| Remember Mordechai Vanunu, Israel’s heroic nuclear whistleblower!

Remember Mordechai Vanunu, Israel’s heroic nuclear whistleblower ~ Redress Information & Analysis.

He should have received the Nobel Peace Prize. Instead, he spent 18 years in solitary confinement.

He should be celebrated internationally as a man who has sacrificed his freedom for the truth and for the wellbeing of humanity. Instead, he has been stripped of his right to travel and prohibited from talking to foreigners.

Mordechai Vanunu

Mordechai Vanunu: still fighting for his freedom, 27 years on.

Today, Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli nuclear whistleblower, is almost forgotten. But he has not given up the fight for freedom.

Vanunu is appealing to the Israeli Supreme Court to set him free – free to leave Israel, the Times of Israelreports.

“I don’t want to live in Israel,” he told the court in English – he won’t speak Hebrew while imprisoned inside the Jews-only state.

Vanunu, who converted to Christianity in the 1980s, told the court that he is often subjected to harassment by the Israeli public whenever he is recognized.

Blaming the media for wrecking his public image, Vanunu said he didn’t see a future for himself in the apartheid state.

Vanunu compared his past actions to those of US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

“Snowden is the best example of what I did 25 years ago – when the government breaks the law and tramples on human rights, people talk. That’s what he did, he speaks for everyone, and that’s what I did – I spoke for everyone.”

Vanunu is prohibited from visiting foreign territories, including the occupied West Bank and embassies within Israel, and can only meet with foreign nationals after securing permission from security forces.

In 1986 Vanunu leaked details of Israel’s military nuclear programme to The Sunday Times, blowing the cover off Israel’s so-called “nuclear ambiguity”.

It is unlikely that Vanunu’s plea for freedom will be accepted. That is hardly surprising – the Jews-only state is a vengeful entity, Old Testament style.

But where are the international human rights warriors? We hear none speaking for Vanunu.

Their silence is not just deafening. It is criminal.


israeli nukes riskA

| Dissent: Mandela’s Disturbing Legacy!

Mandela’s Disturbing Legacy ~ Stephen Lendman.

On December 5, Mandela died peacefully at home in Johannesburg. Cause of death was respiratory failure. He was 95.

Supporters called him a dreamer of big dreams. His legacy fell woefully short. More on that below.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, and Mandela Rhodes Foundation issued the following statement:

“It is with the deepest regret that we have learned of the passing of our founder, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – Madiba.”

“The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa will shortly make further official announcements.”

“We want to express our sadness at this time. No words can adequately describe this enormous loss to our nation and to the world.”

“We give thanks for his life, his leadership, his devotion to humanity and humanitarian causes.”

“We salute our friend, colleague and comrade and thank him for his sacrifices for our freedom.”

“The three charitable organisations that he created dedicate ourselves to continue promoting his extraordinary legacy.”

He’ll be buried according to his wishes in Qunu village. It’s where he grew up. In 1943, he joined the African National Congress (ANC). He co-founded its Youth League.

He defended what he later called Thatcherism. On trial for alleged Sabotage Act violations, he said in court:

“The ANC has never at any period of its history advocated a revolutionary change in the economic structure of the country, nor has it, to the best of my recollection, ever condemned capitalist society.”

In 1964, he was sentenced to life in prison. He was mostly incarcerated on Robben Island. It’s in Table Bay. It’s around 7km offshore from Cape Town.

In February 1990, he was released. In 1993, he received the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with South African President FW de Klerk.

Nobel Committee members said it was “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.”

De Klerk enforced the worst of apartheid ruthlessness. In 1994, Mandela was elected president. He served from May 1994 – June 1999.

He exacerbated longstanding economic unfairness. He deserves condemnation, not praise.

John Pilger’s work exposed South African apartheid harshness. Doing so got him banned. Thirty years later he returned.

He wanted to see firsthand what changed. He interviewed Mandela in retirement. His “Apartheid Did Not Die” documentary followed.

“Behind the modern face of democracy, the scourges of inequality, unemployment and homelessness persist,” he said.

White supremacy remained unchanged. It’s no different today. A few blacks share wealth, power and privilege. The vast majority of black society is worse off than under apartheid.

Mandela embraced the worst of neoliberal harshness. His successors follow the same model.

Pilger posed tough questions. He asked Mandela how ANC freedom fighting ended up embracing Thatcherism.

Mandela responded saying:

“You can put any label on it you like. You can call it Thatcherite but, for this country, privatization is the fundamental policy.”

Pilger discovered that 80% of South African children suffered poor health. One-fourth under age six were ill nourished.

During Mandela’s tenure, more South Africans died from malnutrition and preventable diseases than under apartheid.

Concentrated wealth is more extreme than ever. White farmers control over 80% of agricultural land. They dominate choicest areas.

Pilger said about one-fourth of South Africa’s budget goes for interest on odious debt.

He explained how five major corporations control over three-fourths of business interests. They dominate South African life.

Concentrated wealth and power are extreme. Whites control about 90% of national wealth. A select few black businessmen, politicians and trade union leaders benefit with them.

The dominant Anglo-American Corporation is hugely exploitive. Gold mining exacts an enormous human cost.

Pilger said one death and 12 serious injuries accompany each ton of gold mined. One-third of workers contract deadly lung disease. They’re left on their own to suffer and die.

Post-apartheid democracy reflects the worst of free market capitalism. It’s bereft of freedom. Reform denies it.

Mandela’s “unbreakable promise” was forgotten. In 1990, two weeks before freed from prison, he said:

“The nationalization of the mines, banks and monopoly industries is the policy of the ANC (and changing) our views…is inconceivable.”

Black economic empowerment is a goal we fully support and encourage, but in our situation state control of certain sectors of the economy is unavoidable.”

In 1955, ANC’s Freedom Charter declared “South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people.”

“The people shall govern! All national groups shall have equal rights!”

“The people shall share in the country’s wealth!”

“The land shall be shared among those who work it!”

“All shall be equal before the law!”

“All shall enjoy equal human rights!”

“There shall be work and security!”

“The doors of learning and culture shall be opened!”

“There shall be houses, security and comfort!”

“There shall be peace and friendship!”

“Let all people who love their people and their country now say, as we say here:


Liberation was supposed to be economic, social and political. White worker wages were manyfold more than black ones. White mine workers earned 10 times more than blacks.

Post-apartheid promised change never materialized. Mandela embraced the worst of free market orthodoxy.

Before his election, journalist Anthony Sampson said he agreed “to reduce the deficit, to high interest rates and to an open economy, in return for access to an IMF loan of $850 million, if required.”

