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The fallacy of corporate taxes in a neo-liberal context

By Michael Laxer | Rabble | November 23, 2013

“Make the corporations pay!”

It is a slogan that sounds good, and with which I would fully agree, under conditions where “corporations,” or, more accurately, those who control them, were actually paying. But this is not the case in the debate in Canada today where many on the left are falsely proclaiming corporate taxes as an alternative to increasing personal taxes, even on the wealthy, and seem to display little understanding that corporate tax rates have nothing at all to do with inequality socially and are not at all a tax on wealth or the wealthy.

When Thomas Mulcair juxtaposes his “plan” to increase corporate taxes as a “progressive” alternative to Toronto-Centre candidate Linda McQuaig’s previously stated notion that taxes should be increased as well on Canada’s wealthiest individuals, he is fundamentally juxtaposing McQuaig’s plan that might accomplish something to a plan that will accomplish absolutely nothing.

The essential fallacy of mythologizing corporate taxes in the present context lies in the fact that, unless you agree with the U.S. Supreme Court, corporations are not people. By definition, if government taxes a corporation, ultimately some individuals, somewhere, pay the bill. Corporations cannot pay anything, any more than a house you own pays its own property tax. Given that corporations can, will and must extract the money to pay their tax bills any number of ways, from increasing prices, to attempting to force down worker wages and benefits, to finding creative ways to reduce nominal profit (which includes actually increasing CEO salaries or privileges, which are a “cost”), in the absence of a campaign to dramatically increase personal taxes on the managerial and CEO class of corporations or to re-adjust social power relations through the threat of socialization of assets and/or price controls, the net effect of corporate taxes, in terms of income levelling, will often  be either zero or regressive.

It sounds radical, and is therefore appealing to centrists who wish to nominally appear radical, but its impact on inequality is essentially non-existent for the very simple reason that inequality is driven by disparities in the incomes that exist between individuals. Inequality is facilitated by corporations and corporate actions, but it is manifested in the difference between people and people alone.

This exact inequality exists within corporations themselves. Corporations are comprised, as a general rule, of workers, managers and upper management. Given the nature of the capitalist economy, the way corporations will seek to lessen the impact of higher taxation will not be at the expense of their CEOs.

It is not corporations who own multiple mansions, live lavish lifestyles or indulge in tremendous decadence, it is wealthy people who do so. The disparity between rich and poor is not between rich and poor companies, but rather between rich people and those living working-class lifestyles or those actually living in poverty.

Taxes on corporations, in isolation, separated from higher tax rates on the wealthy individuals who own, profit from and run the corporations, act as little more than waypoints to collecting taxes on corporate workers or customers.

“Progressive” politicians, New Democrats, Liberals and Democrats alike, like the corporate tax narrative when it suits them precisely because it does not threaten any actual people at all, whether it is Galen Weston or one of his Loblaws cashiers. They can claim to be holding the banner of redistributive justice high. To be defending the mythical “99 percent.”

Yet these taxes can only have an impact on inequality if you assume, barring personal tax increases, that corporations will pass the “costs” of higher taxes along, out of a sense of social justice, to their corporate boardrooms. This is, frankly, a counterintuitive and bizarre assumption for leftists to make.

They will not. They will, as they always do, make their workers pay.

We need to move beyond the false narrative of so-called “corporate taxes” as a solution under capitalism and, instead, to advocate for both a dramatic increase in personal taxes on the wealthy and the upper middle class with a corresponding fight to socialize corporate assets. We need to tie this to an entrenchment of union and workers’ rights and democratization of the economy.

It is time to actually make those who benefit from the corporations pay. By higher taxes on capital gains, by higher income taxes on the wealthy and managerial class, by inheritance taxes, by expanding the legal rights and powers of workers.

By advancing expropriation and radically new ownership models.

Until then, when it comes to understanding how to tackle income inequality and its consequences, it is the pre-by-election Linda McQuaig who was right and it is the desperate-for-power NDP leader Thomas Mulcair who is wrong.

November 24, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Economics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Wisdom of Edwin Montagu

By Gilad Atzmon

The following is a Memorandum written by Edwin Montagu commenting on the Balfour declaration. It was submitted to the British Cabinet on 23 August 1917.

Though Montagu speaks wisdom in each sentence, his suggestions were ignored. Montagu probably failed to realise that the Balfour declaration was a token the British had to pay in order to pull America into the war.

