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Robin Williams, Mental Health, and Social Insanity

By Michael Smith | Legalienate | August 17, 2014

“We are made miserable . . . not just by the strength of our beliefs, but by the weight of hard and all-too real situations, as they bear downward, robbing us of control . . . unhappiness treated by clinicians has much more to do with the sufferer’s situation than with anything about themselves, and for those with few privileges, this unhappiness is pretty well beyond the reach of therapeutic or any other conversation.” – Paul Moloney “The Therapy Industry”

Robin Williams’s body was scarcely cold when liberal commentators began using the tragedy of his death as publicity for suicide hotlines and professional mental health intervention in general. He had long-standing depression, we were told, and his “mental illness” was manifest in his decision to take his own life. Depression sufferers were urged to “be honest” and avail themselves of the services of professional therapists and counselors.

Days later Williams’s widow informed the world that her husband had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative disorder that even people with no prior history of depression can find impossible to face. Parkinson’s is chronic, and its symptoms worsen over time, leading to body tremors, muscle stiffness, and the loss of coordinated movement. No one knows why the disease develops, and it is incurable.

We do not know what went through Williams’s mind, of course, but it is not difficult to entertain the idea that the lifelong actor made an understandable decision to take an early exit from life’s stage rather than suffer the appalling loss of body control that the disease entails for its sufferers. Surely there is something more than “mental illness” involved in the desire to avoid such a fate.

Even if Williams’s well-known depression, which long-predated his Parkinson’s diagnosis, was involved in his decision to end his life, the liberal notion that we can and ought to rely on mental health professionals to guide us to health and sanity is more than a little suspect. There is no evidence that this group suffers lower rates of depression than the rest of the population, nor any that any kind of therapy has a cure for it. In fact, the evidence suggests that the mental health profession plays a crucial role in perpetuating a status quo within which depression is said to be growing by leaps and bounds.

Psychoanalyst Joel Kovel demonstrated in the early 1980s that psychotherapy and counseling had become indispensable parts of the capitalist economy, especially in the United States, where turning socially induced misery into false questions of self-improvement long ago reached the status of a quasi-religious movement. Subsequent to Kovel’s published insights came the “diseasing” and drugging of hyper-active American schoolchildren due to what eventually came to be known as “ADHD.” In more recent years, we have seen how “happiness psychology,” particularly the work of conservative academic and writer Martin Seligman, a former chairman of the American Psychological Association and adviser to the U.S. military, informed the Bush Administration’s torture program at Guantanamo Bay. All of this should make us quite skeptical about claims that therapy and counseling have the answer to our mental woes.

Having said that, the challenge of effectively treating mental disorders is surely formidable. According to surveys and clinical data, rates of depression in the U.S. have increased ten-fold since the 1950s, although it must be admitted that individuals of quite divergent symptoms are routinely classified under this broad umbrella, calling into question the validity of the category itself. However, even if some of the increase is due to an increased tendency to define common dissatisfaction as illness, it seems likely that at least some of the increase is genuine, given soaring inequality and an attendant increase in chronic illness, social isolation and reported loneliness, and suicide, especially during the periods of economic crisis that have become a nearly constant feature of U.S. capitalism in recent years.

Contrary to therapeutic claims that a “positive” attitude is the key to mental health, a growing body of evidence supports the claim that the principal influence on people’s mental health is their circumstances, both past and present. We can now say with some assurance that the larger and more obvious the gaps between rich and poor in developed societies – and the more exploitive the relations required to maintain and expand them – the greater the likelihood of violent conflict, mutual distrust, and degraded health, both mental and physical. Features of a particular location in the social hierarchy such as prestige, conditions of work, material circumstances, and wealth largely determine one’s likelihood of enjoying mental and physical health or illness. And to the extent that one belongs to a stigmatized, exploited group, and especially if one is poor, the more likely one is to experience life’s hardest blows – more often, more painfully, and with fewer joyful experiences to compensate for them.

Conventional counseling and therapy isn’t even focused on this problem, much less is it offering a solution to it. Because of its conviction that attitude is everything, conventional approaches put the onus of responsibility on the poor for their poverty. Thus they are given parenting training and other judgmental interventions when what they really need is decent housing, food, recreation, medical care, and above all, money. The assumption is that the poor deserve to be poor owing to their allegedly deficient character, made manifest in poor impulse control, hypersexuality, and a general lack of integrity. If it weren’t for these defects, the theory goes, the poor would be contented members of the middle class. This is one of the most damaging features of therapy, because it teaches exploited people that they are deficient or substandard instead of abused. Unfortunately, the crude stereotypes blaming the poor for their plight are promoted by a wide spectrum of members of the so-called “helping” profession: community leaders, social work educators, and quite a few academic researchers. If this is “help,” what might hindrance be?

Therapists and counselors with a genuine interest in finding a cure for mental illness would do well to investigate the income inequalities hypothesis of population health. Based on the common sense assumption that high levels of inequality are unhealthy (directly for the poor, indirectly for the rich), the thesis is that for modern industrialized countries, the average health, well-being, and longevity of the population depends not on the level of absolute poverty that exists, but on the spread of wealth, and especially on the gap between rich and poor.

As income differentials widen, the theory goes, people start to feel more competitive, and begin to look on others with increasing suspicion and distrust. Wariness, envy, shame, fear, and anger become more pronounced and take on a self-perpetuating thrust, undermining the basis for affectionate and caring relationships. A life of perpetual insecurity (which former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan declared in Congressional testimony was the principal reason for the 1990s boom years) and perceived threat triggers the release of cortisol and other “stress” hormones into the bloodstream, lowering our capacity to fight infection and ward off heart disease and other degenerative conditions. It should be emphasized that the theory maintains that this harms even the rich, who, amidst increasingly unjust conditions, have less and less opportunity to enjoy their wealth in ease. The public health implications are substantial: an increase of 7% in the share of income going to the bottom half of the population allegedly yields two additional years of life expectancy. [Note: The U.S. has the most unequal distribution of wealth in the developed world. According to the most recent survey by the Federal Reserve, the top decile own 71% of the country’s wealth, while the bottom half claims just one percent.]

