| WWI + 2014: The Year of Remembrance!

2014: The Year of Remembrance ~ Matt Carr’s Infernal Machine.

Few people will need reminding that 2014 is the centenary of World War I, or what posterity has called the  ‘Great War’, and our government is already preparing to mark the occasion in its own inimitable manner.  In a speech at the Imperial War Museum last October, David Cameron promised to commit more than £50 million to the centenary commemorations as part of a rolling series of events throughout the year, declaring:

‘Our ambition is a truly national commemoration, worth of this historic centenary.   I want a commemoration that captures our national spirit, in every corner of the country, from our schools to our workplaces, to our town halls and local communities.  A commemoration that, like the Diamond Jubilee celebrated this year, says something about who we are as a people.’.

Lord Snooty stressed the educational importance of the centenary, and hoped that ‘ new generations will be inspired by the incredible stories of courage, toil and sacrifice that have brought so many of us here over the past century.’  

Quoting a twenty year old soldier who wrote just a week before he died,  ‘But for this war I and all the others would have passed into oblivion like the countless myriads before us . . . but we shall live for ever in the results of our efforts’,  Cameron insisted that:

‘Our duty with these commemorations is clear: to honour those who served; to remember those who died; and to ensure that the lessons learnt live with us for ever. And that is exactly what we will do.’

What ‘lessons’ will the nation’s youth be expected to draw from the Tory festival of remembrance, apart from stirring tales of ‘ courage, toil and sacrifice’?

World War I inaugurated a new age of mass industrialised slaughter that pitted human flesh and muscle against modern artillery and the terrible destructive power of the recently-invented machine gun.   ‘ They went down in their hundreds.  You didn’t have to aim, we just fired into them,’ recalled  a German machine gunner of the Battle of the Somme in 1916, when 57,000 men died in a single day.

In his excellent  The Social History of the Machine Gun, John Ellis quotes a  Lt. Col G.S. Hutchinson, who describes how he took possession of  a machine gun post after much of his company had been destroyed during the same battle:

‘I seized the rear leg of the tripod and dragged the gun some yards to where a little cover enabled me to load the belt through the feed-block.  To the south of the wood Germans could be seen, silhouetted against the sky-line, moving forward.  I fired at them and watched them fall, chuckling with joy at the technical efficiency of the machine.’

Shortly afterwards, Hutchinson used his weapon against a German artillery battery whose shells were falling amongst the British wounded:

‘Anger, and the intensity of the fire, consumed my spirit, and not caring for the consequences, I rose and turned my machine gun upon the battery, laughing loudly as I saw the loaders fall.’

Approximately ten million soldiers died in such encounters, in addition to some seven million civilians.  In Germany tens of thousands of civilians starved as a result of the economic blockade directed against the Central Powers, whose aim, according to Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty in 1914, was to ‘starve the whole population — men, women, and children, old and young, wounded and sound — into submission.’

This unprecedented slaughter acted as a catalyst for the barbarism of twentieth century politics and the even greater levels of slaughter during World War II.   In their determination to avoid a repetition of  the strategic stalemate of static World War I battlefields, the great powers developed new strategies and tactics which shifted the focus of military destruction onto civilian populations as well as uniformed armies.

The result was Guernica, the strategic bombing campaigns of World War II, and the invention of the atomic bomb.   Today western governments – ours amongst them – have attempted to seduce the public into a fantasy of perfect bloodless and ‘humanitarian’ wars, waged by remote-controlled machines in the world’s ‘wild places.’

Faced with a public that has become increasingly skeptical about the British elite’s predilection for war as first choice instrument of policy, the Coalition government, like its Labour predecessors, has been keen to re-militarize British society and present the armed forces as the embodiment of national virtue.

In these circumstances 2014 is likely to generate a great deal of stirring talk about the sacrifice, freedom, patriotism and heroism of those who died, but not so much about how they died and how they killed, or how so many men were lured into a fantasy of virtuous war that was as false then as it is today.

We can expect pagaentry, heritage; lofty talk of Queen and country; lost generations and Rupert Brooke; pretty displays of  red poppies; quasi-religious war worship’ a Niall Ferguson documentary; gung ho battlefield tours of the Dan and Peter Snow variety; suited politicians with bowed heads remembering a sanctified and sanitized version of the war.

We will hear celebratory speeches and read op eds that attempt to present World War I as part of an unbroken tradition of noble British warfare that reaches from Flanders to Iraq and Helmand Province; paeans to Britishness and Britain’s ancestral role in fighting for freedom – from the leaders of a country that remains one of the most prolific sellers of weapons to repressive regimes in the world today.

Of course there will be more than this, and there needs to be.  Because World War I is a momentous and terrible event that is worthy of remembrance and debate, from which a variety of lessons can indeed be drawn.

But we should be wary of those who plan to turn the coming year into a launchpad for new forms of militarism, and present the centenary as a cause for celebration, rather than a the horrific and disgusting tragedy which it was.

And regardless of  Lord Snooty’s remarkably fatuous comparison, we ought to bear in mind that World War I was not like the Diamond Jubilee.  It really wasn’t.





| Three Good Reasons To Liquidate Our Empire And Ten Steps to Take to Do So!

Three Good Reasons To Liquidate Our Empire And Ten Steps to Take to Do SoChalmers Johnson, TomDispatch.

However ambitious President Barack Obama’s domestic plans, one unacknowledged issue has the potential to destroy any reform efforts he might launch. Think of it as the 800-pound gorilla in the American living room: our longstanding reliance on imperialism and militarism in our relations with other countries and the vast, potentially ruinous global empire of bases that goes with it. The failure to begin to deal with our bloated military establishment and the profligate use of it in missions for which it is hopelessly inappropriate will, sooner rather than later, condemn the United States to a devastating trio of consequences: imperial overstretch, perpetual war, and insolvency, leading to a likely collapse similar to that of the former Soviet Union.

According to the 2008 official Pentagon inventory of our military bases around the world, our empire consists of 865 facilities in more than 40 countries and overseas U.S. territories. We deploy over 190,000 troops in 46 countries and territories. In just one such country, Japan, at the end of March 2008, we still had 99,295 people connected to U.S. military forces living and working there — 49,364 members of our armed services, 45,753 dependent family members, and 4,178 civilian employees. Some 13,975 of these were crowded into the small island of Okinawa, the largest concentration of foreign troops anywhere in Japan.

These massive concentrations of American military power outside the United States are not needed for our defense. They are, if anything, a prime contributor to our numerous conflicts with other countries. They are also unimaginably expensive. According to Anita Dancs, an analyst for the website Foreign Policy in Focus, the United States spends approximately $250 billion each year maintaining its global military presence. The sole purpose of this is to give us hegemony — that is, control or dominance — over as many nations on the planet as possible.

We are like the British at the end of World War II: desperately trying to shore up an empire that we never needed and can no longer afford, using methods that often resemble those of failed empires of the past — including the Axis powers of World War II and the former Soviet Union. There is an important lesson for us in the British decision, starting in 1945, to liquidate their empire relatively voluntarily, rather than being forced to do so by defeat in war, as were Japan and Germany, or by debilitating colonial conflicts, as were the French and Dutch. We should follow the British example. (Alas, they are currently backsliding and following our example by assisting us in the war in Afghanistan.)

Here are three basic reasons why we must liquidate our empire or else watch it liquidate us.

1. We Can No Longer Afford Our Postwar Expansionism

Shortly after his election as president, Barack Obama, in a speech announcing several members of his new cabinet, stated as fact that “[w]e have to maintain the strongest military on the planet.” A few weeks later, on March 12, 2009, in a speech at the National Defense University in Washington D.C., the president againinsisted, “Now make no mistake, this nation will maintain our military dominance. We will have the strongest armed forces in the history of the world.” And in a commencement address to the cadets of the U.S. Naval Academy on May 22nd, Obama stressed that “[w]e will maintain America’s military dominance and keep you the finest fighting force the world has ever seen.”

What he failed to note is that the United States no longer has the capability to remain a global hegemon, and to pretend otherwise is to invite disaster.

According to a growing consensus of economists and political scientists around the world, it is impossible for the United States to continue in that role while emerging into full view as a crippled economic power. No such configuration has ever persisted in the history of imperialism. The University of Chicago’s Robert Pape, author of the important study Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism (Random House, 2005), typically writes:

“America is in unprecedented decline. The self-inflicted wounds of the Iraq war, growing government debt, increasingly negative current-account balances and other internal economic weaknesses have cost the United States real power in today’s world of rapidly spreading knowledge and technology. If present trends continue, we will look back on the Bush years as the death knell of American hegemony.”

There is something absurd, even Kafkaesque, about our military empire. Jay Barr, a bankruptcy attorney, makes this point using an insightful analogy:

“Whether liquidating or reorganizing, a debtor who desires bankruptcy protection must provide a list of expenses, which, if considered reasonable, are offset against income to show that only limited funds are available to repay the bankrupted creditors. Now imagine a person filing for bankruptcy claiming that he could not repay his debts because he had the astronomical expense of maintaining at least 737 facilities overseas that provide exactly zero return on the significant investment required to sustain them… He could not qualify for liquidation without turning over many of his assets for the benefit of creditors, including the valuable foreign real estate on which he placed his bases.”