In his remarkable book The Pity Of It All, Amos Elon (Penguin 2004) provides a very interesting historical insight into the subject. Seemingly, within the eve of the first war, some very powerful Jewish German lobbies were operating in America. Prominent German American Jews protested against America joining England and France. In a statement to the New York Times on 22 November 1914, Jacob H Schiff, head of Khun, Loeb – at the time the second largest private bank in the US – charged the British and French with attempting to destroy Germany for reasons of trade (Elon, 253). Needless to say the East European Jews who emigrated to the USA evading Anti-Semitic Czarist Russia regarded the German army as a liberator. At large, American Jewry was pro-German.

The British Government took these developments rather seriously. At the time the British Ambassador to the United States suspected a ‘Jewish conspiracy in America’. The 1917 Balfour Declaration was largely an attempt to divert the anti-English feelings amongst World Jewry in general and widespread among American Jews in particular. According to Montagu, the declaration is itself largely anti-Semitic.

I have a good reason to believe that Montagu was not aware of the declaration being a highly manipulative British act that was there to serve the British militant interests. Yet, his criticism of the declaration is a must read.

As Montagu detects, Jews are not a nation, as Montagu predicted, Zionism would lead the Nations to cleanse their Jewish population, something that indeed happened just two decades later in central Europe. As Montagu spotted, Jews have no exclusive intrinsic connection to Palestine, therefore do not deserve any special rights on the land. Zionism says Montagu, would stop the Jew from joining the nations. It would turn Palestine into the ‘Jewish world’s Ghetto’.

How correct was Montagu! Israel is indeed the worst Jewish Ghetto this world has ever known. A ghetto that is powerful enough to reduce this planet into dust. Israel is the Jewish world’s ghetto that throws bombs on innocent civilians on a daily basis. How right was Montagu and how devastatingly deaf was the British cabinet to ignore his astute reading of the future to come.

Montagu Memorandom on the Anti-Semitism of the British Government

Submitted to the British Cabinet, 23 August 1917

I have chosen the above title for this memorandum, not in any hostile sense, not by any means as quarrelling with an anti-Semitic view which may be held by my colleagues, not with a desire to deny that anti-Semitism can be held by rational men, not even with a view to suggesting that the Government is deliberately anti-Semitic; but I wish to place on record my view that the policy of His Majesty’s Government is anti-Semitic in result will prove a rallying ground for Anti-Semites in every country in the world.

This view is prompted by the receipt yesterday of a correspondence between Lord Rothschild and Mr. Balfour.

Lord Rothschild’s letter is dated the 18th July and Mr. Balfour’s answer is to be dated August 1917. I fear that my protest comes too late, and it may well be that the Government were practically committed when Lord Rothschild wrote and before I became a member of the Government, for there has obviously been some correspondence or conversation before this letter. But I do feel that as the one Jewish Minister in the Government I may be allowed by my colleagues an opportunity of expressing views which may be peculiar to myself, but which I hold very strongly and which I must ask permission to express when opportunity affords.

I believe most firmly that this war has been a death-blow to Internationalism, and that it has proved an opportunity for a renewal of the slackening sense of Nationality, for it is has not only been tacitly agreed by most statesmen in most countries that the redistribution of territory resulting from the war should be more or less on national grounds, but we have learned to realise that our country stands for principles, for aims, for civilisation which no other country stands for in the same degree, and that in the future, whatever may have been the case in the past, we must live and fight in peace and in war for those aims and aspirations, and so equip and regulate our lives and industries as to be ready whenever and if ever we are challenged. To take one instance, the science of Political Economy, which in its purity knows no Nationalism, will hereafter be tempered and viewed in the light of this national need of defence and security. The war has indeed justified patriotism as the prime motive of political thought.

It is in this atmosphere that the Government proposes to endorse the formation of a new nation with a new home in Palestine. This nation will presumably be formed of Jewish Russians, Jewish Englishmen, Jewish Roumanians, Jewish Bulgarians, and Jewish citizens of all nations – survivors or relations of those who have fought or laid down their lives for the different countries which I have mentioned, at a time when the three years that they have lived through have united their outlook and thought more closely than ever with the countries of which they are citizens.