One of the more intriguing mental health research findings undermines the “positive attitude” theorists. It shows that moderately depressed people have a more accurate perception of their abilities and their capacity to control events than do “healthy” people. A 2002 study found that mildly depressed women were more likely to live longer than non-depressed or severely depressed women. A longitudinal study of more than 1000 California schoolchildren concluded that optimism was more likely to lead to premature death – possibly because the optimists took more risks. Another study among pre-teenagers found that kids who were more realistic about their standing among their peers were less likely to get depressed than those who had illusions about their popularity. And a 2001 study co-authored by the guru of happiness psychology himself – Martin Seligman – found that among older people pessimists were less likely to fall into depression following a negative life event such as the death of a family member than were optimists.

These findings should provoke a complete reorientation of, not just the helping professions, but the entire society. After all, psychologists have long convinced us that we are all “CEOs” of self, rationally testing our ideas against reality, and that we become disturbed to the extent that we cannot accept the verdict that reality delivers. In short, to the extent that our ideas are unrealistic we are mentally ill, which should mean that President Obama, the Supreme Court, top executives on Wall Street, and virtually the entire Congress are certifiable lunatics.

But of course it doesn’t mean that. WE who cannot make our peace with a social order dedicated to plunder and destruction are mentally suspect, because responsible adulthood entails setting aside the childish notion that the world can be transformed into something within which a decent person would want to live, in order to concentrate on the supremely important matter of reproducing an increasingly imperiled social order dedicated to getting and spending. This is the reigning definition of sanity in our times. God help anyone who insists that social and political reality, not personal attitudes and reactions, is what needs to be adjusted.

Sources:

Barbara Ehrenreich, “Bright-Sided – How The Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America,” (Metropolitan Books, 2009)

Paul Moloney, “The Therapy Industry – The Irresistible Rise of the Talking Cure, and Why It Doesn’t Work,” (Pluto Press, 2013)

Thomas Piketty, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” (Harvard University Press, 2014)

August 18, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science | | Leave a comment

Police In Ferguson Back To Threatening And Arresting Reporters: Tells Them To ‘Get The Fuck Out Of Here’

By Mike Masnick | Techdirt | August 18, 2014

The situation in Ferguson seemed briefly like it was getting better last Thursday, but that didn’t last long. Over the weekend, the militarized and threatening police fired tear gas at protestors and continued to escalate the situation, rather than de-escalate it. The governor declared a state of emergency and instituted a curfew — which created some more problems, and resulted in continued protests, but also some looting. In the last few hours, however, things have gone from bad to worse again. Police went back to arresting journalists, including Robert Klemko from Sports Illustrated and Rob Crilly from the Telegraph (who, believe it or not, is the “Pakistan and Afghanistan correspondent” for that paper — now reporting live from… Ferguson, Missouri). While both were quickly released, police appear to be quite aggressive towards reporters. Chris Hayes, the MSNBC TV host reports that he was threatened with being maced.

A live stream from the local radio station KARG (Argus Radio — which is a local volunteer run radio station that has been doing amazing work) caught police screaming, “Get the fuck out of here or you’re going to get shelled with this” while pointing a gun at the reporter. Many reports claimed that he was saying, “You’re going to get shot,” but it’s pretty clearly “shelled.” Not sure it really makes a huge difference.

As you can see from the video (thankfully clipped and uploaded by Parker Higgins), another police officer, “Captain Todd,” claims that the lights from the reporters are the problem, not that that somehow makes it okay to point guns at reporters and threaten to “shell” them (or to arrest them). Meanwhile, Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post reports that reporters were ordered to “leave the area and head back where we wouldn’t be able to witness anything for ourselves.”

All of this really ought to make people wonder: if this is how the police act when they know the world is watching them and live streaming what they’re doing, how do you think they act when no one is watching? The photos from Ferguson feel unreal, but are, in fact, quite real.

The situation has become so ridiculous that Amnesty International has sent in a human rights team, saying this is the first time ever that the group has done so inside the US. Think about that for a minute or two…

And then recognize that the press are almost certainly being treated significantly better than the residents who are protesting.

August 18, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Police Militarization Escalates Even As Violence Declines — And There’s A Good Chance It’s Going To Get Worse

By Mike Masnick | Techdirt | August 18, 2014

We’ve been writing about the militarization of police, and why it’s problematic, for years — but the events of the last week in Ferguson, Missouri, have really shone a (rather bright) light on what happens when you militarize the police. Annie Lowrey, over at New York Magazine, highlights what may be most disturbing about all of it: all of this has happened while violence has been on a rapid decline, and, no it’s not because your local suburban police force now has a SWAT team and decommissioned military equipment from the Defense Department:

Since 1990, according to Department of Justice statistics, the United States has become a vastly safer place, at least in terms of violent crime. (Drug crime follows somewhat different trends, though drug use has been dropping over the same time period.) The number of murders dropped to 14,827 in 2012 from 23,438 in 1990. The number of rapes has plummeted to 84,376 from 102,555. The number of robberies, motor-vehicle thefts, assaults — all have seen similarly large declines. And the number of incidents has dropped even though the country has grown.  [….]

And there’s no evidence that giving police officers the weapons of war has had anything to do with that decline in crime, either, with researchers pegging it to a combination of factors, among them the removal of lead from paint and gasoline, an increase in abortion rates, and improved policing methods.

So, instead, we get a very militarized police — and tons of cases where it is being used in cases that absolutely don’t warrant it. At all.

And here’s the really disturbing thing. It may get a lot worse. As Vanity Fair notes, on June 19th, Rep. Alan Grayson had offered up an amendment on the Defense Appropriations bill, which would have limited the militarization of police. And it failed by a wide margin. Included in those voting against it? The guy who represents Ferguson.

The amendment attracted the support of only 62 members, while 355 voted against it (14 didn’t vote). Included among those voting against it was Rep. William Lacy Clay (D), who represents Ferguson. Clay was joined by every senior member of the Democratic Party leadership team, including Reps. Nancy Pelosi (CA), Steny Hoyer (MD), and Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (SC). Democrats did form the bulk of support for the amendment (with 43 votes in favor), with 19 Republicans supporting as well—led by libertarian-conservative Rep. Justin Amash (MI), who lamented that “military-grade equipment . . . shouldn’t be used on the street by state and local police” on his Facebook page.

Apparently, arming the police with military equipment has powerful lobbying support. Because why expect people to think about what actually makes sense when there’s money and FUD on the line:

Why was there such tremendous opposition to the Grayson-Amash effort? Two very powerful constituencies in Congress may be to blame: the defense industry, and the police lobby.