In other words, the United States is not seriously contemplating its own bankruptcy. It is instead ignoring the meaning of its precipitate economic decline and flirting with insolvency.

Nick Turse, author of The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives (Metropolitan Books, 2008), calculates that we could clear $2.6 billion if we would sell our base assets at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and earn another $2.2 billion if we did the same with Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. These are only two of our over 800 overblown military enclaves.

Our unwillingness to retrench, no less liquidate, represents a striking historical failure of the imagination. In his first official visit to China since becoming Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner assured an audience of students at Beijing University, “Chinese assets [invested in the United States] are very safe.” According to press reports, the students responded with loud laughter. Well they might.

In May 2009, the Office of Management and Budget predicted that in 2010 the United States will be burdened with a budget deficit of at least $1.75 trillion. This includes neither a projected $640 billion budget for the Pentagon, nor the costs of waging two remarkably expensive wars. The sum is so immense that it will take several generations for American citizens to repay the costs of George W. Bush’s imperial adventures — if they ever can or will. It represents about 13% of our current gross domestic product (that is, the value of everything we produce). It is worth noting that the target demanded of European nations wanting to join the Euro Zone is a deficit no greater than 3% of GDP.

Thus far, President Obama has announced measly cuts of only $8.8 billion in wasteful and worthless weapons spending, including his cancellation of the F-22 fighter aircraft. The actual Pentagon budget for next year will, in fact, be larger, not smaller, than the bloated final budget of the Bush era. Far bolder cuts in our military expenditures will obviously be required in the very near future if we intend to maintain any semblance of fiscal integrity.

2. We Are Going to Lose the War in Afghanistan and It Will Help Bankrupt Us

One of our major strategic blunders in Afghanistan was not to have recognized that both Great Britain and the Soviet Union attempted to pacify Afghanistan using the same military methods as ours and failed disastrously. We seem to have learned nothing from Afghanistan’s modern history — to the extent that we even know what it is. Between 1849 and 1947, Britain sent almost annual expeditions against the Pashtun tribes and sub-tribes living in what was then called the North-West Frontier Territories — the area along either side of the artificial border between Afghanistan and Pakistan called the Durand Line. This frontier was created in 1893 by Britain’s foreign secretary for India, Sir Mortimer Durand.

Neither Britain nor Pakistan has ever managed to establish effective control over the area. As the eminent historian Louis Dupree put it in his book Afghanistan(Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 425): “Pashtun tribes, almost genetically expert at guerrilla warfare after resisting centuries of all comers and fighting among themselves when no comers were available, plagued attempts to extend the Pax Britannica into their mountain homeland.” An estimated 41 million Pashtuns live in an undemarcated area along the Durand Line and profess no loyalties to the central governments of either Pakistan or Afghanistan.

The region known today as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan is administered directly by Islamabad, which — just as British imperial officials did — has divided the territory into seven agencies, each with its own “political agent” who wields much the same powers as his colonial-era predecessor. Then as now, the part of FATA known as Waziristan and the home of Pashtun tribesmen offered the fiercest resistance.

According to Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, experienced Afghan hands and coauthors of Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story (City Lights, 2009, p. 317):

“If Washington’s bureaucrats don’t remember the history of the region, the Afghans do. The British used air power to bomb these same Pashtun villages after World War I and were condemned for it. When the Soviets used MiGs and the dreaded Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunships to do it during the 1980s, they were called criminals. For America to use its overwhelming firepower in the same reckless and indiscriminate manner defies the world’s sense of justice and morality while turning the Afghan people and the Islamic world even further against the United States.”

In 1932, in a series of Guernica-like atrocities, the British used poison gas in Waziristan. The disarmament convention of the same year sought a ban against the aerial bombardment of civilians, but Lloyd George, who had been British prime minister during World War I, gloated: “We insisted on reserving the right to bomb niggers” (Fitzgerald and Gould, p. 65). His view prevailed.

The U.S. continues to act similarly, but with the new excuse that our killing of noncombatants is a result of “collateral damage,” or human error. Using pilotless drones guided with only minimal accuracy from computers at military bases in the Arizona and Nevada deserts, among other places, we have killed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of unarmed bystanders in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Pakistani and Afghan governments have repeatedly warned that we are alienating precisely the people we claim to be saving for democracy.

When in May 2009 General Stanley McChrystal was appointed as the commander in Afghanistan, he ordered new limits on air attacks, including those carried out by the CIA, except when needed to protect allied troops. Unfortunately, as if to illustrate the incompetence of our chain of command, only two days after this order, on June 23, 2009, the United States carried out a drone attack against a funeral procession that killed at least 80 people, the single deadliest U.S. attack on Pakistani soil so far. There was virtually no reporting of these developments by the mainstream American press or on the network television news. (At the time, the media were almost totally preoccupied by the sexual adventures of the governor of South Carolina and the death of pop star Michael Jackson.)

Our military operations in both Pakistan and Afghanistan have long been plagued by inadequate and inaccurate intelligence about both countries, ideological preconceptions about which parties we should support and which ones we should oppose, and myopic understandings of what we could possibly hope to achieve. Fitzgerald and Gould, for example, charge that, contrary to our own intelligence service’s focus on Afghanistan, “Pakistan has always been the problem.” They add:

“Pakistan’s army and its Inter-Services Intelligence branch… from 1973 on, has played the key role in funding and directing first the mujahideen [anti-Soviet fighters during the 1980s] and then the Taliban. It is Pakistan’s army that controls its nuclear weapons, constrains the development of democratic institutions, trains Taliban fighters in suicide attacks and orders them to fight American and NATO soldiers protecting the Afghan government.” (p. 322-324)

The Pakistani army and its intelligence arm are staffed, in part, by devout Muslims who fostered the Taliban in Afghanistan to meet the needs of their own agenda, though not necessarily to advance an Islamic jihad. Their purposes have always included: keeping Afghanistan free of Russian or Indian influence, providing a training and recruiting ground for mujahideen guerrillas to be used in places like Kashmir (fought over by both Pakistan and India), containing Islamic radicalism in Afghanistan (and so keeping it out of Pakistan), and extorting huge amounts of money from Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf emirates, and the United States to pay and train “freedom fighters” throughout the Islamic world. Pakistan’s consistent policy has been to support the clandestine policies of the Inter-Services Intelligence and thwart the influence of its major enemy and competitor, India.

Colonel Douglas MacGregor, U.S. Army (retired), an adviser to the Center for Defense Information in Washington, summarizes our hopeless project in South Asia this way: “Nothing we do will compel 125 million Muslims in Pakistan to make common cause with a United States in league with the two states that are unambiguously anti-Muslim: Israel and India.”

Obama’s mid-2009 “surge” of troops into southern Afghanistan and particularly into Helmand Province, a Taliban stronghold, is fast becoming darkly reminiscent of General William Westmoreland’s continuous requests in Vietnam for more troops and his promises that if we would ratchet up the violence just a little more and tolerate a few more casualties, we would certainly break the will of the Vietnamese insurgents. This was a total misreading of the nature of the conflict in Vietnam, just as it is in Afghanistan today.

Twenty years after the forces of the Red Army withdrew from Afghanistan in disgrace, the last Russian general to command them, Gen. Boris Gromov, issuedhis own prediction: Disaster, he insisted, will come to the thousands of new forces Obama is sending there, just as it did to the Soviet Union’s, which lost some 15,000 soldiers in its own Afghan war. We should recognize that we are wasting time, lives, and resources in an area where we have never understood the political dynamics and continue to make the wrong choices.

3. We Need to End the Secret Shame of Our Empire of Bases

In March, New York Times op-ed columnist Bob Herbert noted, “Rape and other forms of sexual assault against women is the great shame of the U.S. armed forces, and there is no evidence that this ghastly problem, kept out of sight as much as possible, is diminishing.” He continued:

“New data released by the Pentagon showed an almost 9 percent increase in the number of sexual assaults — 2,923 — and a 25 percent increase in such assaults reported by women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan [over the past year]. Try to imagine how bizarre it is that women in American uniforms who are enduring all the stresses related to serving in a combat zone have to also worry about defending themselves against rapists wearing the same uniform and lining up in formation right beside them.”

The problem is exacerbated by having our troops garrisoned in overseas bases located cheek-by-jowl next to civilian populations and often preying on them like foreign conquerors. For example, sexual violence against women and girls by American GIs has been out of control in Okinawa, Japan’s poorest prefecture, ever since it was permanently occupied by our soldiers, Marines, and airmen some 64 years ago.

That island was the scene of the largest anti-American demonstrations since the end of World War II after the 1995 kidnapping, rape, and attempted murder of a 12-year-old schoolgirl by two Marines and a sailor. The problem of rape has been ubiquitous around all of our bases on every continent and has probably contributed as much to our being loathed abroad as the policies of the Bush administration or our economic exploitation of poverty-stricken countries whose raw materials we covet.

The military itself has done next to nothing to protect its own female soldiers or to defend the rights of innocent bystanders forced to live next to our often racially biased and predatory troops. “The military’s record of prosecuting rapists is not just lousy, it’s atrocious,” writes Herbert. In territories occupied by American military forces, the high command and the State Department make strenuous efforts to enact so-called “Status of Forces Agreements” (SOFAs) that will prevent host governments from gaining jurisdiction over our troops who commit crimes overseas. The SOFAs also make it easier for our military to spirit culprits out of a country before they can be apprehended by local authorities.