It comes with strings. Structural adjustments mandate harshness. They require privatization of state enterprises, mass layoffs, deregulation, deep social spending cuts, unrestricted market access for Western corporations, corporate tax cuts, marginalizing trade unionism, and harsh crackdowns on nonbelievers.

Mandela told South African workers to “tighten (their) belts.”

“(A)ccept low wages so that investment would flow.”

“We must rid ourselves of the culture of entitlement that leads to the expectation that the government must promptly deliver whatever it is that we demand.”

“Apartheid never died in South Africa,” said Pilger. “It inspired a world order upheld by force and illusion.”

Mandela stood at the crossroads. He seemed poised to lead a new direction. His popularity and bigger than life persona empowered him.

He had a unique chance to reject neoliberal orthodoxy. ANC candidates swept 1994 elections.

Mandela became president. A peaceful transition was achieved. Privileged white interests maintained real power.

Mandela’s agenda could have been different. He could followed what Chavez successfully instituted in Venezuela.

He chose not to. Black South Africans paid dearly. Mandela’s legacy remains tainted. He relegated his people to horrific post-apartheid conditions.

“Just call me a Thatcherite,” he said. He adopted free market fundamentalist harshness. Neoliberal shock therapy followed. It works the same way wherever it’s introduced.

The toll on black South Africans was devastating. He and other ANC leaders bear full responsibility. People living on less than $1 a day doubled.

From 1991 – 2002, unemployment soared to 48%. It remains disturbingly high. Officially it’s around 26%. It’s much higher.

Youth unemployment exceeds 50%. About 80% of unemployed young people never worked or had jobs longer than a year.

During the first decade of ANC rule, around two million South Africans lost homes. Another one million lost farms. Shack dwelling increased 50%.

One-fourth or more of South Africans have no running water or electricity. Around 40% of schools have no electricity.

About 50% of South Africans have inadequate sanitation. Around 40% have no telephones.

HIV/AIDS remains a major problem. South Africa has the world’s largest number of affected people. Officially it’s over five million. Unofficially it’s higher.

It’s more than in North America, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Central Asia combined.

Post-apartheid, life expectancy declined by 13 years. In 2011, it was 58, according to the World Health Organization. It ranks below Afghanistan at 60 years.

Overall South African conditions remain deplorable. They exceed the worst of apartheid harshness. Neoliberal exploitation exacted a horrific toll.

Mandela could have made a difference. He chose Thatcherism over economic fairness. Betrayal defines his legacy.

He relegated millions of black South Africans to permanent destitution, unemployment, hunger, malnutrition, homelessness, lost futures and early deaths.

His bigger than life persona is undeserved. So are eulogies praising his accomplishments. They reflect figments of historical revisionism.



MandFace1 Good_Vs_Evil1

| Nelson Mandela: Obama, Clinton, Cameron, Blair – Tributes of Shameful Hypocrisy!

Nelson Mandela: Obama, Clinton, Cameron, Blair – Tributes of Shameful Hypocrisy ~ Felicity Arbuthnot, Global Research.

Accusing politicians or former politicians of “breathtaking hypocrisy” is not just over used, it is inadequacy of spectacular proportions. Sadly, searches in various thesaurus’ fail in meaningful improvement.

The death of Nelson Mandela, however, provides tributes resembling duplicity on a mind altering substance.

President Obama, whose litany of global assassinations by Drone, from infants to octogenarians – a personal weekly decree we are told, summary executions without Judge, Jury or trial – stated of the former South African’s President’s passing:

“We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again … His acts of reconciliation … set an example that all humanity should aspire to, whether in the lives of nations or our own personal lives.

“I studied his words and his writings … like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set, (as) long as I live I will do what I can to learn from him … it falls to us … to forward the example that he set: to make decisions guided not by hate, but by love …”

Mandela, said the Presidential High Executioner, had: “… bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice.”(i)

Mandela, after nearly thirty years in jail (1964-1990) forgave his jailors and those who would have preferred to see him hung. Obama committed to closing Guantanamo, an election pledge, the prisoners still self starve in desperation as their lives rot away, without hope.

The decimation of Libya had no congressional approval, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan’s dismembered. Drone victims are a Presidential roll call of shame and horror and the Nobel Peace Laureate’s trigger finger still hovers over Syria and Iran, for all the talk of otherwise. When his troops finally limped out of Iraq, he left the biggest Embassy in the world and a proxy armed force, with no chance of them leaving being on even the most distant horizon.

Clearly learning, justice and being “guided by love” is proving bit of an uphill struggle. Ironically, Obama was born in 1964, the year Mandela was sentenced to jail and his “long walk to freedom.”

Bill Clinton, who (illegally, with the UK) ordered the near continual bombing of Iraq throughout his Presidency (1993-2001) and the siege conditions of the embargo, with an average of six thousand a month dying of “embargo related causes”, paid tribute to Mandela as: “a champion for human dignity and freedom, for peace and reconciliation … a man of uncommon grace and compassion, for whom abandoning bitterness and embracing adversaries was … a way of life. All of us are living in a better world because of the life that Madiba lived.” Tell that to America’s victims.

In the hypocrisy stakes, Prime Minister David Cameron can compete with the best. He said:

“A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a towering figure in our time; a legend in life and now in death – a true global hero.

… Meeting him was one of the great honours of my life.

On Twitter he reiterated: “A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time.” The flag on Downing Street was to hang at half mast, to which a follower replied: “Preferably by no-one who was in the Young Conservatives at a time they wanted him hanged, or those who broke sanctions, eh?”

Another responded: “The Tories wanted to hang Mandela.You utter hypocrite.”

The two tweeters clearly knew their history. In 2009, when Cameron was pitching to become Prime Minister, it came to light that in 1989, when Mandela was still in prison, David Cameron, then a: “rising star of the Conservative Research Department … accepted an all expenses paid trip to apartheid South Africa … funded by a firm that lobbied against the imposition of sanctions on the apartheid regime.”

Asked if Cameron: “wrote a memo or had to report back to the office about his trip, Alistair Cooke (his then boss at Conservative Central Office) said it was ‘simply a jolly’, adding: ‘It was all terribly relaxed, just a little treat, a perk of the job … ‘ “

Former Cabinet Minister Peter Hain commented of the trip:

“This just exposes his hypocrisy because he has tried to present himself as a progressive Conservative, but just on the eve of the apartheid downfall, and Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, when negotiations were taking place about a transfer of power, here he was being wined and dined on a sanctions-busting visit.