Take Rep. Clay. He has been all over the news media calling for justice in his district, and demanding an investigation of Brown’s death. Yet like every House member, he is up for re-election every two years, and his fourth-largest donor is the political action committee of the weapons maker Boeing.

So there’s that. And then, let’s take things up a notch. Scott Greenfield alerts us to the news that a judge over in Colorado has determined that the Cinemark Theater where James Holmes opened fired on the opening night of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises” may have some responsibility because it should have known that such an attack might happen. Despite the fact that there has never been such a shooting in a theater, the judge says that the theater should have been prepared for such a possibility:

Noting “the grim history of mass shootings and mass killings that have occurred in more recent times,” U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson ruled that Cinemark — owner of the Century Aurora 16 theater — could have predicted that movie patrons might be targeted for an attack. Jackson’s ruling allows 20 lawsuits filed by survivors of the attack or relatives of those killed to proceed toward trial.

“Although theaters had theretofore been spared a mass shooting incident, the patrons of a movie theater are, perhaps even more than students in a school or shoppers in a mall, ‘sitting ducks,’ ” Jackson wrote.

That makes absolutely no sense. But the inevitable result, as Greenfield notes, seems to be a lot more militarized police — and now, private security guards… everywhere. Just in case.

Consider, if what happened in Aurora, the duty of businesses to be prepared for the act of a one-in-a-million crazy. The biggest growth job in America will be armed guard. Every theater will require its own SWAT team, perhaps a MRAP or Bearcat. Office buildings, parks, skating rinks, pretty much anywhere more than three people gather, could be the next target of a madman. They will all need security, armed with the weapons needed to take out any crazy.

Don’t blame the businesses. They’re just trying to cover their foreseeable obligations. Sure, there is almost no chance, almost no possibility whatsoever, that they will be the target of the next insane shooter, but Judge Jackson says it’s still foreseeable. In fact, that no one has ever shot up a skating rink makes it even more foreseeable, by his rationale.

It is difficult to comprehend how profoundly screwed up all of this is.

August 18, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

County officials refuse to pay medical bills for toddler burned by SWAT grenade

RT | August 18, 2014

Officials in Georgia’s Habersham County are refusing to pay for the mounting medical expenses of a toddler seriously injured by a flash grenade after a failed SWAT team raid earlier this year.

Bounkham ‘Bou Bou’ Phonesavanh was just 19 months old when a Habersham SWAT team initiated a no-knock warrant at his family’s home at around 3 a.m. on May 28. Bou Bou was asleep in his crib at the time, surrounded by his family and three sisters. The toddler was severely injured when SWAT team officers broke through the house’s door and threw a flashbang grenade that ultimately landed in the Bou Bou’s crib.

When the stun grenade went off, it caused severe burns on the child and opened a gash in his chest. As a result, Bou Bou lost the ability to breathe on his own and was left in a medically induced coma for days after the incident. His extensive recovery necessitated stays in two hospitals before he finally went home in July.

Now, Habersham County officials are sticking by their decision to ignore the family’s plight, the family’s attorney, Muwali Davis, told WSB-TV.

Habersham County’s attorney responded with a statement saying that the Board of County Commissioners will not pay given it is supposedly illegal to do so.

“The question before the board was whether it is legally permitted to pay these expenses. After consideration of this question following advice of counsel, the board of commissioners has concluded that it would be in violation of the law for it to do so.”

The family now says an independent investigation showed law enforcement used suspect information to attain a search warrant.

As RT reported previously, the SWAT conducted the raid as part of an effort to apprehend Wanis Thometheva, believed to be selling methamphetamine. Police said that their records indicated the suspect could be armed, and that a confidential informant had successfully purchased drugs from him earlier in the day. At the time of the raid, however, Thometheva was not at the home, and was eventually arrested elsewhere.

Additionally, an unnamed public official told the Washington Post that the reported drug deal was worth only $50.

Habersham County’s sheriff previously said the confidential informant who bought drugs at the home told police that he did not believe any children lived at the house.

Bou Bou’s mother, Alecia Phonesavanh, said that was unlikely if they had valid information on their suspect.

“If they had an informant in that house, they knew there were kids,” Phonesavanh told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the incident. “They say there were no toys. There is plenty of stuff. Their shoes were laying all over.”

In June, the family called for a federal investigation into the conduct of the SWAT team.

The Phonesavanh family said it was not involved with drugs at all, and was only staying with Thometheva, the homeowner’s son, because their Wisconsin home was damaged in a fire. They moved back to Wisconsin once Bou Bou’s health improved. Supporters have planned a fundraiser this month for the family.

An official investigation into the incident is ongoing, according to WSB-TV.

August 18, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Globalizing Gaza

By Jeff Halper | CounterPunch | August 18, 2014

Operation Protective Edge was not merely a military assault on a primarily civilian population. As in its previous “operations” (Cast Lead in 2008-9 and Pillar of Defense in 2012), it was also part of an ongoing assault on international humanitarian law (IHL) by a highly coordinated team of Israeli lawyers, military officers, PR people and politicians, led by (no less) a philosopher of ethics. It is an effort not only to get Israel off the hook for massive violations of human rights and international law, but to help other governments overcome similar constraints when they embark as well on “asymmetrical warfare,” “counterinsurgency” and “counter-terrorism” against peoples resisting domination. It is a campaign that Israel calls “lawfare” and had better be taken seriously by us all.

The urgency of this campaign has been underscored by a series of notable legal setbacks and challenges Israel has incurred over the past decade or so, beginning with the indictment of Ariel Sharon in 2001 by a Belgian court over his involvement in the Sabra and Shatila massacres, for which he escaped trial. In the wake of Operation Defensive Shield in 2002, when Sharon’s government oversaw the demolition of hundreds of Palestinian homes in the West Bank, the utter destruction of virtually all the infrastructure of Palestinian cities, the death of 497 Palestinians and the arrest of 7000 people, Israel was accused of war crimes, but succeeded in foiling a UN investigation.