This issue was well illustrated by the case of an Australian teacher, a long-time resident of Japan, who in April 2002 was raped by a sailor from the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk, then based at the big naval base at Yokosuka. She identified her assailant and reported him to both Japanese and U.S. authorities. Instead of his being arrested and effectively prosecuted, the victim herself was harassed and humiliated by the local Japanese police. Meanwhile, the U.S. discharged the suspect from the Navy but allowed him to escape Japanese law by returning him to the U.S., where he lives today.

In the course of trying to obtain justice, the Australian teacher discovered that almost fifty years earlier, in October 1953, the Japanese and American governments signed a secret “understanding” as part of their SOFA in which Japan agreed to waive its jurisdiction if the crime was not of “national importance to Japan.” The U.S. argued strenuously for this codicil because it feared that otherwise it would face the likelihood of some 350 servicemen per year being sent to Japanese jails for sex crimes.

Since that time the U.S. has negotiated similar wording in SOFAs with Canada, Ireland, Italy, and Denmark. According to the Handbook of the Law of Visiting Forces (2001), the Japanese practice has become the norm for SOFAs throughout the world, with predictable results. In Japan, of 3,184 U.S. military personnel who committed crimes between 2001 and 2008, 83% were not prosecuted. In Iraq, we have just signed a SOFA that bears a strong resemblance to the first postwar one we had with Japan: namely, military personnel and military contractors accused of off-duty crimes will remain in U.S. custody while Iraqis investigate. This is, of course, a perfect opportunity to spirit the culprits out of the country before they can be charged.

Within the military itself, the journalist Dahr Jamail, author of Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq (Haymarket Books, 2007), speaks of the “culture of unpunished sexual assaults” and the “shockingly low numbers of courts martial” for rapes and other forms of sexual attacks. Helen Benedict, author of The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq (Beacon Press, 2009), quotes this figure in a 2009 Pentagon report on military sexual assaults: 90% of the rapes in the military are never reported at all and, when they are, the consequences for the perpetrator are negligible.

It is fair to say that the U.S. military has created a worldwide sexual playground for its personnel and protected them to a large extent from the consequences of their behavior.  I believe a better solution would be to radically reduce the size of our standing army, and bring the troops home from countries where they do not understand their environments and have been taught to think of the inhabitants as inferior to themselves.

10 Steps Toward Liquidating the Empire

Dismantling the American empire would, of course, involve many steps. Here are ten key places to begin:

1. We need to put a halt to the serious environmental damage done by our bases planet-wide. We also need to stop writing SOFAs that exempt us from any responsibility for cleaning up after ourselves.

2. Liquidating the empire will end the burden of carrying our empire of bases and so of the “opportunity costs” that go with them — the things we might otherwise do with our talents and resources but can’t or won’t.

3. As we already know (but often forget), imperialism breeds the use of torture. In the 1960s and 1970s we helped overthrow the elected governments in Brazil and Chile and underwrote regimes of torture that prefigured our own treatment of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. (See, for instance, A.J. Langguth, Hidden Terrors [Pantheon, 1979], on how the U.S. spread torture methods to Brazil and Uruguay.) Dismantling the empire would potentially mean a real end to the modern American record of using torture abroad.

4. We need to cut the ever-lengthening train of camp followers, dependents, civilian employees of the Department of Defense, and hucksters — along with their expensive medical facilities, housing requirements, swimming pools, clubs, golf courses, and so forth — that follow our military enclaves around the world.

5. We need to discredit the myth promoted by the military-industrial complex that our military establishment is valuable to us in terms of jobs, scientific research, and defense. These alleged advantages have long been discredited by serious economic research. Ending empire would make this happen.

6. As a self-respecting democratic nation, we need to stop being the world’s largest exporter of arms and munitions and quit educating Third World militaries in the techniques of torture, military coups, and service as proxies for our imperialism. A prime candidate for immediate closure is the so-called School of the Americas, the U.S. Army’s infamous military academy at Fort Benning, Georgia, for Latin American military officers. (See Chalmers Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire[Metropolitan Books, 2004], pp. 136-40.)

7. Given the growing constraints on the federal budget, we should abolish the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and other long-standing programs that promote militarism in our schools.

8. We need to restore discipline and accountability in our armed forces by radically scaling back our reliance on civilian contractors, private military companies, and agents working for the military outside the chain of command and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. (See Jeremy Scahill, Blackwater:The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army [Nation Books, 2007]). Ending empire would make this possible.

9. We need to reduce, not increase, the size of our standing army and deal much more effectively with the wounds our soldiers receive and combat stress they undergo.

10. To repeat the main message of this essay, we must give up our inappropriate reliance on military force as the chief means of attempting to achieve foreign policy objectives.

Unfortunately, few empires of the past voluntarily gave up their dominions in order to remain independent, self-governing polities. The two most important recent examples are the British and Soviet empires. If we do not learn from their examples, our decline and fall is foreordained.

Chalmers Johnson was the author of Blowback (2000), The Sorrows of Empire (2004), and Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (2006), and editor of Okinawa: Cold War Island (1999).  His final book was Dismantling the Empire: America’s Last Best Hope (2010).


Hegemony A

| America’s Emerging Police State: A Brief History!

America’s Emerging Police State: A Brief History ~ Antiwar.com.

It didn’t start with the NSA.

As Congress and the American people grapple with the fallout from Edward Snowden’s stunning revelations – which continue to come in, thanks to Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian – we are hearing a kind of defense coming from the authoritarians in our midst: none of this is new, they argue, so what’s all the fuss about? In a sense, they are right: the “legal” and political outlines of an American police state have been emerging from the fulcrum of war and the turbulence of our domestic politics since World War II. The only difference now is the technology, which has developed far beyond the imagination of J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI’s first director, who widely deployed the earliest wiretapping capabilities of government snoops.

It began, at least in a systematic way, during the presidency of yet another “progressive” hero, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who spied on his political enemies on the right without the least bit of concern with the Fourth Amendment. His aim was to destroy and possibly jail those who opposed his policies at home and abroad. And although wiretapping was widely practiced, low tech often sufficed, as shown in the story of Rose Wilder Lane’s wartime encounter with the authorities.

It was the summer of 1943, and Lane – a fierce opponent of FDR’s New Deal and a vocal “isolationist” – was weeding the front lawn of her home in Danbury, Connecticut. Lane had recently repaired to what was a small farm as an act of resistance against the wartime controls imposed on the nation: she refused to get a ration card and grew all her own food. Utilizing the skills she had learned as an Okie girl, she canned and preserved the results of her labors in her well-stocked cellar, corresponding with other anti-New Dealers throughout the country. A writer who would later ghostwrite the “Little House on the Prairie” books for her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Rose’s articles in the proto-libertarian media of the time were jeremiads against the culture of dependency and State-worship that had displaced the old America she had loved. She was, in short, a fierce lady, one who did not suffer fools lightly, and when a state trooper pulled up in front of her house, she squinted at him with a look that must have been withering.

“Are you Mrs. C. G. Lang?” he asked.

No, she said. The trooper, less than half her age, looked puzzled: his young brow wrinkled. “Well then, did you send this postcard?” He took out a clipboard and read the contents of a postcard she had sent to Samuel Grafton, a pro-administration left-wing newspaper columnist, denouncing the recently-passed legislation establishing Social Security as infringing on the rights of Americans, as well as having “German origins.”

“Why yes,” she replied, I certainly did: “I oppose Social Security. I speak against it and I write against – and what is this, the Gestapo?”

“I don’t like your attitude,” replied the cop. “What you wrote is subversive.”

“You don’t like my attitude? Subversive?! Listen here, young man – !” and for a solid half hour she stood there berating him. “I pay you. I hired you. What business is it of yours whether I or any other American exercise his God-given right to have an opinion?”

She pointed out that, while she was hardly intimidated by this interrogation – a fact that must have been all too plain to him at the time – his actions would have brought back dark memories for a good deal of the people who lived in her neighborhood, many of whom had recently escaped from the totalitarian darkness that was thenengulfing Europe.

The state trooper – one almost has to feel sorry for the poor guy at this point – backed off a bit, and, in answer to Rose’s questions, revealed that her “subversive” opinions had come to the attention of the authorities courtesy of the local postmaster, who, upon reading her postcard, had promptly turned it over to the FBI. With typical incompetence, the snoops had misread her signature, and went looking for a “Mrs. C. G. Lang.”

Lane wasn’t just a writer: she was a political activist who worked with the National Economic Council, a conservative group with libertarian leanings which had previously employed Frank Chodorov and Albert J. Nock. Grasping the opportunity to make a political point, Lane wrote a pamphlet describing her experience, What Is This, the Gestapo?, and the incident received national publicity. For the Old Right critics of what amounted to FDR’s wartime dictatorship, it underscored the case they had made in the run up to the war and continued to make: that we would fight and win the battle against national socialism abroad and lose that very same battle on the home front.

