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Indigenous Canadian women still being forcibly sterilized, claims senator

RT | November 12, 2018

A Canadian senator claims that unwilling indigenous women are still getting coerced into being sterilized across Canada. The senator now wants the “heinous” issue investigated nationwide.

Sterilization by tubal ligation – a process by which the fallopian tubes are either tied, burned or severed – is not just a shameful relic of Canadian history, Senator Yvonne Boyer claimed, but a process that is still happening across the country today.

According to a report published last year, the procedure is frequently carried out on indigenous women in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The report relies only on verbal evidence from women in the Saskatoon region, and was authored by Boyer herself.

After being contacted by survivors, Boyer now believes that the practice is far more commonplace than previously believed.

“If it’s happened in Saskatoon, it has happened in Regina, it’s happened in Winnipeg, it’s happened where there’s a high population of Indigenous women,” Boyer told the Toronto Star. “I’ve had many women contact me from across the country and ask me for help.”

One of those women, Liz, said that she was coerced by a Children’s Aid worker into having an abortion and being sterilized at an Ontario hospital when she fell pregnant at 17.

“It was a matter of me almost (being) cornered, if you will, by my worker at the time saying, ‘You better have an abortion because if you don’t, either way, we are going to take that child from you,’” Liz explained. While the procedure took place almost 40 years ago, Liz told the Star that she is still haunted by the experience.

“I’ve had a few dreams… where you could hear a baby crying or you could have a sense of a baby,” she said. “The first time I had it I didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl. And then another time I had it, it was a boy.”

In Saskatchewan, two of the women affected launched a class-action lawsuit last year, claiming $7 million in damages. Since then, almost 60 other women have joined the lawsuit. Alisa Lombard, a lawyer representing the women, has said that the practice was common in the provinces of Saskatchewan, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta, and in the frozen Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

While Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau almost scuppered the negotiation of a multibillion-dollar trade pact between the US, Canada and Mexico this year by pushing for the agreement to include a chapter on indigenous rights, Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott says that the issue of forced sterilizations is an unspoken and ongoing crime.

“The issue of forced sterilization of vulnerable people, including Indigenous women, is a very serious violation of human rights,” she told the Star, adding that it is “absolutely appalling and reprehensible.”

Further back in time, the province of Alberta was once a hotbed of eugenicist ideas. In 1929, the provincial government enacted the Sexual Sterilization Act of Alberta, a piece of legislation that allowed for the involuntary sterilization of the mentally disabled. The Alberta Eugenics Board was established to recommend people for sterilization, and the act was only repealed in 1972.

Indigenous Canadians, who made up between two and three percent of Alberta’s population, accounted for six percent of all sterilizations.

November 12, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | Leave a comment

Hamas condemn Israel destruction of Al Aqsa TV station

MEMO | November 12, 2018

The Islamic Resistance Movement – Hamas – has condemned Israel’s destruction of Al Aqsa TV station in the Gaza Strip. A spokesman for the movement, Fawzi Barhoum, described the targeting of the TV Channel and demolishing of its headquarters as a blatant act of aggression against journalism and all free voices dedicated to communicating the truth.

Barhoum called on international, legal and media organisations to denounce this latest act of Israeli aggression against journalism and freedom of expression.

Hamas said that Israel’s crimes would never stop Palestinian journalists from continuing their humanitarian and professional mission to expose the occupation’s crimes against the Palestinian people.

In airstrikes late Monday, Israeli fighter jets tried to wipe the Hamas-run TV station in Gaza off the map.

Firing 10 missiles at the Al-Aqsa TV station, Israeli jets destroyed its headquarters, witnesses said.

Amid the airstrikes, the station went off the air briefly before resuming operations. Many buildings around the station were also damaged.

November 12, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, War Crimes | , , , | 5 Comments

Egypt tortures Palestinian resistance combatants: Report

MEMO | November 12, 2018

“We were a group of 15 combatants returning from a training mission from one of the countries that supports the Palestinian resistance. When we arrived at Cairo airport, we were taken to an underground place. We were blindfolded, handcuffed, and transferred to a number of prisons.” This is a part of a testimony of a Palestinian resistance combatant who was detained in Egyptian prisons and has been released recently.

Al-Khaleej Online will reveal in this investigation that the Egyptian intelligence and national security services tortured a number of Palestinian resistance combatants and students during their travel and study, in order to extract security information related to the Palestinian resistance.

The investigation documented a number of testimonies of more than 20 Palestinians, including those fighting in the Palestinian resistance, who were detained in secret prisons of Egyptian intelligence and national security, and subjected to physical and psychological torture throughout their interrogation period.

According to these Palestinians’ testimonies, the Egyptian officers had mostly asked them about their military action, especially during the waves of escalation with the Israeli occupation, and their way of firing shells from inside the Strip.

The data Al-Khaleej Online has revealed about the Egyptian security’s torture and interrogation of resistance combatants have been confirmed by sources in the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine.

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip use Cairo Airport to travel around the world because there is no airport inside the Strip and the occupation does not allow them to travel through Beit Hanoun (Erez) Crossing.