In 2004, at the request of the General Assembly, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that Israel’s construction of the wall inside Palestinian territory is “contrary to international law” and must be dismantled. The ruling was upheld almost unanimously by the UN General Assembly, with only Israel, the US, Australia and a few Pacific atolls dissenting – though, again, it lacked any means of enforcement. In the second Lebanon War in 2006, after destroying the Dahiya neighborhood in Beirut, the Hizbollah “stronghold,” Israel announced its “Dahiya Doctrine.” Declared Gadi Eisenkott, head of the IDF’s Northern Command,

What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006, “will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on…. We will apply disproportionate force on it and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases.… This is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved.”

And it was applied again. The Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead concluded that

The tactics used by Israeli military armed forces in the Gaza offensive [of 2008-2009] are consistent with previous practices, most recently during the Lebanon war in 2006. A concept known as the Dahiya doctrine emerged then, involving the application of disproportionate force and the causing of great damage and destruction to civilian property and infrastructure, and suffering to civilian populations.

The Dahiya Doctrine violates two cardinal principles of IHL: The Principle of Distinction and the Principle of Disproportionality. The Principle of Distinction, embodied in the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their two Additional Protocols of 1977, lays down a hard-and-fast rule: civilians cannot be targeted by armies. On the contrary, they must be protected; violence to life and person is strictly prohibited, as are “outrages upon personal dignity.” The Principle of Proportionality, also embodied in the 1977 Protocols to the Fourth Geneva Conventions considers it a war crime to intentionally attack a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage. “The presence within the civilian population of individuals who do not come within the definition of civilians,” says Protocol I, Article 50 (3), “does not deprive the population of its civilian character.”

Not only were these principles violated yet again in the current round of fighting – and the Israeli government, aware of this, has carefully prepared its defense before the UN Human Rights Council’s international committee of inquiry as well as before the International Criminal Court, should the Palestinian Authority turn to it – but an additional doctrine of intentional disproportionality has also been declared and perpetrated: the Hannibal Doctrine. This states that when an Israeli soldier is captured, rescuing him becomes the main mission, no matter how many civilians are killed or injured, how much damage is caused, or even if the captured soldier himself is killed or wounded by “friendly” fire. When, then, it was believed (falsely, it turned out) that an IDF soldier had been captured by Hamas in the Rafah area, the entire urban area came under massive Israeli artillery fire and air strikes, in which hundreds of buildings were destroyed and at least 130 people killed.

Violations of the Principles of Distinction and Disproportionality constitute grave breaches of international law – and we can only imagine what states would do if they were eliminated from the legal code or significantly watered down. But this is precisely what Israel aims to do. Using the Palestinians as their guinea pigs in a bold and aggressive strategy of “fixing” international law, it wants to create new categories of combatants – “non-legitimate actors” such as “terrorists,” “insurgents” and “non-state actors,” together with the civilian population that supports them – so that anyone resisting state oppression can no longer claim protection. This is especially relevant when, as British General Rupert Smith tells us, modern warfare is rapidly moving away from the traditional inter-state model to what he calls a “new paradigm” – “war amongst the people” – in which “We fight amongst the people, not on the battlefield.” A more popular term used by military people, “asymmetrical warfare,” is perhaps more honest and revealing, since it highlights the vast power differential that exists between states and their militaries and the relative weakness of the non-state forces confronting them.

But “the people,” those pesky “non-state actors,” also have rights. Back in 1960, the UN General Assembly’s Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples endorsed the right of peoples to self-determination and, by extension, their right to resist, even by armed force, “alien subjugation, domination and exploitation.” The push-back by governments over the years, and certainly since 9/11, led by the US and Israel, has been to delegitimize the right of non-state actors to resist oppression. Thus, when Obama or the EU uphold Israel’s right to defend itself, they do not include as part of that right that of an occupied people to defend itself. Indeed, non-state actors are cast as “terrorists” (the category into which Israel dumps all insurgents, revolutionaries and, by extension, any protesters threatening the powers-that-be), thus deprived of any legitimacy as “a side” to a conflict with whom negotiations are possible. When they seek the protection of international law, as did the people of Gaza, and take steps to hold state actors accountable for their illegal actions, they are engaging in what Israel defines as “lawfare”: when “terrorists” employ international law as a weapon against democracies. Israel’s campaign against lawfare attempts to cast non-state actors as the villains, of course, but “lawfare’ best describes Israel’s own efforts to bend IHL to its needs – a kind of asymmetrical lawfare to remove all constraints on states in their attempts to pursue wars against peoples.

Israel’s lawfare campaign is led by two Israeli figures. One is Asa Kasher, a professor of philosophy and “practical ethics” at Tel Aviv University, the author of the Israeli army’s Code of Conduct. Indeed, attaching a professional ethicist to the IDF provides the basis for Israel’s oft-stated claim to have the “most moral army in the world.” The second figure is Major General Amos Yadlin, former head of the IDF’s National Defense College, under whose auspices Kasher and his “team” formulated the Code of Conduct, and today the head of Military Intelligence.

It is completely appropriate and understandable that Israel should be leading the campaign to remove the protections enjoyed by non-combatant civilians, Kasher vigorously asserts. “The decisive question,” he says,

is how enlightened countries conduct themselves. We in Israel are in a key position in the development of law in this field because we are on the front lines in the fight against terrorism. This is gradually being recognized both in the Israeli legal system and abroad…. What we are doing is becoming the law. These are concepts that are not purely legal, but also contain strong ethical elements.

The Geneva Conventions are based on hundreds of years of tradition of the fair rules of combat. They were appropriate for classic warfare, where one army fought another. But in our time the whole business of rules of fair combat has been pushed aside. There are international efforts underway to revise the rules to accommodate the war against terrorism. According to the new provisions, there is still a distinction between who can and cannot be hit, but not in the blatant approach which existed in the past. The concept of proportionality has also changed….

I am not optimistic enough to assume that the world will soon acknowledge Israel’s lead in developing customary international law. My hope is that our doctrine, give or take some amendments, will in this fashion be incorporated into customary international law in order to regulate warfare and limit its calamities.

In order to provide a philosophical basis for undermining the Principles of Distinction and Proportionality, Kasher and Yadlin put forward a “new doctrine of military ethics” based on their version of a “Just War Doctrine of Fighting Terror.” Basically they privilege states in their conflicts with non-state actors by giving them the authority to deem an adversary “terrorist,” a term lacking any agreed-upon definition in IHL, thereby depriving it of any legal protection. They define an “act of terror,”

as an act, carried out by individuals or organizations, not on behalf of any state, for the purpose of killing or otherwise injuring persons, insofar as they are members of a particular population, in order to instill fear among the members of that population (‘terrorize’ them), so as to cause them to change the nature of the related regime or of the related government or of policies implemented by related institutions, whether for political or ideological (including religious) reasons.

