deemed a settlement. But on the list of places described by Joshua’s men, the mere speck of Amona appears before Jerusalem.

But then Amona, unlike Jerusalem, vanished from history. For thousands of years the name would have only meant something to the most dedicated biblical scholars. And then the left went to war against Amona. And out of that hatred the forgotten town was raised up from its forgotten place in history.

The handful of families living in Amona have been the subject of more legal proceedings, international debates, threats and international outrage than most genocides. 3,000 feet above sea level, its residents look up at a kind blue sky and down at an angry world that is unwilling to let them live in peace.

They meet the challenges of gravity and rage with simple faith. Asked about the threat of Islamic terror, a 5-year old girl answered, "As God helped Joshua, so he will also help us."

Amona and its residents need all the help they can get. They have been under siege for decades. What the Islamic terrorists couldn’t do to the residents, lawyers and activists who receive funding from the Soros network and assorted international left-wing billion dollar organizations, strive to accomplish.
Demolition and eviction orders have been issued. Police have converged on the handful of buildings with clubs and yells. In one such battle a 15-year-old girl, whom we only know as Nili, stood in their way. The image of the teenage girl blocking the path of dozens of riot police in black became a Pulitzer Prize winning photo. “Anyone who looks today at the ruins of the houses in Amona - understands that in this operation there was no sense whatever, except destruction,” she said in an interview.

There is still no sense whatsoever to the war against Amona except destruction. It isn’t about the land.

Amona’s main antagonist is the extremist left-wing group Peace Now. There is nothing peaceful about Peace Now which seeks peace only with Islamic terrorists. One co-founder, Uri Avnery, declared, “The time has come to bury them.” Another Peace Now co-founder, Yigal Tumarkin weighed in, “My true contribution would be if I grabbed a sub-machine-gun, instead of a pen and pencil, and killed them.”

The children of Israel’s small towns and villages excite such unnatural fury from left-wing notables.

Under pressure from a radical left-wing judiciary, Israel’s government decided to relocate the families of Amona by building houses for them in Shilo. It is this which reportedly made Obama boil like a little teapot. The Jews of Amona are not to be permitted to live in their town. Or in any other.

According to some anonymous official, the plan to build houses for the evacuees in Shiloh is “of great concern” to the White House. Anyone wondering why Obama isn’t concerned about ISIS or the economy had better realize that his eye is firmly fixed on a small town in Israel up against the bulldozer.

And he’s determined to see to it that the bulldozer wins.

State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner claimed that building 98 homes would endanger peace. Peace in Israel is as dead as the dodo. But somehow it never seems to be endangered by any amount of Muslim suicide bombings, stabbings or rockets. The Palestinian Authority funds Islamic terrorism by paying salaries to terrorists using taxpayer money dispensed to them by Obama.

And this butchery of Jewish families and massacres of Rabbis in no way endangers peace.

It is only the very real risk that the families of Amona might find some shelter that renders the glorious infrastructure of “a viable Palestinian state more remote”. Like Haman, the Islamic terrorist state cannot stand to see a Binyaminite, no matter how alone, standing tall in defiance of its hunger and malice. These handfuls of homes represent, according to the State Department, “perpetual occupation.”

State has a point. 3,300 years isn’t quite perpetual, but it’s a lot longer than Toner has been hanging around D.C. It’s a long longer than appeasers who know not to eat with their left hand and to curse Israel when visiting Muslim countries have been sliming their way around Foggy Bottom.

Can a few dozen families really “block” the rise of an Islamic terrorist state in Israel? During Israel’s War of Independence the small village of Kfar Darom held out against sustained assaults from the Muslim Brotherhood. Among the Muslim Brotherhood terrorists was an Egyptian Jihadist named Yasser Arafat.

Moral courage enables a handful of people to do what the massive array of government cannot.

Nili explained her actions by saying, "You see me in the photograph, one against many, but that is only an illusion. Behind the many stands one man... but behind me stands the Lord.” Today that man is Barack Hussein Obama. The residents of Amona stand in the way of his dream of an Islamic Palestine.
Who are the people of Amona? For the most part, they are children. Amona has nearly 200 of them. 5 children are on the small side for a local family. Today Amona could pass for a village, tomorrow it’s a town and the day after it’s a city. That has been Israel’s history. In a world where the great cities of civilization are overrun by the terrible tide of Muslim demographics, it is a place whose people still believe in the future. Such little villages full of white houses with red roofs are fortresses of hope.

In Amona, you will find deer meandering through the street. The Nizri family, with eight children, sees to the casks of French oak in the winery. There are raspberries to pick, tools to mend and a life to build.

It is not mere height above sea level that enables the people of Amona to tower above their enemies. It is their determination to live lives of ordinary courage. They have attracted the ire and enmity of some of the most powerful people in their country, their region and the world. And yet they go on.

Obama boils in his anger like a lobster in a pot. The UN Security Council has scheduled a special meeting where Israel will be denounced by the likes of Venezuela and Angola. And in Amona, the children play.