The FBI, for its part, admitted it was investigating Rose, and insisted it was imperative “after receipt of information of such a nature that it left us no choice but to inquire into the identity of Mrs. C. G. Lang.” Rose’s FBI file, released after her death, was over 100 pages.

FDR, that great “progressive” icon, unleashed J. Edgar Hoover against his conservative enemies, routinely tapping the phones of anti-interventionist and conservative leaders, including members of Congress. The press was not immune: the office of publisher Robert R. McCormick, publisher of the anti-New Deal Chicago Tribune, was bugged, as was the phone line of longtime Tribune political reporter Walter Trohan.

Roosevelt’s successors were no better: Harry Truman regularly used intelligence garnered from wiretaps on prominent political figures to grease the wheels of his political machinations: Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Nixon did the same, expanding the size and reach of the FBI’s domestic surveillance net. With the establishment of the National Security Agency (NSA), in 1952, the marriage of modern technology and this by now venerable tradition took the Spy State to a whole new level: no more misreading of postcards for these guys.

We weren’t supposed to even know about the NSA’s existence: the joke in Washington was that NSA stood for “No Such Agency,” but word eventually leaked out and, as the Vietnam war metastasized into a major conflict, embroiling the nation in a political maelstrom, the first NSA whistleblower stepped forward.

Before Edward Snowden there was Perry Fellwock, a 25-year-old NSA analyst who spilled the beans in an August, 1972 interview with Ramparts magazine. WhileRamparts, house organ of the antiwar New Left, was mainly concerned with gleaning the inner workings of US surveillance abroad, mostly against the Soviet Union and China, that interview contains some tidbits that trace the roots of our present domestic predicament back to that time. For example, Fellwock says:

“Of course all trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific telephone calls to or from the U.S. are tapped. Every conversation, personal, commercial, whatever, is automatically intercepted and recorded on tapes. Most of them no one ever listens to, and after being held available for a few weeks, are erased. They’ll run a random sort through all the tapes, listening to a certain number to determine if there is anything in them of interest to our government worth holding on to and transcribing. Also, certain telephone conversations are routinely listened to as soon as possible. These will be the ones that are made by people doing an inordinate amount of calling overseas, or are otherwise tapped for special interest.”

Here we have the general outlines of the much more sophisticated and far-reaching system uncovered by Snowden, which intercepts all our communications and stores them for future reference. Then, as now, the justification for domestic surveillance was hung on a “foreign subversion” hook. Then, as now, they routinely vacuumed up signals intelligence – telephony, cables, information gleaned from bugs – from our ostensible allies. One highlight of the Fellwock interview is that it verifies the strong suspicion in many quarters that the Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty was no “mistake”:

“Q. You remember about the ‘Liberty,’ the communications ship we sent in along the coast which was torpedoed by Israeli gunboats? The official word at the time was that the whole thing was a mistake. Johnson calls it a “heartbreaking episode” in The Vantage Point. How does this square with your information?

“A. The whole idea of sending the “Liberty” in was that at that point the US simply didn’t know what was going on going on [during the Six Day war]. We sent it in close so that we could find out hard information about what the Israelis’ intentions were. What it found out, among other things, was that Dayan’s intentions were to push on to Damascus and to Cairo. The Israelis shot at the “Liberty,” damaged it pretty badly and killed some of the crew, and told it to stay away. After this it got very tense. It became pretty clear that the White House had gotten caught with its pants down.”

I’m pretty sure David Horowitz, who was editor of the magazine at the time, doesn’t care to be reminded of this particular journalistic triumph.

Fellwock’s comments also prefigured what has to be one of the scariest aspects of our present situation – the potential for abuse by “rogue” NSA employees. “There’s a lot of corruption too,” he told Ramparts. “Quite a few people in NSA are into illegal activities of one kind or another. It’s taken to be one of the fringe benefits of the job.”

In the years since then, I find it hard to believe the moral caliber of the average NSA employee has risen: if anything, given the crappy culture we live in, it’s much lower. In an age when identity theft is a serious and growing problem, do we really want to give government snoops access to our computer passwords, our vital information, and the most private details of our lives?

Blackmail, theft, and even crimes of a sexual nature – all are pregnant possibilities in the world the Surveillance State is creating. A nightmare world in which you can never be sure when some government snoop will be dipping into your emails, or eavesdropping on your calls: where writers can’t even be sure the words they are typing aren’t being read even before they are published. Snowden said it best:

“I don’t want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity or love or friendship is recorded. And that’s not something I’m willing to support, it’s not something I’m willing to build, and it’s not something I’m willing to live under. So I think anyone who opposes that sort of world has an obligation to act in the way they can.”

He’s right: we must act: I gave some indication of how to go about it here, and I want to draw it to the attention of my readers again because the nightmare world Snowden descries isn’t just a dystopian possibility anymore: it is here and now. Thank God Snowden had the courage to act on his convictions: I only pray the rest of us will be inspired by his example.

Read more by Justin Raimondo



police state usaA

| Wars of Choice: Cost to US of Iraq + Afghan wars could hit $6 trillion!

Cost to US of Iraq and Afghan wars could hit $6 trillion ~ Peter Foster, Washington, The Telegraph.

The cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could reach as high as $6 trillion dollars – or $75,000 for every household in America – a new study from Harvard University has found.

Cost to US of Iraq and Afghan wars could hit $6 trillion

US soldiers march at a forward base near Najaf, Iraq, Thursday April 15, 2004 Photo: AP

The fresh calculation – which includes the cost of spiralling veterans’ care bills and the future interest on war loans – paints a grim picture of how America’s future at home and abroad has been mortgaged to the two conflicts entered into by George W Bush in 2001 and 2003.

“There will be no peace dividend,” is the stark conclusion from the 22-page report from the Kennedy School of Government, “and the legacy of Iraq and Afghanistan wars will be costs that persist for decades.”

The report comes as the US prepares for a final withdrawal from Afghanistan, a move that Barack Obama trumpeted in his State of the Union address as a sign that America was finally moving forward after a sapping decade of war.

However the working paper by Professor Linda J. Bilmes makes clear that the true legacy the two conflicts – which have cost $2 trillion in actual outlays so far – have not yet even begun to be appreciated.

“There’s a sense that we are turning the corner, but unfortunately, the legacy of these wars, because of decision about the way we fought and funded these wars, means we will be paying the costs for a long time to come,” Prof Bilmes said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. “We may be mentally turning the page, but we are certainly not from a budgetary and financial perspective.”

The report, which builds on estimates in 2010 by Prof Bilmes and the Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz, highlights the stunning rise in long-term cost of treating veterans who both survive in greater numbers and seek treatment for a wider selection of ailments from back pain to post-traumatic stress disorders.

US marines with 1/3 Charlie Company take cover as they battle Taliban on the North East of Marjah in 2010 (AFP)

“More than half of the 1.56 million troops who have been discharged to date have received medical treatment at VA [Dept of Veteran Affairs] facilities and been granted benefits for the rest of their lives,” the report said, adding that the real bills will be incurred for decades to come.

“The peak year for paying disability compensation to World War I veterans was in 1969 – more than 50 years after Armistice. The largest expenditures for World War II veterans were in the late 1980s. Payments to Vietnam and first Gulf War veterans are still climbing,” it said.

The second major hidden cost of the two conflicts will be servicing the debts incurred as a result of the “unprecedented” decision to pay for the wars entirely from debt while cutting taxes during wartime – as the Bush administration did in 2001 and 2003.

The decision to finance the war through borrowing has already added $2 trillion to the US national debt – or about 20 per cent of the total national debt added between 2001 and 2012.

“The immediate budgetary cost has been $260 billion in interest paid for borrowings to date,” the report said, but warned that accrued interest on existing borrowings, and the cost of future borrowings would see the eventual bill “reaches into the trillions”.

The estimates dwarf the initial projections of the war costs. In 2002 Lawrence Lindsey, then President Bush’s chief economic adviser, estimated that the “upper-bound” costs of war against Iraq would be $200 billion, but added that the “successful prosecution” of the war would be good for the economy.

That notion is severely challenged by the report which warns that cost of the wars is already affecting investment in education, infrastructure and scientific research, and that a large proportion of the money spent did not help to grow the wider US economy.

The ‘baked in’ costs of higher wages and benefits for service personnel and better care for veterans is also likely to constrain the ability of the US Department of Defence to invest in maintaining and upgrading fighting forces.

“The war debt has been especially unhelpful. Large amounts have been spent on things that clearly did not benefit the United States – for example, $87 billion in reconstruction funding for Afghanistan, and $61 billion in Iraq, much of which has been squandered,” it said, citing official government reports.

“As a consequence of these wartime spending choices, the United States will face constraints in funding investments in personnel and diplomacy, research and development and new military initiatives.

“The legacy of decisions taken during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will dominate future federal budgets for decades to come.”


MLK war chisel

WAR Unhealthy

| Syria, US Wars of Aggression, and the Wrong ‘Red Lines!’

Syria, US Wars of Aggression, and the Wrong ‘Red Lines’ ~ Prof. Richard FalkAl-Jazeera.


The world we inhabit badly needs red lines, but “the right red lines!”