If we remove the words “not on behalf of any state,” this definition of a terrorist act conforms precisely to Israel’s Dahiya Doctrine. According to Major General Giora Eiland, attacks against Israel will be deterred by harming “the civilian population to such an extent that it will bring pressure to bear on the enemy combatants.” Reducing a popular struggle to a series of discrete acts, moreover, makes it possible to label an entire resistance movement “terrorist” purely on the basis of one or more particular acts, with no regard to its situation or the justness of its cause. Once this is done, it is easy to criminalize non-state resistance, since terrorism is, in Kasher’s words, “utterly immoral.”

Israel’s attempts to have the Iranian Revolutionary Guards declared a “terror organization,” even though it is an agent of a state, shows the tendentiousness of Kasher’s and Yadlin’s philosophical definitions, since it does not fit into their very own “state/non-state” dichotomy. What, then, would prevent the international community from naming the IDF and various covert Israeli agencies such as the Mossad or the Shin Bet (the General Security Services) as “terror organizations”? The Goldstone Report itself concluded that Israel’s offensive against Gaza during Operation Cast Lead was “a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population.”

Having de-legitimized state-defined “acts of terrorism,” Kasher and Yadlin then go on to further legitimize state actions such as those taken by Israel against Hizbollah, Hamas or, indeed, all Palestinian resistance, by invoking “self-defense” – again, a claim which, according to Just War Theory and Article 51 of the UN Charter, only a state can make. In order to do so, they begin the narrative of events leading up to the attacks on Gaza with the discreet acts that the “terrorist” organization had done by launching rockets on Israel without any regard whatsoever for 47 years of occupation, 25 years of closure, seven years of a self-described regime of semi-starvation and the attacks on Hamas that preceded the rocket fire – or, for that matter, the right of Palestinians to resist “alien subjugation, domination and exploitation.”

Kasher and Yadlin also imply that states cannot engage in terrorism – only because they are states which have a “legitimate monopoly” over the use of force. In fact, the non-state “terrorism from below” which so concerns them pales in scale when compared to “terrorism from above,” State Terrorism. In his book Death By Government, R.J. Rummel points out that over the course of the 20th century about 170,000 innocent civilians were killed by non-state actors, a significant figure to be sure. But, he adds,

during the first eighty-eight years of this [20th] century, almost 170 million men, women and children have been shot, beaten, tortured, knifed, burned, starved, frozen, crushed or worked to death; buried alive, drowned, hung, bombed or killed in any other of the myriad ways governments have inflicted death on unarmed, helpless citizens and foreigners. The dead could conceivably be nearly 360 million people.

And that, written in 1994, does not include Zaire, Bosnia, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, Saddam Hussein’s reign, the impact of UN sanctions on the Iraqi civilian population and other state-sponsored murders that occurred after Rummel compiled his figures. It also does not account for all the forms of State Terrorism that do not result in death: torture, imprisonment, repression, house demolitions, induced starvation, intimidation and all the rest.

“We do not deny,” Kasher concedes, “that a state can act for the purpose of killing persons in order to terrorize a population with the goal of achieving some political or ideological goal.” However, he adds,

when such acts are performed on behalf of a state, or by some of its overt or covert agencies or proxies, we apply to the ensuing conflict moral, ethical and legal principles that are commonly held to pertain to ordinary international conflicts between states or similar political entities. In such a context, a state that killed numerous citizens of another state in order to terrorize its citizenry would be guilty of what is commonly regarded as a war crime [italics added].

Kasher’s caveat – “a state that killed numerous citizens of another state in order to terrorize its citizenry” – does not relate at all to a state that terrorizes its own citizens, and lets Israel off the hook, since the terrorized population of Gaza are not citizens of another state.

Israel’s strategy of lawfare rests on repeating illegal acts while continuing to justify them with “new military ethics.” “If you do something for long enough,” says Colonel (res.) Daniel Reisner, former head of the IDF’s Legal Department, “the world will accept it. The whole of international law is now based on the notion that an act that is forbidden today becomes permissible if executed by enough countries…. International law progresses through violations. We invented the targeted assassinations thesis [that extra-judicial killings are permitted when it is necessary to stop a certain operation against the citizens of Israel and when the role played by the target is crucial to the operation] and we had to push it. Eight years later it is in the center of the bounds of legality.” “The more often Western states apply principles that originated in Israel to their own non-traditional conflicts in places like Afghanistan and Iraq,” says Kasher, “then the greater the chance these principles have of becoming a valuable part of international law.”

A few years ago (2005) the The Jerusalem Post published a revealing interview with an Israeli “expert in international law” who, choosing to remain anonymous, explained:

International law is the language of the world and it’s more or less the yardstick by which we measure ourselves today. It’s the lingua franca of international organizations. So you have to play the game if you want to be a member of the world community. And the game works like this. As long as you claim you are working within international law and you come up with a reasonable argument as to why what you are doing is within the context of international law, you’re fine. That’s how it goes. This is a very cynical view of how the world works. So, even if you’re being inventive, or even if you’re being a bit radical, as long as you can explain it in that context, most countries will not say you’re a war criminal.

This, again, is serious stuff. Just as Israel exports its occupation – its weaponry and tactics of suppression – to such willing customers as US and European militaries, security agencies and police forces, so, too, does it export its legal expertise in manipulating IHL and its effective PR/hasbara techniques. Gaza itself represents little more than a testing ground for these varied instruments of suppression. It is the globalization of Gaza that is a key Israeli export. Exports, however, need local agents to package the product and create a market for it in the local economy. Thus, B’nai Brith in the US spawned “The Lawfare Project” under the slogan “Protecting Against the Politicization of Human Rights”, whose main strategy is to enlist prominent legal experts to delegitimize attempts to hold Israel accountable for its crimes under IHL.

Globalizing Gaza in both military and legal terms raises the slogan “we are all Palestinians” from one of political solidarity to literal accuracy. Its corollary also highlights a key element of international politics of which we must be keenly aware: our governments are all Israel.

Jeff Halper is the head of The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD). He can be reached at: jeff@icahd.org.

