Content about Labor

November 16, 2013

Germany authorities are ready to deport several US diplomats if the information that they wiretapped on phone calls is confirmed, German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich has claimed. “It’s quite clear that if US embassy or other agencies employees are involved in the case, they will be punished. Speaking of diplomats, they will be deported,” Friedrich said in an interview to the ARD,  Allgemeine Rundfunk Deutschland news network in Berlin, Germany. Voice of Russia also reported that Washington still didn’t have answers to many questions Germany had asked the US in relation to the scandal.

The Jurist website stated that  Germany and Brazil have proposed a draft resolution within the UN General Assembly calling for member states to take measures to put an end to "gross invasions of privacy" such as excessive electronic surveillance and data collection. Although the resolution does not specifically indicate any countries, recent events such as allegations that the National Security Agency (NSA)has spied on more than 60 million phone calls made in Spain indicate that the resolution is directed at the US and its various surveillance programs.

According to European media reports, the US NSA eavesdropped on phone calls of 28 EU countries representatives, including Germany, France, Spain, and Italy. American secret services also spied on these countries’ embassies in Washington, the UK Guardian newspaper says. Earlier this month, German Der Spiegel magazine reported that US intelligence had allegedly tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone. The complete outrage of the Germans has manifested in discussions about requesting Edward Snowden to verify the allegations of the German chancellor’s mobile phone surveillance in a Guardian UK news report:

“ The justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, told the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper: "If the allegations build up and lead to an investigation, one could think about calling in Snowden as a witness."

Thomas Oppermann, of the Social Democrats, said: "Snowden's claims appear to be credible, while the US government has blatantly lied to us on this matter. That's why Snowden could be an important witness, also in clearing up the surveillance of the chancellor's mobile."

November 16, 2013

When Malala Yusufzai was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen simply because she wanted to gain an education it sent shockwaves around the world.

Straight away the Western media took up the issue. Western politicians spoke out and soon she found herself in the UK. The way in which the West reacted made me question the reasons and motives behind why Malala's case was taken up and not so many others.

There is no justifying the brutal actions of the Taliban or the denial of the universal right to education, however there is a deeper more historic narrative that is taking place here.

This is a story of a native girl being saved by the white man. Flown to the UK, the Western world can feel good about itself as they save the native woman from the savage men of her home nation. It is a historic racist narrative that has been institutionalized. Journalists and politicians were falling over themselves to report and comment on the case. The story of an innocent brown child that was shot by savages for demanding an education and along comes the knight in shining armor to save her.

The actions of the West, the bombings, the occupations, the wars - all seem justified now, "See?  We told you. THIS is why we intervene to save the natives."

The truth is that there are hundreds and thousands of other Malalas. They come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other places in the world. Many are victims of the West, but we conveniently forget about those as Western journalists and politicians fall over themselves to appease their white-middle class guilt, also known as the white man's burden.

Gordon Brown stood at the UN and spoke words in support for Malala, yet he is the very same Gordon Brown that voted for the war in Iraq that not only robbed people of their education but of their lives. The same journalists that failed to question or report on the Western wars in an intelligible manner now sing the praises of the West as they back Malala and her campaign without putting it in context of the war in Afghanistan and the destabilization of the region thanks to the Western occupation of Afghanistan.

Malala's message is true, it is profound, it is something the world needs to take note of; education is a right of every child, but Malala has been used as a tool by the West. It allows countries like Britain to hide their sins in Afghanistan and Iraq. It allows journalists to report a feel good story whilst they neglect so many others, like the American drone strikes that terrorize men, women and children in Pakistan's border regions.

The current narrative continues the demonization of the non-white Muslim man. Painting him as a savage, someone beyond negotiating with, beyond engaging with, the only way to deal with this kind of savage is to wage war, occupy and use drones against them. NATO is bombing to save girls like Malala is the message here.

Historically the West has always used women to justify the actions of war mongering men. It is in the imagery, it is in art, in education, it is even prevalent in Western human rights organizations. Amnesty International's poster campaign coinciding with the NATO summit in New York encouraged NATO to 'keep the progress going!' in Afghanistan.

Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz were also shot along with Malala, the media and politicians seem to have forgotten about them. Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi - how many of the Western politicians and journalists know about this name? She was the 14-year-old girl violated by five US soldiers, then she and her family, including her six-year-old sister were murdered. There are no days named after her, no mentions of her at the UN, and we don't see Gordon Brown pledging his name to her cause.

I support Malala, I support the right to education for all, I just cannot stand the hypocrisy of Western politicians and media as they pick and choose, congratulating themselves for something that they have caused. Malala is the good native, she does not criticize the West, she does not talk about the drone strikes, she is the perfect candidate for the white man to relieve his burden and save the native.

The Western savior complex has hijacked Malala's message. The West has killed more girls than the Taliban have. The West has denied more girls an education via their missiles than the Taliban has by their bullets. The West has done more against education around the world than extremists could ever dream of. So, please, spare us the self-righteous and self-congratulatory message that is nothing more than propaganda that tells us that the West drops bombs to save girls like Malala.

November 16, 2013

When Malala Yusufzai was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen simply because she wanted to gain an education it sent shockwaves around the world.

Straight away the Western media took up the issue. Western politicians spoke out and soon she found herself in the UK. The way in which the West reacted made me question the reasons and motives behind why Malala's case was taken up and not so many others.

There is no justifying the brutal actions of the Taliban or the denial of the universal right to education, however there is a deeper more historic narrative that is taking place here.

This is a story of a native girl being saved by the white man. Flown to the UK, the Western world can feel good about itself as they save the native woman from the savage men of her home nation. It is a historic racist narrative that has been institutionalized. Journalists and politicians were falling over themselves to report and comment on the case. The story of an innocent brown child that was shot by savages for demanding an education and along comes the knight in shining armor to save her.

The actions of the West, the bombings, the occupations, the wars - all seem justified now, "See?  We told you. THIS is why we intervene to save the natives."

The truth is that there are hundreds and thousands of other Malalas. They come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other places in the world. Many are victims of the West, but we conveniently forget about those as Western journalists and politicians fall over themselves to appease their white-middle class guilt, also known as the white man's burden.

Gordon Brown stood at the UN and spoke words in support for Malala, yet he is the very same Gordon Brown that voted for the war in Iraq that not only robbed people of their education but of their lives. The same journalists that failed to question or report on the Western wars in an intelligible manner now sing the praises of the West as they back Malala and her campaign without putting it in context of the war in Afghanistan and the destabilization of the region thanks to the Western occupation of Afghanistan.

Malala's message is true, it is profound, it is something the world needs to take note of; education is a right of every child, but Malala has been used as a tool by the West. It allows countries like Britain to hide their sins in Afghanistan and Iraq. It allows journalists to report a feel good story whilst they neglect so many others, like the American drone strikes that terrorize men, women and children in Pakistan's border regions.

The current narrative continues the demonization of the non-white Muslim man. Painting him as a savage, someone beyond negotiating with, beyond engaging with, the only way to deal with this kind of savage is to wage war, occupy and use drones against them. NATO is bombing to save girls like Malala is the message here.

Historically the West has always used women to justify the actions of war mongering men. It is in the imagery, it is in art, in education, it is even prevalent in Western human rights organizations. Amnesty International's poster campaign coinciding with the NATO summit in New York encouraged NATO to 'keep the progress going!' in Afghanistan.

Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz were also shot along with Malala, the media and politicians seem to have forgotten about them. Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi - how many of the Western politicians and journalists know about this name? She was the 14-year-old girl violated by five US soldiers, then she and her family, including her six-year-old sister were murdered. There are no days named after her, no mentions of her at the UN, and we don't see Gordon Brown pledging his name to her cause.

I support Malala, I support the right to education for all, I just cannot stand the hypocrisy of Western politicians and media as they pick and choose, congratulating themselves for something that they have caused. Malala is the good native, she does not criticize the West, she does not talk about the drone strikes, she is the perfect candidate for the white man to relieve his burden and save the native.

The Western savior complex has hijacked Malala's message. The West has killed more girls than the Taliban have. The West has denied more girls an education via their missiles than the Taliban has by their bullets. The West has done more against education around the world than extremists could ever dream of. So, please, spare us the self-righteous and self-congratulatory message that is nothing more than propaganda that tells us that the West drops bombs to save girls like Malala.

November 10, 2013

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) voted in favor of NSA spying on Americans and other congressional leaders followed suite. Such decisiveness raises the question:  why would legislative  leadership vote for something that is illegal, invades the privacy of citizens and is detrimental to international relationships? The chair of the House Intelligence Committee – Mike Rogers – said recently, in a NSA spying hearing which he led, that there is no right to privacy in America. Does the Agency know something about them that we do not? As DSWright, writer at Firedoglake, an online news source,  put it -  “Intelligence is all about having as much information as possible, that’s the training and that’s the game.”

The breadth of the NSA’s newly revealed capabilities makes the emergence of such suspicions in our society inevitable. Especially given that we are far, far away from having the kinds of oversight mechanisms in place that would provide ironclad assurance that these vast powers won’t be abused. And that highlights the highly corrosive nature of allowing the NSA such powers. Everyone has dark suspicions about their political opponents from time to time, and Americans are highly distrustful of government in general. When there is any opening at all for members of the public to suspect that officials from the legislative and judicial branches could be vulnerable to leverage from secretive agencies within the executive branch—and when those officials can even suspect they might be subject to leverage—that is a serious problem for our democracy.

There is already prominent speculation about this threat.  Back in August,  General Keith Alexander, Director of NSA, was asked by a member of Congress, ”Can we see our own files?”  Alexander answered, “No.” David Sirota of NSFWCorp, Not Safe For Work Corporation, said,

“Consider the deep messaging of the NSA’s brand. Only forty years removed from the blackmail-tinged reign of J. Edgar Hoover, the NSA has developed an image which implies the agency is vacuuming up more than enough incriminating phone records, emails and text messages, etc., to politically torpedo any rank-and-file congressman, should that congressman step out of line...”

Whistleblower Russell Tice has also alleged that while at the Agency he saw wiretap information for members of Congress and the judiciary firsthand. Such fears explain why it is considered an especially serious matter any time elected or judicial officials are eavesdropped upon. The New York Times reported in 2009 that some NSA officials had tried to wiretap a member of Congress without a warrant. Members of Congress and perhaps the judiciary surely also noted a Washington Post report based on Snowden documents that the NSA had intercepted a “large number” of calls from the Washington DC area code due to a “programming error.”

Dark suspicions about the NSA will also draw powerful support from the historical record. Already a sitting U.S. Senator, Carl Levin, has invoked the memory of J. Edgar Hoover as a means of expressing misgivings about NSA spying. It can be useful to recall the history with a little detail. Journalist Ronald Kessler describes the former FBI director’s M.O. in his book on Hoover:

“The moment [Hoover] would get something on a senator,” said William Sullivan, who became the number three official in the bureau under Hoover, “he’d send one of the errand boys up and advise the senator that ‘we’re in the course of an investigation, and we by chance happened to come up with this data on your daughter. But we wanted you to know this. We realize you’d want to know it.’ Well, Jesus, what does that tell the senator? From that time on, the senator’s right in his pocket.”