“This is the real Conservative Party … his colleagues who used to wear ‘Hang Nelson Mandela’ badges at university are now sitting on the benches around him. Their leader at the time Margaret Thatcher described Mandela as a terrorist.” (ii)

In the book of condolences opened at South Africa House, five minutes walk from his Downing Street residence, Cameron, who has voted for, or enjoined all the onslaughts or threatened ones referred to above, wrote:

“ … your generosity, compassion and profound sense of forgiveness have given us all lessons to learn and live by.

He ended his message with: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” Hopefully your lower jaw is still attached to your face, dear reader. If so, hang on to it, worse is to come.

The farcically titled Middle East Peace Envoy, former Prime Minister Tony Blair (think “dodgy dossiers” “forty five minutes” to destruction, illegal invasion, Iraq’s ruins and ongoing carnage, heartbreak, after over a decade) stated:

“Through his leadership, he guided the world into a new era of politics in which black and white, developing and developed, north and south … stood for the first time together on equal terms.

“Through his dignity, grace and the quality of his forgiveness, he made racism everywhere not just immoral but stupid; something not only to be disagreed with, but to be despised. In its place he put the inalienable right of all humankind to be free and to be equal.

“I worked with him closely …“ (iii) said the man whose desire for “humankind to be free and equal” (tell that to the Iraqis) now includes demolishing Syria and possibly Iran.

As ever, it seems with Blair, the memories of others are a little different:

“Nelson Mandela felt so betrayed by Blair’s decision to join the US-led invasion of Iraq that he launched a fiery tirade against him in a phone call to a cabinet minister, it emerged.

“Peter Hain who (knew) the ex-South African President well, said Mandela was ‘breathing fire’ down the line in protest at the 2003 military action.

“The trenchant criticisms were made in a formal call to the Minister’s office, not in a private capacity, and Blair was informed of what had been said, Hain added.

‘I had never heard Nelson Mandela so angry and frustrated.” (iv)

On the BBC’s flagship morning news programme “Today” former Prime Minister “Iraq is a better place, I’d do it again” Blair, said of Nelson Mandela:

“ … he came to represent something quite inspirational for the future of the world and for peace and reconciliation in the 21st century.”

Comment is left to former BBC employee, Elizabeth Morley, with peerless knowledge of Middle East politics, who takes no prisoners:

“Dear Today Complaints,

“How could you? Your almost ten minute long interview with the war criminal Tony Blair was the antithesis to all the tributes to the great man. I cannot even bring myself to put the two names in the same sentence. How could you?

“Blair has the blood of millions of Iraqis on his hands. Blair has declared himself willing to do the same to Iranians. How many countries did Mandela bomb? Blair condones apartheid in Israel. Blair turns a blind eye to white supremacists massacring Palestinians. And you insult us by making us listen to him while our hearts and minds are focussed on Mandela.

How could you?” (Reproduced with permission.)

As the avalanche of hypocrisy cascades across the globe from shameless Western politicians, Archbishop Desmond Tutu reflected in two lines the thoughts in the hearts of the true mourners:

“We are relieved that his suffering is over, but our relief is drowned by our grief. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.”


i. http://www.businessinsider.com/nelson-mandela-dead-obama-statement-2013-12#ixzz2mg2vrGbd

ii. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/camerons-freebie-to-apartheid-south-africa-1674367.html

iii. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/nelson-mandela-dead-live-updates-2895110#ixzz2mhBKAdVA

iv. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/sep/12/nelson-mandela-tony-blair-peter-hain-iraq-invasion



| RIP: South Africa’s Nelson Mandela dies in Johannesburg!

South Africa’s Nelson Mandela dies in Johannesburg ~ BBC News.

The announcement of Mandela’s death was made by President Jacob Zuma.

South Africa’s first black president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela has died, South Africa’s president says.

Mr Mandela, 95, led South Africa’s transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s, after 27 years in prison.

He had been receiving intense home-based medical care for a lung infection after three months in hospital.

In a statement on South African national TV, Jacob Zuma said Mr Mandela had “departed” and was at peace.

Nelson Mandela

1918 Born in the Eastern Cape

1943 Joined African National Congress

1956 Charged with high treason, but charges dropped after a four-year trial

1962 Arrested, convicted of incitement and leaving country without a passport, sentenced to five years in prison

1964 Charged with sabotage, sentenced to life

1990 Freed from prison

1993 Wins Nobel Peace Prize

1994 Elected first black president

1999 Steps down as leader

2001 Diagnosed with prostate cancer

2004 Retires from public life

2005 Announces his son has died of an HIV/Aids-related illness

“Our nation has lost its greatest son,” Mr Zuma said.

He said Mr Mandela would receive a full state funeral, and flags would be flown at half-mast.

BBC correspondents say Mr Mandela’s body will be moved to a mortuary in Pretoria, and the funeral is likely to take place next Saturday.

A crowd has gathered outside the house where Mr Mandela died. Some are flying South African flags and wearing the shirts of the governing African National Congress, which Mr Mandela once led.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate was one of the world’s most revered statesmen after preaching reconciliation despite being imprisoned for 27 years.

He had rarely been seen in public since officially retiring in 2004. He made his last public appearance in 2010, at the football World Cup in South Africa.

His fellow campaigner against apartheid, Archbishop Desmond Tutu said he was not only an amazing gift to humankind, he made South Africans and Africans feel good about being who we are. He made us walk tall. God be praised.”

‘Bid him farewell’


image of Pumza Fihlani
Pumza Fihlani BBC News, Johannesburg

The greatest father there ever was: this is how South Africans will remember the man who brought an end to apartheid and delivered the nation from the brink of civil war.

Social networking sites are abuzz with messages of condolences and messages of gratitude to the late statesman. He had been in and out of hospital in recent years and had become increasingly frail but many South Africans had continued to express their unreadiness to lose him.

As he did in life, his passing has brought unity amongst South Africans as black and white speak of their love for him. Many here will be drawing on that same spirit for strength, that “Madiba magic” over the next few days and weeks as the nation left with the great burden of honouring Mr Madela’s legacy, mourns his passing but also celebrates his life.

“What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves,” Mr Zuma said.

“Fellow South Africans, Nelson Mandela brought us together and it is together that we will bid him farewell.”

Tributes have come in from around the world.

US President Barack Obama said Mr Mandela achieved more than could be expected of any man.

“He no longer belongs to us – he belongs to the ages,” Mr Obama said, saying Mr Mandela “took history in his hands and bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice”.