August 18, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Touring the devastated industrial zones of Gaza

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By Martin Lejeune | Ma’an | August 18, 2014

On the night of the July 27, the first day of the Muslim Eid-Al-Fitr festival following the fasting month of Ramadan, the Israeli air force dropped three bombs on Al-Hurani’s carpentry workshop. Each of the three bombs had an explosive force of 250 pounds.

Al-Hurani pointed towards the charred left overs of the tables, armchairs and beds, “all designed according to the desires of each individual customer, processed with the best woods and decorated with passion, as our customers expect from us,” he told Ma’an.

The carpentry of the Al-Hurani family is well-known across the northern Gaza Strip city of Jabaliya, and is respected throughout the Gaza Strip for its precise designs. In addition to family members, Al-Hurani employed 25 workers in his workshop before the Israeli assault.

“Due to the total destruction of our plant everyone had to be dismissed immediately and I do not know how to feed my family anymore. We don’t know how to move on from here,” he said.

The family possesses no savings for the construction of a new workshop and they believe there is no hope for obtaining any kind of compensation for the estimated $450,000 in damages they have suffered.

Abu Eida, one of the largest construction companies in the Gaza Strip, is headquartered in the industrial area east of Jabaliya that the air force also dropped several 250 pound bombs on Aug. 2.

Abed Rabou Abu Eida, CEO of the construction company, told Ma’an he was not aware of the exact number of bombs being dropped.

An on-site inspection of the premises, however, revealed the extent of the destruction: Three large buildings, which had all been reinforced by concrete, the warehouse containing cement and bricks, as well as the construction machinery have all been flattened.

Abu Eida estimates the cost of the total damage to be around $7.5 million. As a result of the attack, he had to dismiss all of his 70 permanent workers because the company could no longer operate. Hundreds of part-time workers that deal with Abu-Eida on a sporadic basis are also out of work.

“In 2008 and 2012 the factory premises were already completely destroyed by the Israeli air force and our company has not received any kind of compensation, due to the law passed in 2007,” Abu Eida said, referring to an Israeli law that defined Gaza as enemy territory and thus its residents ineligible for compensation through civil suits.

“This time we have no more money to rebuild our company a third time.”

At the end of Abu Khayr street in the Jabaliya industrial area sits the Al-Fayoumi family farm. The farm once owned 150 cows and sold milk twice a day to dairy factories.

130 of the cows were killed in their stables during the Israeli bombing on Aug. 2, according to workers on the farm.

During a visit to the ruined courtyard on August 13, workers were still trying to collect and burn the remaining corpses. The terrible smell of the semi-decomposed carcasses of cattle lay side by side with charred hens when Ma’an visited.

A swarm of flies covered the corpses, trying to get its share.

“Where can the Al-Fayoumis get new cows from?” asked a worker who did not want to give his name. “The borders to Gaza are closed and the smuggling tunnels destroyed.”

Wael Al-Wadia, owner of the Saraio candy factory in the same area, showed Ma’an the remains of his completely ruined factory buildings, where ice cream, biscuits, and cakes were once made.

“I had 100 workers on permanent contracts. 100 workers who have fed 100 families and now have no income,” al-Wadia said. The factory produced five tons of sweets on a daily basis, he said. Now, everything is gone.

Al-Qadia estimated that it would cost him $7 million to purchase the same equipment again, which he had initially brought to Gaza from Italy.

“We have made the best biscuits in the Gaza Strip. Every market in Gaza sold our products. Our biscuits were as good as the Biscotti’s from Italy,” he told Ma’an.

But it was not only factories, hospitals, schools, farms, agricultural land, and the famous orange groves of Beit Hanoun that were bombed during the worst of the Israeli assault between July 6 and Aug. 3.

Gaza’s sole power station, its largest mosques, and the building of the popular TV station Al-Quds were also hit, while tens of thousands of private homes were destroyed or severely damaged.

Muhsen Abu Ramadan, Director of the Arab Center for Agricultural Economic Development in Gaza, told Ma’an that the damage to the besieged coastal enclave’s economy, however, predates the recent Israeli assault.

“The economic crisis began long before the aggression, and is a result of the eight years lasting blockade of Gaza,” he said.

Abu Ramadan estimates that even before the beginning of the Israeli attacks in July, 40 percent of the labor force was unemployed, 30 percent lived below the poverty line, 57 percent were at risk of malnutrition, and 70 percent received food parcels from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East or other organizations.

“These numbers have increased dramatically since the bombings,” said Abu Ramadan.

He also said that Israeli army completely destroyed 220 factories in the campaign, while hundreds more suffered partial damage.

Abu Ramadan estimates the cost of destruction of agricultural land at around $200 million and the amount of the total costs to the economy at several billion dollars.

“Gaza would need five years to rebuild the destroyed infrastructure,” he said.

But given the current economic conditions caused by the occupation and the blockade of Gaza, he estimated that reconstruction will take at least ten years.

“We have the right to import building materials and this right must be given to us immediately, especially with the help of the international community. Otherwise, we will not be able to rebuild our destroyed houses and factories,” Abu Ramadan added.

Tens of thousands have joined the ranks of the unemployed since the imposition of the harsh Israeli blockade in 2007, and given the scale of the damage suffered during the massive Israeli assault, of those who were still employed in industry and agriculture in July it is unlikely that more than a few thousand are still working in either sector. A few thousand out of 1.8 million people.

“Israel is not only attacking civilians and their homes, but also systematically destroyed the economy of the Gaza Strip in order to make people dependent on emergency aid,” Abu Ramadan argued.

“Now that almost the entire economy is destroyed, people can no longer work, thus cutting their purchasing power dramatically. Now youth want to emigrate at even younger ages than before. Due to the emigration of young skilled workers the economy is becoming even weaker.”

“Israel has managed to transform a functioning economy into a third world country through eight years of embargo and three assaults in five years. Without ending the embargo, it is impossible to break out of this vicious cycle ourselves,” Abu Ramadan added.

Martin Lejeune is a German journalist based in Gaza. Follow him on twitter

August 18, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Attacking journalists makes Israel a plastic democracy

By Alastair Sloan | MEMO | August 18, 2014

I’ve just had the pleasure of spending eight hours in detention at the border between Egypt and Israel, between Tabaa and Israel’s southern-most city, Eilat. My crime at first appeared to be a single male travelling alone into a Middle Eastern country. But once the immigration police realised I was a journalist, I was in for the long haul.