Zionism has always seemed to me to be a mischievous political creed, untenable by any patriotic citizen of the United Kingdom. If a Jewish Englishman sets his eyes on the Mount of Olives and longs for the day when he will shake British soil from his shoes and go back to agricultural pursuits in Palestine, he has always seemed to me to have acknowledged aims inconsistent with British citizenship and to have admitted that he is unfit for a share in public life in Great Britain, or to be treated as an Englishman. I have always understood that those who indulged in this creed were largely animated by the restrictions upon and refusal of liberty to Jews in Russia. But at the very time when these Jews have been acknowledged as Jewish Russians and given all liberties, it seems to b! e inconceivable that Zionism should be officially recognised by the British Government, and that Mr. Balfour should be authorized to say that Palestine was to be reconstituted as the “national home of the Jewish people”. I do not know what this involves, but I assume that it means that Mahommedans and Christians are to make way for the Jews and that the Jews should be put in all positions of preference and should be peculiarly associated with Palestine in the same way that England is with the English or France with the French, that Turks and other Mahommedans in Palestine will be regarded as foreigners, just in the same way as Jews will hereafter be treated as foreigners in every country but Palestine. Perhaps also citizenship must be granted only as a result of a religious test.

I lay down with emphasis four principles:

1. I assert that there is not a Jewish nation. The members of my family, for instance, who have been in this country for generations, have no sort or kind of community of view or of desire with any Jewish family in any other country beyond the fact that they profess to a greater or less degree the same religion. It is no more true to say that a Jewish Englishman and a Jewish Moor are of the same nation than it is to say that a Christian Englishman and a Christian Frenchman are of the same nation: of the same race, perhaps, traced back through the centuries – through centuries of the history of a peculiarly adaptable race. The Prime Minister and M. Briand are, I suppose, related through the ages, one as a Welshman and the other as a Breton, but they certainly do not belong to the same nation.

2. When the Jews are told that Palestine is their national home, every country will immediately desire to get rid of its Jewish citizens, and you will find a population in Palestine driving out its present inhabitants, taking all the best in the country, drawn from all quarters of the globe, speaking every language on the face of the earth, and incapable of communicating with one another except by means of an interpreter. I have always understood that this was the consequence of the building of the Tower of Babel, if ever it was built, and I certainly do not dissent from the view, commonly held, as I have always understood, by the Jews before Zionism was invented, that to bring the Jews back to form a nation in the country from which they were dispersed would require Divine leadership. I have never heard it suggested, even by their most fervent admirers, that either Mr. Balfour or Lord Rothschild would prove to be the Messiah.

I claim that the lives that British Jews have led, that the aims that they have had before them, that the part that they have played in our public life and our public institutions, have entitled them to be regarded, not as British Jews, but as Jewish Britons. I would willingly disfranchise every Zionist. I would be almost tempted to proscribe the Zionist organisation as illegal and against the national interest. But I would ask of a British Government sufficient tolerance to refuse a conclusion which makes aliens and foreigners by implication, if not at once by law, of all their Jewish fellow-citizens.

3. I deny that Palestine is to-day associated with the Jews or properly to be regarded as a fit place for them to live in. The Ten Commandments were delivered to the Jews on Sinai. It is quite true that Palestine plays a large part in Jewish history, but so it does in modern Mahommendan history, and, after the time of the Jews, surely it plays a larger part than any other country in Christian history. The Temple may have been in Palestine, but so was the Sermon on the Mount and the Crucifixion. I would not deny to Jews in Palestine equal rights to colonisation with those who profess other religions, but a religious test of citizenship seems to me to be the only admitted by those who take a bigoted and narrow view of one particular epoch of the history of Palestine, and claim for the Jews a position to which they! are not entitled.

If my memory serves me right, there are three times as many Jews in the world as could possible get into Palestine if you drove out all the population that remains there now. So that only one-third will get back at the most, and what will happen to the remainder?