Lawrence J. Heim, who was in the Crime Records Division, confirmed that the bureau sent agents to tell members of Congress that Hoover had picked up derogatory information on them.

“He [Hoover] would send someone over on a very confidential basis,” Heim said. As an example, if the Metropolitan Police in Washington had picked up evidence of  impropriety, “he [Hoover] would have him say, ‘This activity is known by the Metropolitan Police Department and some of our informants, and it is in your best interests to know this.’ But nobody has ever claimed to have been blackmailed. You can deduce what you want from that.”

Even in 1945, a month after taking office, President Truman wrote of Hoover’s FBI, “We want no Gestapo or Secret Police. FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex life scandals and plain blackmail.” Two years later he observed, “all Congressmen and Senators are afraid of him.”

It wasn’t just the FBI. In the 1970s, for example, the “intelligence” division of the Chicago Police Department similarly engaged in widespread institutionalized blackmail efforts. “A principal tactic of this operation was the dissemination of file material for the purpose of doing damage to targets held in disfavor,” writes Frank Donner in his chronicle of Cold War-era police repression, Protectors of Privilege.

Although Chicago under Mayor William Daley was the worst, Donner points out that these kinds of abuses by “intelligence units” were widespread during the Cold War, and before that, during the labor battles of the early 20th century.

If we allow the NSA to retain the powers it wants, it’s not at all crazy to worry about how those powers could be used now or in the future to grab even more frightening power through blackmail of ostensible overseers. And it doesn’t require crude, explicit blackmail to affect behavior and confer power through personal information. Even the vaguest threat or intimation of eavesdropping and exposure can introduce substantial chilling effects, even on those who may think they have “nothing to hide.”

In many ways such fears, although often unspoken, lie at the core of what so many people find objectionable about allowing government agencies such vast eavesdropping powers. The understanding that personal information about people can confer leverage over those people is at the heart of the privacy issue.

And again, even in the absence of any actual malfeasance, suspicion of such is itself a problem.

November 10, 2013

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) voted in favor of NSA spying on Americans and other congressional leaders followed suite. Such decisiveness raises the question:  why would legislative  leadership vote for something that is illegal, invades the privacy of citizens and is detrimental to international relationships? The chair of the House Intelligence Committee – Mike Rogers – said recently, in a NSA spying hearing which he led, that there is no right to privacy in America. Does the Agency know something about them that we do not? As DSWright, writer at Firedoglake, an online news source,  put it -  “Intelligence is all about having as much information as possible, that’s the training and that’s the game.”

The breadth of the NSA’s newly revealed capabilities makes the emergence of such suspicions in our society inevitable. Especially given that we are far, far away from having the kinds of oversight mechanisms in place that would provide ironclad assurance that these vast powers won’t be abused. And that highlights the highly corrosive nature of allowing the NSA such powers. Everyone has dark suspicions about their political opponents from time to time, and Americans are highly distrustful of government in general. When there is any opening at all for members of the public to suspect that officials from the legislative and judicial branches could be vulnerable to leverage from secretive agencies within the executive branch—and when those officials can even suspect they might be subject to leverage—that is a serious problem for our democracy.

There is already prominent speculation about this threat.  Back in August,  General Keith Alexander, Director of NSA, was asked by a member of Congress, ”Can we see our own files?”  Alexander answered, “No.” David Sirota of NSFWCorp, Not Safe For Work Corporation, said,

“Consider the deep messaging of the NSA’s brand. Only forty years removed from the blackmail-tinged reign of J. Edgar Hoover, the NSA has developed an image which implies the agency is vacuuming up more than enough incriminating phone records, emails and text messages, etc., to politically torpedo any rank-and-file congressman, should that congressman step out of line...”

Whistleblower Russell Tice has also alleged that while at the Agency he saw wiretap information for members of Congress and the judiciary firsthand. Such fears explain why it is considered an especially serious matter any time elected or judicial officials are eavesdropped upon. The New York Times reported in 2009 that some NSA officials had tried to wiretap a member of Congress without a warrant. Members of Congress and perhaps the judiciary surely also noted a Washington Post report based on Snowden documents that the NSA had intercepted a “large number” of calls from the Washington DC area code due to a “programming error.”

Dark suspicions about the NSA will also draw powerful support from the historical record. Already a sitting U.S. Senator, Carl Levin, has invoked the memory of J. Edgar Hoover as a means of expressing misgivings about NSA spying. It can be useful to recall the history with a little detail. Journalist Ronald Kessler describes the former FBI director’s M.O. in his book on Hoover:

“The moment [Hoover] would get something on a senator,” said William Sullivan, who became the number three official in the bureau under Hoover, “he’d send one of the errand boys up and advise the senator that ‘we’re in the course of an investigation, and we by chance happened to come up with this data on your daughter. But we wanted you to know this. We realize you’d want to know it.’ Well, Jesus, what does that tell the senator? From that time on, the senator’s right in his pocket.”

Lawrence J. Heim, who was in the Crime Records Division, confirmed that the bureau sent agents to tell members of Congress that Hoover had picked up derogatory information on them.

“He [Hoover] would send someone over on a very confidential basis,” Heim said. As an example, if the Metropolitan Police in Washington had picked up evidence of  impropriety, “he [Hoover] would have him say, ‘This activity is known by the Metropolitan Police Department and some of our informants, and it is in your best interests to know this.’ But nobody has ever claimed to have been blackmailed. You can deduce what you want from that.”

Even in 1945, a month after taking office, President Truman wrote of Hoover’s FBI, “We want no Gestapo or Secret Police. FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex life scandals and plain blackmail.” Two years later he observed, “all Congressmen and Senators are afraid of him.”

It wasn’t just the FBI. In the 1970s, for example, the “intelligence” division of the Chicago Police Department similarly engaged in widespread institutionalized blackmail efforts. “A principal tactic of this operation was the dissemination of file material for the purpose of doing damage to targets held in disfavor,” writes Frank Donner in his chronicle of Cold War-era police repression, Protectors of Privilege.

Although Chicago under Mayor William Daley was the worst, Donner points out that these kinds of abuses by “intelligence units” were widespread during the Cold War, and before that, during the labor battles of the early 20th century.

If we allow the NSA to retain the powers it wants, it’s not at all crazy to worry about how those powers could be used now or in the future to grab even more frightening power through blackmail of ostensible overseers. And it doesn’t require crude, explicit blackmail to affect behavior and confer power through personal information. Even the vaguest threat or intimation of eavesdropping and exposure can introduce substantial chilling effects, even on those who may think they have “nothing to hide.”

In many ways such fears, although often unspoken, lie at the core of what so many people find objectionable about allowing government agencies such vast eavesdropping powers. The understanding that personal information about people can confer leverage over those people is at the heart of the privacy issue.

And again, even in the absence of any actual malfeasance, suspicion of such is itself a problem.

October 29, 2013

  So what was it all about?  The Senate deal ending the shutdown and deferring a default until the next time has solved nothing. It is as if we have been given a break for Thanksgiving and the Christmas shopping season until the partisan wars resume.  The fighting and arguing have only ceased.

 

It is unlikely that any of the instigators have learned anything other than how a handful of parliamentary savvy kamikazes can bring the government to its knees in the name of a righteous cause—not to bring about change, but to try to stop changes they don’t like.

 

When the Ted Cruz missile against Obamacare helped trigger the melee that closed national parks, limited government services and disrupted the livelihoods of 800,000 federal employees and the lives of millions, many wondered why, when it was clear the extreme right was pursuing an unachievable goal.

 

Senator John McCain warned them that they couldn’t stop the health care reform, as did others in their Party. The White House stood firm, as did most Democrats. The Tea Party offensive was widely seen as offensive, or as an extortion ploy, an attempt to nullify a law, but also a non-starter.

 

That didn’t stop the true believers.  Like the Light Brigade of old, they charged on. Clearly this was a case of ideology uber politics, but behind it was a strategy.

 

First, they wanted to weaken the Republican center and they did, making Speaker Boehner look powerless and out of control. The best media line about him was that he was “herding cats.”

 

Second, they wanted to prove that if they don’t get their way, no one else can or will.

 

They conceded a short term tactical set back, but lived to fight another day for longer-term goals.  In that way, they can be “responsible” and continue to enjoy business support.

 

As some Democrats celebrated, AP reported. “Hold the champagne. Even after lawmakers complete their pending deal to avert a federal default and fully reopen the government, they are likely to return to their grinding brand of brinkmanship – perhaps repeatedly.”

 

“Brinksmanship” is another word for ‘systematic political warfare’.  This spasm of rebellion emboldened the fundamentalists among them; it did not weaken them.

 

Sure, they overreached tactically—if you assume what they were saying was their real agenda.

 

As former federal regulator William Black explained in an article about their “tactical brilliance but strategic incompetence,” their demands could not be met, but that was never the point.

 

Black writes,

 

“the means by which the GOP sought to extort Obama to sacrifice Obamacare made it impossible for Obama to surrender to the Tea Party.  The Tea Party was openly threatening to use very short-term extensions of the debt ceiling to repeatedly extort Obama to make enormous, humiliating concessions.  This meant that if Obama gave in to their extortion he was dooming his presidency.”

 

If you assume they knew this, what was the real strategy?

 

They created a crisis to show that they could create a crisis and milk it as long as they could. It was a way that Junior members of Congress could get press attention.

 

It was also a way of energizing their base, not just politically, but financially.

 

The Daily Kos commented on Instigator in Chief Ted Cruz’s claim that two million people signed his petition noting that he now has a much larger list of potential donors. In this respect, he sees himself as a winner, not a loser.

 

He used the crisis to build a media profile with a self-promotional filibuster that excited supporters, whatever it lacked in clarity, logic and analysis.

 

Noted Felix Salmon, a financial blogger for Reuters:

 

“The Ted Cruz “filibuster” … served no actual legislative purpose, and at the end of his idiotically long speech, Cruz ended up voting yes on the very bill he was trying to kill. That’s zombie politics, and the problem with zombies is that — being dead already — they’re incredibly hard to kill.”

 

To him, the Tea Party is a  zombie army, a movement, not a person — and it’s an aggressively anti-logical movement, at that.  So he argues, “You can’t negotiate with a zombie.” (Many Americans identify with zombies these days because of their overexposure on TV and in the movies.)

 

So, we need to understand, this confrontation was never about logic or even a clear political agenda; it was about movement-building and dominating the discourse through hostage taking to bully and intimidate centrist Republicans and Democrats alike. Most of all, they wanted to snub the Nation’s father figure—President Obama.

 

Behind their slogans, they were saying  to the folks at home: ‘look at me!’

 

In that respect, the zealots were wildly successful in keeping their faux rebellion going, cheered on by Faux News and the underbelly their visibility attracts, including the guy grinning like an idiot and waving the Confederate flag in front of the White House.

 

The Atlantic, and many liberal media outlets, have convinced themselves that the “Republicans Shut Down the Government for Nothing” but it was always all about them, not specific goals.

 

This strategy is, at bottom, about interests, not issues, power, not political advantage.

 

Republican consultant and former Boehner aide Terry Holt admits:

 

“The differences are not about objectives, the differences are about tactics. This is the muddle through Congress. We are going to lurch from disaster to disaster until we have the prelude, which is 2014 and then the next presidential election. There is no incentive for either side to give in - period.”

 

So there you have it - a declaration of permanent war in which, like guerillas in combat, the point is not to hold ground, but to keep moving and harass the enemy, keeping them off guard whatever the costs to the economy or the morale of the country.

 

They expect many Americans will surrender just to have peace, and that’s how a relentless minority can impose its agenda.

 

The Vietnamese General Giap who died last week at age 102 used similar tactics that were grounded in the idea that war is politics by other means.

 

Bloomberg interviewed a moderate Republican, Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, who explained, “There are no winners in this process, everybody loses. The only question you guys are trying to figure out is who loses more? And how long-term the damage will be?”

 

Former veteran newspaperman Bernard Weiner, now the co-editor of The Crisis Papers, tried to explain all this to friends in France, writing:

 

“Even in the best of times, American politics rarely makes rational sense. But right now is almost the worst of times. From Europe it may appear that you are witnessing recess at a school for naughty, malicious children. While that’s true, we need to enlarge the frame of that portrait to get closer to the whole picture and to assign proper blame rather than just accept the mainstream media’s false meme that “both sides are equally responsible” for the governmental shutdown and debt crisis.”

Danny Schechter blogs daily at Newsdissector.net and edits Mediachannel.org

October 29, 2013

  So what was it all about?  The Senate deal ending the shutdown and deferring a default until the next time has solved nothing. It is as if we have been given a break for Thanksgiving and the Christmas shopping season until the partisan wars resume.  The fighting and arguing have only ceased.

 

It is unlikely that any of the instigators have learned anything other than how a handful of parliamentary savvy kamikazes can bring the government to its knees in the name of a righteous cause—not to bring about change, but to try to stop changes they don’t like.

 

When the Ted Cruz missile against Obamacare helped trigger the melee that closed national parks, limited government services and disrupted the livelihoods of 800,000 federal employees and the lives of millions, many wondered why, when it was clear the extreme right was pursuing an unachievable goal.

 

Senator John McCain warned them that they couldn’t stop the health care reform, as did others in their Party. The White House stood firm, as did most Democrats. The Tea Party offensive was widely seen as offensive, or as an extortion ploy, an attempt to nullify a law, but also a non-starter.

 

That didn’t stop the true believers.  Like the Light Brigade of old, they charged on. Clearly this was a case of ideology uber politics, but behind it was a strategy.

 

First, they wanted to weaken the Republican center and they did, making Speaker Boehner look powerless and out of control. The best media line about him was that he was “herding cats.”

 

Second, they wanted to prove that if they don’t get their way, no one else can or will.

 

They conceded a short term tactical set back, but lived to fight another day for longer-term goals.  In that way, they can be “responsible” and continue to enjoy business support.

 

As some Democrats celebrated, AP reported. “Hold the champagne. Even after lawmakers complete their pending deal to avert a federal default and fully reopen the government, they are likely to return to their grinding brand of brinkmanship – perhaps repeatedly.”

 

“Brinksmanship” is another word for ‘systematic political warfare’.  This spasm of rebellion emboldened the fundamentalists among them; it did not weaken them.

 

Sure, they overreached tactically—if you assume what they were saying was their real agenda.

 

As former federal regulator William Black explained in an article about their “tactical brilliance but strategic incompetence,” their demands could not be met, but that was never the point.

 

Black writes,

 

“the means by which the GOP sought to extort Obama to sacrifice Obamacare made it impossible for Obama to surrender to the Tea Party.  The Tea Party was openly threatening to use very short-term extensions of the debt ceiling to repeatedly extort Obama to make enormous, humiliating concessions.  This meant that if Obama gave in to their extortion he was dooming his presidency.”

 

If you assume they knew this, what was the real strategy?

 

They created a crisis to show that they could create a crisis and milk it as long as they could. It was a way that Junior members of Congress could get press attention.

 

It was also a way of energizing their base, not just politically, but financially.

 

The Daily Kos commented on Instigator in Chief Ted Cruz’s claim that two million people signed his petition noting that he now has a much larger list of potential donors. In this respect, he sees himself as a winner, not a loser.

 

He used the crisis to build a media profile with a self-promotional filibuster that excited supporters, whatever it lacked in clarity, logic and analysis.

 

Noted Felix Salmon, a financial blogger for Reuters:

 

“The Ted Cruz “filibuster” … served no actual legislative purpose, and at the end of his idiotically long speech, Cruz ended up voting yes on the very bill he was trying to kill. That’s zombie politics, and the problem with zombies is that — being dead already — they’re incredibly hard to kill.”

 

To him, the Tea Party is a  zombie army, a movement, not a person — and it’s an aggressively anti-logical movement, at that.  So he argues, “You can’t negotiate with a zombie.” (Many Americans identify with zombies these days because of their overexposure on TV and in the movies.)

 

So, we need to understand, this confrontation was never about logic or even a clear political agenda; it was about movement-building and dominating the discourse through hostage taking to bully and intimidate centrist Republicans and Democrats alike. Most of all, they wanted to snub the Nation’s father figure—President Obama.

 

Behind their slogans, they were saying  to the folks at home: ‘look at me!’

 

In that respect, the zealots were wildly successful in keeping their faux rebellion going, cheered on by Faux News and the underbelly their visibility attracts, including the guy grinning like an idiot and waving the Confederate flag in front of the White House.

 

The Atlantic, and many liberal media outlets, have convinced themselves that the “Republicans Shut Down the Government for Nothing” but it was always all about them, not specific goals.

 

This strategy is, at bottom, about interests, not issues, power, not political advantage.

 

Republican consultant and former Boehner aide Terry Holt admits:

 

“The differences are not about objectives, the differences are about tactics. This is the muddle through Congress. We are going to lurch from disaster to disaster until we have the prelude, which is 2014 and then the next presidential election. There is no incentive for either side to give in - period.”

 

So there you have it - a declaration of permanent war in which, like guerillas in combat, the point is not to hold ground, but to keep moving and harass the enemy, keeping them off guard whatever the costs to the economy or the morale of the country.

 

They expect many Americans will surrender just to have peace, and that’s how a relentless minority can impose its agenda.

 

The Vietnamese General Giap who died last week at age 102 used similar tactics that were grounded in the idea that war is politics by other means.

 

Bloomberg interviewed a moderate Republican, Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, who explained, “There are no winners in this process, everybody loses. The only question you guys are trying to figure out is who loses more? And how long-term the damage will be?”

 

Former veteran newspaperman Bernard Weiner, now the co-editor of The Crisis Papers, tried to explain all this to friends in France, writing:

 

“Even in the best of times, American politics rarely makes rational sense. But right now is almost the worst of times. From Europe it may appear that you are witnessing recess at a school for naughty, malicious children. While that’s true, we need to enlarge the frame of that portrait to get closer to the whole picture and to assign proper blame rather than just accept the mainstream media’s false meme that “both sides are equally responsible” for the governmental shutdown and debt crisis.”

Danny Schechter blogs daily at Newsdissector.net and edits Mediachannel.org

October 8, 2013

The most obvious and well-reported casualties of the last decade in program-slashing educational policy include traditional elective courses like art, music, and physical education. But these are not the only subjects being squeezed out or eliminated entirely from many public K-12 curriculums.

Social studies--a category that includes courses in history, geography, and civics--has also found itself on the chopping block. Whereas in the 1993-1994 school year students spent 9.5 percent of their time in social studies, by 2003-2004 that percentage had dropped to 7.6, despite an increase of total instructional time.

Why has a traditionally “core subject”, which was ranked in the same academic hierarchy as English, science, and math for decades, been sidelined in thousands of American classrooms?

The shift in curriculum began in the early years of the Cold War. While U.S. military and technological innovation brought World War II to a close, it was a later use of technology--the Soviet launching of Sputnik in 1957--that historian Thomas A. Bailey called the equivalent of a “psychological Pearl Harbor” for many Americans. It created deep feelings of inadequacy and a belief that the U.S. was falling behind in developing new technology and weapons, which led to the passage of the 1958 National Defense Education Act. This legislation pumped $1 billion over four years into math and science programs in both K-12 schools and universities.

Despite this extra focus on math and science, social studies managed to make it through the end of the Cold War relatively unscathed, in fact, the number of classroom hours dedicated to teaching social studies in grades 1-4 peaked in the 1993-1994 school year at 3 hours a week. But drastic change came a decade later with the passage of President George W. Bush’s ‘No Child Left Behind’ legislation.

No Child Left Behind was signed into law in an attempt to address the growing achievement gap between affluent and low-income students. It was a controversial piece of legislation from the start, mainly because of its “one size fits all’” approach: It uses annual standardized tests to determine how well students are performing in reading and math and then uses those scores to determine the amounts of federal funding schools receive.

Besides the obvious criticism that low-performing schools--arguably the ones that need the most increase in funding--are disproportionately punished for their low scores, critics also believe that No Child Left Behind has narrowed the curriculum. Since the standardized tests focus exclusively on English and math, and those scores determine the bulk of a school’s federal funding, schools have been forced to increase time and resources in these subjects at the expense of all others, including social studies.

A 2007 study from the Center of Education Policy supports this allegation: 62 percent of elementary schools, and more than 20 percent of middle schools, increased time for English language arts and/or math since No Child Left Behind passed.  At the same time, 36 percent of schools decreased the time allocated to the social studies. According to a study from the National Center for Education Statistics, this adds up to a net loss of four weeks of social studies instruction per academic year.

This devaluation of social studies as a core subject in the K-12 curriculum has troubling economic, political, and social implications. For one, social studies at all grade levels encourages students to develop skills in critical thinking--one of the top traits employers look for in a candidate. It also requires students become strong written and oral communicators who know how to structure and articulate their opinions. Unfortunately, a survey of employers done by the Chronicle of Higher Education found that these are the exact skills today’s entry-level workers are lacking. Without the skills gained from social studies, students are less attractive to employers.

Perhaps even more troubling, however, is that reducing students’ exposure to a solid curriculum in social studies leads to what a growing number of experts are calling a “civic achievement gap”. Closely related to the general achievement gap between affluent, mostly white students and low-income minority students, the civic achievement gap has made it increasingly difficult for those who grow up in low-income households to participate in civic affairs. According to data from Associate Professor Meira Levinson of Harvard University, people living in families with incomes under $15,000 voted at just over half the rate of those living in families with incomes over $75,000.

Many experts agree that a stronger curriculum in social studies could help close this gap.  A study from the Carnegie Corporation of New York found that students who receive effective education in social studies are more likely to vote, four times more likely to volunteer and work on community issues, and are generally more confident in their ability to communicate ideas with their elected representatives.

Fortunately, policymakers have begun to acknowledge the shortcomings of the recent decade of educational policy. “President Obama and I reject the notion that the social studies is a peripheral offering that can be cut from schools to meet [Adequate Yearly Progress] or to satisfy those wanting to save money during a fiscal crunch,” wrote U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in 2011 in Social Education, a journal published by the National Council for Social Studies. “Today more than ever, the social studies are not a luxury, but a necessity. We need to fix [No Child Left Behind] so that school leaders do not feel forced to ignore the vital components of a good education.”

While the Obama Administration has pledged to revisit certain components of No Child Left Behind, it has kept its fundamental model of high-stakes standardized testing with new programs such as Race to the Top and the Common Core State Standard Initiative. Like No Child Left Behind, both of these programs focus primarily on English and math.

It’s clear that something has to change when only one-third of Americans can name all three branches of government.

October 8, 2013

The most obvious and well-reported casualties of the last decade in program-slashing educational policy include traditional elective courses like art, music, and physical education. But these are not the only subjects being squeezed out or eliminated entirely from many public K-12 curriculums.

Social studies--a category that includes courses in history, geography, and civics--has also found itself on the chopping block. Whereas in the 1993-1994 school year students spent 9.5 percent of their time in social studies, by 2003-2004 that percentage had dropped to 7.6, despite an increase of total instructional time.

Why has a traditionally “core subject”, which was ranked in the same academic hierarchy as English, science, and math for decades, been sidelined in thousands of American classrooms?

The shift in curriculum began in the early years of the Cold War. While U.S. military and technological innovation brought World War II to a close, it was a later use of technology--the Soviet launching of Sputnik in 1957--that historian Thomas A. Bailey called the equivalent of a “psychological Pearl Harbor” for many Americans. It created deep feelings of inadequacy and a belief that the U.S. was falling behind in developing new technology and weapons, which led to the passage of the 1958 National Defense Education Act. This legislation pumped $1 billion over four years into math and science programs in both K-12 schools and universities.

Despite this extra focus on math and science, social studies managed to make it through the end of the Cold War relatively unscathed, in fact, the number of classroom hours dedicated to teaching social studies in grades 1-4 peaked in the 1993-1994 school year at 3 hours a week. But drastic change came a decade later with the passage of President George W. Bush’s ‘No Child Left Behind’ legislation.

No Child Left Behind was signed into law in an attempt to address the growing achievement gap between affluent and low-income students. It was a controversial piece of legislation from the start, mainly because of its “one size fits all’” approach: It uses annual standardized tests to determine how well students are performing in reading and math and then uses those scores to determine the amounts of federal funding schools receive.

Besides the obvious criticism that low-performing schools--arguably the ones that need the most increase in funding--are disproportionately punished for their low scores, critics also believe that No Child Left Behind has narrowed the curriculum. Since the standardized tests focus exclusively on English and math, and those scores determine the bulk of a school’s federal funding, schools have been forced to increase time and resources in these subjects at the expense of all others, including social studies.

A 2007 study from the Center of Education Policy supports this allegation: 62 percent of elementary schools, and more than 20 percent of middle schools, increased time for English language arts and/or math since No Child Left Behind passed.  At the same time, 36 percent of schools decreased the time allocated to the social studies. According to a study from the National Center for Education Statistics, this adds up to a net loss of four weeks of social studies instruction per academic year.

This devaluation of social studies as a core subject in the K-12 curriculum has troubling economic, political, and social implications. For one, social studies at all grade levels encourages students to develop skills in critical thinking--one of the top traits employers look for in a candidate. It also requires students become strong written and oral communicators who know how to structure and articulate their opinions. Unfortunately, a survey of employers done by the Chronicle of Higher Education found that these are the exact skills today’s entry-level workers are lacking. Without the skills gained from social studies, students are less attractive to employers.

Perhaps even more troubling, however, is that reducing students’ exposure to a solid curriculum in social studies leads to what a growing number of experts are calling a “civic achievement gap”. Closely related to the general achievement gap between affluent, mostly white students and low-income minority students, the civic achievement gap has made it increasingly difficult for those who grow up in low-income households to participate in civic affairs. According to data from Associate Professor Meira Levinson of Harvard University, people living in families with incomes under $15,000 voted at just over half the rate of those living in families with incomes over $75,000.

Many experts agree that a stronger curriculum in social studies could help close this gap.  A study from the Carnegie Corporation of New York found that students who receive effective education in social studies are more likely to vote, four times more likely to volunteer and work on community issues, and are generally more confident in their ability to communicate ideas with their elected representatives.

Fortunately, policymakers have begun to acknowledge the shortcomings of the recent decade of educational policy. “President Obama and I reject the notion that the social studies is a peripheral offering that can be cut from schools to meet [Adequate Yearly Progress] or to satisfy those wanting to save money during a fiscal crunch,” wrote U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in 2011 in Social Education, a journal published by the National Council for Social Studies. “Today more than ever, the social studies are not a luxury, but a necessity. We need to fix [No Child Left Behind] so that school leaders do not feel forced to ignore the vital components of a good education.”

While the Obama Administration has pledged to revisit certain components of No Child Left Behind, it has kept its fundamental model of high-stakes standardized testing with new programs such as Race to the Top and the Common Core State Standard Initiative. Like No Child Left Behind, both of these programs focus primarily on English and math.

It’s clear that something has to change when only one-third of Americans can name all three branches of government.

October 8, 2013

As the federal government shutdown emerges and the American workforce slowly comes to a halt, the question needs to be asked, “is America becoming Rome?”

The Roman Empire, a prodigious civilization, fell due to many reasons, decay of morals being number one. Corruption of politicians, the wealthy hoarding the wealth and political in-fighting were some of the major causes of its decline.

The government was constantly threatened by bankruptcy due to the cost of ‘defending’ the Empire and failing economics. Heavy taxation and high inflation along with debasing the Roman gold coinage, that followed a particularly long period of financial crisis, inaugurating the slow collapse of the economy, can be compared to America.  Much of the gold that was being spent by the Romans went to pay for luxury items and was kept among the affluent. This meant that there was less gold coins in use. As the amount of gold used in coins decreased, the coin became less valuable. To make up for the loss in value, merchants raised the prices on the goods they sold. Many people stopped using coins. The American economy is inundated with the use of credit/debit cards, the use of legal tender is declining.

The Empire saw many examples of antagonism between the Senators and the Emperors. Either the Senators didn't like the Emperor or the Emperor was at odds with the Senators. The current situation is the result of antagonism among Senators, Congressmen and the President.

Constant wars and heavy military spending was a contributing factor. The Roman army became over-stretched and needed more and more soldiers.

The use of cheap slave labor drove the unemployment of the working classes, the ordinary citizens of Rome became dependent on hand-outs from the state. The similarity is the rise in outsourcing American jobs to other countries along with hiring foreign workers that work for less compensation.

There were also natural disasters such as plagues, famines and earthquakes.

Much of the architecture of US government buildings and practices such as swearing of oaths before taking office reflect Roman culture. The American icon, the eagle, was the symbol of the Roman state. His Eminence Sheikh Gillani teaches, when you emulate a people you become like those people.

October 8, 2013

As the federal government shutdown emerges and the American workforce slowly comes to a halt, the question needs to be asked, “is America becoming Rome?”

The Roman Empire, a prodigious civilization, fell due to many reasons, decay of morals being number one. Corruption of politicians, the wealthy hoarding the wealth and political in-fighting were some of the major causes of its decline.

The government was constantly threatened by bankruptcy due to the cost of ‘defending’ the Empire and failing economics. Heavy taxation and high inflation along with debasing the Roman gold coinage, that followed a particularly long period of financial crisis, inaugurating the slow collapse of the economy, can be compared to America.  Much of the gold that was being spent by the Romans went to pay for luxury items and was kept among the affluent. This meant that there was less gold coins in use. As the amount of gold used in coins decreased, the coin became less valuable. To make up for the loss in value, merchants raised the prices on the goods they sold. Many people stopped using coins. The American economy is inundated with the use of credit/debit cards, the use of legal tender is declining.

The Empire saw many examples of antagonism between the Senators and the Emperors. Either the Senators didn't like the Emperor or the Emperor was at odds with the Senators. The current situation is the result of antagonism among Senators, Congressmen and the President.

Constant wars and heavy military spending was a contributing factor. The Roman army became over-stretched and needed more and more soldiers.

The use of cheap slave labor drove the unemployment of the working classes, the ordinary citizens of Rome became dependent on hand-outs from the state. The similarity is the rise in outsourcing American jobs to other countries along with hiring foreign workers that work for less compensation.

There were also natural disasters such as plagues, famines and earthquakes.

Much of the architecture of US government buildings and practices such as swearing of oaths before taking office reflect Roman culture. The American icon, the eagle, was the symbol of the Roman state. His Eminence Sheikh Gillani teaches, when you emulate a people you become like those people.

October 6, 2013

The US government shutdown, the first in 18 years , the result of the failure of Congress to reach agreement on the Federal budget that funds all government services, functions, departments and branches (including the military) and funding of innumerable programs is gradually engaging. It means that national parks will close, most routine food inspections will be suspended, paperwork will slow at government offices and many federal employees will be furloughed.

Only emergency and essential items would be able to operate, as a result of which lakhs of government employees would not receive their salary for the duration of the government shutdown.

Senator Ben Cardin alleged that the Republicans have manufactured a crisis that will cost taxpayers even more money while inconveniencing, if not harming, individuals, families and businesses across the country.

The partial shutdown of the federal government has seen more than 800,000 federal workers  furloughed, and numerous governmental programs have been forced to stop running. For example, the government shutdown has already caused as many as 19,000 children to lose access to Head Start. Many recipients of Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, more commonly known as WIC, will lose assistance as reported by Democracy Now.  The host Amy Goodman revealed that “the federal government shutdown began on Tuesday, October 1st, the same day a key facet of President Obama’s healthcare law went live nationwide. For the first time, Americans were able to begin purchasing health insurance from federal and state exchanges. Nearly three million people visited the federal website healthcare.gov, while New York’s state site claimed it had more than 10 million hits.”

“Meanwhile, The New York Times reported the new healthcare law will leave out two-thirds of the nation’s poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the nation’s low-wage workers who don’t have insurance because they they live in states largely controlled by Republicans who have declined to participate in a vast expansion of Medicaid.”

President Obama met with Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress to try to end the deadlock, but there was no breakthrough.

Republicans, led by the tea party wing, have tried to tie continued government funding to measures that would undercut the Affordable Care Act. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid accused Republicans of trying to hold the president hostage over "Obamacare."

The more extreme elements in the Republican party on Capitol Hill are dead adamant regarding the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and have resorted to a political checkmate.

The ramifications of the stoppage of government funds on businesses in the US and abroad remains to be seen, with the president suggesting a meeting with business leaders soon.  Democracy Now guest Imara Jones, an economist who worked for the Clinton White House added a grave but real scenario: “One of the other interesting parts of the story is that the federal government is the largest employer in the United States. And regardless of whether or not one is furloughed or at work, you’re not receiving a paycheck. That means that two million families are not receiving pay. Because of unionization and anti-discriminatory laws, people of color are overrepresented in government jobs. That’s true for the federal government. There are more people of color in the federal workforce as a whole than the broader workforce. And so, what this means is that the employment crisis in communities of color, the economic crisis in communities of color, is accentuated and exacerbated and extended by this shutdown.

October 6, 2013

The US government shutdown, the first in 18 years , the result of the failure of Congress to reach agreement on the Federal budget that funds all government services, functions, departments and branches (including the military) and funding of innumerable programs is gradually engaging. It means that national parks will close, most routine food inspections will be suspended, paperwork will slow at government offices and many federal employees will be furloughed.

Only emergency and essential items would be able to operate, as a result of which lakhs of government employees would not receive their salary for the duration of the government shutdown.

Senator Ben Cardin alleged that the Republicans have manufactured a crisis that will cost taxpayers even more money while inconveniencing, if not harming, individuals, families and businesses across the country.

The partial shutdown of the federal government has seen more than 800,000 federal workers  furloughed, and numerous governmental programs have been forced to stop running. For example, the government shutdown has already caused as many as 19,000 children to lose access to Head Start. Many recipients of Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, more commonly known as WIC, will lose assistance as reported by Democracy Now.  The host Amy Goodman revealed that “the federal government shutdown began on Tuesday, October 1st, the same day a key facet of President Obama’s healthcare law went live nationwide. For the first time, Americans were able to begin purchasing health insurance from federal and state exchanges. Nearly three million people visited the federal website healthcare.gov, while New York’s state site claimed it had more than 10 million hits.”

“Meanwhile, The New York Times reported the new healthcare law will leave out two-thirds of the nation’s poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the nation’s low-wage workers who don’t have insurance because they they live in states largely controlled by Republicans who have declined to participate in a vast expansion of Medicaid.”

President Obama met with Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress to try to end the deadlock, but there was no breakthrough.

Republicans, led by the tea party wing, have tried to tie continued government funding to measures that would undercut the Affordable Care Act. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid accused Republicans of trying to hold the president hostage over "Obamacare."

The more extreme elements in the Republican party on Capitol Hill are dead adamant regarding the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and have resorted to a political checkmate.

The ramifications of the stoppage of government funds on businesses in the US and abroad remains to be seen, with the president suggesting a meeting with business leaders soon.  Democracy Now guest Imara Jones, an economist who worked for the Clinton White House added a grave but real scenario: “One of the other interesting parts of the story is that the federal government is the largest employer in the United States. And regardless of whether or not one is furloughed or at work, you’re not receiving a paycheck. That means that two million families are not receiving pay. Because of unionization and anti-discriminatory laws, people of color are overrepresented in government jobs. That’s true for the federal government. There are more people of color in the federal workforce as a whole than the broader workforce. And so, what this means is that the employment crisis in communities of color, the economic crisis in communities of color, is accentuated and exacerbated and extended by this shutdown.

October 4, 2013

Israel’s consistently rogue refusal to comply with any international  mandate ( in particular, signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty against producing nuclear weapons) that it has been issued since its inception has once again been broached on the international forum.  

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani requested that Israel be compelled to sign and become a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), as he spoke for a second time at the United Nations General Assembly. “As long as nuclear weapons exist, the threat of their use exists,” Rouhani said, citing the American bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Rouhani  called for a “nuclear-free zone” in the Middle East. Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has not and will not sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Israel would use nuclear weapons if it felt it was threatened by any nation in the Middle East.

The nuclear capability of Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) defensive capabilities just reached another plateau this past April. It purchased its 5th nuclear submarine that can be deployed anywhere in the world with first strike capability. The Israel News Agency reported that Israel purchased a fifth Dolphin class submarine called the “INS Rahav” from Germany. In the article headlined “Israel Launches Ninth Submarine, Ready To Strike Iran Nuclear Weapons,” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “The submarines are a strong, strategic tool for the IDF. The State of Israel is ready to act anytime, anywhere – on land, sea and air – in order to ensure the security of Israel’s citizens.”

The submarines are equipped with Israeli-designed Popeye missiles that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads, and it is no secret that Israel has nuclear weapons. Some estimates suggest that Israel has between 100 and 400 nuclear weapons.

Mordechai Vanunu, a former Israeli technician at the Dimona nuclear research center in the Negev desert, exposed Israel’s nuclear program to the world in the 1986 Sunday Times (UK). The Times report cited that Vanunu was kidnapped in Italy by Mossad agents and brought to Israel to face an Israeli court. He was convicted and imprisoned for more than 18 years at Shikma Prison in Ashkelon, Israel. Half of his prison term was in solitary confinement. He was eventually released in 2004. Since then, Vanunu has been arrested and even imprisoned for violating his parole. He was also arrested for trying to leave Israel at one time. Former Israeli Prime Minister and Noble Peace

Prize winner Shimon Peres said “he was a traitor to this country”.

Since Israel is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Dimona Nuclear Research center is not subject to inspections from the international community such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). According to the Federation of American Scientists in a 2007 report, Israel has between 75 and 400 nuclear warheads, but some estimates have their  nuclear warheads at less than 200. It is also known that Israel has the ability to deliver them by intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a range of 5,500 kilometers or 3,400 miles, the Jericho III missile named after the biblical city of Jericho, various aircrafts and of course submarines.

The report stated the following:

“By the late 1990s, the U.S. Intelligence Community estimated that Israel possessed between 75-130 weapons, based on production estimates. The stockpile would certainly include warheads for mobile Jericho-1 and Jericho-2 missiles, as well as bombs for Israeli aircraft, and may include other tactical nuclear weapons of various types. Some published estimates even claimed that Israel might have as many as 400 nuclear weapons by the late 1990s. Stockpiled plutonium could be used to build additional weapons if so decided”

Israel’s nuclear program began after World War II. David Ben-Gurion wanted to establish a Jewish State with a military force that would repel an attack by any of its adversaries, especially in the Arab world.

Ben-Gurion’s speech to the elected assembly of Palestine Jews on October 2nd, 1947 made it clear on the intentions of a new Jewish state:

“Political developments have swept us on to a momentous parting of the ways – from Mandate to independence. Today, beyond our ceaseless work in immigration, settlement and campaign, we are set three blazing tasks, whereof fulfillment will condition our perpetuity: defense, a Jewish State and Arab-Jewish Cupertino, in that order of importance and urgency. Security is our chief problem.

Between the years of 1955 and 2007 more than 130 United Nations Resolutions have been issued against Israel related to injustices perpetrated against the Palestinian people which were all abjectly ignored by Israel.  Among these are Security Council Resolution 242, Nov. 22, 1967 , which declared the occupation of Palestine illegal, Security Council Resolution 446, March 22, 1979, which declared Israeli settlements in Palestine illegal. There has been no action on the part of the UN to bring Israel to book and conform to its mandates, including, as the Iranian president insisted, declaring its Nuclear arsenal. Iran has endured years of sanctions and has no nuclear weapons.

October 4, 2013

Israel’s consistently rogue refusal to comply with any international  mandate ( in particular, signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty against producing nuclear weapons) that it has been issued since its inception has once again been broached on the international forum.  

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani requested that Israel be compelled to sign and become a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), as he spoke for a second time at the United Nations General Assembly. “As long as nuclear weapons exist, the threat of their use exists,” Rouhani said, citing the American bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Rouhani  called for a “nuclear-free zone” in the Middle East. Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has not and will not sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Israel would use nuclear weapons if it felt it was threatened by any nation in the Middle East.

The nuclear capability of Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) defensive capabilities just reached another plateau this past April. It purchased its 5th nuclear submarine that can be deployed anywhere in the world with first strike capability. The Israel News Agency reported that Israel purchased a fifth Dolphin class submarine called the “INS Rahav” from Germany. In the article headlined “Israel Launches Ninth Submarine, Ready To Strike Iran Nuclear Weapons,” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “The submarines are a strong, strategic tool for the IDF. The State of Israel is ready to act anytime, anywhere – on land, sea and air – in order to ensure the security of Israel’s citizens.”

The submarines are equipped with Israeli-designed Popeye missiles that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads, and it is no secret that Israel has nuclear weapons. Some estimates suggest that Israel has between 100 and 400 nuclear weapons.

Mordechai Vanunu, a former Israeli technician at the Dimona nuclear research center in the Negev desert, exposed Israel’s nuclear program to the world in the 1986 Sunday Times (UK). The Times report cited that Vanunu was kidnapped in Italy by Mossad agents and brought to Israel to face an Israeli court. He was convicted and imprisoned for more than 18 years at Shikma Prison in Ashkelon, Israel. Half of his prison term was in solitary confinement. He was eventually released in 2004. Since then, Vanunu has been arrested and even imprisoned for violating his parole. He was also arrested for trying to leave Israel at one time. Former Israeli Prime Minister and Noble Peace

Prize winner Shimon Peres said “he was a traitor to this country”.

Since Israel is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Dimona Nuclear Research center is not subject to inspections from the international community such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). According to the Federation of American Scientists in a 2007 report, Israel has between 75 and 400 nuclear warheads, but some estimates have their  nuclear warheads at less than 200. It is also known that Israel has the ability to deliver them by intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a range of 5,500 kilometers or 3,400 miles, the Jericho III missile named after the biblical city of Jericho, various aircrafts and of course submarines.

The report stated the following:

“By the late 1990s, the U.S. Intelligence Community estimated that Israel possessed between 75-130 weapons, based on production estimates. The stockpile would certainly include warheads for mobile Jericho-1 and Jericho-2 missiles, as well as bombs for Israeli aircraft, and may include other tactical nuclear weapons of various types. Some published estimates even claimed that Israel might have as many as 400 nuclear weapons by the late 1990s. Stockpiled plutonium could be used to build additional weapons if so decided”

Israel’s nuclear program began after World War II. David Ben-Gurion wanted to establish a Jewish State with a military force that would repel an attack by any of its adversaries, especially in the Arab world.

Ben-Gurion’s speech to the elected assembly of Palestine Jews on October 2nd, 1947 made it clear on the intentions of a new Jewish state:

“Political developments have swept us on to a momentous parting of the ways – from Mandate to independence. Today, beyond our ceaseless work in immigration, settlement and campaign, we are set three blazing tasks, whereof fulfillment will condition our perpetuity: defense, a Jewish State and Arab-Jewish Cupertino, in that order of importance and urgency. Security is our chief problem.

Between the years of 1955 and 2007 more than 130 United Nations Resolutions have been issued against Israel related to injustices perpetrated against the Palestinian people which were all abjectly ignored by Israel.  Among these are Security Council Resolution 242, Nov. 22, 1967 , which declared the occupation of Palestine illegal, Security Council Resolution 446, March 22, 1979, which declared Israeli settlements in Palestine illegal. There has been no action on the part of the UN to bring Israel to book and conform to its mandates, including, as the Iranian president insisted, declaring its Nuclear arsenal. Iran has endured years of sanctions and has no nuclear weapons.

September 30, 2013

Is there a correlation between pitocin and Autism?  Researchers at Duke University are now putting the pieces together.  They say that evidence points to pitocin, as a possible cause of Autism.    The use of pitocin to induce labor has been steadily climbing for the past 20 years- about the same time period as the increase in Autism has been reported.    In 1992, a survey by the medical anthropologists at the University of Texas found that 81% of women in U.S hospitals receive pitocin to either induce labor or augment labor.  Currently, public health authorities have identified an enormous increase in the incidences of childhood Autism.  In California, the number of kids receiving state services for autistic disorder has nearly quadrupled since 1987.   The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say they feel that pitocin may cause serious health concerns for the newborn.

So what is pitocin and what is its origin?  In 1953, the Parke-Davis pharmaceutical company developed the drug, which is a synthetic substance that mimics the natural hormone oxytocin.  The body makes oxytocin naturally, and is produced during breast feeding (causing the letdown of milk), and during company and privacy, it is produced by men and women.  It aids in emotional bonding and social interactions.  The artificial oxytocin substance called pitocin, comes from the pituitary glands of cattle and is a widely used drug, used during labor and delivery.    There is  nationwide and worldwide pitocin abuse, with the rate of Autism climbing right along beside it.  Remember -  there are side effects to all pharmaceutical drugs.  Here are 18 reasons to avoid pitocin.  These are warnings from the manufactures themselves, to the public, about their product:

 

18. Pitocin, just like any drug, can cause a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which causes hives, difficulty breathing and swallowing, heart palpitations, and can lead to death.

17. There is an increased risk of postpartum hemorrhage after Pitocin-augmented births.

16. Pitocin can disrupt the normal heartbeat of the mother, causing reactions such as cardiac arrhythmia or premature ventricular contractions, a condition where the person experiences irregular or ‘skipped’ heartbeats and/or palpitations.

15. Another risk of Pitocin is pelvic hematoma, a blood clot or even larger area of blood in the soft tissue of the pelvis.

14. Pitocin has an antidiuretic effect on the body, meaning it increases the absorption of water. This leads to the risk of water intoxication, especially when there are additional fluids such as saline in the IV or lots of water to drink. There have been cases of women suffering severe cases, including coma and even death, during pitocin-induced labor.

13. Pitocin can cause a hypertensive episode in the mother. This basically means a sudden surge in blood pressure, and if the elevation is severe enough, it can cause a heart attack or stroke.

12. Fatal afibrinogenemia is another listed side effect of Pitocin. In everyday language, this translates to slow, uncontrollable bleeding that results in death.

11. Women have died from uncontrolled high blood pressure, bleeding on the brain, water intoxication, hemorrhage, and uterine rupture after the use of Pitocin during the first and second stages of labor.

10. There have been no studies to examine the carcinogenicity or mutagenicity of Pitocin. In layman’s terms, we have no idea if this drug causes cancer or causes cells to change in any way.

9. We have no idea what kind of effect Pitocin has on a woman’s future fertility, let alone the fertility of her newborn baby.

8. The deaths of babies, for a variety of reasons, have been associated with the use of Pitocin during labor.

7. Pitocin has been associated with heart problems in the newborn, such as bradycardia (slow heartbeat), premature ventricular contractions, and other arrhythmias.

6. Cases of permanent damage to the newborn’s brain or central nervous system have been documented as a result of Pitocin-induced births {could they have conveniently left out the illness by the name of Autism here}.

5. Pitocin during labor is associated with low scores on the five minute Apgar test, the newborn exam that looks at alertness, respiratory, and circulatory health.

4. Retinal hemorrhage, a common symptom of shaken baby syndrome, can be caused by the physical force of a Pitocin-induced birth.

3. Increased risk of newborn jaundice is associated with Pitocin.

2. Hypertonic (excessively strong) contractions, and tetanic (prolonged) contractions are some of the most common side effects of Pitocin overdose. If the contractions are coming so fast that there’s no resting time in between, the dose is too high. And this leads to my number 1 reason to say no to this drug, because it seems that far too often, an inappropriately high dosage is given.

1. Overdose of Pitocin is characterized by an even more frightening list of symptoms, including cervical and vaginal lacerations, deceleration of the baby’s heart rate, postpartum hemorrhage, fetal hypoxia (oxygen deprivation), and even organ failure and death in the mother or baby.

 

There are always risks involved when we interrupt the natural flow of childbirth. Many doctors feel nothing should be administered during childbirth, because it could damage the fetus.  The list of dangerous and fatal complications from using pitocin is very long.  New findings suggest pitocin causes Autism.  Is it possible that flooding the immature body of a fetus (especially boys) with gender-specific synthetic hormones from animals, could somehow interfere with the functions of their psychological systems?  We really  need to think about this.  Also interesting to note is that in the early 1990’s, the Midwife Alliance of North America (MANA) embarked upon a statistical study, which spanned 20 years. They used nationally certified professional midwives.  They compiled statistics on 15,000 births.  All of the births were unmedicated during labor, and surprisingly - none of the children were Autistic. So - does the use of Pitocin cause….Autism?

September 30, 2013

Is there a correlation between pitocin and Autism?  Researchers at Duke University are now putting the pieces together.  They say that evidence points to pitocin, as a possible cause of Autism.    The use of pitocin to induce labor has been steadily climbing for the past 20 years- about the same time period as the increase in Autism has been reported.    In 1992, a survey by the medical anthropologists at the University of Texas found that 81% of women in U.S hospitals receive pitocin to either induce labor or augment labor.  Currently, public health authorities have identified an enormous increase in the incidences of childhood Autism.  In California, the number of kids receiving state services for autistic disorder has nearly quadrupled since 1987.   The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say they feel that pitocin may cause serious health concerns for the newborn.

So what is pitocin and what is its origin?  In 1953, the Parke-Davis pharmaceutical company developed the drug, which is a synthetic substance that mimics the natural hormone oxytocin.  The body makes oxytocin naturally, and is produced during breast feeding (causing the letdown of milk), and during company and privacy, it is produced by men and women.  It aids in emotional bonding and social interactions.  The artificial oxytocin substance called pitocin, comes from the pituitary glands of cattle and is a widely used drug, used during labor and delivery.    There is  nationwide and worldwide pitocin abuse, with the rate of Autism climbing right along beside it.  Remember -  there are side effects to all pharmaceutical drugs.  Here are 18 reasons to avoid pitocin.  These are warnings from the manufactures themselves, to the public, about their product:

 

18. Pitocin, just like any drug, can cause a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which causes hives, difficulty breathing and swallowing, heart palpitations, and can lead to death.

17. There is an increased risk of postpartum hemorrhage after Pitocin-augmented births.

16. Pitocin can disrupt the normal heartbeat of the mother, causing reactions such as cardiac arrhythmia or premature ventricular contractions, a condition where the person experiences irregular or ‘skipped’ heartbeats and/or palpitations.

15. Another risk of Pitocin is pelvic hematoma, a blood clot or even larger area of blood in the soft tissue of the pelvis.

14. Pitocin has an antidiuretic effect on the body, meaning it increases the absorption of water. This leads to the risk of water intoxication, especially when there are additional fluids such as saline in the IV or lots of water to drink. There have been cases of women suffering severe cases, including coma and even death, during pitocin-induced labor.

13. Pitocin can cause a hypertensive episode in the mother. This basically means a sudden surge in blood pressure, and if the elevation is severe enough, it can cause a heart attack or stroke.

12. Fatal afibrinogenemia is another listed side effect of Pitocin. In everyday language, this translates to slow, uncontrollable bleeding that results in death.

11. Women have died from uncontrolled high blood pressure, bleeding on the brain, water intoxication, hemorrhage, and uterine rupture after the use of Pitocin during the first and second stages of labor.

10. There have been no studies to examine the carcinogenicity or mutagenicity of Pitocin. In layman’s terms, we have no idea if this drug causes cancer or causes cells to change in any way.

9. We have no idea what kind of effect Pitocin has on a woman’s future fertility, let alone the fertility of her newborn baby.

8. The deaths of babies, for a variety of reasons, have been associated with the use of Pitocin during labor.

7. Pitocin has been associated with heart problems in the newborn, such as bradycardia (slow heartbeat), premature ventricular contractions, and other arrhythmias.

6. Cases of permanent damage to the newborn’s brain or central nervous system have been documented as a result of Pitocin-induced births {could they have conveniently left out the illness by the name of Autism here}.

5. Pitocin during labor is associated with low scores on the five minute Apgar test, the newborn exam that looks at alertness, respiratory, and circulatory health.

4. Retinal hemorrhage, a common symptom of shaken baby syndrome, can be caused by the physical force of a Pitocin-induced birth.

3. Increased risk of newborn jaundice is associated with Pitocin.

2. Hypertonic (excessively strong) contractions, and tetanic (prolonged) contractions are some of the most common side effects of Pitocin overdose. If the contractions are coming so fast that there’s no resting time in between, the dose is too high. And this leads to my number 1 reason to say no to this drug, because it seems that far too often, an inappropriately high dosage is given.

1. Overdose of Pitocin is characterized by an even more frightening list of symptoms, including cervical and vaginal lacerations, deceleration of the baby’s heart rate, postpartum hemorrhage, fetal hypoxia (oxygen deprivation), and even organ failure and death in the mother or baby.

 

There are always risks involved when we interrupt the natural flow of childbirth. Many doctors feel nothing should be administered during childbirth, because it could damage the fetus.  The list of dangerous and fatal complications from using pitocin is very long.  New findings suggest pitocin causes Autism.  Is it possible that flooding the immature body of a fetus (especially boys) with gender-specific synthetic hormones from animals, could somehow interfere with the functions of their psychological systems?  We really  need to think about this.  Also interesting to note is that in the early 1990’s, the Midwife Alliance of North America (MANA) embarked upon a statistical study, which spanned 20 years. They used nationally certified professional midwives.  They compiled statistics on 15,000 births.  All of the births were unmedicated during labor, and surprisingly - none of the children were Autistic. So - does the use of Pitocin cause….Autism?

September 19, 2013

Contact: Matthew Gardner

Phone: (434) 825-2283

Email: public.relations@iqou-moa.org

 

(Washington, DC) Muslims throughout the United States of America condemn the use of chemical warfare on the people of Syria as inhumane, emphasizing that no government should be allowed to use them. For this reason, we appeal to the Secretary General of the United Nations to demonstrate equal concern about the weapons of mass destruction that have been manufactured in the U.S. for the purpose of killing American Muslims. In June 2013, two men, Glen Scott Crawford, a G.E. employee, and his only named accomplice Eric Feight were arrested in Albany, New York after being charged with “conspiracy to provide material support, or resources, intending that they be used in preparation for, or in carrying out… a weapon of mass destruction”, said the criminal complaint. The pair built a “radiation-emitting device that could be placed in the back of a van to covertly emit ionizing radiation…”. The device was designed to target and eliminate Muslims, in America and outside, with an X-ray gun intended to be worse than Hiroshima.

 

We demand the United Nations immediately send inspectors to the U.S. to examine the weapon, as the pair was already successful in testing the remote triggering device. How many weapons have been built? How many additional suspects need apprehending? An FBI affidavit identified as many as eight accomplices who have remained unnamed with no arrests.

 

Over three months ago, USA Today reported that the federal authorities uncovered the builders of the lethal X-ray device were “allegedly planning to build a mobile X-ray weapon to kill Muslims and other "enemies of Israel". Three months after initial arrests, no further action been taken. Will American Muslims suffer the same fate as the people of Syria? Will Muslims be attacked in their own country? American Muslims fully endorse swift action against all forms of weapons of mass destruction and implore the international community to recognize this viable threat to the safety and peace of citizens of the United States of America.

 

The danger is apparently still great for all Muslims living in America under threat of use of this weapon of mass destruction for which the number of weapons manufactured is still unknown. The Muslims of America, Inc. (TMOA) have suffered escalating attacks against their residential properties and residents since the launching of a defamation lawsuit against the extremist group Christian Action Network (CAN) and its president Martin Mawyer related to release of an inflammatory book. Based in Hancock, New York, The Muslims of America have reported to law enforcement the appearance of intruders on several properties across the country including the states of Virginia, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee and Georgia. In New York, days before the Crawford and Feight arrests, residents identified intruders with heavy Eastern European accents, possibly Russian Jews, who drove onto the property in a van with strange, partially hidden and mounted equipment. In Texas, a man drove past TMOA property for hours, harassed neighbors for information and then trespassed before being stopped by the Muslim residents. The Texas trespasser’s vehicle was registered to a man connected to the Himeni Ministries, a Christian Zionist Church and Act for America!, a known anti-Islam organization. In South Carolina, during a Ladies Summer Program, multiple incidents were reported of suspicious persons posing as salesman descending on the homes of Muslim residents’ homes. In addition, shots fired upon the property prompted a meeting with FBI and local law enforcement to warn about the growing danger as shown in the increased incidents of hate crimes against the TMOA community across the country. In Virginia, thirteen shots rang out in the dark of night endangering innocent men, women and children as the assailants fired into the TMOA sign on the property. Nevertheless, unchecked by law enforcement, dangerous front organizations continue to spread Islamophobic propaganda while publicly posturing as enemies of Islam, but who are in actuality, the real enemies of America. Unfortunately, as good citizens, when these incidents of violence are brought to the attention of the authorities, it is claimed there is no evidence to arrest the perpetrators.

 

We, American Muslims, demand justice and protection. We assert there is no blame on the American government nor the American people for these front organizations who are promoting fear and Islamophobia as a tool in their aim to destroy America by using the American people, American money, and the blood of innocent Americans to fight their wars -proxy wars. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, yet who were among the thousands killed - it was Americans’ citizens, Muslims and Christians alike, who lost their lives in the devastating proxy war in Iraq. Americans, be they Muslim or Christian, all are suffering due to them.
 

As America takes up the just cause of eliminating chemical warfare being used against the Syrian people, we beseech the international community to turn its attention to the weapons of mass destruction already manufactured to be used right here against innocent Americans.

 

 

 

 

Hon. K. Hussein Adams

President

 

Hon. Khadijah Smith

Vice President

 

Hon. Khadija A. Salaam

Treasurer

September 19, 2013

Contact: Matthew Gardner

Phone: (434) 825-2283

Email: public.relations@iqou-moa.org

 

(Washington, DC) Muslims throughout the United States of America condemn the use of chemical warfare on the people of Syria as inhumane, emphasizing that no government should be allowed to use them. For this reason, we appeal to the Secretary General of the United Nations to demonstrate equal concern about the weapons of mass destruction that have been manufactured in the U.S. for the purpose of killing American Muslims. In June 2013, two men, Glen Scott Crawford, a G.E. employee, and his only named accomplice Eric Feight were arrested in Albany, New York after being charged with “conspiracy to provide material support, or resources, intending that they be used in preparation for, or in carrying out… a weapon of mass destruction”, said the criminal complaint. The pair built a “radiation-emitting device that could be placed in the back of a van to covertly emit ionizing radiation…”. The device was designed to target and eliminate Muslims, in America and outside, with an X-ray gun intended to be worse than Hiroshima.

 

We demand the United Nations immediately send inspectors to the U.S. to examine the weapon, as the pair was already successful in testing the remote triggering device. How many weapons have been built? How many additional suspects need apprehending? An FBI affidavit identified as many as eight accomplices who have remained unnamed with no arrests.

 

Over three months ago, USA Today reported that the federal authorities uncovered the builders of the lethal X-ray device were “allegedly planning to build a mobile X-ray weapon to kill Muslims and other "enemies of Israel". Three months after initial arrests, no further action been taken. Will American Muslims suffer the same fate as the people of Syria? Will Muslims be attacked in their own country? American Muslims fully endorse swift action against all forms of weapons of mass destruction and implore the international community to recognize this viable threat to the safety and peace of citizens of the United States of America.

 

The danger is apparently still great for all Muslims living in America under threat of use of this weapon of mass destruction for which the number of weapons manufactured is still unknown. The Muslims of America, Inc. (TMOA) have suffered escalating attacks against their residential properties and residents since the launching of a defamation lawsuit against the extremist group Christian Action Network (CAN) and its president Martin Mawyer related to release of an inflammatory book. Based in Hancock, New York, The Muslims of America have reported to law enforcement the appearance of intruders on several properties across the country including the states of Virginia, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee and Georgia. In New York, days before the Crawford and Feight arrests, residents identified intruders with heavy Eastern European accents, possibly Russian Jews, who drove onto the property in a van with strange, partially hidden and mounted equipment. In Texas, a man drove past TMOA property for hours, harassed neighbors for information and then trespassed before being stopped by the Muslim residents. The Texas trespasser’s vehicle was registered to a man connected to the Himeni Ministries, a Christian Zionist Church and Act for America!, a known anti-Islam organization. In South Carolina, during a Ladies Summer Program, multiple incidents were reported of suspicious persons posing as salesman descending on the homes of Muslim residents’ homes. In addition, shots fired upon the property prompted a meeting with FBI and local law enforcement to warn about the growing danger as shown in the increased incidents of hate crimes against the TMOA community across the country. In Virginia, thirteen shots rang out in the dark of night endangering innocent men, women and children as the assailants fired into the TMOA sign on the property. Nevertheless, unchecked by law enforcement, dangerous front organizations continue to spread Islamophobic propaganda while publicly posturing as enemies of Islam, but who are in actuality, the real enemies of America. Unfortunately, as good citizens, when these incidents of violence are brought to the attention of the authorities, it is claimed there is no evidence to arrest the perpetrators.

 

We, American Muslims, demand justice and protection. We assert there is no blame on the American government nor the American people for these front organizations who are promoting fear and Islamophobia as a tool in their aim to destroy America by using the American people, American money, and the blood of innocent Americans to fight their wars -proxy wars. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, yet who were among the thousands killed - it was Americans’ citizens, Muslims and Christians alike, who lost their lives in the devastating proxy war in Iraq. Americans, be they Muslim or Christian, all are suffering due to them.
 

As America takes up the just cause of eliminating chemical warfare being used against the Syrian people, we beseech the international community to turn its attention to the weapons of mass destruction already manufactured to be used right here against innocent Americans.

 

 

 

 

Hon. K. Hussein Adams

President

 

Hon. Khadijah Smith

Vice President

 

Hon. Khadija A. Salaam

Treasurer

August 23, 2013

Berkeley, United States - President Barack Obama recently stated the United States was not taking sides as Egypt's crisis came to a head with the military overthrow of the democratically elected president. But a review of dozens of US federal government documents shows Washington has quietly funded senior Egyptian opposition figures who called for toppling of the country's now-deposed president Mohamed Morsi. Documents obtained by the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley show the US channeled funding through a State Department programme to promote democracy in the Middle East region. This programme vigorously supported activists and politicians who have fomented unrest in Egypt, after autocratic president Hosni Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising in February 2011. The State Department's program, dubbed by US officials as a "democracy assistance" initiative, is part of a wider Obama administration effort to try to stop the retreat of pro-Washington secularists, and to win back influence in Arab Spring countries that saw the rise of Islamists, who largely oppose US interests in the Middle East. Activists bankrolled by the program include an exiled Egyptian police officer Omar Afifi Soliman, who plotted the violent overthrow of the Morsi government, Esraa Abdel-Fatah an anti-Islamist politician who advocated closing mosques and dragging preachers out by force, as well as a coterie of opposition politicians who pushed for the ouster of the country's first democratically elected leader, government documents show. Information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, interviews, and public records reveal Washington's "democracy assistance" may have violated Egyptian law, which prohibits foreign political funding. It may also have broken US government regulations that ban the use of taxpayers' money to fund foreign politicians, or finance subversive activities that target democratically elected governments. 'Bureau for Democracy' Washington's democracy assistance program for the Middle East is filtered through a pyramid of agencies within the State Department. Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars is channeled through the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL), The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), USAID, as well as the Washington-based, quasi-governmental organisation the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). In turn, those groups re-route money to other organisations such as the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and Freedom House, among others. Federal documents show these groups have sent funds to certain organisations in Egypt, mostly run by senior members of anti-Morsi political parties who double as NGO activists. The Middle East Partnership Initiative - launched by the George W. Bush administration in 2002, in a bid to influence politics in the Middle East in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, has spent close to $900m on democracy projects across the region, a federal grants database shows. USAID manages about $1.4bn annually in the Middle East, with nearly $390m designated for democracy promotion, according to the Washington-based Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED). The US government doesn't issue figures on democracy spending per country, but Stephen McInerney, POMED's executive director, estimated that Washington spent some $65m in 2011 and $25m in 2012. He said he expects a similar amount paid out this year. A main conduit for channeling the State Department's democracy funds to Egypt has been the National Endowment for Democracy. Federal documents show NED, which in 2011 was authorised an annual budget of $118m by Congress, funneled at least $120,000 over several years to an exiled Egyptian police officer who has for years incited violence in his native country. This appears to be in direct contradiction to its Congressional mandate, which clearly states NED is to engage only in "peaceful" political change overseas. Exiled policeman Colonel Omar Afifi Soliman - who served in Egypt's elite investigative police unit, notorious for human rights abuses - began receiving NED funds in 2008 for at least four years. During that time he and his followers targeted Mubarak's government, and Soliman later followed the same tactics against the military rulers who briefly replaced him. Most recently Soliman set his sights on Morsi's government. Soliman, who has refugee status in the US, was sentenced in absentia last year for five years imprisonment by a Cairo court for his role in inciting violence in 2011 against the embassies of Israel and Saudi Arabia, two US allies. He also used social media to encourage violent attacks against Egyptian officials, according to court documents and a review of his social media posts. US Internal Revenue Service documents reveal that NED paid tens of thousands of dollars to Soliman through an organisation he created called Hukuk Al-Nas (People's Rights), based in Falls Church, Virginia. Federal forms show he is the only employee. After he was awarded a 2008 human rights fellowship at NED and moved to the US, Soliman received a second $50,000 NED grant in 2009 for Hukuk Al-Nas. In 2010, he received $60,000 and another $10,000 in 2011. In an interview with the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, Soliman reluctantly admitted he received US government funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, but complained it wasn't enough. "It is like $2000 or $2,500 a month," he said. "Do you think this is too much? Obama wants to give us peanuts. We will not accept that." NED has removed public access to its Egyptian grant recipients in 2011 and 2012 from its website. NED officials didn't respond to repeated interview requests.

August 23, 2013

Berkeley, United States - President Barack Obama recently stated the United States was not taking sides as Egypt's crisis came to a head with the military overthrow of the democratically elected president. But a review of dozens of US federal government documents shows Washington has quietly funded senior Egyptian opposition figures who called for toppling of the country's now-deposed president Mohamed Morsi. Documents obtained by the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley show the US channeled funding through a State Department programme to promote democracy in the Middle East region. This programme vigorously supported activists and politicians who have fomented unrest in Egypt, after autocratic president Hosni Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising in February 2011. The State Department's program, dubbed by US officials as a "democracy assistance" initiative, is part of a wider Obama administration effort to try to stop the retreat of pro-Washington secularists, and to win back influence in Arab Spring countries that saw the rise of Islamists, who largely oppose US interests in the Middle East. Activists bankrolled by the program include an exiled Egyptian police officer Omar Afifi Soliman, who plotted the violent overthrow of the Morsi government, Esraa Abdel-Fatah an anti-Islamist politician who advocated closing mosques and dragging preachers out by force, as well as a coterie of opposition politicians who pushed for the ouster of the country's first democratically elected leader, government documents show. Information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, interviews, and public records reveal Washington's "democracy assistance" may have violated Egyptian law, which prohibits foreign political funding. It may also have broken US government regulations that ban the use of taxpayers' money to fund foreign politicians, or finance subversive activities that target democratically elected governments. 'Bureau for Democracy' Washington's democracy assistance program for the Middle East is filtered through a pyramid of agencies within the State Department. Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars is channeled through the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL), The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), USAID, as well as the Washington-based, quasi-governmental organisation the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). In turn, those groups re-route money to other organisations such as the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and Freedom House, among others. Federal documents show these groups have sent funds to certain organisations in Egypt, mostly run by senior members of anti-Morsi political parties who double as NGO activists. The Middle East Partnership Initiative - launched by the George W. Bush administration in 2002, in a bid to influence politics in the Middle East in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, has spent close to $900m on democracy projects across the region, a federal grants database shows. USAID manages about $1.4bn annually in the Middle East, with nearly $390m designated for democracy promotion, according to the Washington-based Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED). The US government doesn't issue figures on democracy spending per country, but Stephen McInerney, POMED's executive director, estimated that Washington spent some $65m in 2011 and $25m in 2012. He said he expects a similar amount paid out this year. A main conduit for channeling the State Department's democracy funds to Egypt has been the National Endowment for Democracy. Federal documents show NED, which in 2011 was authorised an annual budget of $118m by Congress, funneled at least $120,000 over several years to an exiled Egyptian police officer who has for years incited violence in his native country. This appears to be in direct contradiction to its Congressional mandate, which clearly states NED is to engage only in "peaceful" political change overseas. Exiled policeman Colonel Omar Afifi Soliman - who served in Egypt's elite investigative police unit, notorious for human rights abuses - began receiving NED funds in 2008 for at least four years. During that time he and his followers targeted Mubarak's government, and Soliman later followed the same tactics against the military rulers who briefly replaced him. Most recently Soliman set his sights on Morsi's government. Soliman, who has refugee status in the US, was sentenced in absentia last year for five years imprisonment by a Cairo court for his role in inciting violence in 2011 against the embassies of Israel and Saudi Arabia, two US allies. He also used social media to encourage violent attacks against Egyptian officials, according to court documents and a review of his social media posts. US Internal Revenue Service documents reveal that NED paid tens of thousands of dollars to Soliman through an organisation he created called Hukuk Al-Nas (People's Rights), based in Falls Church, Virginia. Federal forms show he is the only employee. After he was awarded a 2008 human rights fellowship at NED and moved to the US, Soliman received a second $50,000 NED grant in 2009 for Hukuk Al-Nas. In 2010, he received $60,000 and another $10,000 in 2011. In an interview with the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, Soliman reluctantly admitted he received US government funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, but complained it wasn't enough. "It is like $2000 or $2,500 a month," he said. "Do you think this is too much? Obama wants to give us peanuts. We will not accept that." NED has removed public access to its Egyptian grant recipients in 2011 and 2012 from its website. NED officials didn't respond to repeated interview requests.

July 31, 2013

Earlier this month the New York Times wrote about E-Verify, the system of employment verification tucked into the immigration legislation that passed the Senate in July. As the Times notes, E-Verify is "a linchpin of the legislation… [that] would require all employers in the country within five years to use a federal electronic system to verify the legal eligibility to work of every new hire, including American citizens."

We've expressed our concerns many times – about privacy issues, widespread opposition from across the political spectrum, and accuracy issues – but one thing that jumped out of the Times piece was supporters' contention that the system is highly accurate.

From the Times:

Of more than 20.2 million workers run through the system in 2012, only 0.26 percent turned out to be legally authorized after an initial erroneous denial, according to official figures. The system identified 221,155 new hires who did not have legal documents to work in this country. Officials said those figures proved the system was effective.

This framing is odd, to say the least, because it puts the number of wrongful denials in the form of a percentage while describing correct determinations as a number. So let's add flesh to those abstract numbers. Look what happens if you make this an apples to apples comparison: 20.2 million workers x .0026 (.26 percent) = 52,520 workers wrongly identified.

That means that we have 221,155 correct determinations and 52,520 erroneous determinations (where a U.S. worker has to face a daunting bureaucracy and contest the decision before making a living again). In addition, what the article doesn't say is that of 221,155 undocumented workers flagged by the system, 36,000 were people who just didn't contest their determination. In other words, they might have been undocumented but they also might have just moved onto a different job at a place that didn't use E-Verify.

Perhaps you think that a best case scenario where E-Verify catches 4.5 undocumented workers for every one U.S. worker wrongly identified is a trade worth making but, at a minimum, it's a trade we should clearly understand.

This issue is even starker when you consider what a nationwide E-Verify mandate means. There are currently about 154 million workers in the U.S. A 0.26% error rate represents a best case scenario where 400,000 people will be wrongfully caught up in E-Verify and forced to prove their right to work.

At the end of the day, efficacy may be in the eye of the beholder—though I bet it looks different if you're one of those innocent workers who gets misidentified.

July 31, 2013

Earlier this month the New York Times wrote about E-Verify, the system of employment verification tucked into the immigration legislation that passed the Senate in July. As the Times notes, E-Verify is "a linchpin of the legislation… [that] would require all employers in the country within five years to use a federal electronic system to verify the legal eligibility to work of every new hire, including American citizens."

We've expressed our concerns many times – about privacy issues, widespread opposition from across the political spectrum, and accuracy issues – but one thing that jumped out of the Times piece was supporters' contention that the system is highly accurate.

From the Times:

Of more than 20.2 million workers run through the system in 2012, only 0.26 percent turned out to be legally authorized after an initial erroneous denial, according to official figures. The system identified 221,155 new hires who did not have legal documents to work in this country. Officials said those figures proved the system was effective.

This framing is odd, to say the least, because it puts the number of wrongful denials in the form of a percentage while describing correct determinations as a number. So let's add flesh to those abstract numbers. Look what happens if you make this an apples to apples comparison: 20.2 million workers x .0026 (.26 percent) = 52,520 workers wrongly identified.

That means that we have 221,155 correct determinations and 52,520 erroneous determinations (where a U.S. worker has to face a daunting bureaucracy and contest the decision before making a living again). In addition, what the article doesn't say is that of 221,155 undocumented workers flagged by the system, 36,000 were people who just didn't contest their determination. In other words, they might have been undocumented but they also might have just moved onto a different job at a place that didn't use E-Verify.

Perhaps you think that a best case scenario where E-Verify catches 4.5 undocumented workers for every one U.S. worker wrongly identified is a trade worth making but, at a minimum, it's a trade we should clearly understand.

This issue is even starker when you consider what a nationwide E-Verify mandate means. There are currently about 154 million workers in the U.S. A 0.26% error rate represents a best case scenario where 400,000 people will be wrongfully caught up in E-Verify and forced to prove their right to work.

At the end of the day, efficacy may be in the eye of the beholder—though I bet it looks different if you're one of those innocent workers who gets misidentified.

July 25, 2013

According to reports, the Chinese Authorities have forbidden Uyghur Muslims who are returning from summer vacations from fasting in the month of Ramadan and taking part in religious activities. ”Before the fast began, they were extracting guarantees from parents, promising that their children won’t fast in Ramadan,” Sweden-based spokesman for the exiled World Uyghur Congress (WUC), Dilxat Raxit said in a radio interview.

The restrictions state that Muslim students under 18 years of age are banned from fasting and taking part in the religious activities during the month of Ramadan. Students failing to abide by the orders are being reported to and punished by the Chinese Authorities.

“They have also made groups of 10 households responsible for spying on each other, so that if a single child from one family fasts for Ramadan, or takes part in religious activities, then all 10 families will be fined,” Raxit said, ”It’s called a 10-household guarantee system.”

In Beijing and Xinjiang, security crackdowns prevent Muslims from gathering to observe prayers and other religious practices which are required during Ramadhan. A human rights group reported that Uyghur Muslims are being sentenced to prison terms for engaging in religious studies and government employees, teachers, and students are being fined if they observe the Ramadan fast