At first – I was asked the standard cavalcade – where was I staying, who with, and what were my plans? But on discovering my profession, brows furrowed faster than a Horah dance at a bar mitzvah.

My stay in a holding area, punctuated by increasingly aggressive interrogations, peaked when the most senior official asked me to write down the names and addresses of all my sources in Israel and Palestine.

Of course they wanted sources in “the Palestinian Territories,” and in a Freudian slip, I blurted out that I certainly wouldn’t be revealing any sources in the “Occupied Territories”. After a brief staring match, the official kept tapping away into her computer.

I didn’t give them the information they were after, not wanting to endanger anyone – which resulted in a further four hour wait, during which not much appeared to be happening. They let me go in time for me to miss my best friend’s engagement party, where I was stopping by before heading up to Ramallah. They knew I was in a rush to make this, and they knew I was best man. I’ll never know if they let me go when they did out of spite, but I suspect they did. Bullies enjoy a pathetic victory.

Thomas Jefferson was unequivocal in his support for the media, summarising that “the basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Nelson Mandela, no friend to Israel but a hero to civilised nations – described freedom of information as “the lifeblood of democracy”. Curbing journalistic freedoms is not only a red rag to the bull – it’s arrogant and betrays the electorate. Too often we think of democracy as happening at the ballot box – but it is the media that informs the voter before they reach the polling station and in harassing, imprisoning and even killing journalists, Israel makes a mockery of their insistent claim to be “the only democracy in the Middle East”.

What I experienced was a mere bump in the road compared to other journalists’ troubles. Majd Kayyal, a Palestinian journalist, was arrested in April 2014 on his return from Beirut – allegedly for entering an “enemy state” and conspiring with a “foreign agent”. He was held in a windowless room for five days, interrogated by Shin Bet, and denied access to a lawyer. The government prohibited Israeli media outlets from reporting on the matter in real time – a ban which was luckily ignored by many editors. The charges were later dropped – however veteran Israeli journalist Itai Anghel noted that having travelled to several “enemy states”, including Iraq and Afghanistan – he had not once been stopped or detained by the Israeli security services.

But again, what happened to Kayyal is, sadly, mild. Seventy-one journalists were killed in Israel last year. Over 2,000 reported being physically attacked or threatened. Eighty-seven were kidnapped. Over 800 were arrested. Seventy seven had had enough and fled the country and, as of December 2013, there were 178 journalists in Israeli prisons. This doesn’t sound like a free press.

At the end of last year – diplomats, politicians, activists and NGOs concluded that the Palestinian territories were one of the worst places in the world to practice journalism. Not only is violence regularly deployed to repress domestic and foreign reporters, censorship laws are used to deny useful debate and manipulate opinion – often in favour of war.

For example, on July 24 the Israeli Broadcasting Authority prohibited the broadcast of an advert produced by B’Tselem, an Israeli NGO, which listed the names of 150 children killed in Gaza. Likewise, the killings of three Israeli teenagers took place almost immediately after their kidnapping, shortly before Operation Protective Edge began, yet a gagging order on the media prevented publishing the key facts.

Instead, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu orchestrated a phoney manhunt for three weeks in which pro-war fervour was whipped up. He even lied to the children’s parents.

Now, talking to Israelis across the country, it is clear that support for the most recent Gaza onslaught is near unprecedented – based on the distorted image of the events leading up to the war. The range of opinions I heard was extremely narrow, with narratives drawing clearly on simplistic hasbara distributed by the government. To take a country to war, you need the media with you. Netanyahu has become an expert on this.

Similar censorship laws were invoked when Lt Hadar Goldin was apparently briefly captured by Hamas during the most recent conflict, and Israeli artillery shelled his location in an effort to kill him. This infamous “Hannibal Doctrine”, which dictates Israeli soldiers should be killed by friendly fire rather than become prisoners, was considered so unpalatable to the national spirit – that reporting on it was completely banned. In an extraordinary display of arrogance, Israeli military censors even attempted to stop The New York Times from publishing further information on the case.

So far, only Haaretz has run a piece seriously questioning the doctrine. Thankfully, the newspaper ended a 10 year reporting ban of the Doctrine in 2003, when they completed an investigation into the matter. Still, knowledge of the Doctrine was not as apparent as you would hope for from the ordinary Israelis I spoke to this week.

Though part of the Israeli public’s thirst for war can be attributed to a lack of media information, many Israelis are wilfully blind to the misgivings of the Israeli Defence [sic] Force (IDF). In a survey last year, Tel Aviv University found that just over half of Israelis believe that the media should not publish immoral conduct by the IDF. This has created an environment in which self-censorship is the norm. Recent civilian casualties in Gaza, despite numbering over 2,000 have barely been reported. The morning after the offensive began, Israel’s most widely circulated newspaper, Yisrael Hayom, did not contain a single word regarding civilian casualties. Instead, editors splashed an enormous explosion in Gaza City, and an emotive photo of an IDF conscript hugging his girlfriend goodbye. Yisrael Hayom’s slogan is sickeningly unquestioning for a major media outlet: “Remember, we are Israelis.”

The complicity of the Israeli media – largely a phoney industry with a sense of social responsibility akin to Blackwater or G4S, fills responsible hacks with professional disgust. One in 10 members of the Knesset is a former journalist. The leader of the country’s second most popular party is Yair Lapid and the leader of the Labour Party is Shelly Yachimovich, both came from Channel 2, Israel’s largest TV station. Of course many highly capable leaders have come from journalistic backgrounds, but the mass migration to the other side of the fence suggests the industry has a fundamental misunderstanding of what journalism is about: holding power to account.

Moreover – the continuing brutality of the Israeli regime against Palestinian and foreign journalists is profoundly troubling. I was lucky – my punishment was eight hours in detention and an unplanned overnight stay in Eilat (incidentally – a depressing sinkhole of tourist tack thronging with recently released IDF conscripts, celebrating their mass slaughter in Gaza).

But for many journalists, the price they pay for reporting on Israel’s crimes is beating, arrest, imprisonment, kidnapping or death. For Israel to be anything more than a plastic democracy its leaders need to rethink press freedoms. And if Israelis want to understand why the world is constantly so critical of them, they need to understand that they live in a media bubble in which only a certain reality about the Occupied Territories is presented. The full picture might not be nice, but is extremely important.