Mr Obama, the first black president of the United States, said he was one of the millions who drew inspiration from Mr Mandela’s life.

FW de Klerk, who as South Africa’s last white president ordered Mr Mandela’s release, called him a “unifier” and said he had “a remarkable lack of bitterness”.

He told the BBC: “I think his greatest legacy… is that we are basically at peace with each other notwithstanding our great diversity, that we will be taking hands once again now around his death and around our common sadness and mourning.”

UK Prime Minister David Cameron also paid tribute, saying “a great light has gone out in the world”.

Earlier this year, Mr Mandela spent nearly three months in hospital with a recurring lung infection.

He was moved to his home in the Houghton suburb of Johannesburg in September, where he continued to receive intensive care.

Robben Island

 FW de Klerk: Mandela “was a great unifier”

Born in 1918, Nelson Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1943, as a law student.

He and other ANC leaders campaigned against apartheid. Initially he campaigned peacefully but in the 1960s the ANC began to advocate violence, and Mr Mandela was made the commander of its armed wing.

He was arrested for sabotage and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964, serving most of his sentence on Robben Island.

It was forbidden to quote him or publish his photo, but he and other ANC leaders were able to smuggle out messages of guidance to the anti-apartheid movement.

He was released in 1990 as South Africa began to move away from strict racial segregation – a process completed by the first multi-racial elections in 1994.

Mr Mandela, who had been awarded the Nobel Prize in 1993 jointly with Mr de Klerk, was elected South Africa’s first black president. He served a single term, stepping down in 1999.

After leaving office, he became South Africa’s highest-profile ambassador, campaigning against HIV/Aids and helping to secure his country’s right to host the 2010 football World Cup.

He was also involved in peace negotiations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and other countries in Africa and elsewhere.

A look back at the life of Nelson Mandela


TIME Honors Nelson Mandela with Commemorative Issue ~ , Dec. 05, 2013.

Cover features a never-before-published photograph of the South African leader.

TIME is releasing a special issue on Nelson Mandela commemorating his life in words and pictures, including tributes by Richard Stengel, Bono and Morgan Freeman. The cover features a never-before-seen 1990 photo of Mandela taken by Hans Gedda in Sweden during Mandela’s first trip abroad after his release from Robben Island one month before. This is the sixth time that Mandela has appeared on the cover of TIME. This issue will be on newsstands Monday alongside with this week’s regular issue featuring Carl Icahn and next week’s Person of the Year issue to be published on Wednesday, Dec. 11.



| Mother Agnes-Mariam in Canada: What’s Really Happening in Syria?

Mother Agnes-Mariam in Canada: What is Really Happening in Syria? ~

Mother Agnes will be giving a talk as well as meeting up with the media in Montreal on December 3, 2013, at 2pm at Centre St Pierre, rue Panet, Montreal. This is a public event to which you are cordially invited.

In Montreal, the programme is as follows:

  • Tues, Press Conference,  Dec 3: 2 pm, CSN (1601, ave De Lorimier, métro Papineau); followed by meeting with civil society groups, 
  • public lecture at 7pm organised by Basmet Amal (“Sourire d’espoir”), Centre islamique libanais, 40-60 Rue de Port-Royal Est à Montréal (métro Sauvé).

Mother Agnes-Mariam of the Cross is Mother Superior at the Monastery and Convent of St. James in Qara, Syria. Much of the population in the towns and villages around the monastery have fled and been made refugees. She left the safety and security of her convent to bear a message of peace in the war zone that is Syria today.

Every day there, she puts her life at serious risk organizing ceasefires to permit the evacuation of civilians caught in firefights; trying to save civilians of minority religions (such as Christians and Alawites) and of minority ethnicities (such as Druze) from harm; attempting to protect Christian churches and monasteries from attack; and promoting dialogue between the warring parties.Gunmen attacked her vehicle in May, 2013.

The story that Mother Agnes tells is very different from what we hear and read in the North American press. In May 2013, she organized an international delegation, led by Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire, which visited Lebanon and Syria. The delegation observed conditions and talked with refugees, opposition and government representatives. Mother Agnes is one of the main organizers of the Mussalaha (“Reconciliation”) Initiative, a popular movement in Syria seeking to bring about a peaceful, made-in-Syria, political solution to the ongoing war. Mother Agnes-Mariam is likely to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize next year.

Mother Agnes is currently touring the U.S. and Canada to inform people about the reality in Syria and the need to stop foreign support and financing of terrorism. Her message is non-sectarian, promoting the values of peace, love and reconciliation.

Sun, Dec 1: 2 pm Centenary United Church, 24 Main West at MacNab Street South across from Hamilton City Hall, Hamilton ON

Sun, Dec 1: 7 pm, Islamic Society of York Region, 1380 Stouffville Rd, Richmond Hill, ON

Mon, Dec 2: 7 pm, St. Joseph Syriac Catholic Church, 999 Lakeshore Rd East, Mississauga, ON

Program in Montreal has been revised. (see above)

Wed, Dec 4: 7 pm, St. Paul University, Auditorium G203, Ottawa, ON

Thur, Dec 5, Toronto, ON ** to be updated

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| War Criminal Kissinger: A diplomatic colossus who is still a key influence in US amid Syria crisis!

Henry Kissinger: A diplomatic colossus who is still a key influence in US amid Syria crisis ~ SEAN O’GRADYThe Independent.

His centrality to US foreign policy goes all the way back to 1960s but for his critics, the Kissinger realipolitik has yielded much that was little short of evil. 

There is a 90-year-old “war criminal” helping to frame the foreign policy of the Obama administration. Perhaps a little surprising. Until, of course, you realise that the old boy in question is Henry Kissinger, and he has been advising the White House on a subject he knows well – the Russians.

That the Americans are actively co-operating with Putin on the Syrian crisis and the eradication of Assad’s chemical weapons is as startling a development as it is a welcome one, and Kissinger, we are told, has been guiding thinking behind the scenes. Asked recently in public whether America and Russia can enjoy a fresh bout of the sort of détente with Russia he famously pioneered in the early 1970s, Kissinger replied that “it will be extremely difficult, but if they can it will be beneficial to all. Russia will gain prestige, Obama will be vindicated and Assad will be removed, and that would be the best possible outcome.” Sharp as ever, then.

Although recent developments are nowhere on the scale of the strategic arms limitations talks and treaties between the US and the Soviet Union driven by Kissinger four decades ago – the first thawing in the Cold War and the first meaningful limits placed on the nuclear arms race – it is a hopeful development. It is also one that suggests that the two superpowers are relearning the merits of another doctrine Kissinger was associated with – “realpolitik”, the recognition that where raw national interests can be made to converge through diplomacy, then lasting good can emerge.