4. I can easily understand the editors of the Morning Post and of the New Witness being Zionists, and I am not in the least surprised that the non-Jews of England may welcome this policy. I have always recognised the unpopularity, much greater than some people think, of my community. We have obtained a far greater share of this country’s goods and opportunities than we are numerically entitled to. We reach on the whole maturity earlier, and therefore with people of our own age we compete unfairly. Many of us have been exclusive in our friendships and intolerant in our attitude, and I can easily understand that many a non-Jew in England wants to get rid of us. But just as there is no community of thought and mode of life among Christian Englishmen, so there is not among Jewish Englishmen. More and more we are edu! cated in public schools and at the Universities, and take our part in the politics, in the Army, in the Civil Service, of our country. And I am glad to think that the prejudices against inter-marriage are breaking down. But when the Jew has a national home, surely it follows that the impetus to deprive us of the rights of British citizenship must be enormously increased. Palestine will become the world’s Ghetto. Why should the Russian give the Jew equal rights? His national home is Palestine. Why does Lord Rothschild attach so much importance to the difference between British and foreign Jews? All Jews will be foreign Jews, inhabitants of the great country of Palestine.

I do not know how the fortunate third will be chosen, but the Jew will have the choice, whatever country he belongs to, whatever country he loves, whatever country he regards himself as an integral part of, between going to live with people who are foreigners to him, but to whom his Christian fellow-countrymen have told him he shall belong, and of remaining as an unwelcome guest in the country that he thought he belonged to.

I am not surprised that the Government should take this step after the formation of a Jewish Regiment, and I am waiting to learn that my brother, who has been wounded in the Naval Division, or my nephew, who is in the Grenadier Guards, will be forced by public opinion or by Army regulations to become an officer in a regiment which will mainly be composed of people who will not understand the only language which he speaks – English. I can well understand that when it was decided, and quite rightly, to force foreign Jews in this country to serve in the Army, it was difficult to put them in British regiments because of the language difficulty, but that was because they were foreigners, and not because they were Jews, and a Foreign Legion would seem to me to have been the right thing to establish. A Jewish Legion makes the position of Jews in other regiments more difficult and forces a nationality upon people who have nothing in common.

I feel that the Government are asked to be the instrument for carrying out the wishes of a Zionist organisation largely run, as my information goes, at any rate in the past, by men of enemy descent or birth, and by this means have dealt a severe blow to the liberties, position and opportunities of service of their Jewish fellow-countrymen.

I would say to Lord Rothschild that the Government will be prepared to do everything in their power to obtain for Jews in Palestine complete liberty of settlement and life on an equality with the inhabitants of that country who profess other religious beliefs. I would ask that the Government should go no further.

E.S.M.

Source

November 24, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israli admits, on game show, to shooting at Palestinian children

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Zakusilo pictured on the television show (MaanImages)
By Alex Shams – Ma’an – 24/11/2013

BETHLEHEM — An Israeli soldier admitted that she shot and killed unknown numbers of Palestinian people, including children, on a Ukrainian television program that aired in early November.

Elena Zakusilo, a Ukrainian Jewish woman who moved to Israel in order to serve in the Israeli army, revealed on the Nov. 4 episode of the program “Lie Detector” that she had killed Palestinians and had shot at Palestinian children, but was unsure how many she managed to kill.

Zakusilo, who goes by the name Elena Gluzman in Israel, also explained that she trained army dogs to raid Palestinian villages and conducted video surveillance that she monitored from up to 10 kilometers away.

Zakusilo said on the show that one of the times when she shot Palestinians was during protests that broke out after Yasser Arafat died in 2004.

“It’s scary, especially when children run with Molotov cocktails, and they send children, to turn the attention to them, little kid, barely walking, 3-4 years old,” she added, explaining that she was unsure how many Palestinian children she had shot dead.

Although Zakusilo said that she was “not proud” of these acts, she blamed Palestinian mothers for sending their children to be “suicide bombers” and suggested that they did not care about their children’s lives.

Zakusilo also spoke about her work training dogs for reconnaissance missions into Palestinian villages, which involved placing headphones and cameras on them and directing them to attack Palestinians they encountered until soldiers could arrive.

“The doggy gets a little bag in teeth, it can be a video camera.”

“It has an electronic collar, and a camera that hangs on the collar, and the trainer has the remote control, and he, from a distance up to ten kilometers, can watch and give orders to the dog, to attack or not attack,” she added.

Zakusilo explained that she was a “senior trainer” and trained a total of 150 dogs, and for her work she was promoted to the rank of major.

‘Willing to go back to Israel and continue killing enemies’

Zakusilo’s mother was also present during the show’s filming, and when asked if she knew her daughter had killed people, said, “Of course, how can you be in the military without (killing).”