August 18, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

West has more influence than Kiev on oligarchs’ armies in Ukraine – Lavrov

RT | August 18, 2014

Moscow believes the West has more influence on various paramilitary forces in Ukraine – sponsored by local oligarchs – than Kiev does, Russian FM Lavrov said citing the latest bickering between Right Sector and the Interior Ministry.

“The authorities in Kiev are not in control of the numerous paramilitary forces, including Right Sector, which, we estimate, comprises a large portion of the National Guard. The demarche of Right Sector towards the Ukrainian Interior Minister speaks for itself,” Sergey Lavrov said, adding that existence of armed groups sponsored by Ukrainian oligarchs, such as the Azov and Dnepr battalions, poses a great security threat.

“We work with our Western partners in Europe and the United States who can really influence those paramilitary units that don’t answer to the central government in Kiev. We know the West has such influence,” he added.

Lavrov was referring to the weekend ultimatum of the far-right group, which threatened to pull out its troops from eastern Ukraine and march on Kiev unless President Petro Poroshenko fires several police officials, including a deputy interior minister. The group later reduced its demands, saying that the release of its activists previously arrested by the police was sufficient.

The comments from the top Russian diplomat came as he reported on the progress achieved during the Sunday meeting with his counterparts from Ukraine, Germany and France. The roundtable produced no concrete agreements, but the parties involved said some progress was made on the issues of humanitarian aid and border control.

Speaking to journalists on Monday, Lavrov said Moscow would welcome the observer mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) deploying drones to control the Russian-Ukrainian border from the Ukrainian side.

Lavrov said Russia is working with the OSCE on giving more transparency in the border region, which is important, considering how often Kiev voices false reports on alleged violation of the border from the Russian side. He cited the latest claim by Kiev on Friday, when the Ukrainian military said it had destroyed a column of Russian armor after an incursion into Ukraine.

“What really happened was a Ukrainian column moved in the Lugansk Region, obviously to intercept the route of a potential humanitarian aid delivery. That column was destroyed by the militia,” he said. “If such episodes are presented as glorious successes of the Ukrainian army, then please don’t accuse us of anything.”

Russia has sent a convoy of humanitarian aid meant for war-torn eastern Ukraine. The trucks have not been allowed entry by the Ukrainian side, which voiced suspicions about the nature of the cargo and demanded that the delivery be conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Lavrov noted that the media hype over the mission, which was apparent in the West in its early days, evaporated as soon as it became clear that the column actually carries humanitarian aid and is not some kind of a trick used by Russia to invade Ukraine, as Kiev initially claimed.

The minister also criticized Kiev’s request for NATO’s aid against the militia in eastern Ukraine, saying that it “goes against all the agreements we had reached on stopping the hostilities and initiating negotiations.”

“As long as the authorities in Kiev bet on the use of force and consider a military victory over their own people a necessary condition for keeping themselves in power, I don’t think any good will come from what we are trying to achieve,” he said.

August 18, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Dangerous Western lies provoke wars

By Paul Craig Roberts | Press TV | August 18, 2014

The Western media have proved for all to see that the Western media comprises either a collection of ignorant and incompetent fools or a brothel that sells war for money.

The Western media fell in step with Washington and blamed the downed Malaysian airliner on Russia. No evidence was provided. In its place the media used constant repetition. Washington withheld the evidence that proved that Kiev was responsible. The media’s purpose was not to tell the truth, but to demonize Russia.

Now we have the media story of the armored Russian column that allegedly crossed into Ukraine and was destroyed by Ukraine’s rag-tag forces that ISIS would eliminate in a few minutes. British reporters fabricated this story or were handed it by a CIA operative working to build a war narrative. The disreputable BBC hyped the story without investigating.

The German media, including Die Welt, blared the story throughout Germany without concern at the absence of any evidence. Reuters news agency, also with no investigation, spread the story. Readers tell me that CNN has been broadcasting the fake story 24/7. Although I cannot stand to watch it, I suspect Fox “news” has also been riding this lame horse hard. Readers tell me that my former newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, which has fallen so low as to be unreadable, also spread the false story. I hope they are wrong. One hates to see the complete despoliation of one’s former habitat.

The media story is preposterous for a number of reasons that should be obvious to a normal person.

The first reason is that the Russian government has made it completely clear that its purpose is to de-escalate the situation. When other former Russian territories that are part of present day Ukraine followed Crimea, voted their independence and requested reunification with Russia, President Putin refused.

To underline his de-escalation, President Putin asked the Russian Duma to rescind his authority to intervene militarily in Ukraine in behalf of the former Russian provinces. As the Russian government, unlike Washington or EU governments, stresses legality and the rule of law, Russian military forces would not be sent into Ukraine prior to the Duma renewing Putin’s authority so to do.

The second reason the story is obviously false is that if the Russian government decides to invade Ukraine, Russia would not send in one small armored group unprotected by air cover or other forces. If Russia invades Ukraine, it will be with a force capable of rolling up the rag-tag Ukrainian forces, most of which are semi-private militias organized by nazis. The “war” would last a few hours, after which Ukraine would be in Russia’s hands where it resided for hundreds of years prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Washington’s successful efforts in 1991 to take advantage of Russian weakness to break apart the constituent provinces of Russia herself.

The third reason that the story is obviously false is that not a single Western news organization hyping the story has presented a shred of evidence in its behalf.

What we witness in this fabricated story is the total lack of integrity in the entirety of the Western media.

A story totally devoid of any evidence to support it has been broadcast world wide. The White House has issued a statement saying that it cannot confirm the story, but nevertheless the White House continues to issue accusations against Russia for which the White House can supply no evidence. Consequently, Western repetition of bald-faced lies has become truth for huge numbers of peoples. As I have emphasized in my columns, these Western lies are dangerous, because they provoke war.

The same group in Washington and the same Western “media” are telling the same kind of lies that were used to justify Washington’s wars in Iraq (weapons of mass destruction), Afghanistan (Taliban = al-Qaeda), Syria (use of chemical weapons), Libya (an assortment of ridiculous charges), and the ongoing US military murders in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.

The city upon the hill, the light unto the world, the home of the exceptional, indispensable people is the home of Satan’s lies where truth is prohibited and war is the end game.

August 18, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Leave a comment