“When reflecting on intervening in Syria or resort to a military option in relation to Iran’s nuclear programme, Obama is silent about the relevance of international law,” writes Richard Falk. (Photo: Reuters)

There are widespread reports that President Obama had not fully appreciated the political consequences of responding to a question at an August press conference that asked about the consequences of the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. Obama replied that such a use would be to cross “a red line“. Such an assertion was widely understood to be a threat either to launch air strikes or to provide rebel forces with major direct military assistance, including weaponry.

There have been sketchy reports that Syria did make some use of chemical weapons, as well as allegations that the reported use was “a false flag” operation, designed to call Obama’s bluff. As the New York Times notes in a front page story on May 7, Obama “finds himself in a geopolitical box, his credibility at stake with frustratingly few good option”.

Such a policy dilemma raises tactical issues of how to intervene without risking serious involvement in yet another Middle Eastern war. It also raises delicate questions of presidential leadership in a highly polarised domestic political atmosphere, readily exploited by belligerent Republican politicians backed by a rabid media that always seem to be pushing Obama to pursue a more muscular foreign policy in support of America’s global interests.

Debate on Syria: ‘Missing red line’

What is missing from the debate on Syria, and generally from the challenge to foreign policy, is a more fundamental red line that the US at another time and place took the lead in formulating – namely, the prohibition of the use of international force by states other than in cases of self-defence against a prior armed attack.

This prohibition was the core idea embodied in the United Nations Charter, and it was also consistent with the prosecution and punishment of surviving German and Japanese leaders after World War II for their role in “Crimes against Peace“, that is, aggressive warfare. The only lawful exception to this prohibition was use of force in accord with a prior authorisation given by the UN Security Council.

What is missing from the debate on Syria, and generally from the challenge to foreign policy, is a more fundamental red line that the US at another time and place took the lead in formulating – namely, the prohibition of the use of international force by states other than in cases of self-defence against a prior armed attack.

The key hope for world peace was this consensus among the winners in World War II that in the future aggressive war and acquisition of territory by force must be outlawed. This happened in the Gulf War of 1991 and again in the NATO Libya War of 2011, but in each instance there were problems with whether the military operations exceeded the UN mandate.

Actually the Charter red line has been surprisingly well respected over the period since 1945, at least in clear instances of border-crossing sustained violence. The UN authorised the defence of South Korea in response to an armed attack by North Korea in 1950.

It even exerted effective pressure in 1956 on the United Kingdom, France and Israel to withdraw from territory seized after their attack on Egypt, and then in 1991 the UN successfully restored sovereignty to Kuwait in response to Iraq’s aggressive occupation and annexation of the country.

The UN red line held up reasonably well until the end of the last century, although all along its interpretation was subject to geopolitical manipulation by reference to a variety of loopholes associated with claims of humanitarian intervention or a variety of strategically motivated covert interventions (for example, Iran in 1953 and Guatemala in 1954).

This pattern of evasion was a prominent feature of the Cold War as both sides intervened in foreign states or in their respective spheres of influence to uphold their ideological alignment with one or the other superpower. Such uses of international force without engaging the UN framework definitely eroded the authority of the anti-aggression red line and its stature in international law, but it did not produce any call for its abandonment.

What weakened this red line even more decisively was undoubtedly the US-led coalition of the willing attack on Iraq in 2003 after an American plea for UN permission had been rebuffed by the Security Council despite a concerted effort to convince its members that Iraq’s supposed possession of weapons of mass destruction was a menace to the peace.

Iraq War: Death of the UN?

The undisguised defiance of this most fundamental red line of international law by the US also defied world public opinion that had expressed itself in the most massive anti-war demonstrations in all of history held in some 80 countries on February 15, 2003, a little more than a month before the “shock and awe” start of the Iraq War.

Richard Perle, often touted as the most astute of the neocon intellectuals who fashioned American strategic policy during the Bush years, was exultant about this breach of the red line, celebrating American aggression against Iraq in a Guardian article provocativelyheadlined, “Thank God for the Death of the UN”.

Although the authority of the UN was definitely flaunted by the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the UN is far from dead as an organisation addressing the concerns of the world, and even its red line, although covered with dust, has not yet been erased.

What is baffling about the Obama approach is that it purports to be very mindful of the importance of exhibiting respect for international law. Just last September, in a speech to the General Assembly, Obama said: “We know from painful experience that the path to security prosperity does not lie outside the boundaries of international law.” In his Second Inaugural, Obama repeated the sentiment: “We will defend our people and uphold values through strength of arms and rule of law.”

And in arguing on behalf of taking collective action against states that violate international law told the Nobel Peace Prize audience in Stockholm, he said: “[t]hose that claim respect for international law cannot avert their eyes when those laws are flouted.”

Yet, when reflecting on intervening in Syria or resort to a military option in relation to Iran’s nuclear programme, Obama is silent about the relevance of international law, although neither instance of contemplated uses of force can be remotely claimed to be justified as either individual or collective self-defence.

For obvious reasons, there is also no mention of circumventing the red line by failing to seek authorisation from the Security Council. Presumably, since approval would not be forthcoming due to the anticipated opposition of Russia and China, it was not even worth considering in public.

It is true that the Clinton presidency in participating via NATO in the Kosovo War proceeded also to embark on a non-defensive war without authorisation for somewhat similar reasons as any resolution proposing use of force was sure to be vetoed by Russia and China. The Kosovo precedent evoked concern, but also a sense of achievement.

The Kosovo undertaking was justified at the time on moral grounds of imminent genocide, on political grounds as enjoying support from almost all of Kosovo’s European neighbours and as being militarily feasible at a reasonable cost and productive of zero casualties among the intervening forces, and on historical grounds as having been perceived as generally beneficial to the threatened population.

In effect, the legitimacy of the war was allowed to offset the absence of legality.

Redrawing the red lines

The question raised is whether from an overall perspective, the red line of international law at stake in Syria is more like Iraq or Kosovo/Libya. It is unlike Iraq in the sense that there is an ongoing unresolved civil war that is actively destabilising the region, severe “Crimes Against Humanity” are being committed by the regime, and no end of the violence is in sight give the relative strength of the two sides.

It is, however, unlike Kosovo/Libya as there are proxy participants on both sides, the Damascus regime despite its behaviour maintains considerable internal support while the opposition is viewed with deep suspicion as to its democratic credentials, its inclusiveness and its respect for minorities.

“…It can be argued that the changing nature of conflict has made the red line embedded in the UN Charter obsolete, given the kind of terrorist attacks since 9/11 leading to the global “war on terror” waged on a battlefield without national limits and increasingly doing the killing via robotic warfare.”

In a sense, each conflict must be assessed within its own context, which should raise for discussion whether the red lines of international law and UN authority should be crossed in this instance on behalf of the blue lines of legitimacy (saving a vulnerable people from a humanitarian catastrophe) and white lines of feasibility (likelihood of success with minimum loss of life and high probability of positive net effects).

Finally, it can be argued that the changing nature of conflict has made the red line embedded in the UN Charter obsolete, given the kind of terrorist attacks since 9/11 leading to the global “war on terror” waged on a battlefield without national limits and increasingly doing the killing via robotic warfare.

Ideas of deterrence, containment and defence seem almost irrelevant in relation to security polity when the perceived assailants are individuals operating in non-territorial networks and exhibiting a readiness to die to complete the mission. As matters are proceeding, the policy about force is being formulated without bothering with the red lines of international law and the UN, giving us back the world of unregulated sovereign states and extremist non-states essentially deciding on their own when war is permissible.

Such normative chaos in a world where already nine countries possess nuclear weapons seems like a prescription for species suicide. Never has the world more needed red lines that are drawn by major states, and upheld by them out of the realisation that the national interest has also merged with the global interest.

What is strange is that Obama talks the talk, but seems unwilling to walk the walk. Such a disjunction invites cynicism about law and morality and induces despair on the part of those of us who believe the world we inhabit badly needs red lines, but the right red lines.

Redrawing the red lines that fit the realities of our world and keep alive hopes for peace and justice should be the great diplomatic undertaking of our time, the visionary projects of leading diplomats whose imaginative gaze extends beyond addressing immediate threats. The old red lines have been cast aside in contemplating what to do in relation to Syria, but without trying to establish new red lines that can serve humanity well in our disorienting century.




Hegemony A

| Belligerency blues: North Korea threats timeline!

North Korea threats timeline ~ RT.

North Korean People's Army soldiers march at the Kim Il Sung square in Pyongyang for the military parade to mark the 60th anniversary of the Workers' Party of Korea, 10 October 2005. Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea reviewed the military parade.
(AFP Photo / KCNA via Korean News Service)

North Korean People’s Army soldiers march at the Kim Il Sung square in Pyongyang for the military parade to mark the 60th anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, 10 October 2005. Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea reviewed the military parade. (AFP Photo / KCNA via Korean News Service)

North Korea’s announcement that it has entered a “state of war” with its southern neighbor has further escalated the crisis on the Korean peninsula. The roots of the conflict though date back to the end of the Second World War in 1945.

Up until 1945 Korea remained under Japanese colonial rule but after Japan surrendered to the Allied Powers, the land was divided along the 38th parallel, with American forces staying to the to the south of the demarcation line and Soviet troops to the north.

In 1948, two states were established on the peninsula: the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).

As a result of political and military contradictions the Korean War was sparked on June 25, 1950. South Korea was getting military aid from the US and 15 other states, while the DPRK was backed by China and the USSR.

On July 27, 1953 the conflicting sides signed a ceasefire agreement. A peace treaty agreement however has never been signed, so formally they have been in a state of war ever since.

The 60s were marked by repeated attacks and armed provocations by both states, which led to the deaths of hundreds of Koreans. Tensions were also stoked between Pyongyang and Washington in 1968 when an intelligence ship, USS Pueblo, was seized by North Korean gunboats. In 1969 North Korea shot down a US reconnaissance plane killing 31 Americans.

In the following decades, the North and South Koreas took steps to ease tensions. Following secret negotiations on July 4, 1972, the North and South even settled basic principles for reunification without interference from foreign powers.


World War II of 1939-1945. The liberation of Korea from Japanese occupation. People of Pyongyang awaiting the arrival of Soviet troops. 1945.(RIA Novosti)

World War II of 1939-1945. The liberation of Korea from Japanese occupation. People of Pyongyang awaiting the arrival of Soviet troops. 1945.(RIA Novosti)


The 1980s were a period of relative calm which was punctuated by two notorious incidents purportedly carried out by North Korean agents.

In 1983, three senior South Korean politicians and 18 others were killed in Rangoon, Burma, in a bomb attack targeting Chun Doo-hwan, the fifth President of South Korea. One of the captured bombers confessed to being a North Korean military officer.

In 1987, a bomb detonated mid-air on a Korean Air flight from Baghdad to Seoul killing all 115 on board. The bombing, blamed on North Korea placed the country on the US list of Designated State Sponsors of Terrorism until 2008.

Although the incidents deeply strained relations between the two states, in September 1990 the first high-level talks were held in Seoul, and in December 1991 North and South Korea signed the Agreement on Reconciliation, Non- aggression, Exchange and Cooperation.

Also in 1991, both states joined the United Nations.

In 1992, North Korea agreed to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect sites suspected of potential nuclear weapons development. However, over the next two years access to those sites was subsequently denied.


This August,1951 photo shows an P-51 "Mustang" a split second after it dropped two napalm fire bombs over a North Korean target. North Korean troops invaded South Korea 25 June, 1950, marking the beginning of the Korean War.(AFP Photo / National Archives)

This August,1951 photo shows an P-51 “Mustang” a split second after it dropped two napalm fire bombs over a North Korean target. North Korean troops invaded South Korea 25 June, 1950, marking the beginning of the Korean War.(AFP Photo / National Archives)


In 1994, Kim Il Sung, known as the

“Great Leader” of the DPRK since 1948 died. His son, Kim Jong-il, assumed power and was known as

“Dear Leader.” North Korea subsequently agreed to freeze its nuclear program in exchange for $5 billion worth of free fuel and two nuclear reactors.

In 1996, during the severe famine that killed up to 3.5 million people according to different estimations, Pyongyang threatened it would scrap the armistice with the South.

In 1998, North Korea launched a rocket over Japan, which landed in the Pacific Ocean. Pyongyang claimed it had successfully put a satellite into orbit.

In June 2000, relations took a turn for the better when during the first Inter-Korean Summit Kim Jong-il agreed to stop all propaganda broadcasts against the South.

Tensions on the peninsula began to sour significantly in 2002, after George W. Bush declared North Korea to be a part of the


North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il meets with Korean People's Army personel in September 1988 file photo. Kim Jong-Il was named as the General Secretary of North Korean ruling Workers' Party.(AFP Photo / Korean News Service)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il meets with Korean People’s Army personel in September 1988 file photo. Kim Jong-Il was named as the General Secretary of North Korean ruling Workers’ Party.(AFP Photo / Korean News Service)


“Axis of Evil.” In June of that year, North and South Korean naval vessels clashed in the Yellow Sea, killing around 30 North and four South Korean sailors.

In October the United States stopped oil shipments to DPRK in response to the country’s secretive nuclear weapons program. The DPRK responded by kicking out international nuclear inspectors and reactivating its Yongbyon reactor.

In January 2003, the DPRK withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), kicking off the ongoing nuclear crisis. That July, Pyongyang announced it had enough plutonium to start making nuclear bombs.

The following month, Six-party talks – South Korea, North Korea, China, the US, Russia and Japan – kicked off in Beijing, though Washington and Pyongyang failed to reach a consensus.

The next several years saw a series of failed negotiations, with North Korea claiming to test its first nuclear weapon in October 2006.


Accompanied by military officials, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (C) walks during an inspection tour of the Academy of Logistic Officers of North Korea at an undisclosed location in North Korea, 10 February 2003.(AFP Photo / KCNA via Korean News Service)

Accompanied by military officials, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il (C) walks during an inspection tour of the Academy of Logistic Officers of North Korea at an undisclosed location in North Korea, 10 February 2003.(AFP Photo / KCNA via Korean News Service)


But the following year, Six-nation talks resumed in Beijing, with North Korea agreeing to close its main nuclear reactor in exchange for fuel aid.

Relations with Seoul also somewhat thawed, with the two sides signing a “Declaration on inter-Korean relations, peace and prosperity” during the second Inter-Korean Summit.

The presidents of North and South Korea further promised to hold talks to formally end the Korean War.

By 2008, relations once again soured between the two sides, and in January 2009 Pyongyang said it would scrap all military and political deals with the South.

Despite conciliatory gestures, North Korea’s alleged sinking of a South Korean warship in March 2010 dramatically escalated tensions.


A hand out picture dated 25 April 1992 shows a North Korean military unit of missile during a military parade in Pyongyan. Japan's government said it knew North Korea had fired a missile into the Sea of Japan and was investigating, but avoided rapping Pyongyang, which has promised a missile launch moratorium.(AFP Photo)

A hand out picture dated 25 April 1992 shows a North Korean military unit of missile during a military parade in Pyongyan. Japan’s government said it knew North Korea had fired a missile into the Sea of Japan and was investigating, but avoided rapping Pyongyang, which has promised a missile launch moratorium.(AFP Photo)


In December 2011, Kim Jong-il died and his son Kim Jong-un was named his successor.

The young North Korean leader quickly consolidated all the power into his hands. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, in April 2012, Pyongyang launched a long-range ballistic rocket The rocket fell into the sea.

In August 2012, ahead of the annual US-South Korean drills, Kim Jong-un announced that the North Korean army was ready to deal

“deadly blows” in

“an all-out counter-offensive” in case the country’s territory is violated or even a single shell falls on North Korean soil.


This handout picture taken by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on December 28, 2011 shows Kim Jong-Un (center R) and Jang Song-Thaek (C) besides the convoy carrying the body of his father and late leader Kim Jong-Il at Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang. North Korean state television began broadcasting the funeral of late leader Kim Jong-Il December 28, with footage of tens of thousands of troops bowing their heads in the snow outside a memorial palace.(AFP Photo / KCNA)

This handout picture taken by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on December 28, 2011 shows Kim Jong-Un (center R) and Jang Song-Thaek (C) besides the convoy carrying the body of his father and late leader Kim Jong-Il at Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang. North Korean state television began broadcasting the funeral of late leader Kim Jong-Il December 28, with footage of tens of thousands of troops bowing their heads in the snow outside a memorial palace.(AFP Photo / KCNA)


A few months later North Korea announced to had developed ballistic missiles capable of reaching the US mainland and then revealed a plan to try again to send a satellite into space. The launch took place on December 12 and prompted further UN sanctions on the North.

In January 2013 North Korea announced it was planning a new nuclear test, raising the confrontation with the US to a whole new level.


North Korean citizens and soldiers attend a rally held to support "The March 5 statement issued by a spokesman of the Supreme Command of the Korean People's Army", in North Pyongang Province March 10, 2013.(Reuters / KCNA)

North Korean citizens and soldiers attend a rally held to support “The March 5 statement issued by a spokesman of the Supreme Command of the Korean People’s Army”, in North Pyongang Province March 10, 2013.(Reuters / KCNA)


On February 12, North Korea conducted its third nuclear test and warned that further measures would follow if the US continued its “hostility” against the North. The UN subsequently imposed more sanctions on the county.

The rhetoric became even harsher in March with threats to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against South Korea and the US. The North further threatened to scrap the truce with the South and nullify the joint declaration on denuclearization.

On March 29, following a mock bombing of South Korea by a US B-2 stealth bomber during a joint military drills, Pyongyang announced that “the time has come to settle accounts with the US imperialists” and ordered rocket units be put on standby to fire on US bases in the South Pacific.

The following day, March 30, North Korea declared it was entering a “state of war” against its Southern neighbor, stating that from now on any issues between the two countries would be resolved in a “wartime manner.”

Pyongyang also warned it would retaliate against any provocations by the US and South Korea without “any prior notice.”

The decision by the US to deploy two nuclear-capable B-2 bombers to participate in joint military drills with South Korea prompted Pyongyang to harden its position in its long-term conflict with the United States, North Korea’s State News Agency said in a report released on Saturday.

North Korean rocket units are reportedly on standby to fire on US bases in the South Pacific.

However, in the capital of Pyongyang, life is continuing normally despite the declared state of war, Itar-Tass reports. There has been no observable mobilization of military forces in the city, or any changes in troop deployments to foreign embassies. Shops and restaurants remain open, and there have been no interruptions to the city’s public transportation system.


This undated picture, released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on March 10, 2012 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) inspecting Cho Islet defending a forward post on the west coast in North Korea.(AFP Photo / KCNA)

 This undated picture, released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency on March 10, 2012 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) inspecting Cho Islet defending a forward post on the west coast in North Korea.(AFP Photo / KCNA)


MLK war chisel

WAR Unhealthy

| Bankruptcy Blues + tERRORism: End the war on terror and save billions!

End the war on terror and save billions ~ PAUL WOODWARD, War in Context.

Fareed Zacharia writes: As we debate whether the two parties can ever come together and get things done, here’s something President Obama could probably do by himself that would be a signal accomplishment of his presidency: End the war on terror. Or, more realistically, start planning and preparing the country for phasing it out.

For 11 years, the United States has been operating under emergency wartime powers granted under the 2001 “Authorization for Use of Military Force.” That is a longer period than the country spent fighting the Civil War, World War I and World War II combined. It grants the president and the federal government extraordinary authorities at home and abroad, effectively suspends civil liberties for anyone the government deems an enemy and keeps us on a permanent war footing in all kinds of ways.

Now, for the first time since Sept. 11, 2001, an administration official has sketched a possible endpoint.

In a thoughtful speech at the Oxford Union last week, Jeh Johnson, the outgoing general counsel for the Pentagon, recognized that “we cannot and should not expect al-Qaeda and its associated forces to all surrender, all lay down their weapons in an open field, or to sign a peace treaty with us. They are terrorist organizations. Nor can we capture or kill every last terrorist who claims an affiliation with al-Qaeda.”

But, he argued, “There will come a tipping point . . . at which so many of the leaders and operatives of al-Qaeda and its affiliates have been killed or captured, and the group is no longer able to attempt or launch a strategic attack against the United States, such that al-Qaeda as we know it, the organization that our Congress authorized the military to pursue in 2001, has been effectively destroyed.” At that point, “our efforts should no longer be considered an armed conflict.”

Phasing out or modifying these emergency powers should be something that would appeal to both left and right. James Madison, father of the Constitution, was clear on the topic. “Of all the enemies to public liberty,” he wrote, “war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes. . . . No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

If you want to know why we’re in such a deep budgetary hole, one large piece of it is that we have spent around $2 trillion on foreign wars in the past decade.

[Continue reading…]

And ending the war on terror wouldn’t just save money — it would allow for the possibility that America as a nation might be able to climb out of one of the most destructive expressions of collective insanity into which any nation has ever fallen.

Politics might dictate that this war can only be ended through some kind of declaration of victory, but an honest reckoning will eventually require acknowledging that this was the greatest blunder in America’s history. A trap was laid, and like a brainless giant, the United States stepped right into it.

Who could imagine that by making the meager investment of a few flying lessons and some box cutters, a small band of fanatics could persuade a country that prides itself as “the greatest nation on earth” to near bankrupt itself, act with such stupidity and inflict such enormous harm?



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| Genocide: Moral bankruptcy of Frankenstein + the White man’s burden in a post-colonial world reality?

The genocidal yearnings of Israelis ~ Lawrence Davidson, Redress Information & Analysis.

Deir Yassin massacre 

By the middle of the 19th century the multi-ethnic empire was on its way out as the dominant political paradigm in Europe. Replacing it was the nation-state, a political form which allowed the concentration of ethnic groups within their own political borders.

This in turn formed cultural and “racial” incubators for us (superior) vs. them (inferior) nationalism that would underpin most of the West’s future wars. Many of these nation states were also imperial powers expanding across the globe and, of course, their state-based chauvinistic outlook went with them.

Some history


The founders of modern Zionism were both Jews and Europeans, and as such had acquired the West’s cultural sense of superiority in relation to non-Europeans.


Zionism was born in this milieu of nationalism and imperialism, both of which left an indelible mark on the character and ambitions of the Israeli state. The conviction of Theodor Herzl, modern Zionism’s founding father, was that the centuries of anti-Semitism were proof positive that Europe’s Jews could not be assimilated into mainstream Western society. They could be safe only if they possessed a nation-state of their own. This conviction also reflected the European imperial sentiments of the day. The founders of modern Zionism were both Jews and Europeans, and as such had acquired the West’s cultural sense of superiority in relation to non-Europeans.

This sense of superiority would play an important role when a deal (the Balfour Declaration) was struck in 1917 between the World Zionist Organization and the British government. The deal stipulated that, in exchange for Zionist support for the British war effort (World War I was in progress), the British would (assuming victory) help create a “Jewish national home” in Palestine. It was no oversight that neither side in this bargain gave much thought to the Palestinian native population.

Years later, beginning in 1945 (at the end of World War II), the British were forced to officially give up the imperial point of view. They came out of this war with a population burdened by extraordinary high war taxes. Retaining the empire would keep those taxes high and so the British voter elected politicians who would transform the empire into a commonwealth, granting independence to just about all Britain’s overseas territories. One of those territories was Palestine.

It is interesting to note that in other colonies, where large numbers of Europeans resided, the era following World War II saw their eventual evacuation as power shifted over to the natives. Kenya and Algeria are examples which show that this process was hard and bloody, but it happened. And when it did happen, the official imperial mindset was defeated. That does not mean that all Europeans (or Westerners) saw the light and ceased to be racists, but that their governments eventually saw the necessity to stop acting that way.

Some consequences

Unfortunately, in the case of Palestine, this process of decolonization never occurred. In this case the European colonists did not want the imperial mother country to stay and protect them. They wanted them out so they could set up shop on their own. They got their chance after the British evacuated in 1947. Soon thereafter, the Zionists began executing a prepared plan to conquer the “Holy Land” and chase away or subjugate the native population. And what of that imperial point of view which saw the European as superior and the native as inferior? This became institutionalized in the practices of the new Israeli state. That made Israel one of the very few (the other being apartheid South Africa) self-identified “Western” nation-states to continue to implement old-style imperial policies: they discriminated against the Palestinian population in every way imaginable, pushed them into enclosed areas of concentration and sought to control their lives in great detail.


…in the case of Palestine, this process of decolonization never occurred. In this case the European colonists did not want the imperial mother country to stay and protect them. They wanted them out so they could set up shop on their own.


If one wants to know what this meant for the evolving character of Israel’s citizenry who now would live out the colonial drama as an imperial power in their own right, one might take a look at a book by Sven Lindqvist entitled Exterminate all the Brutes (New Press 1996). This work convincingly shows that lording it over often resisting native peoples, debasing and humiliating them, regularly killing or otherwise punishing them when they protest, leads the colonials to develop genocidal yearnings.

There is evidence that the Zionists who created and now sustain Israel suffer from this process. For a long time Israeli government officials tried genocide via a thought experiment. They went about asserting that the Palestinians did not exist. The most famous case of this was Golda Meir, who on 15 June 1969 claimed that “there were no such thing as Palestinians… They do not exist.” One of the reasons she gave for this opinion was that the Arabs of Palestine never had their own nation-state.

Others took a different approach by denying not so much the existence of Palestinians, but rather their humanity. At various times and in various contexts, usually in response to acts of resistance against occupation, Israeli leaders have referred to the Palestinians as “beasts walking on two legs” (Menachem Begin); “grasshoppers” (Yitzhaq Shamir); “crocodiles” (Ehud Barak); and “cockroaches” (Rafael Eitan).

Of course, these sentiments were not confined to the Israeli leadership. They soon pervaded most of the Zionist population because the old imperial superiority-inferiority propaganda had become a core element of their basic education. The Israelis havetaught their children the imperial point of view, augmented it with biased media reporting, labelled the inevitable resistance offered by the Palestinians as anti-Semitism and took it as proof of the need to suppress and control this population of “Others”.


The Israelis have taught their children the imperial point of view, augmented it with biased media reporting, labelled the inevitable resistance offered by the Palestinians as anti-Semitism and took it as proof of the need to suppress and control this population of “Others”.


From the Zionist standpoint, this entire process has worked remarkably well. Today all but a handful of Israeli Jews dislike and fear the people they conquered and displaced. They wish they would go away. And, when their resistance gets just a bit too much to bear, they are now quite willing to see them put out of the way.

Thus, during the latest round of resistance rocket fire from Gaza and the vengeful killing that came from the Israeli side, we heard the following:

  • “We must blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages destroying all the infrastructure including roads and water” (Eli Yishai, present Deputy Prime Minister)
  • “There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing… We need to flatten entire neighborhoods … flatten all of Gaza” (Journalist Gilad Sharon in the Jerusalem Post)
  • “There are no innocents in Gaza. Mow them down … kill the Gazans without thought or mercy.” (Michael Ben-Ari, Member of the Knesset)
  • Gaza should be “bombed so hard the population has to flee into Egypt” (Israel Katz, present Minister of Transport);
  • Gaza should be “wiped clean with bombs” (Avi Dichter, present Minister of Home Front Defence);
  • Israeli soldiers must “learn from the Syrians how to slaughter the enemy” (prominent Israeli Rabbi Yaakov Yosef)
  • Numerous, spontaneous demonstrations of ordinary Israeli citizens, both in the north and south of the country, where there could be heard chants and shouts such as “They don’t deserve to live. They need to die. May your children die. Kick out all the Arabs.”