Zakusilo responded in the affirmative when asked by the game show host if she was “willing to go back to Israel and continue killing enemies” if she had financial difficulties in Ukraine, and said that she was unafraid of potential repercussions for revealing what she had done while in the Israeli forces.

She also explained that she goes by the name of Gluzman in Israel, “so that they won’t hear there our Ukrainian family name, and with the other name (Gluzman), with Jewish roots, they’d treat (me) differently.”

Zakusilo added that while at first she hesitated to kill people, she came to see her fellow soldiers as “family,” and they helped her come to terms with killing Palestinian children and other feelings she had.

Referring to her commander, she said, “He is a general, he tells you to go and shoot like this, so you go. But if you come to him and say, just for example, you know, I was walking down the road, and there was a kitten there, ran over by a car, or a person hit, and I feel bad.”

“He will sit with you for an hour to talk, and try to understand why you feel bad.”

The transcript of the television show was uploaded by Palestinian activist Abir Kopty on her blog, and although the video is freely available on the television show’s website, the translation could not be independently verified by Ma’an.

‘Because we’re human, we get shocked by people who kill’

Kopty, the Palestinian blogger who found the video and posted it, explained that she was “shocked,” but not surprised by Zakusilo’s comments.

“We see and hear this all the time and we know it first hand but it’s always shocking. Because we’re human, we get shocked by people when they talk about killing.”

She also explained that the “case represents a wider phenomenon,” and that it shows what “the military does this to people – it disconnects them from their own humanity, and makes it so easy to kill people and do not even remember the number.”

“The Israeli military will probably either discredit her, or justify her actions or say, as always, it’s an individual case” in order to explain it, she argued.

“This case represents the way they act.”

Kopty said that individual Israelis had responded or commented on the piece repeating the Israeli army’s “mantra” justifying what she says, in order to absolve the Israeli forces as a whole of responsibility.

“The machinery of propaganda always works, and they try to justify everything,” she said.

“I really hope, that one day all these criminals face trial.”

An Israeli army spokeswoman could not immediately confirm whether Zakusilo had served in the Israeli forces when contacted over the weekend.

Amnesty International’s 2013 report on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories highlighted the lack of accountability for Israeli soldiers’ crimes against Palestinian civilians, pointing out that, “The authorities again failed to independently investigate killings of Palestinian civilians by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank and Gaza or to prosecute those responsible.”

The Israeli organization Breaking the Silence has collected 700 testimonies of Israeli army veterans, documenting a culture of widespread mistreatment and dehumanization of Palestinians among Israeli soldiers.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

November 24, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 3 Comments

NSA infected 50,000 computer networks with malicious software

NRC NIEUWS | November 23, 2013

The American intelligence service – NSA – infected more than 50,000 computer networks worldwide with malicious software designed to steal sensitive information. Documents provided by former NSA-employee Edward Snowden and seen by this newspaper, prove this.

A management presentation dating from 2012 explains how the NSA collects information worldwide. In addition, the presentation shows that the intelligence service uses ‘Computer Network Exploitation’ (CNE) in more than 50,000 locations. CNE is the secret infiltration of computer systems achieved by installing malware, malicious software.

One example of this type of hacking was discovered in September 2013 at the Belgium telecom provider Belgacom. For a number of years the British intelligence service – GCHQ – has been installing this malicious software in the Belgacom network in order to tap their customers’ telephone and data traffic. The Belgacom network was infiltrated by GCHQ through a process of luring employees to a false Linkedin page.

NSA special department employs more than a thousand hackers

The NSA computer attacks are performed by a special department called TAO (Tailored Access Operations). Public sources show that this department employs more than a thousand hackers. As recently as August 2013, the Washington Post published articles about these NSA-TAO cyber operations. In these articles The Washington Post reported that the NSA installed an estimated 20,000 ‘implants’ as early as 2008. These articles were based on a secret budget report of the American intelligence services. By mid-2012 this number had more than doubled to 50,000, as is shown in the presentation NRC Handelsblad laid eyes on.

Cyber operations are increasingly important for the NSA. Computer hacks are relatively inexpensive and provide the NSA with opportunities to obtain information that they otherwise would not have access to. The NSA-presentation shows their CNE-operations in countries such as Venezuela and Brazil. The malware installed in these countries can remain active for years without being detected.