The Egyptian authorities have been using the so-called “deportation” system for Palestinian travellers wishing to travel outside Egypt. A bus from Rafah Border Crossing is transferred to Cairo Airport under high-security measures. No one from inside the bus would be allowed to leave it until it gets inside the airport. The travellers are then handed over to the security authorities there.

November 12, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 6 Comments

President Trump’s Iran Policy – Is It ‘Normal’?

By Ron Paul | November 12, 2018

It’s not often that US Government officials are honest when they talk about our foreign policy. The unprovoked 2003 attack on Iraq was called a “liberation.” The 2011 US-led destruction of Libya was a “humanitarian intervention.” And so on.

So, in a way, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was refreshingly honest last week when, speaking about newly-imposed US sanctions, he told the BBC that the Iranian leadership “has to make a decision that they want their people to eat.” It was an honest admission that new US sanctions are designed to starve Iranians unless the Iranian leadership accepts US demands.

His statement also reveals the lengths to which the neocons are willing to go to get their “regime change” in Iran. Just like then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said it was “worth it” that half a million Iraqi children died because of our sanctions on that country, Pompeo is letting us know that a few million dead Iranians is also “worth it” if the government in Tehran can be overthrown.

The US Secretary of State has demanded that Iran “act like a normal country” or the US would continue its pressure until Iran’s economy crumbles. How twisted is US foreign policy that Washington considers it “normal” to impose sanctions specifically designed to make life miserable – or worse – for civilians!

Is it normal to threaten millions of people with starvation if their leaders refuse to bow down to US demands? Is the neoconservative obsession with regime change “normal” behavior? Is training and arming al-Qaeda in Syria to overthrow Assad “normal” behavior? If so, then perhaps Washington’s neocons have a point. As Iran is not imposing sanctions, is not invading its neighbors, is not threatening to starve millions of Americans unless Washington is “regime-changed,” perhaps Iran is not acting “normal.”

So what is normal?

The continued Saudi genocide in Yemen does not bother Washington a bit. In fact, Saudi aggression in Yemen is viewed as just another opportunity to strike out at Iran. By making phony claims that Yemen’s Houthis are “Iran-backed,” the US government justifies literally handing the Saudis the bombs to drop on Yemeni school busses while claiming it is fighting Iranian-backed terrorism! Is that “normal”?

Millions of Yemenis face starvation after three years of Saudi attacks have destroyed the economy and a Saudi blockade prohibits aid from reaching the suffering victims, but Secretary Pompeo recently blamed Yemeni starvation on, you guessed it: Iran!

And in a shocking display of cynicism, the US government is reportedly considering listing Yemen’s Houthis as a “terrorist” organization for the “crime” of fighting back against Saudi (and US) aggression. Labeling the Yemeni resistance a “terrorist” organization would effectively “legalize” the ongoing Saudi destruction of Yemen, as it could be justified as just another battle in the “war on terror.” It would also falsely identify the real culprits in the Yemen tragedy as Iran, which is repeatedly and falsely called the “number one sponsor of terrorism” by Pompeo and the rest of the Trump Administration neocons.

So yes, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told one wicked truth last week. But before he demands that countries like Iran start acting “normal” or face starvation, perhaps he should look in the mirror. Are Pompeo and the neocons “normal”? I don’t think so.

November 12, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , | 9 Comments

Italy Slows Down Purchases of US F-35 Jets to Cut Spending – Reports

Sputnik – 12.11.2018

The previous government ordered some 90 of the fifth-generation jets for its military, but the Five Star and Lega parties, which won the last election, have been trying to either scrap the deal or reduce spending on it.

The Italian government is planning to reduce the number of F-35 jets it will buy over the next five years from 10 to six or seven aircraft, Defence News reported citing an anonymous source. According to the media outlet, Rome will not reduce the total amount of ordered jets, but instead will leave the final decision on their fate to the next government.

The move will allow Italy to avoid or reduce contract penalties and free up some resources for the government’s commitments, Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta told the media earlier.

“What I would like to do is lighten the load, since we have other spending commitments in Europe. We will try to stretch out deliveries instead of cutting the order, which would reduce offsets and mean penalties,” she said.

The outlet’s source added that the money saved by postponing the delivery of three or four of the F-35 jets will help Rome fund its social programs and tax cuts.

Earlier, a member of the now-ruling Five Star party in the Italian parliament, Tatiana Basilio, vowed in 2017 that the country will scrap the contract for the delivery of F-35 warplanes. Italy intends to buy a total of 90 of the fifth-generation jets. Eight jets have already been delivered to Amendola air base, and three others are being used to train pilots in the US.

November 12, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , | 2 Comments

The Poison Paradox – Who Knew?

By David Macilwain | OffGuardian | November 12, 2018

NOVICHOK! It just won’t go away – even though it was never there! The Sun reports that twenty vehicles that “came into contact with the killer substance” have now been dismantled and buried in a toxic waste site. Suspend not disbelief yet – at the thought of scrappies in Hazmat suits cutting up police cars. Such Alice in Wonderland deception was nicely detailed by Rob Slane in his latest dissection of the Skripal hoax, pointing specifically at the crucial flaws in the “door-handle theory”.

Slane systematically destroys the UK government’s assertion that the Skripals’ door-handle was the “source of the poisoning”, but without quite following through with the argument – that there was no such poisoning with Novichok at all, – as has been well established from other details of the event.

In fact, as the UK government rests its whole case for Novichok poisoning on that door-handle, and rests its whole case against Russia on her supposed responsibility for smearing the nerve agent on it, the cutting of this Achilles Heel could bring down the whole rotten edifice, just as it felled the great hero of the Trojan War; concentrating our “cyber-warfare” on this weakest point must be our priority.

As I’ve written before about the Skripal poisoning, once it is accepted that it really was a hoax – a cleverly constructed piece of political theatre contrived by the UK government to further its strategic objectives against Russia – some other questions immediately present themselves. It is not simply a case of Russia not being responsible; without Russia there is no Novichok and no case.

Chief of these questions is who knew that this was an “operation”- or conspiracy? Straight away we are confronted with a paradox, as thousands of people directly or indirectly involved in the months-long Salisbury drama must be divided into two groups – those who deceived and those who were deceived.

It’s probably safe to say that those at either extreme of this division may be assumed to belong to these two groups – which may be called the “Porton Down” group and the “Salisbury Citizens” group, belonging to the deceivers and the deceived respectively.

(It is fundamental of course to accept that the story of Novichok was not true – that Novichok was not present in the Salisbury environment nor responsible for the condition of any of its supposed five victims. While this truth may not yet be acceptable to the UK public or media, and may in fact never be acceptable to them, it has been established beyond a shadow of doubt to be the case, and could be easily proven in a fair court. Some “new” confirming evidence has also come to light which I will detail shortly.)

Taking it that Porton Down was the centre of operations for “Operation Nina” as I have called it, we must first dismiss any suggestion that this was a “rogue operation”, pursued by some faction of the intelligence services without the knowledge of others or of Government leaders. The readiness – or rather unseemly haste – with which Theresa May took up the false case against Russia despite its extraordinarily provocative and dangerous consequences denies her any alibi or claim of innocence. Besides, it dovetailed too nicely with her own agenda and that of the UK state to have been a rogue operation.

But it must follow that other leading officials and agents of the state were also fully cognisant of the Operation. Had they not been then serious problems of credibility would have immediately stood in the way, as experienced and knowledgeable staff from Porton Down could not have been taken in by the conflicting and incredible nonsense foisted on to the general public. That some may have been reluctantly complicit and remain in fear of David Kelly’s fate does however seem likely.

In questioning whether this knowledge that the Operation was “theatre” extended to all those unidentified operators in Hazmat and Green-bottle suits, the situation becomes more complicated. These men were obliged to go through some particularly stupid and difficult operations dressed in their colourful encumbrances – motivated by the belief that they were really dealing with a mortal hazard and playing their part in “protecting National Security”. Would they not though have asked the questions that we asked, and particularly “why did the Skripals not die if this stuff is so toxic?”

Or did they know they were just performing for the cameras – so to speak – but then also know that they were collectively involved in a massive and criminal deception, not just of the general public but of other civil servants and members of the various services? At what point for such personnel would moral integrity prevail over duty to “Queen and Country”, if at all?

There are only those two alternatives.

Yet more difficult is the same question applied to the police and emergency services and hospital staff, because the consequences of either option are severe. It is simply impossible to believe that so many ordinary and honest government employees could have all been complicit in this deception, and kept it secret. But the alternative is that they were all deceived by their own government, or by those within their ranks who were “in the room”.

It should be remembered in this discussion that at no point has the UK government given the slightest indication of going soft on its Novichok campaign – quite the opposite. Apparently to gain maximum advantage from the dirty operation, they have drip fed new misinformation to the press over six months, reviving and restating the first lies while creating new ones, and then finally “exposing” the “GRU” culprits and their magic poison perfume bottle.

The more potential whistle-blowers and dissenters there were in the ranks, the harder it would be to keep the lid on their lies.

As I mentioned earlier, some new information has come to light which provides more evidence on the nature of the poison applied to the Skripals, as well as giving us very useful extra insight into the experience of the staff at Salisbury District Hospital who came into contact with them – literally.

This information is from the horse’s mouth, in a BBC Newsnight report by Mark Urban of May 30th.

Urban went to Salisbury District Hospital around this time, and apparently – though we never see him nor hear his questions – interviewed staff and executives about their treatment of the Skripals and the incident.

There is nothing to suggest that any of these staff disbelieve the “official” story, and the testimony of doctors and nurses is particularly credible I think. While the information they provide about the Skripals’ “surprisingly fast” recovery is significant, the most interesting details concern the first two days following their admission on Sunday afternoon, March 4th.

The Sister in charge of Radnor ward Intensive Care Unit, Sarah Clark describes the situation:

… at that point – the evening – we were led to believe that they had taken an overdose – obviously there was no indication of nerve agent poisoning. They were needing support with their breathing, and support with their cardio-vascular system.”

While Sister Clark likely means that no-one had indicated nerve agent poisoning was a possibility, it is quite clear that there was no sign of any specific symptoms of such a toxin in the two unidentified victims either.

These symptoms are described in the interview with Intensive Care Consultant Dr Stephen Jukes – but he appears to be talking about the typical symptoms that the Skripals would have been expected to show rather than those he had actually observed.

Talk of symptoms is anyway fairly academic for such a toxic substance as A 234 Novichok or VX, as paralysis and death will occur within ten minutes of exposure to a – minuscule – lethal dose. Except in the case of minor accidental contamination, the chief diagnostic symptom of nerve agent exposure is death.

These initial observations obviously cast serious doubt on the subsequent assertions that the Skripals and Detective Inspector Bailey – admitted to hospital on Tuesday 6th March – were suffering the effects of a nerve agent. Had the staff known more, or been told more by the “international experts” who were called in to supervise the Skripals’ treatment, they would surely have also doubted the “nerve agent” theory that conflicted so drastically with their own observations and experience, described by Sister Sarah Clark:

I did have concerns, because obviously when they first came in there was no indication that it was a nerve agent, and therefore we take our normal protection when any patient comes in but would not at that point have taken any extra precautions in terms of protecting ourselves.”

But what she reveals here is crucial to the case – the various staff involved in the admission, triage and treatment of the incapacitated Skripals took only “normal protection” measures, yet reported no side effects from secondary exposure to the toxin. She “had concerns” over this inadvertent exposure, so would have been over-cautious had any staff reported symptoms.

In addition, the record from these first 48 hours indicates that no appropriate treatment was given for nerve agent poisoning; the chance of a real victim of such a toxin surviving even a sub-lethal dose without any antidote is ZERO.

So what of the “surprisingly rapid” recovery, that happened apparently as a result of the use of “untested drugs” prescribed by Porton Down experts? Newsnight again:

Dr Murray: You don’t know the way the agent might act – how long to reach its peak, how long it will last, and the longer term effects of these things, people would have no experience of.

Mark Urban: It’s clear that from the outset, experts from nearby Porton Down played a central role in advising the team. After a couple of weeks there were gradual but distinct signs of progress.

The exact timing of that, and details of drugs given, remain matters of medical confidentiality.

Dr Jukes: We were all exceptionally surprised, pleasantly surprised to see how quickly the recovery happened, at such a pace, and something we can’t easily explain.

It would be “exceptionally surprising” if the Skripal’s rapid recovery following the Porton Down boffins’ special treatment was the only thing Salisbury Hospital Staff found difficult to explain. That the Skripals didn’t die and then recovered from the Novichok attack is something they would surely have found impossible to explain – unless someone was to tell them the truth.

But then they might look for an explanation for something far more incomprehensible – how they, and millions of ordinary honest and well-intentioned people could be so completely and criminally deceived by their own elected government?

November 12, 2018 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

Ten lies told about World War I

By Dominic Alexander | CounterFire | November 9, 2014

This Remembrance Day will doubtless see strenuous efforts by some to justify the fruitless bloodbath that was the First World War. Revisionist commentators have long attempted to rehabilitate the conflict as necessary and just, but the arguments do not stand up. It does no service to the memory of the dead to allow any illusions in the justice or necessity of war, particularly so when the precedents will be used to argue for the next ‘necessary’ conflict. From the causes of the war, to its prosecution and its results, here are the counter-arguments to ten common pro-war ploys.

1 The war was fought in defence of democracy.

This is contradicted by the basic facts. Germany had universal manhood suffrage while in Britain, including Ireland, some 40% of men still did not qualify for the vote. In Germany also, there were attempts to justify the war on the grounds that it was being fought to defend civilised values against a repressive, militaristic state, in the form of Russian autocracy.

2 Britain went to war due to a treaty obligation to defend the neutrality of Belgium.

There was no clear and accepted obligation on Britain to do this, and, in fact, before the Belgian issue appeared, the war party in the cabinet was already pushing for British intervention on the entirely different ground that there were naval obligations to France. These obligations had been developed in secret arrangements between the military of both countries, and were never subject to any kind of democratic accountability. The Germans even offered guarantees over Belgian integrity, which the British government refused to consider at all.

3 German aggression was the driving force for war.

However aggressive the German leadership may have been in 1914, the British establishment was at least as determined to take the opportunity to go to war with its imperial rival. At one point the Foreign Office even seized on imaginary German incursions into France to justify a British declaration of war on Germany. The declaration letter had to be retrieved from the German ambassador and rewritten when it was discovered that the stories were false. The enthusiasm of the British ruling class for war undermines any justification for it based on German aggression.

4 Germany had started a naval arms race with Britain.

Imperialist competition between the two states over markets and resources preceded the arms race in the fifteen years before the war. Britain’s naval power was the vital element in its ability to restrict German access to markets and resources across the world. Unless Britain was willing to allow Germany to expand economically, the logic of capitalist competition meant that Germany was bound to challenge British naval supremacy. The latent violence of the leading imperial nation is always the context for aggressive challenges to the status quo on the part of rising powers.

5 German imperialism was uniquely vicious and had to be challenged.

The atrocities committed against the Herrero people in Namibia were indeed terrible crimes, but were hardly unique compared to the horrors committed by all those involved in the rubber industry in the Belgian Congo, to take but one example. Also, European opinion had only a few years before 1914 been horrified by the brutality of another colonial power when it was engaged in ruthlessly expanding its dominance over independent states in Africa. This was Britain in its wars of aggression against the Boer states in South Africa, during which concentration camps were first used in order to control a civilian population.

6 Public opinion was united in favour of the war, as shown by images of cheering crowds in 1914.

It is now usually admitted that the degree of enthusiasm for the war was strictly limited, and the evidence is that the crowds who gathered at the outbreak of war were by no means united in martial enthusiasm. In fact sizeable and widespread anti-war demonstrations occurred in both Britain and Germany. Had the leaderships of Labour and Socialist parties across Europe not caved into demands to support their national ruling classes in going to war, it is quite possible that the conflict could have been stopped in its tracks.

7 The morale of British troops fighting on the Western Front remained intact to the end of the war.

While Britain may not have suffered quite the same scale of mutinies as in the German and French armies, at times there were whole stretches of the front where troops became so unreliable that generals did not dare order them into combat. The evidence for widespread cynicism about war strategies, contempt for the military leadership, and grave doubts about the purpose of the war, cannot be wished away by the revisionists. In so far as soldiers carried on willingly fighting the war, the explanation needs to be sought in the habituation to obedience, as well as the threat of court-martial executions. There is no need to invoke either fervid nationalism or any kind of deep psychological blood-lust as explanations.

8 The military leadership, notably General Haig, was not a bunch of incompetent ‘donkeys’.

Attempts to rehabilitate the likes of General Haig founder on some of the basic facts about the tactics he relentlessly employed. Repeated infantry attacks on opposing trenches consistently failed to gain any clear advantage, while causing colossal casualties. On the first day of the battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916, 57,000 troops out of 120,000 were killed or wounded. Despite continuing carnage on an incredible scale, Haig carried on ordering further attacks. When any hope of a breakthrough against the German lines was clearly lost, the purpose of the battle was shifted to attrition pure and simple. The plan now was to kill more German troops than the British lost. Since there was no way of reliably measuring the casualties on the other side, Haig relied on estimating it through the losses of his own side. On this basis he began to be angered when the army suffered too few losses, as when he complained that one division in September had lost under a thousand men. There can be no defence for this kind of disregard of human life.

9 The end of the war saw the triumph of liberal capitalism, against collapsing autocratic Empires.

In fact all states involved in the war were deeply destabilised. Even the United States, whose involvement was the most limited, experienced the ‘Red Summer’ of 1919, with unprecedented labour revolts, such as the Seattle general strike, alongside savage repression of socialists and black Americans. Britain saw the beginning of the Irish war of independence, and increasing unrest in India, which marks, in effect, the point at which the Empire began to unravel. Domestically, there was also a wave of radical working-class unrest, particularly in the ‘Red Clydeside’, which culminated in troops being sent into Glasgow to impose martial law.

10 The war achieved anything worthwhile whatsoever.

The war opened up a period of endemic economic dislocation, and outright crisis. In Britain there was a decade of industrial decline and high unemployment even before the Great Depression. In effect, it was only the Second World War which brought the major capitalist powers out of the slump. The First World War saw the point at which capitalism became addicted to war and to a permanent arms economy. The war demonstrated the capacity of capitalism to create industrialised waste, carnage and destruction on a colossal scale. The remembrance of the war is appropriately a time for mourning the horror, the loss and the waste of it all, but it should also provoke a determination to resist our rulers’ insistence on promoting war to further their interests. War can achieve nothing other than to create the conditions for further wars.

Popular opinion has, ever since its ending, remembered the First World War as a time of horrendous and futile misery and slaughter, as epitomising political and military leaders’ incompetence and callous disregard for human life. That popular judgement, which has helped turn common opinion against war in general, was correct, and we must not let the war mongers dismiss this instance of the wisdom of ordinary people.

Notes

The arguments in this article are developed at greater length in the author’s review of Douglas Newton’s book The Darkest Days: The Truth Behind Britain’s Rush to War, 1914 (Verso 2014).

The specifics for General Haig’s murderous rage can be found in Adam Hochschild, To End All Wars (Pan 2013), p.209 – reviewed on this site by Lindsey German.

November 12, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Remembering the Peace Makers: What the Armistice Commemorations Forgot

By Binoy Kampmark | Dissident Voice | November 11, 2018

Those in the war industry and the business of commemorating the dead have little time for peace, even as they supposedly celebrate it. For them, peace is the enemy as much as armed opposing combatants, if not more so. Dr Brendan Nelson of the Australian War Memorial is every bit the propagandist in this regard, encased in armour of permanent reminder: Do not forget the sacrifice; do not forget the slaughter. The issue is how war, not peace, is commemorated.

That theme was repeated, for the most part, in Paris on November 11. US President Donald Trump spoke of “our sacred obligation to memorialise our fallen heroes.”  French President Emmanuel Macron marked the 100th anniversary of the Great War by having a dig at nationalism, calling it a “betrayal of patriotism” (is there a difference?). The nationalists, he warned, were getting busy, these “old demons coming back to wreak chaos and death”. The intellectuals (and here, he alluded to Julien Benda’s 1927 classic, La trahison des clercs) were at risk of capitulating.

But Macron, rather slyly, was hoping that the French obsession with universal values would somehow render his message less parochial: to be French was to be an internationalist, not a tunnel-visioned, rabid nationalist. The soldiers who perished in the Great War did so in the defence of France’s “universal values” in order to repudiate the “selfishness of nationals only looking after their own interests.” Much room for disagreement on that score, and Marine Le Pen would have been a suitable corrective.

The peace activities of the Great War, asphyxiated, smothered and derided in texts and official narratives, are rarely discussed in the mass marketed solemnity of commemorations. The writings of those prophets who warned that any adventurism such as what transpired in 1914 would be met with immeasurable suffering are also conspicuously absent. Jean de Bloc, whose magisterial multi-volume The Future of War appeared in 1898 in Russian, found it “impossible” that Europe’s leaders would embark on a conflict against each other; to do so would “cause humanity a great moral evil… civil order will be threatened by new theories of social revolution”. The end would be catastrophic. “How many flourishing countries will be turned into wilderness and rich cities into ruins! How many tears will be shed, how many will be left in beggary!”

These sceptics were the enlightened ones, scorned for not having the sense of fun that comes with joining battle and being butchered in the name of some vague patriotic sentiment. If human beings are animals at play, then play to the death, if need be – the rational ones were sidelined, persecuted and hounded.  They are the party poopers.

Prior to the first shots of the guns of August in 1914, Europe had witnessed a slew of meetings and activities associated with the theme of peace. From 1889, pacifists were busy with Universal Peace Congresses, while the Inter-parliamentary Union made a stab at efforts and ideas to reduce national tensions.  The Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907, with one scheduled to take place in 1915, suggested a certain sensibility, even as the military machinery of Europe was getting ominously more lethal.  At the very least, the political classes were playing at peace.

The 1,200 women who gathered at The Hague in 1915 as part of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom feature as sane if forgotten voices before the murderous machine truly got going.  Their work involved attendees from 12 countries and the passing of 20 resolutions on war. They worked to convince those engaged in the murderous machine about the folly and were dismissed accordingly as cranks and nuisances.

The peace movement was sundered by the patriotic diseases that engulfed the continent, and such organisations as the International Peace Bureau failed to reach a consensus on how best to quell warring aggressions. In January 1915, its Berne meeting was characterised by division, best exemplified by a resolution denouncing Germany and Australia for egregious breaches of international law. The vote was divided evenly, and unity was destroyed.

While monuments to the war makers and fallen soldiers dot the town squares of the combatant nations, lingering like morbid call cards for failed militarism, there are virtually none in the service of peace. The tenaciously wise and farsighted Austrian noblewoman Bertha von Suttner, the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1905 and suspect the motives of governments behind the Hague Peace conferences, hardly figures in commemorative statuary. Nor does Rosa Luxemburg, who began a twelve-month sentence in Berlin’s Barnimstrasse Womens’ Prison on February 18, 1915 for “inciting public disobedience”.

Her crime, committed during the words of her famous Fechenheim address, was to call upon German workers to refuse shooting their French counterparts should war break out. “Victory or defeat?” she would sadly reflect in her anti-war tract, The Junius Pamphlet (1915) written whilst in confinement. “Thus sounds the slogan of the ruling militarism in all the warring countries, and, like an echo, the Social Democratic leaders have taken it up.”

As Adam Hochschild sourly noted in 2014, those who refuse to fight or barrack for war are ignored by the commemorative classes. “America’s politicians still praise Iraq War veterans to the skies, but what senator has a kind word to say about the hundreds of thousands who marched and demonstrated before the invasion was even launched to try to stop our soldiers from risking their lives in the first place?”

Events conspicuously against the spirit of killing and maiming opponents, such as that which took place during the short lived Christmas Truce of 1914, have only been remembered – and tolerated – because of their public relations quality. These events sell chocolates and cakes; they draw people to sites and commodities. The truce signalled no revolution; it did not challenge the war planners. “It’s safe to celebrate,” commented Hochschild, “because it threatened nothing.” The sovereignty of war, the institution of state-sanctioned killing, remained, as it still does, though selling peace can be lucrative when the shells have stopped falling.

The obscenity here is that conflict, most notably that of the First World War, was meant to be cathartic, a brief bit of masculine cleansing that would end by the arbitrarily designated time of Christmas. It was advertised as a picnic, a brief testosterone outing which would see men return intact. Foolishly, such figures as HG Wells saw it as “the war to end war”, so get it over and done with, minimal fuss and all. (To be fair to Wells, he found disgust and despair subsequently, reflecting upon this in The Bulpington of Blup in 1932.)

This was, truly, as the title of Margaret MacMillan’s work goes, the war that ended peace, and we should not forget the political and military classes, instrumental in dashing off soldiers to their death, who engineered it with coldness and ignorance. Foolishness and demagoguery tend to hold hands all too often, distant from that most moving sentiment expressed by the jailed US socialist activist and presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs. “I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; and I am a citizen of the world.”

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne and can be reached at: bkampmark@gmail.com.

November 12, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

World War I Homage – A Triumph of Lies and Platitudes

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 12.11.2018

World leaders gathered in Paris on Sunday under the Arc de Triomphe to mark the centennial anniversary ending World War I. In an absurd way, the Napoleon-era arc was a fitting venue – because the ceremony and the rhetoric from President Emmanuel Macron was a “triumph” of lies and platitudes.

Among the estimated 70 international leaders were US President Trump and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, each sitting on either side of Macron and his wife. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also given pride of place beside the French president.

Macron’s address to the dignitaries was supposed to be a call for international multilateralism. He urged a “brotherhood” for the cause of world peace. He also made a pointed rebuke of “nationalism” as posing a danger to peace – a remark which seemed aimed at Donald Trump who recently boasted of his politics with that very word.

But, ironically, everything about the ceremony and Macron’s speech resonated with jingoistic French nationalism, not his avowed multinationalism. As the politicians sat under the Arc de Triomphe, Macron walked around its circular esplanade in a salute to assembled French military forces bearing assault rifles and bayonets. The French anthem – The Marseillaise – was played twice, once by an army brass band, the second time sung by an army choir. There was also a military plane flyover displaying the blue, red and white tricolor of the French national flag.

In his speech, Macron talked about soldiers coming from all over the world to “die for France” during the 1914-18 Great War. He even said at one point that the war was fought for “the vision of France” and its “universal values”.

This was fluent drivel, French-style. No wonder Russia’s Putin momentarily gave a look of boredom as Macron waxed lyrical.

The speechifying and commemoration was completely detached from current realities of conflict and international tensions.

Among the “brotherhood” whom Macron was appealing to were Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whose military forces continue to bomb and slaughter Palestinian civilians in illegally occupied territory. Also present was Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko whose armed militias continue to terrorize the people of eastern Ukraine with the blatant objective of instigating a war between the US-led NATO alliance and Russia.

Listening to Macron one would think that World War I erupted mysteriously from no specific cause and that an estimated 10 million soldiers were all killed in heroic battles for noble principles.

There was, of course, no mention by Macron of imperialist warmongering and the barbaric sacrifice of humans as slaves in the service of national capitalist power interests.

Grotesquely, as the world leaders donned solemn faces and mouthed pious platitudes for peace, the whole occasion was a triumph in burying reality and the ongoing causes of wars, as well as whitewashing the very culprits responsible for wars. Among the war criminals wearing a mournful black suit was former French President Nicolas Sarkozy who launched the NATO blitzkrieg on Libya in 2011.

While the empty, self-indulgent rhetoric was ringing out, one couldn’t help but recall some of the most glaring contemporary contradictions that were blocked out with awesome Orwellian efficiency.

Just this week, reports emerged of the horrific civilian death toll from the American air force bombing the Syrian city of Raqqa. The city was razed to the ground by US air strikes last year – supposedly to defeat the ISIS terror group. Some 8,000 bodies of civilians, mainly women and children, have now been recovered by Syrian government forces. And that’s only from clearing away a tiny area of rubble for the whole city.

What the Americans did in Raqqa was a monumental war crime, all the more criminal because US forces, along with their NATO partners Britain and France, are illegally present in and assaulting sovereign Syrian territory.

As Macron was telling world leaders about “the vision of France”, hundreds were being killed in Yemen in a battle to strangle the entire population by taking the port city of Hodeida. The genocidal war on that country – which is putting up to 16 million people at risk from starvation – has been fully backed by France, the US and Britain, from their supply of warplanes and bombs to the Saudi and Emirati aggressive forces.

We could mention other specific conflicts where the culprits are clearly identified. For example, the multi-million-dollar support from Washington for the Azov Battalion and other Neo-Nazi militias in Ukraine, which openly emulate the genocidal conduct of Hitler’s Third Reich to exterminate ethnic Russians.

We could mention how US-led NATO forces continue to expand towards Russian territory with outrageous provocation. The mounting earlier this month of the biggest-ever NATO war drills since the Cold War in the Arctic region adjacent to Russia’s northern border was a brazen threat of rehearsing invasion. The announced tearing up of yet another nuclear arms control treaty unilaterally by Washington is a reckless undermining of global security.

Washington threatens China with naval forces marauding near Beijing’s maritime territory in the South China Sea. Washington blockades Iran with illegal economic warfare and openly agitates for regime change. Washington declares Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba a “troika of tyranny” and reserves the right to threaten each of these countries with military invasion at any time.

Meanwhile, this weekend, Russia hosted peace talks in Moscow between the warring parties of Afghanistan. It was seen as a major breakthrough in trying to bring peace to the Central Asia country which has been wracked by 17 years of violence since US forces began their ongoing military occupation – allegedly to defeat terrorism.

Elsewhere, Russia has engaged with Turkey, Germany and France to convene a summit for peaceful reconstruction of Syria. The latest summit held in Ankara at the end of last month follows several other such meetings in Astana and Sochi, largely at the behest of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, to find a political settlement to the nearly eight-year war in Syria – a war that was fomented covertly by Washington and its allies for regime change.

France’s Macron talks about “multilateralism” for world peace, yet the two countries which have arguably supported and implemented multilateralism in practice are Russia and China in their calls and policies for global partnership and economic development.

And yet it is Russia and China that are being harassed with American and European sanctions, and US military provocations.

The unilateral, lawless imperialism that engendered World War I and 20 years later World War II is still alive and dangerously vigorous. We only have to look around the present world to realize that. But when the culprits indulge in a triumph of bullshit then we also know that the world is once again in very grave danger.

November 12, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | | Leave a comment

European Parliament ‘Shocked’ at Amount of EU-Made Arms in Hands of Terrorists

Sputnik – 12.11.2018

This week, members of the European Parliament will gather in Strasbourg for the plenary session with a wide array of issues on the agenda, including arms exports.

A draft report on arms exports, which will be tabled at the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg later this week, suggests launching an investigation into how EU-made weapons end up in the possession of terrorists in the Middle East.

One provision of the document, presented by German MEP Sabine Lösing, says that the European Parliament is “shocked at the amount of EU-made weapons and ammunition found in the hands of Daesh in Syria and Iraq.”

The same draft highlights that some EU member-states, including Bulgaria and Romania, have failed to apply the Common Position in relation to weapons’ retransfers, which contravenes end-user certificates.

The document further proposes making it obligatory for EU member-states to “deny an export licence if there is a clear risk that the military technology or equipment to be exported might be diverted.”

The European Parliament “calls on all Member States to refuse similar transfers in the future, notably to the US and Saudi Arabia,” the draft reads.

Syrian media have on multiple occasions reported that the country’s army had discovered large stocks of arms, ammunition, vehicles and other military equipment, made in the US, Europe and Israel, while conducting mop-up operations in regions liberated from terrorists.

November 12, 2018 Posted by | Deception, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Germany, EU funding militants in Idlib: Report

Press TV – November 12, 2018

The German government and other EU members are funding militants still present in Idlib and involved in a conflict against the Syrian army, Germany’s Tagesspiegel newspaper has revealed.

According to the report cited by British daily the Telegraph on Sunday, “no less than 37.5 million euros” has been transferred to militant groups in Idlib by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In total, Berlin has paid nearly 49 million euros to militants fighting to topple the Syrian government and facilitated the transfer of similar funds by other EU members, it added.

Those funds included “11.3 million other sources, or 17 million euros from the European Union, for which Germany would have played an intermediary role.”

According to the report, the German government does not communicate the precise list of recipients of the funds for fear of angering Russia and other sides involved in the Syria war.

The information was revealed in an answer given by German Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Walter Lindner to a question asked by Member of European Parliament Evrim Sommer, to which Tagesspiegel was able to have access.

The report comes after German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Russian and Turkish leaders in Istanbul late last month to discuss a solution to the Syria conflict.

Ankara has long backed militants seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, while Moscow is a close ally of the Syrian government in its relentless fight against foreign-backed terrorists.

Merkel apparently rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call to financially contribute to Syria’s reconstruction after they met outside Berlin in August.

Germany is a member of a US-led coalition which has been bombarding Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Syrian government or a UN mandate.

Just recently, Berlin said it was in talks with Washington and other allies about a possible involvement in airstrikes on Syria if it used chemical weapons.

Syria and Russia have warned of a “false flag” chemical attack by militants in order to give the US and its allies an excuse to target Syrian troops which have sought to evict terrorists from their last stronghold in Idlib.

Germany has reportedly deployed special forces to northern Syria to aid US-backed Kurdish militants. In September, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Germany would not reject a possible longer-term deployment of troops to the Middle East.

She made the remarks during a visit to the Azraq air base in Jordan where some 300 German troops are operating as part of the US-led coalition.

The US and its allies characterize their military presence in the region as part of their war on Daesh, but fiercely oppose a final push by Syrian troops against terrorists in Idlib.

Extremists from across Europe joined Daesh in droves in 2014, when the Takfiri terror group launched its campaign of bloodshed and destruction in Iraq and Syria.

Back then, many European leaders ignored repeated warnings that militants could return home one day and that they would pose a security challenge for years to come across the continent.

Last month, Germany said more than a hundred militants, who had been fighting in Iraq and Syria, had returned to the country, but among them only dozens were being investigated for possible terror links.

German Interior Ministry said in a statement that they knew of 124 people, who were part of at least 249 people who had traveled from Germany to Iraq and Syria.

Meanwhile, some 40 percent of at least 900 Britons who traveled to Syria to join Daesh had returned to the United Kingdom, but UK counter-terrorism chief Neil Basu said they were no longer considered a main threat.

November 12, 2018 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

The Migration of the Skeptic

qedcon | October 16, 2018

Naturalist Sir David Attenborough definitely presents this short documentary on the migration of the Skeptic. This spoof was originally used to open QED 2018.

Written by Matt White, Michael Marshall, and Mike Hall
Directed by Matt White
Edited by Deniz Kavalali
VFX by Joe Pavlo
Audio post-production by Offset Audio
Featuring Adam Diggle as the voice of Sir David Attenborough

November 12, 2018 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 1 Comment