What seems to really irk the Israeli citizenry is not that Bibi killed and maimed too many innocent Palestinian civilians, but rather that he did not kill and maim enough of them to grant Israelis “safety and security”.


If it wasn’t for the fact that the outside world was watching, there can be little doubt that the famed Israeli armed forces would have been tempted to do all that these ministers, clerics and citizens wished. After Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed to a cease fire, a group of Israeli soldiers showed their frustration by using their bodies to spell out (in Hebrew) the words “Bibi Loser” (Bibi is a nickname for Netanyahu). It was a pre-arranged photo-op and the picture can now easily be found on the web. What seems to really irk the Israeli citizenry is not that Bibi killed and maimed too many innocent Palestinian civilians, but rather that he did not kill and maim enough of them to grant Israelis “safety and security”.


Throughout history it has been standard operating procedure to demonize those you fight and demote to inferior status those you conquer. But as Lindqvist’s work shows, there was something different about the way Europeans went about this business. The deeply racist outlook that underlay modern imperialism made it particularly perverse. Now that apartheid South Africa is no more, the Israelis are the last surviving heirs to that dreadful heritage. So much for a “light unto the nations”. That proposition has quite failed. Wherever the Israelis and their Zionist cohorts are leading us, it is not into the light, it is to someplace very, very dark.



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| HUMAN RIGHTS DEFINED: What are your human rights?

HUMAN RIGHTS DEFINED: What are your human rights? ~ United for Human Rights.

Let’s start with some basic human rights definitions:

Human: noun
A member of the Homo sapiens species; a man, woman or child; a person.

Rights: noun
Things to which you are entitled or allowed; freedoms that are guaranteed.

Human Rights: noun
The rights you have simply because you are human.

If you were to ask people in the street, “What are human rights?” you would get many different answers. They would tell you the rights they know about, but very few people know all their rights.

As covered in the definitions above, a right is a freedom of some kind. It is something to which you are entitled by virtue of being human.

Human rights are based on the principle of respect for the individual. Their fundamental assumption is that each person is a moral and rational being who deserves to be treated with dignity. They are called human rights because they are universal. Whereas nations or specialized groups enjoy specific rights that apply only to them, human rights are the rights to which everyone is entitled—no matter who they are or where they live—simply because they are alive.

Yet many people, when asked to name their rights, will list only freedom of speech and belief and perhaps one or two others. There is no question these are important rights, but the full scope of human rights is very broad. They mean choice and opportunity. They mean the freedom to obtain a job, adopt a career, select a partner of one’s choice and raise children. They include the right to travel widely and the right to work gainfully without harassment, abuse and threat of arbitrary dismissal. They even embrace the right to leisure.

In ages past, there were no human rights. Then the idea emerged that people should have certain freedoms. And that idea, in the wake of World War II, resulted finally in the document called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the thirty rights to which all people are entitled.


The European Convention on Human Rights

ROME 4 November 1950

and its Five Protocols


| Whitewashing War Crimes, treat the Palmer report with the contempt it deserves!

Give the Palmer report the contempt it deserves

By Khalid Amayreh in Israeli-occupied Jerusalem

04 September 2011

On Friday, 2 September, a pro-Israeli body at the United Nations released a brazenly unbalanced report concluding that Israel’s four-year  blockade of some 1.7 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip was “legal” and  “within the barometers of international law.”

The scandalous report, dubbed as the Palmer report, also concluded that the manifestly criminal  Israeli assault on a Turkish ship carrying solidarity activists and humanitarian materials  to besieged Gazans, which occurred 18 months ago and   killed at least nine Turkish citizens and injured many others, was also legal.

The report was reportedly prepared by a group of fanatical Zionists who thought that Israel could do nothing wrong and that its victims, whether Turks or Arabs, were either terrorists or sub-humans whose lives had no sanctity whatsoever.

The obscene disregard of truth inherent in that infamous and biased document showed that professionalism and objectivity were the last things on the minds of that commission’s members.

Indeed, the victims of the Gaza siege, which ironically  is yet to be lifted, have every right under the sun  to cry out to the seventh heaven, in anger and bitterness, wondering what right  the Nazi-like entity, Israel, ever had to withhold medicine and  food supplies, fuel and  other  basic necessities from the people  of  Gaza.

To justify its murderous and enduring blockade, which killed (and continues to kill) thousands of innocent people, including children, and devastated the lives  of hundreds of thousands others, Israel invoked  the mantra of arms smuggling into Gaza .

However, the truth of the matter is that under the rubric of preventing the alleged smuggling  of weapons  into the coastal  enclave, Israel repeatedly demonstrated that it was hell-bent  on  starving ordinary Gazans by denying  them badly-needed medicine and  by ruining their originally meager  economy, causing  real starvation with catastrophic proportions.

In fact, some Zionist officials boasted rather gleefully and sadistically about Israel’s ability to make the people of Gaza go on a diet. Unfortunately, the sickening remarks were not prominently featured in the Jewish-controlled American and western press whose coverage of Israeli criminality fell markedly short of basic professional standards.

In the final analysis, when people, including Jews, think, behave and act like the Nazis, these people ought to be compared with the Nazis, let alone treated as the Nazis were treated.

Failing to hold these comparisons due to “special sensitivities” such as the fear of being branded “anti-Semitic” is both a betrayal of human conscience and professional standards.

Gaza is not a state, it is rather an impoverished and heavily-populated coastal enclave packed with refugees who had been forced to flee their native towns and villages at the hands of terrorist Jewish gangs coming from Eastern Europe.

Israel claimed ad nauseam it left Gaza for good. However, the truth of the matter is that the Nazi-apartheid regime retained its erstwhile tight control of Gaza’s territorial water, border crossings as well as air space.

And when the Islamic  liberation movement, known as Hamas, won meticulously  internationally observed elections, Israel lost its  composure and decided to  impose draconian  sanctions encompassing  everything  entering  Gaza or  coming  out of the blockaded territory.

The criminal siege, which many courageous international observers compared with the Nazi siege of the Ghetto Warsaw during the Second World War, was always made to produce maximum suffering and pain thanks to a never-ending series of criminal aggressions that mainly targeted innocent civilians.

Israeli leaders, most of them are actually  certified war criminals,  were  quoted on several   occasions  as saying that the targeting of  innocent  Palestinian  civilians by the Israeli  occupation army  was meant to force the civilians  to rise up against their elected government.

There is no doubt that the deliberate and planned targeting of innocent children by Israel is a criminal act. Even Israeli human rights organizations, such as B’tselem, admit that it is.

The fact, that the whoring  press and TV networks  in New York, London, or Montreal don’t see it this way doesn’t make the reality of Israeli  criminality any less nefarious.

Genocide or an attempted genocide doesn’t become less evil if and when perpetrated by Jews. This is what Israel’s ignorant supporters in the West ought to realize, the sooner the better.

In light, one is prompted to treat the Palmer report with the contempt it deserves. In the final analysis, judging murder, including haphazard murder, as legal because Jews are involved is the ultimate expression of moral bankruptcy, dishonesty and maliciousness.

The same thing applies to the other conclusion about the murderous attack on Marmara, the Turkish aid ship sailing in international waters in May 2011.  That ship was carrying peaceful activists who wanted to reach the shore of Gaza to deliver urgently-needed relief materials, including milk, to besieged Gazans.

Yet, instead of allowing the ship to proceed to its destination unhindered, the Gestapo-like Israeli marines ganged up on innocent and unarmed men and women, riddling them with bullets from all sides.

The Turks and other activists onboard Marmara never ever posed any real threat to the Jewish Rambos. How could they possibly do that, unless we adopt the proverbial criminal logic that it was the victims’ heads and chests that hit the bullets, not the other way around, which puts the blames decidedly on the victims!

Unfortunately, the government of Israel resorted to hasbara and lies and stone-walling to escape responsibility, claiming that its soldiers’ lives were endangered, a claim that shouldn’t be dignified by commenting on it.

Moreover, in an effort to come out clean of this murderous obscenity, Israel made numerous insinuations about the humanitarian organization that planned and chartered the aid voyage, calling it terrorist.

Well, the Jewish state and its numerous mouthpieces of mendacity would automatically call anyone giving the Palestinians a helping hand terrorist even if that one were Jesus Christ or Moses, the son of Amram.

This is their way of demonizing and dehumanizing their victims, just as the Nazis did several decades ago.

It is really heartening that the Turkish government has decided to show Israel that Turkish blood is a red line and that Israel could no longer mobilize its Free Mason tools in Turkey to bully the Turkish leadership to grovel before Jewish feet. These days are over.

The  reported decision to expel the Zionist ambassador from Ankara, along  with the planned   downgrading  of  security relations with the  Jewish Reich in  occupied Jerusalem, should only be the beginning  of  a new strategic approach  on the part  of  Turkey toward Israel, an approach  that must demonstrate  to Jews and non-Jews alike  that Muslims are human beings, too, and have dignity like  everyone else.