‘Sleeper cells’ can be activated with a single push of a button

The malware can be controlled remotely and be turned on and off at will. The ‘implants’ act as digital ‘sleeper cells’ that can be activated with a single push of a button. According to the Washington Post, the NSA has been carrying out this type of cyber operation since 1998.

The Dutch intelligence services – AIVD and MIVD – have displayed interest in hacking. The Joint Sigint Cyber Unit – JSCU – was created early in 2013. The JSCU is an inter-agency unit drawing on experts with a range of IT skills. This new unit is prohibited by law from performing the type of operations carried out by the NSA as Dutch law does not allow this type of internet searches.

The NSA declined to comment and referred to the US Government. A government spokesperson states that any disclosure of classified material is harmful to our national security.

November 24, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Egypt’s coup leaders call for end to subsidies on basic goods

MEMO | November 23, 2013

general-sisiIn a new leaked audio tape, the Egyptian coup leader Gen. Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi has called for an end to subsidies on bread and energy in Egypt, as well as a 50 per cent reduction of public sector salaries.

Gen. Al-Sisi described the measure as “austerity” and pointed to examples in various countries expressing his admiration for them.

In the audio which was broadcast by Al-Jazeera Mubashir Misr on Friday 22 November, he said: “A gas container is sold to citizens for 62 to 67 Egyptian pounds, (restaurants pay much more). This means that a lot of money is being unintentionally wasted in the country.”

He said: “It is impossible to pay 107 billion Egyptian pounds to subsidise energy and 17 billion for bread.”

Al-Sisi continued: “What I would like to say, regardless if it is appropriate to raise prices or not is that when former President Sadat attempted to solve Egypt’s problems in 1977, he decided that every citizen had to pay the prime costs for the goods they bought.”

Citing other examples, Gen Al Sisi said: “I would like to tell you that Germany reduced 50 per cent of the salaries for its austerity plan, and people accepted that measure.” However, he did not give any details about when and how Germany carried out this measure.

He further pointed to the cases of South Africa and Sudan. In the latter case he said, “When South Sudan seceded from the north and became independent, it cut salaries by 50 per cent. People said nothing.”

Then he concluded: “I do not care about the decisions. I would like to say that the situation requires from all of us, Egyptians, if we love our country, to take measures regarding the issue of the prices and goods’ subsidies.”

November 24, 2013 Posted by | Economics | , , | 1 Comment

Mother Agnes and the Self Destruction of the Political Left

By Richard Edmondson | Fig Trees and Vineyards | November 23, 2013

Leftist luminaries Jeremy Scahill and Owen Jones attempted to cast aspersions upon Mother Agnes, but instead they have brought discredit not only upon themselves, but upon the conference at which they are to speak in London next Saturday. We should not be surprised at the way all this has turned out.

As I reported previously, Scahill and Jones announced they would not take part in an antiwar conference organized by the Stop the War Coalition should they have to share the same platform with Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross, a Syrian nun who has worked tirelessly to bring about an end to the bloodshed in her country. As yet, no explanation or elaboration has been offered by the pair as justification for their laying down of such an ultimatum. But for her own part, Mother Agnes has taken steps to ensure they will not have to undergo the abhorrent ordeal of appearing with her. She has pulled out of the conference.

In the war in Syria, or more precisely in the way the war has been reported, radically different narratives have been presented, narratives that are, and have been, almost completely counter to one another. In one view, that reported by Western mainstream media, Syrian President Bashar Assad is a brutal, criminal dictator intent on killing his own people, while those fighting to bring his government down are freedom fighters (although following the posting of a video showing one of the freedom fighters eating a human organ, the media shifted slightly and began allowing that “some” of the insurgents were extremists). By contrast, the picture presented by Russian and other foreign media, and on blogs like this one, is that Assad has the support of a sizeable portion of the Syrian people and that the conflict has little or nothing to do with democracy. Instead it is aimed at effecting regime change to the benefit of Gulf oil monarchies as well as the West and Israel. Also in this view, Assad, while not perfect, is not nearly as ogreish and demonic as he is made out to be in the Western media.

It comes down to who has the greater credibility—the Western, and principally US, media, which promoted the war in Iraq on the basis of false claims about weapons of mass destruction, or Russian media outlets like RT, who have no record of peddling lies in an effort to justify wars. You would think that for leftists the choice would be clear. But for some reason, Scahill, a reporter for The Nation, and Jones, who has a column in The Independent, have taken a position that possibly would suggest they accord the Western media the greater credibility—at least insofar as the Syrian war in general, and Mother Agnes in particular, are concerned.