Its apogee was the Paris Peace Accord of 1973. This, formally, ended the Vietnam War, which President Nixon and Kissinger had concluded was unwinnable. Kissinger achieved the signal honour of jointly gaining the Nobel Peace Prize for that achievement. His North Korean counterpart, Le Duc Tho, declined the award, indicating that the accords didn’t represent real peace at all – an accurate view. The American humourist Tom Lehrer quipped that Kissinger’s award represented the “death of satire”. But it did allow the US to start to extricate itself from its agony.

It had also been Kissinger who paved the way for Nixon’s visit to China in 1972. America had treated Beijing as a pariah ever since the Communists won power in 1949; now Nixon opened up diplomatic channels and laid the foundations for China to rejoin the world community, with all the momentous consequences we see all around us today.

For Kissinger’s critics, though, the Kissinger realpolitik has yielded much that was little short of evil. Christopher Hitchens, in 2001, claimed to have amassed sufficient evidence to secure prosecutions for “war crimes, for crimes against humanity, and for offences against common or customary or international law, including conspiracy to commit murder, kidnap, and torture”. This is somewhat more than hyperbole; the experience of General Pinochet has made the travels of Dr Kissinger a little more risky.

The charge sheet is extremely long, even considering the eight eventful years Kissinger was running US foreign policy: he and the CIA helped orchestrate the coup against the elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende, and his murder in 1973; he and Nixon invaded neutral Cambodia in 1970; they indiscriminately bombed civilians in that long war; connived in the Indonesians’ brutal repression in East Timor; left the Kurds to their fate at the hands of Saddam as early as 1972; the list goes on. “War criminal” and Nobel Peace Prize holder; the unique genius of Henry Kissinger.

Among the American political establishment, there is no doubt, he is held in awe, reverence even. His 90th birthday celebrations earlier this year were a glittering affair, attended by Bill and Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, James Baker, John McCain, Condoleezza Rice, George Shultz, Susan Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Michael Bloomberg, former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, David Petraeus, Barbara Walters, Wendi Deng, plus Tina Brown and Harold Evans. Senator McCain summed it up: “His legacy is the stewardship of our nation in the most difficult of times and his continued important voice on national security policies. He is a man who has a unique place in the world. I know of no individual who is more respected in the world than Henry Kissinger.”

Kissinger is a sort of talisman, not for the sort of foreign policy America would like to have, and sometimes attempts – the idealism of a Woodrow Wilson or a Jimmy Carter – but the kind that they believe America has to have, hard-headed and realistic. Kissinger’s doctoral thesis – “Peace, Legitimacy and the Equilibrium” – was on the policies of Metternich and Castlereagh. These two practised great-power politics in a way Kissinger was to emulate – engagement with great powers of the time to win a stable balance of power. Then, Europe; in Henry’s time, the world. Kissinger was supremely good at that; subsequent holders of the office have been less successful.

Kissinger also has an abiding appeal because he is so emblematic of the American dream. This is not so much despite his German-Jewish background, but because of it. He was born Heinz Alfred Kissinger in Bavaria in 1923, about 100 miles from where an upstart Adolf Hitler was attempting his “beer-hall putsch”. According to the US constitution, Henry could never have been President, but he could still do everything but. His family fled Nazi persecution in 1938 – as a child in New York he would cross the street if he saw a group of kids coming towards him, having been beaten up so many times back home.

The family settled in New York, and he lived out the American dream. “When you think of my life, who could have possibly have imagined that I’d wind up as Secretary of State of the greatest country in the world?” he once said. “I mean, when I couldn’t even go to German schools… When I think I was a delivery boy in New York.” That thick Germanic accent, in a voice so earthy you could grow spuds in it, is a reminder of the dream. The only trace of his Bavarian origins, bar the accent, is a lifelong affection for the Fürth football team, from his hometown.

Young Henry – he’d dropped the “Heinz” – soon began to shine academically; his progress to Harvard interrupted by wartime service: He spent 1945 hunting down members of the Gestapo. By the 1950s he had begun his long march into the upper echelons of academia.

Despite his long intimate association with Richard Nixon, Kissinger in fact goes back so far as to have been a consultant to the National Security Council under President Kennedy, though he did not last long in post after he said “I wouldn’t recognise the Baluchistan problem if it hit me in the face” during an official visit to Pakistan. (Oddly, for such a diplomat, Kissinger cannot resist himself; Bangladesh dismissed as a “basket case”, and “it’s a pity they can’t both lose” about the Iran-Iraq war).

Henry and Dick first met at an elegant New York cocktail party hosted by Clare Boothe Luce, playwright, politician and one-time US ambassador to Italy, in 1967, at her home on Fifth Avenue. Nixon had been impressed by Kissinger’s analysis of superpower politics, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, and told him so. Kissinger, was not so impressed with Nixon: “not fit to be president”. Nonetheless, Kissinger was chosen to run Nixon’s foreign policy, and so was a remarkable partnership formed; it ended with Nixon’s resignation in 1974. The night before Nixon quit, Kissinger joined him in a tearful session; “Henry,” he said, “you are not a very orthodox Jew, and I am not an orthodox Quaker, but we need to pray.”

With a reputation as a ladies’ man, Kissinger has been married twice. His first marriage, to Ann Fleischer, was stormy, and ended in divorce, after 15 years, in 1964 (his two children are from that union). Ten years later his aphrodisiacs worked on the striking Nancy, with whom he is still together. In between there were reportedly many girlfriends.

According to some this “swinger” image was a conscious effort to humanise him and secure pictures in the society gossip columns. Kissinger said “power is the ultimate aphrodisiac… They are women attracted only to my power. But what happens when my power is gone? They’re not going to sit around playing chess with me.” Oddly, they still are, and he is still a player in the great game.

A Life In Brief

Born: Heinz Alfred Kissinger, May 21 1923, Fürth, Bavaria, Germany.

Family: Son of a schoolteacher and a homemaker. Kissinger has one younger brother, Walter. He first married Ann Fleischer. They divorced in 1964. The couple had two children, Elizabeth and David. He is now married to Nancy Maginnes.

Education: City College of New York and Harvard University (MA & PhD).

Career: After returning to the US from his Second World War deployment,  Kissinger enrolled into Harvard, planning to become an academic. He became a faculty member in the Department of Government, receiving tenure in 1959. His 1957 book Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy became a landmark text book. He went on to serve as the National Security Adviser in the Nixon administration. In 1973, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his Vietnam War ceasefire agreement with Le Duc Tho. He was appointed chair of the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America and then of the President’s Foreign Intelligence under Reagan and Bush. His memoirs have been highly regarded, with the first of the trilogy, The White House Years, winning the National Book Award for History in 1980. He also written over 13 books on foreign policy.

He says: “We can’t be the world’s policeman but we can be the world’s last resort.”

They say: “He was the 20th century’s greatest 19th-century statesman.” Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic




“Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.”

― Henry Kissinger

Did Henry Kissinger really say this about military men?

The sentence was reported in “The Final Days”, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein

It was said by Kissinger in front of Alexander Haig, newly appointed White House chief of staff, in Haig new office in 1973

I quote to you the sentences related: as you may notice the quote between brackets is “dumb, stupid animals to be used” that was never denied by Kissinger

In Haig’s presence, Kissinger referred pointedly to military men as “dumb, stupid animals to be used” as pawns for foreign policy. Kissinger often took up a post outside the doorway to Haig’s office and dressed him down in front of the secretaries for alleged acts of incompetence with which Haig was not even remotely involved. Once when the Air Force was authorized to resume bombing of North Vietnam, the planes did not fly on certain days because of bad weather. Kissinger assailed Haig. He complained bitterly that the generals had been screamin for the limits to be taken off but that now their pilots were afraid to go up in a little fog. The country needed generals who could win battles, Kissinger said, not good briefers like Haig.
On another occasion, when Haig was leaving for a trip to Cambodia to meet with Premier Lon Nol, Kissinger escorted him to a staff car, where reporters and a retinue of aides waited. As Haig bent to get into the automobile, Kissinger stopped him and began polishing the single star on his shoulder. “Al, if you’re a good boy, I’ll get you another one,” he said.

end of quote


Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein 
The Final Days 
second Touchstone paperback edition (1994) 
Chapter 14, pp. 194-195


Kissinger A us kissin israel's ass3

| End of an era beckons as Mandela critically ill in hospital!

Nelson Mandela critically ill in hospital ~ BBC.

Nelson Mandela has become critically ill in hospital, the South African presidency has announced.

President Jacob Zuma said he had visited Mr Mandela and spoken to his wife and medical teams.

Doctors were “doing everything possible to get his condition to improve” said Mr Zuma in a statement.

South Africa’s first black president, 94, was taken to hospital in Pretoria earlier this month for the third time this year, with a lung infection.

Mr Zuma said he had been told by doctors on Sunday that the former president’s condition had worsened over the past 24 hours.

“The doctors are doing everything possible to get his condition to improve and are ensuring that Madiba is well-looked after and is comfortable. He is in good hands,” said President Zuma, using Mr Mandela’s clan name by which he is widely known in South Africa.

Mr Zuma – who was joined at the hospital by the deputy leader of his ruling African National Congress (ANC) Cyril Ramaphosa – appealed for prayers for Mr Mandela and his medical team.

Mac Maharaj, Mr Zuma’s spokesman, told the BBC’s Newshour that the doctors’ use of the word “critical” was “sufficient explanation that should raise concern amongst us”.

“Therefore we want to assure the public that the doctors are working away to try and get his condition to improve,” he said.

Mr Maharaj added that this was a stressful time for the Mandela family, and appealed for their privacy.

The ANC – the party of Mr Mandela and Mr Zuma – said it “noted with concern” the latest reports, and that it joined the president in calling “for us all to keep Madiba, his family and medical team in our thoughts and prayers during this trying time”.

The White House issued a statement on Sunday saying: “Our thoughts and prayers are with him [Mr Mandela], his family and the people of South Africa.”

‘Expert care’The BBC’s Andrew Harding in Johannesburg says the release of information relating to Mr Mandela is always carefully controlled by the government to avoid sparking alarm.

Wellwishers outside the hospital in Pretoria (17 June 2013)
Wellwishers have been visiting the hospital in Pretoria for the past two weeks

Describing his condition as critical will be very worrying for South Africans, many of whom see him as like a family member, our correspondent says.

There has been little information about his condition in recent days. On 13 June Mr Zuma said Mr Mandela’s health continued to improve but that his condition remained serious.

More recently, one of Mr Mandela’s grandsons, Ndaba Mandela, said his grandfather was getting better and he hoped he would be home soon.

Last week, Mr Mandela’s wife Graca Machel thanked all those who had sent messages of support, saying they had brought “love, comfort and hope”.

Related Stories

Nelson Mandela: Key dates

  • 1918 Born in the Eastern Cape
  • 1944 Joins African National Congress
  • 1956 Charged with high treason, but charges dropped
  • 1962 Arrested, convicted of sabotage, sentenced to five years in prison
  • 1964 Charged again, sentenced to life
  • 1990 Freed from prison
  • 1993 Wins Nobel Peace Prize
  • 1994 Elected first black president
  • 1999 Steps down as leader

Mr Mandela is revered for leading the fight against white minority rule in South Africa and then preaching reconciliation despite being imprisoned for 27 years. He left power after five years as president.

The former president and Nobel Peace Prize winner is believed to have suffered damage to his lungs while working in a prison quarry.

He contracted tuberculosis in the 1980s while being held in jail on the windswept Robben Island.

Mr Mandela retired from public life in 2004 and has rarely been seen at official events since.

On Saturday, it emerged that the ambulance in which Mr Mandela was taken to hospital on 8 June broke down, meaning he had to be moved to another vehicle.

But Mr Zuma said he had been assured that “all care was taken to ensure his medical condition was not compromised”.

“There were seven doctors in the convoy who were in full control of the situation throughout the period. He had expert medical care,” he said.

Mr Zuma also denied reports that the former leader had suffered a cardiac arrest.

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| Desmond Tutu wins Templeton Prize for ‘affirming life’s spiritual dimension!’

Desmond Tutu wins Templeton Prize for ‘affirming life’s spiritual dimension’ ~ , Correspondent, The Christian Science Monitor.


Tutu, the first black man to lead South Africa’s Anglican church, also headed the post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He is a ‘living model of the benefits of religion,’ the Templeton Foundation said.


On April 16 1996, South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) chair Desmond Tutu sat listening as activist Sinqokwana Ernest Malgas described the torture he had been subjected to by the apartheid police force.

A 30-year veteran of the freedom movement himself, Reverend Tutu was no stranger to stories like this. But as Mr. Malgas talked, his speech mangled and slurred by a stroke he had suffered from a police beating, Tutu laid his head down on the table in front of him and began to cry.

The image of Tutu weeping quickly circled the globe, a reminder of the towering moral challenge South Africa faced as it strove to reconcile centuries of racial injustice.

Perhaps no individual more deeply embodied this national reckoning with forgiveness than Tutu himself, who on Thursday received the Templeton Prize, an annual award of 1.1 million pounds ($1.7 million) awarded to a living person “who has made exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension.”

“Archbishop Tutu exemplifies a new and larger, living model of the benefits of religion – especially when framed and tested in the context of real people – in real, everyday circumstances,” said John Templeton Jr., the president of the Templeton Foundation.

Tutu said he was “totally bowled over” by the award, which honored the retired Anglican archbishop for more than a half-century of spiritually grounded human rights activism.

Tutu joins the Dalai LamaMother Teresa, and Billy Graham among heavyweight activist clerics who have been honored by the Templeton Prize, the largest annual monetary prize for an individual in the world.

Standing just 5-ft. 3-in., Tutu has long occupied an outsized presence in South African politics. As an Anglican leader throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, he pushed for international divestment from South Africa, spoke out against police brutality, and led marches of tens of thousands against the white minority government. In 1984, his efforts earned him the Nobel Peace Prize, and two years later he became the first black man to lead the Anglican church of South Africa.

“The [Anglican] church in South Africa fought in the struggle because we were called upon to find what it means to be the body of Christ in our time and place, and we believed that God is a God of all,” says Thabo Makgoba, the current archbishop of Cape Town. “Politics is part and parcel of where God’s people find themselves.”

And as the country transitioned from the rigid rule of a white minority to full democracy in the early 1990s, Tutu unrelentingly preached reconciliation. As head of the TRC, a restorative justice body, he guided the country through hundreds of hours of testimony from apartheid victims and perpetrators, and granted amnesty to hundreds who confessed to politically motivated crimes.

In the years since, the diminutive bishop has unflinchingly thrown his moral authority behind a variety of causes – not all of them popular – including the release of Wikileaks informant Bradley Manning, divestment from Israel, and an end to corruption and nepotism in the South African government.

Throughout his career, Tutu has always displayed a remarkable ability to use humor to incisively cut to the heart of social justice issues, Reverend Makgoba says.

“When the missionaries came to Africa, they had the Bible and we had the land,” Tutu explained in a video published on the Templeton Prize’s website. “They said, ‘let us pray,’ and we dutifully shut our eyes. And when we finished … lo and behold, they had the land and we had the Bible.”

Tutu also preaches an inclusive version of spirituality. In his 2011 book, “God is Not a Christian: And Other Provocations,” he wrote that no religion had a monopoly on truth about God.

“We should in humility and joyfulness acknowledge that the supernatural and divine reality we all worship in some form or other transcends all our particular categories of thought and imagining,” he wrote.

The Templeton Prize has been given annually since 1973. It was endowed by Sir John Templeton, a British-American stock trader and philanthropist. Tutu will formally receive the award in a public ceremony at London‘s Guildhall on May 21.


Tutu Aparth Ad




| Salute Bradley Manning: Support his Nobel Peace Prize Nomination, 2013!

Bradley Manning Nobel Peace Prize Nomination 2013 ~ Birgitta Jónsdóttirmember of the Icelandic parliament for The Movement.

February 1st 2013 the entire parliamentary group of The Movement in the Icelandic Parliament, the Pirates of the EU; representatives from the Swedish Pirate Party, the former Secretary of State in Tunisia for Sport & Youthnominated Private Bradley Manning for the Nobel Peace Prize. Following is the reasoning we sent to the committee explaining why we felt compelled to nominate Private Bradley Manning for this important recognition of an individual effort to have an impact for peace in our world. The lengthy personal statement to the pre-trial hearing February 28th by Bradley Manning in his own words validate that his motives were for the greater good of humankind.

Read his full statement 

Our letter to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee
Reykjavík, Iceland 1st of February 2013
We have the great honour of nominating Private First Class Bradley Manning for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.
Manning is a soldier in the United States army who stands accused of releasing hundreds of thousands of documents to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. The leaked documents pointed to a long history of corruption, war crimes, and a lack of respect for the sovereignty of other democratic nations by the United States government in international dealings.
These revelations have fueled democratic uprisings around the world, including a democratic revolution in Tunisia. According to journalists, his alleged actions helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements, shed light on secret corporate influence on the foreign and domestic policies of European nations, and most recently contributed to the Obama Administration agreeing to withdraw all U.S.troops from the occupation in Iraq.
Bradley Manning has been incarcerated for more then 1000 days by the U.S. Government. He spent over ten months of that time period in solitary confinement, conditions which expert worldwide have criticized as torturous. Juan Mendez, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, has repeatedly requested and been denied a private meeting with Manning to assess his conditions.
The documents made public by WikiLeaks should never have been kept from public scrutiny. The revelations – including video documentation of an incident in which American soldiers gunned down Reuters journalists in Iraq – have helped to fuel a worldwide discussion about the overseas engagements of the United States, civilian casualties of war and rules of engagement. Citizens worldwide owe a great debt to the WikiLeaks whistleblower for shedding light on these issues, and so we urge the Committee to award this prestigious prize to accused whistleblower Bradley Manning.
We can already be reasonably certain that Bradley Manning will not have a fair trial as the head of State, the USA President Mr. Barack Obama, stated over a year ago on record that Manning is guilty.
Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Member of Parliament for the Movement, Iceland
Christian Engström, Member of the European Parliament for the Pirate Party, Sweden
Amelia Andersdottir, Member of the European Parliament for the Pirate Party, Sweden
Margrét Tryggvadóttir, Member of Parliament for the Movement, Iceland
Þór Saari, Member of Parliament for the Movement, Iceland
Slim Amamou, former Secretary of State for Sport & Youth (2011), Tunisia


Manning Salute


Manning Tragedy

| Executioner in Chief: How a Nobel Peace Prize Winner became the head of a Worldwide Assassination Program!

Executioner in Chief: How a Nobel Peace Prize Winner Became the Head of a Worldwide Assassination Program ~ John W. Whitehead, The Rutherford Institute.


“Much of our foreign policy now depends on the hope of benevolent dictators and philosopher kings. The law can’t help. The law is what the kings say it is.” — Ta-Nehisi Coates, writing for The Atlantic.

“If George Bush had done this, it would have been stopped.” — Joe Scarborough, former Republican congressman and current MSNBC pundit.


When Barack Obama ascended to the presidency in 2008, there was a sense, at least among those who voted for him, that the country might change for the better. Those who watched in awe as President Bush chipped away at our civil liberties over the course of his two terms as president thought that maybe this young, charismatic Senator from Illinois would reverse course and put an end to some of the Bush administration’s worst transgressions—the indefinite detention of suspected terrorists, the torture, the black site prisons, and the never-ending wars that have drained our resources, to name just a few.

A few short years later, that fantasy has proven to be just that: a fantasy. Indeed, Barack Obama has not only carried on the Bush legacy, but has taken it to its logical conclusion. As president, Obama has gone beyond Guantanamo Bay, gone beyond spying on Americans’ emails and phone calls, and gone beyond bombing countries without Congressional authorization. He now claims, as revealed in a leaked Department of Justice memo, the right to murder any American citizen the world over, so long as he has a feeling that they might, at some point in the future, pose a threat to the United States.

Let that sink in. The President of the United States of America believes he has the absolute right to kill you based upon secret “evidence” that you might be a terrorist. Not only does he think he can kill you, but he believes he has the right to do so in secret, without formally charging you of any crime and providing you with an opportunity to defend yourself in a court of law. To top it all off, the memo asserts that these decisions about whom to kill are not subject to any judicial review whatsoever.

This is what one would call Mafia-style justice, when one powerful overlord—in this case, the president—gets to decide whether you live or die based solely on his own peculiar understanding of right and wrong. This is how far we have fallen in the twelve years since 9/11, through our negligence and our failure to hold our leaders in both political parties accountable to the principles enshrined in the Constitution.

According to the leaked Department of Justice memo, there are certain “conditions” under which it is acceptable for the president to kill a U.S. citizen without the basic trappings of American justice, i.e., a lawyer and a fair hearing before a neutral judge.

First, you have to be suspected of being a “senior operational leader” of al-Qaeda or an “associated force.” Of course, neither of these terms is defined. Making matters worse, the government doesn’t actually have to prove that you’re an “operational leader.” It simply has to suspect that you are. (Of course, if all it takes for the government to pull the trigger and kill a U.S. citizen is a hunch, then the rest of the conditions set out in the memo are moot.)

Second, capturing you has to be “infeasible.” Easy enough, since “infeasibility of capture” includes being unable to capture someone without putting American troops in harm’s way.

Third, you must pose “an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States,” whether or not you can actually execute an attack on our soil. Before you breathe a sigh of relief that perhaps your neck is safe now, keep in mind that the imminence requirement “does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.” The Bush administration should get some credit here, since it was their creative parsing of the “imminent” threat posed by Saddam Hussein and his so-called weapons of mass destruction that inspired the Obama lawyers to play footloose with the laws on killing American citizens.

In short, by simply asserting that an American citizen is an enemy of the United States, the Obama administration has given itself the authority to murder that individual. This pales in comparison to George W. Bush’s assertion that he could detain an American citizen indefinitely simply by labeling him an enemy combatant.

Compounding this travesty, the Obama administration also insists that the power to target a U.S. citizen for murder applies to any “informed, high-level official of the U.S. government,” not just the president. Therefore, any bureaucrat or politician, if appointed to a high enough position, can target an American for execution by way of drone strikes.

It’s been done before. Without proving that they were “senior operational leaders” of any terrorist organization, the Obama administration used drone strikes to assassinate Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, both American citizens.

So now we find ourselves at this strange, surreal juncture where clear-cut definitions of right and wrong and the rule of law have been upended by legal parsing, government corruption, corporate greed, partisan games, and politicians with questionable morals and little-to-no loyalty to the American people.

It’s a short skip and a jump from a scenario where the president authorizes drone strikes on American citizens abroad to one in which a high-level bureaucrat authorizes a drone strike on American citizens here in the United States. It’s only a matter of time. Obama has already opened the door to drones flying in American skies—an estimated 30,000 by 2015, and a $30 billion per year industry to boot.

Yet no matter how much legislation we pass to protect ourselves from these aerial threats being used against us domestically, either to monitor our activities or force us into compliance, as long as the president is allowed to unilaterally determine who is a threat and who deserves to die by way of a drone strike, we are all in danger.

This is surely the beginning of the end of the republic. Not only are we upending the rule of law, but killing people across the globe without accountability seriously undermines America’s long term relationships with other nations. The use of drones to kill American citizens demonstrates just how out of control the so-called “war on terror” has become. A war that by definition cannot be won has expanded to encompass the entire globe. This confirms the fears of those who have been watching as the American drone program has slowly expanded from targeting members of al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan to include any person the president cares to see eliminated, not to mention the countless civilians killed along the way.

Retired general Stanley McChrystal has said that drone strikes are “hated on a visceral level” and feed into a “perception of American arrogance.” By attacking small time jihadists, as well as innocent civilians, the American government further inflames populations where terrorist groups are embedded, exciting anti-American sentiment among those who may have previously been an asset to America’s relationship with Muslim countries. In fact, McChrystal and former CIA director Michael Hayden have both expressed concern that American drone strikes are “targeting low-level militants who do not pose a direct threat to the United States.”

For example, Salem Ahmed bin Ali Jaber, a Muslim cleric in Yemen gave a long sermon in August 2012 denouncing Al-Qaeda. A few days later, three members of Al-Qaeda showed up to his neighborhood, saying they wanted to talk with Jaber. Jaber agreed, bringing along his cousin Waleed Abdullah, a police officer, for protection. In the middle of the conversation, a hail of American missiles rained down upon the men, killing them all.

Incidents such as these are the exact reason that America cannot seem to bring an end to its myriad military commitments abroad.  By undermining our potential allies, we simply further endanger American lives. According to Naji al Zaydi, an opponent of Al-Qaeda and former governor of Marib province in Yemen, “some of these young guys getting killed have just been recruited and barely known what terrorism means.” In direct opposition to the stated goal of the “war on terror,” we are creating enemies abroad who will gladly look forward to the day when the United States falls in on itself, like the Roman Empire before it.

Unfortunately, there seems to be no exit from this situation. Too many high-level officials, both Democrats and Republicans, either don’t care, or actively champion the murder of American citizens and innocent civilians alike by the president. As journalist Amy Goodman put it, “the recent excesses of U.S. presidential power are not transient aberrations, but the creation of a frightening new normal, where drone strikes, warrantless surveillance, assassination and indefinite detention are conducted with arrogance and impunity, shielded by secrecy and beyond the reach of law.”

WC: 1496



Human HeartA


US Preamble 1