Those favoring US intervention in Syria no doubt had their hopes raised by the August 21 chemical weapons attack. An all out escalation into a regional and possibly even global conflict seemed imminent, but the hopes of warmongers were dashed through some clever statesmanship by Vladimir Putin and also after Mother Agnes released a 50-page report introducing evidence that some of the videos uploaded immediately after the attack had been staged and scripted and suggesting that the attack might have been carried out not by the Syrian government but by the opposition. You can read the full report here. Decide for yourself whether you think it’s credible.

My own take on it all is that through her report, as well as through her presence, her holiness, and her actions—including the evacuation of more than 5,000 people from a besieged town in October—Mother Agnes has considerably undermined the Western narrative on events in Syria. And that obviously has upset a lot of plans and made a lot of people mad.

“Why did the invitation from Stop the War to a nun working to stop war raise objections?” asks William M. Boardman in an article posted Thursday. Boardman goes on to comment, “It’s hard to find any evidence that Mother Agnes has committed anything worse than what others consider thought-crimes and politically incorrect obeservations, some of which are actually correct.”

So was somebody pressuring Scahill and Jones to disassociate themselves from Mother Agnes? Did they think doing so would advance their careers? Did Scahill think it would win him additional appearances on the Rachel Maddow Show or CBS Evening News? Is Jones hoping for more exposure on Sky News and the BBC? I don’t have an answer to these questions. I would note only that intoxication of power is not something leftists are especially immune to any more so than anyone else. The main problem is succumbing to such impulses at the expense of someone making a genuine effort to achieve peace.

When faced with a choice between taking a stand based upon principle and one based upon convenience, the left seems to opt more and more for the latter these days, and it is attitudes such as this that are leading it, much like Western society as a whole, toward self destruction. So what should the organizers of the conference do? Here is my suggestion: Re-extend the invitation to Mother Agnes. Do so publicly. She may decline. But you will at least regain some credibility. Should she accept, all the better. And if Jones and Scahill wish to pull out as a result, even better yet. Their presence at the podium at this point is probably more of a liability than an asset in any event. Proceeding under the present conditions—with Scahill and Jones on the bill and the curtain in effect drawn on any participation by Mother Agnes—will cheapen and devalue the event.

November 24, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, False Flag Terrorism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Kerry appeases Israel on Iran deal

Press TV – November 24, 2013

US Secretary of State John Kerry appeases an infuriated Israel after Iran and six world powers seal a nuclear agreement following a marathon negotiating session in Geneva.

“The comprehensive agreement will make the world safer … and Israel safer,” Kerry told reporters in Geneva on Sunday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had warned Washington and its Western allies that a diplomatic deal with Tehran would be “a historic blunder.”

The hawkish premier loudly criticized the six-month deal, saying the world powers were giving up too much to the Islamic Republic.

Kerry said any differences between the United States and Israel on the issue of Iran’s nuclear program were simply a matter of “judgment” and “calculation.”

The top US diplomat added that he had kept Netanyahu apprised of the state of play in the nuclear talks, which kicked off Wednesday.

“I talk to him several times a week,” he said. “I talked to him in the last day about this very issue.”

US President Barack Obama welcomed the historic nuclear deal as “an important first step toward a comprehensive solution.”

The first step allows for “time and space” for more talks and the deal represents “a new path toward a world that is more secure,” Obama said late Saturday in Washington.

A statement released by the White House also said Iran agreed to provide “increased transparency and intrusive monitoring of its nuclear program.”

Kerry said that as part of the deal, “Iran has agreed to suspend all enrichment of uranium above 5 percent.” He also said that the Islamic Republic “will not commission or fuel the Arak reactor,” a “heavy water” plant in central Iran.

In exchange, the United States and its allies have agreed to lift some of the existing sanctions and offer access to a portion of the revenue that Tehran has been denied through these sanctions. No additional sanctions will be imposed.

According to the Iranian Foreign Ministry, the country will receive access to USD 4.2 billion in foreign exchange.

The recognition of Iran’s right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes was one of the major sticking points in the talks.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters on Sunday that the agreement “covers several important domains, the most important of which is the recognition of the right to enrichment.”

November 24, 2013 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment